News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Thirteen years ago, William MacAskill found himself standing in the aisle of a grocery store, agonizing over which breakfast cereal to buy. If he switched to a cheaper brand for a year, could he put aside enough money to save someone’s life? It wasn’t the first time he’d been gripped by this kind of angst. His life has often felt like a series of difficult choices: Should he donate even more money to charity? Should he quit academia and work in politics—even if he hated it—in the hopes of having a greater social impact? What if he moved to a different city—could he do more to help others elsewhere?

For anyone enjoying a comfortable life in a world of horrifying inequality, examining your choices closely might spark similar questions. For MacAskill, a 35-year-old Scottish philosopher who co-founded a movement dedicated to doing the most good possible, the stakes of even mundane decisions can feel especially high.

Yet when we meet on a sunny July afternoon in Oxford, he seems to have found a way to carry that load. In fact, for a man who’s spent the past few years thinking about how humanity might permanently derail its future, he’s surprisingly cheerful. He’s just returned from a week of surfing with his partner Holly Morgan on the south coast of England. After years of suffering from depression and anxiety, he now prioritizes sleep, exercise, and meditation. He enjoys swimming outdoors, playing the saxophone, and holding “fire raves” in fields with friends, dancing around a bonfire to house music until the early hours. “There are many things in my life I care about for intrinsic reasons,” he says, “not because I’ve done some 12-dimensional maths about how it contributes to the greater good.”

Read the rest of this article at: Time

News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 15.08.22 : 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”.

Although it was still not clear exactly what had happened on the ship – that evening, lawyers for the company that owned the Nave Andromeda said it was “not a hijacking” – Wallace told journalists the next day that there was “a clear threat to life on the ship”. The Daily Mail reported that “stowaways smashed glass on board and made threats to kill”. Former Royal Navy Rear Admiral Chris Parry told Good Morning Britain: “Next time they could be terrorists.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This morning, my daughter, Olympia, who turns five this month, and I were on our way to get her a new passport before a trip to Europe. We’re in my car, and she’s holding my phone, using an interactive educational app she likes. This robot voice asks her a question: What do you want to be when you grow up? She doesn’t know I’m listening, but I can hear the answer she whispers into the phone. She says, “I want to be a big sister.”

Olympia says this a lot, even when she knows I’m listening. Sometimes before bed, she prays to Jehovah to bring her a baby sister. (She doesn’t want anything to do with a boy!) I’m the youngest of five sisters myself, and my sisters are my heroes, so this has felt like a moment I need to listen very carefully to.

Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity. Don’t get me wrong: I love being a woman, and I loved every second of being pregnant with Olympia. I was one of those annoying women who adored being pregnant and was working until the day I had to report to the hospital—although things got super complicated on the other side. And I almost did do the impossible: A lot of people don’t realize that I was two months pregnant when I won the Australian Open in 2017. But I’m turning 41 this month, and something’s got to give.

I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. I’ve been thinking of this as a transition, but I want to be sensitive about how I use that word, which means something very specific and important to a community of people. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me. A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.

Read the rest of this article at: Vogue


News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

As a therapist for children who are being processed through the American immigration system, Cynthia Quintana has a routine that she repeats each time she meets a new patient in her office in Grand Rapids, Michigan: She calls the parents or closest relatives to let them know the child is safe and well cared for, and provides 24-hour contact information.

This process usually plays out within hours of when the children arrive. Most are teens who have memorized or written down their relatives’ phone numbers in notebooks they carried with them across the border. By the time of that initial call, their families are typically worried, waiting anxiously for news after having—in an act of desperation—sent their children into another country alone in pursuit of safety and the hope of a future.

But in the summer of 2017, Quintana encountered a curious case. A 3-year-old Guatemalan boy with a toothy smile and bowl-cut black hair sat down at her desk. He was far too little to have made the journey on his own. He had no phone numbers with him, and when she asked where he was headed or whom he’d been with, the boy stared back blankly. Quintana scoured his file for more information but found nothing. She asked for help from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer, who came back several days later with something unusual: information indicating that the boy’s father was in federal custody.

At their next session, the boy squirmed in his chair as Quintana dialed the detention center, getting his father on the line. At first the dad was quiet, she told me. “Finally we said, ‘Your child is here. He can hear you. You can speak now.’ And you could just tell that his voice was breaking—he couldn’t.”

The boy cried out for his father. Suddenly, both of them were screaming and sobbing so loudly that several of Quintana’s colleagues ran to her office.

Eventually, the man calmed down enough to address Quintana directly. “I’m so sorry, who are you? Where is my child? They came in the middle of the night and took him,” he said. “What do I tell his mother?”

That same summer, Quintana was also assigned to work with a 3-year-old Honduran girl who gave no indication of how she’d gotten to the United States or where she was supposed to be going. During their first several sessions, the girl refused to speak at all. The muscles on her face were slack and expressionless. Quintana surmised that the girl had severe detachment disorder, often the result of a sudden and recent trauma.

Across her organization—Bethany Christian Services, one of several companies contracted by the American government to care for newly arrived immigrant children—Quintana’s colleagues were having similar experiences. Jennifer Leon, a teacher at Bethany, was at the office one day when the private company that transports children from the border delivered a baby girl “like an Amazon package.” The baby was wearing a dirty diaper; her face was crusted with mucus. “They gave the baby to the case manager with a diaper bag, we signed, that was it,” Leon recalled. (Leon rushed the baby to the hospital for an evaluation.)

Mateo Salazar, a Bethany therapist, went to his office in the middle of the night to meet a newly arrived 5-year-old Honduran girl. At first, the girl was stoic, but when the transportation-company employees started to leave, the girl ran after them, banging on the glass doors and crying as she fell to the ground. Salazar sat with her for two hours until she was calm enough to explain that her mother had made her promise—as Border Patrol agents were pulling them apart—to stay with the adults who took her no matter what, because they would keep her safe.

For more than a year, Quintana and her colleagues encountered cases like this repeatedly. To track down the parents of children in their care, they would scour American prisons and immigration detention centers, using clues from social media or tips from friends inside the government. They would struggle to explain to parents why their kids had been taken away or how to get them back. The therapists, teachers, and caseworkers would try to maintain their composure at work, but they would later break down in their cars and in front of their families. Many debated quitting their job. Though they were experts in caring for severely traumatized children, this was a challenge to which they did not know how to respond.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

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News 15.08.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

After more than 60 years in the business, the comedy legend was ready to wind it down. Then came ‘Only Murders in the Building’ and his three Emmy nominations. And a new stage show. And a new book. And a new doc. But after that, it’s over. He’s pretty sure…

Steve Martin keeps telling himself to stop fiddling with the same material, but he can’t help it.

This lifelong impulse made a recent appearance a few stops into his latest tour with Martin Short, You Won’t Believe What They Look Like Today! One joke was earning two perfectly adequate laughs from the crowd, but he craved a bigger reaction.

As the show’s title suggests, the longtime friends and entertainment warhorses devote a portion of each night to ribbing each other over images from their past. Short, a little soft around the edges in his youth, is subjected to one shirtless photo during the slideshow. For a while, Martin hammered the chubby jokes. “I’d say, ‘Now, are you sure that’s you? At first I thought it was Winnie the Pooh,’ ” Martin explains. “The audience laughed. Then I would say, ‘What are you there?’ And he’d go, ‘I’d say a B-cup.’ They’d laugh again.”

Something about the response didn’t satisfy Martin. So he thought on it a while before it struck him: ceding the whole joke to Short would make it funnier. “Getting rid of my line doubled the laugh that he got for ‘B-cup,’ ” he says, pride mingling with “well, duh” embarrassment on his face. “How long have I been doing comedy? 60 years? I’m still having fun finding those things.”

Martin’s pursuit of big laughs is the stuff of comedy legend. It also has surpassed 60 years. Born in August 1945, he was hamming it up at various jobs at Southern California amusement parks as soon as he could legally work. He began stand-up in earnest by age 18 and ultimately hit the highest highs of one of the most difficult professions. Since the 1980s, he’s been the unlikely leading man of films like Roxanne, L.A. Story and the Father of the Bride movies. For Martin, every bit of the work — yes, even sophomoric remarks about baby fat — still demands constant refining.

“Talent is amazing and stunning when you first encounter it, but it has to get better and have a standard that it lives by,” says Saturday Night Live creator and producer Lorne Michaels, Martin’s close friend for five decades. “You don’t worry when Steve’s on something. He’s not going to be happy until he cracks it. And even then, he’s not going to trust it.”

During one of three July performances at the Hollywood Bowl, an abbreviated version of Martin and Short’s typical two-hour show that shared the bill with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and fireworks, Short’s “B-cup” line killed. Moments later, Short remarked that he and his pal planned to keep working as long as they’re still having fun. With a confident gait and no words, Martin exited stage right and ceded the next few bits to Short. The crowd lost it. And while it may be an obvious gag, either man would be more than justified in a desire to take it easy.

Martin, in particular, is the busiest he’s been in years. His TV series, Only Murders in the Building, premiered in 2021 as an instant hit and quickly became Hulu’s most-watched original comedy. A dry whodunit set in a Manhattan co-op and based on an idea Martin originally had years ago, the series stars Martin, Short and Selena Gomez as a trio of lonely true-crime obsessives. Already renewed for a third season, Only Murders earned 17 Emmy nominations for its freshman run. Of those, Martin is up for three: best comedy (as producer), writing for a comedy series (shared with co-creator John Hoffman) and lead actor in a comedy — pitting him against Short, his perennial co-star. There’s also their exhaustive tour, a follow-up to 2021’s The Funniest Show in Town at the Moment, 2017’s An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life and 2015’s A Very Stupid Conversation. Martin even has an upcoming book (his 12th) and a long-gestating documentary about his life and career.

Read the rest of this article at: The Hollywood Reporter

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