News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

It was a beach date that would transform Chris Michaud, though the memorable parts were neither the beach nor the date but what he saw that day. Both in their early 30s, summer of 2017, Chris had met Gemma recently, swiping on Bumble. They decided to head to the New Hampshire coast, not far from where they both lived in Portsmouth. Before arriving at the beach, Gemma suggested they do a little birding.

In a marsh, they spotted egrets, a glossy ibis, and “some other cool stuff.” Later, they went to the beach, as promised, but Chris just kept thinking about the birds. This moment, in birding lingo, is called the “spark,” when a person sees something that inspires them to be a birder for life. (Nearly everyone I talked to for this story had a spark and volunteered their story whether I asked for it or not.)

Since then, Chris has been an avid birder and, like many avid birders, is a frequent user of an app called eBird. Naturally, bird watching today involves going out into the world, encountering something wonderful, strange, perhaps even profound or moving, and then logging it on your phone.

Along with Merlin, which helps people identify species of birds, eBird lets people keep track of the ones they’ve seen and, in doing so, become part of a crowdsourced, citizen-science mission. Whether users care or not, the millions of birds being observed tell scientists about huge patterns in climate change.

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

San francisco was conquered by the United States in 1846, and two years later, the Americans discovered gold. That’s about when my ancestors came—my German great-great-great-grandfather worked at a butcher shop on Jackson Street. The gold dried up but too many young men with outlandish dreams remained. The little city, prone to earthquakes and fires, kept growing. The Beats came, then the hippies; the moxie and hubris of the place remained.

My grandmother’s favorite insult was to call someone dull. I learned young that it was impolite to point when a naked man passed by, groceries in hand. If someone wanted to travel by unicycle or be a white person with dreadlocks or raise a child communally among a group of gays or live on a boat or start a ridiculous-sounding company, that was just fine. Between the bead curtains of my aunt’s house, I learned you had to let your strangeness breathe.
It was always weird, always a bit dangerous. Once, when I was very little, a homeless man grabbed me by the hair, lifting me into the air for a moment before the guy dropped me and my dad yelled. For years I told anyone who would listen that I’d been kidnapped. But every compromise San Francisco demanded was worth it. The hills are so steep that I didn’t learn to ride a bike until high school, but every day I saw the bay, and the cool fog rolling in over the water. When puberty hit, I asked the bus driver to drop me off where the lesbians were, and he did. A passenger shouted that he hoped I’d find a nice girlfriend, and I waved back, smiling, my mouth full of braces and rubber bands.

So much has been written about the beauty and mythology of this city that maybe it’s superfluous to add even a little more to the ledger. If he ever got to heaven, Herb Caen, the town’s beloved old chronicler, once said, he’d look around and say, “It ain’t bad, but it ain’t San Francisco.” The cliffs, the stairs, the cold clean air, the low-slung beauty of the Sunset, the cafés tucked along narrow streets, then Golden Gate Park drawing you down from the middle of the city all the way to the beach. It’s so goddamn whimsical and inspiring and temperate; so full of redwoods and wild parrots and the smell of weed and sourdough, brightly painted homes and backyard chickens, lines for the oyster bar and gorgeous men in chaps at the leather festival. But it’s maddening because the beauty and the mythology—the preciousness, the self-regard—are part of what has almost killed it. And I, now in early middle age, sometimes wish it weren’t so nice at all.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

I feel unsettled when I stream music on Spotify. Maybe you feel that way, too. Even though it has all the music I’ve ever wanted, none of it feels necessarily rewarding, emotional, or personal. I pay a nominal fee for this privilege, knowing that essentially none of it will reach the artists I am listening to. I have unfettered access to an abundance of songs I genuinely love, along with an abundance of great songs I’ve never heard before, but I can’t shake the eerie feeling that the options before me are almost too perfect. I have personalized my experience enough to feel like this is my music, but I know that’s not really true—it’s simply a fabricated reality meant to replace the random contours of life outside the app.

The truth is that if you’re using Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, or any other streaming service, you’re not paying for music so much as the opportunity to witness the potential of music. Music becomes an advertisement for the streaming service, and the more time and attention you give it, the more it benefits the tech company, not necessarily the music ecosystem. In Spotify, each song’s play count is prominently displayed, in effect gamifying the music industry so that tracks tacitly compete against one another inside the app. They even go so far as to turn the amount of time you spend in their app into a badge of honor during their annual year-end promotional campaigns. So you’re in the top percentile of Big Thief listeners? That’s not just a measure of your love for an artist’s music, but also a reflection of the time spent enriching the value of a company.

In addition to co-opting corporate social media strategies to benefit from the attention economy, tech companies have inherently made songs fleeting, cheap, and sometimes intrusive, corrupting the cultural exchange between artist and listener. Music is now leased to you through a secret system that you don’t understand, by a company with which you should have no emotional connection. Instead of simply buying a physical product or even pirating music from Napster—both of which created uniquely personal libraries of songs that helped define the identities of a generation—millions of users now sit side by side at the ledge of one great big trough of recorded music for the monthly price of a Chipotle burrito.

Read the rest of this article at: Pitchfork


News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Throughout the industrial age and now in the information age, the Amish have adhered to the long-standing tradition of making as a primary form of work.

The fact that the Amish have also begun making digital technologies, such as the black-box phone that worked as an intended replacement for cell phones, should come as no surprise. The black-box phone, however, is just one of many examples of an increasing number of communication technologies developed for Amish people by Amish people. These devices are crafted to most precisely complete professional goals, while limiting the negative impacts that come with digital communication today. The Amish recognize that this most certainly has political implications. Making in general, and making of digital technologies in particular, further enables the Amish to exercise their creativity, resist surveillance, and control and sustain their way of life in the digital age.

The manner in which the Amish put technologies to use reveals a great deal about the relationship that they want to have to the larger society. In addition to the black-box phone, I have observed an array of Amish workarounds that reflect local values and are determined by social context. The particular assemblage that comprises a workaround can also signal one’s Amishness or shared group identity.

For example, according to multiple Amish leaders, when a technology such as a smartphone or cell phone is used by a member of an Amish community, it is considered impolite to do so ostentatiously. According to my contact Noah, the visibility of one’s digital technology use should be minimized in an effort to show respect for shared Amish values, heritage, and tradition. In a discussion with him and another participant, a business owner who used a computer and the internet daily in work, both men agreed that people used these tools, but because of their desire to show deference to the community and its values, they did so “out of sight” and “they just didn’t talk about it” or they “knew who they could talk to about it and who they couldn’t.” Thus, in an effort to bring about the desired ends of efficient enough communication via a cell phone or smartphone while showing deference to Amish community leaders, these individuals created a workaround of sorts. They used their devices, but only out of the sight of others who they knew were likely to disapprove.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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News 10.06.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Shortly after 9am on 25 October 2020, the captain of the Nave Andromeda sent out a distress call. The crude oil tanker was situated six miles off the coast of the Isle of Wight, close enough to be visible from the pebble beaches that edge the island. In Greek-accented English, the captain, Antonis Perros, said that seven stowaways who had boarded the ship in Nigeria had escaped from the cabin where they were locked: “I try to keep them calm but I need immediately, immediately agency assistance.” For their safety, he said, most of the 22 members of the crew were now locked into a secure area of the ship known as the citadel.

The local police force on the mainland, Hampshire constabulary, began coordinating a response. Policing the seas is complex, and they were in communication with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and the UK Border Force. A three-mile exclusion zone was established around the ship.

At about lunchtime the story broke in the media. Isle of Wight Radio reported “an attempted hijacking”, and soon afterwards Hampshire police confirmed that there was an “ongoing incident”. By 3.45pm, coastguard helicopters were circling the Nave Andromeda. The vessel was moving aimlessly, raising fears on shore that the captain had lost control.

Hampshire police told journalists that the stowaways had made “verbal threats” to the crew. Apart from that, not much was known. Within government, there was anxiety. “There’s all sorts of directions this could have gone in: the ship’s crew assassinated, the ship damaged in some way and hitting the coastline, or itself being used as some form of weapon to drive in and hit a port,” Tobias Ellwood, Conservative MP and chair of the Commons defence select committee, told me 18 months after the incident. “We’re talking about minute-by-minute decision-making.”

The police requested military assistance, and later that afternoon, home secretary Priti Patel and defence minister Ben Wallace gave the go-ahead for an operation by the navy’s Special Boat Service (SBS). At around 7.30pm, the operation began: 16 elite troops from the SBS stormed the tanker by sea and air, backed by airborne snipers. Commandos fast-roped on to the deck from Wildcat helicopters and scaled the ship’s hull from high-powered inflatable boats. The operation – which took more than 10 hours to coordinate – was over within nine minutes. Before 8pm, the ship was secured, the stowaways handcuffed and awaiting arrest. Soon afterwards, the Nave Andromeda was brought into dock at Southampton. The seven stowaways were arrested on suspicion of “seizing or exercising control of a ship by use of threats or force”. They were led off the Nave Andromeda in handcuffs, past a sign announcing: “Welcome to the port of Southampton, gateway to the world.”

The government ministers involved in the operation were keen to highlight its speed and success. “In dark skies, and worsening weather, we should all be grateful for our brave personnel. People are safe tonight thanks to their efforts,” said Wallace in a statement released 40 minutes after the ship was secured. Patel thanked police and armed forces for their “quick and decisive action”.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.