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News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
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In the summer of 2021, Sean Sherman, a forty-eight-year-old Oglala Lakota chef, opened a restaurant called Owamni, in Minneapolis. Nearly overnight, it became the most prominent example of Indigenous American cuisine in the United States. Every dish is made without wheat flour, dairy, cane sugar, black pepper, or any other ingredient introduced to this continent after Europeans arrived. Sherman describes the food as “decolonized”; his business partner and Owamni’s co-owner, Dana Thompson, calls it “ironically foreign.” In June, the James Beard Foundation named Owamni the best new restaurant in the United States.

One evening in May, I met Sherman outside Owamni, which is situated in a park on the Mississippi River. Across the street, water plummeted fifty feet down St. Anthony Falls. The area was once the site of a Dakota village known as Owamniyomni—the place of falling, swirling water. Sherman pulled out his phone and showed me an eighteenth-century drawing depicting tepees on the shore of the falls. “There was clearly a village here. People everywhere,” he said. “But the Europeans were, like, ‘You are now called St. Anthony!’ ”

Inside, the dining room was flooded with light from a wall of windows. A bartender named Thor Bearstail delivered glasses of red wine. (Owamni breaks its decolonized rule with beverages, serving coffee, beer, and wine.) Bearstail, like the rest of the staff, wore a black T-shirt that read “#86colonialism” on the back. Eighty-six, in kitchen slang, indicates that a dish is sold out. A month earlier, Bearstail, who is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation, in North Dakota, had moved from Fargo to Minneapolis to work at Owamni. His previous job was at a Red Lobster. “Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” he said.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

As a humanist who writes about the impact of digital technology on our lives, I am often mistaken for a futurist. The people most interested in hiring me for my opinions about technology are usually less concerned with building tools that help people live better lives in the present than they are in identifying the Next Big Thing through which to dominate them in the future. I don’t usually respond to their inquiries. Why help these guys ruin what’s left of the internet, much less civilisation?

Still, sometimes a combination of morbid curiosity and cold hard cash is enough to get me on a stage in front of the tech elite, where I try to talk some sense into them about how their businesses are affecting our lives out here in the real world. That’s how I found myself accepting an invitation to address a group mysteriously described as “ultra-wealthy stakeholders”, out in the middle of the desert.

A limo was waiting for me at the airport. As the sun began to dip over the horizon, I realised I had been in the car for three hours. What sort of wealthy hedge-fund types would drive this far from the airport for a conference? Then I saw it. On a parallel path next to the highway, as if racing against us, a small jet was coming in for a landing on a private airfield. Of course.

The next morning, two men in matching Patagonia fleeces came for me in a golf cart and conveyed me through rocks and underbrush to a meeting hall. They left me to drink coffee and prepare in what I figured was serving as my green room. But instead of me being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, my audience was brought in to me. They sat around the table and introduced themselves: five super-wealthy guys – yes, all men – from the upper echelon of the tech investing and hedge-fund world. At least two of them were billionaires. After a bit of small talk, I realised they had no interest in the speech I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come to ask questions.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

An email from a stranger sent me on a quest back in time, to the years before the Holocaust, in search of my family and myself.

The email came from a stranger. “Dear Mr. Temple,” it said. “My name is Andrea Paiss, and I live in Budapest, Hungary. I do not know whether I write to the right person. I just hope so.”

It reached me in San Francisco on January 1, 2020, and told of a “Granny,” then 92, who wanted to know what had happened to her cousin Lorant Stein. Andrea had found a document online about Lorant in the Central Database of Shoah Victims at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. It had been submitted by someone named John Temple. Could I be that same John Temple, she asked, the one who had filled out the form by hand 20 years earlier? “I would be happy if you could tell me how you [are] related to Lorant, as we have no information about relatives in America.”

At first my wife, Judith, and I were mistrustful. Could this be an attempt to get money, a scam of some kind? I had filled out the form, but I had no information about relatives still living in Hungary. The last, I thought, had been two sisters of my grandfather who died years ago.

When I was a boy, my family was small: my parents, my mother’s parents, and my older brother. That was it. My father’s mother lived alone in Vienna, and died when I was 10. His father had died in 1945. Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the 1950s and ’60s, we were different from my friends’ families. Unlike their parents, mine were immigrants, from Austria and Hungary, who spoke English with heavy accents. They also spoke Hungarian and German. They ate chicken paprikash and goulash, not hamburgers and hot dogs. All the same, they wanted us to fit in, starting with the vanilla names they gave us: Chris and John.

We were to be of the New World, not the Old.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Bank of England’s recent forecast—a 15-month recession, inflation well into double digits and worse, the sharpest fall in living standards on record—was met with shock. It should not have been. Russia’s weaponisation of gas and food prices as part of the war in Ukraine has caused worldwide price hikes and economic woe; these are turbulent times. But in Britain the latest crisis has exposed our extreme vulnerability caused by 40 years of wrongheaded economic policy—which has failed to confront long-running weaknesses and enfeebled those strengths we do possess.

This economic conjuncture is the bleakest I have witnessed in 50 years of observing and commenting on the economy. Every dysfunction—whether it’s poor productivity, our threadbare welfare state, the menace of predatory finance, inadequate human capital, a systemic aversion to risk-taking or a paucity of public investment—has emerged at the same time to create a perfect storm. One could add to these ills a carelessness about who owns our national assets, a lack of economic resilience in critical sectors ranging from energy to water, overheated property prices, exit from the EU’s single market, impotent regulatory agencies, weak business investment—the list goes on.

Worse, the resulting analysis from our political class is desperately inadequate. On the (increasingly dominant) right of the Conservative Party, the answer is seen as doubling down on the Thatcherite brew that is the proximate cause of the crisis: a commitment to small-state economics, low taxes and minimal intervention to “unshackle enterprise” from imagined over-regulation. And the left is yet to offer a systemic, comprehensive response, notwithstanding interventions like the popular proposal for an energy price freeze this winter. Activists demand full-blooded, top-down “socialism” while the broader liberal-left tradition (plainly the direction Labour’s Keir Starmer wants to take his party) fails to work out feasible, practical reforms, leaving a vacuum. In the face of an economic and social emergency, dramatised by millions being unable to pay fuel bills potentially as high as £5,000 next year but with roots that go very much deeper, the political response is not good enough.

The facts are these: inflation, now forecast to peak at over 18 per cent, will only retreat little by little in the years ahead. By 2024 the overall price level will be some 15 per cent higher than was estimated in the autumn of 2021, a forecast already quaintly outdated. The Bank of England is projecting five successive quarters of recession, extending into the last three months of 2023. On both these indicators, Britain’s performance will be the weakest in the G7. The country thus confronts continuing “stagflation”—stagnant growth and ongoing inflation—until at least the mid-2020s, if not beyond. Business investment is running below its dismal long-term average as confidence drops sharply, while hitherto buoyant inward investment from overseas firms has stagnated—both impacted by Brexit. Exports have been savagely hit by the loss of access to EU markets and that loss has not been compensated for by growth elsewhere. In the first quarter of 2022, the UK’s current account deficit (which measures the country’s balance of payments with the rest of the world) was 8.3 per cent of GDP—a scale normally only seen by emergent and basket-case economies.

Read the rest of this article at: Prospect

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News 26.09.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

he Hawaiian rainforest where Gloria Doerr has lived since 2017 is a sort of magnet, she says, for people who are running away from something. But even there, in the shadow of an active volcano, sometimes things catch up with you.

For Doerr, 70, it happened this past April. She was spending a tranquil afternoon at home when she learned that her late father, Paul Alfred Doerr, had been linked to one of the most notorious murder sprees of the twentieth century. Her son had stumbled on a podcast interview with Paul’s accuser, Jarett Kobek. An internationally best-selling novelist based in Los Angeles, Kobek had written a whole book, How to Find Zodiac, about how her Dad might just have been the maniac who more than fifty years earlier had terrorized the Bay Area with a string of cold-blooded and seemingly random killings.

By the time she’d finished listening to the podcast, Doerr, a retired real estate agent, was in shock. If this writer had only bothered to pick up the phone and call her before lodging his accusation, she would happily have told him that her father, who died of a heart attack in 2007, while far from perfect, to put it mildly, could be a charming, quirky, and voraciously curious man—a member of Mensa and an early proponent of organic foods.

In the following days, Gloria mentioned the situation to a few close friends, who thought she might have a libel case. She even reached out to an attorney. Though she was reluctant to pay $17.95 for the book, a friend ordered her a copy.

Paul Doerr is hardly the only suspect in the case—far from it. Among the rogue’s gallery of other presumptive Zodiacs are a house painter, a former schoolteacher, a sports car dealer, a theater operator, and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski. “There are probably 50 or 100 suspects named every year,” sighs Richard Grinell, the former postman who runs the website Zodiac Ciphers and has been following the case for a decade. In October, a self-described “national task force of seasoned investigators” called the Case Breakers pointed to a brand new Zodiac suspect. Their theory was quickly debunked, but not before Fox News picked up the story, leading to hundreds of credulous media reports.

Gloria’s father, in other words, was in good company.

The killer, who is linked to a series of late-1960s attacks in the Bay Area, employed a shifting MO: Often he shot his victims, but on one especially macabre occasion, clad in an executioner’s hood, he tied them up and used a knife. Though he mostly attacked young couples around Vallejo, he also murdered a cab driver in San Francisco. Officially, he is believed to have killed just five and severely injured two, but his modest body count has been far outstripped by his well-tended mystique, bolstered by a sinister handle and a practice of firing off letters to the media and other authorities, often including mysterious ciphers and signed with a crosshairs logo.

Read the rest of this article at: Los Angeles Magazine

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