News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

I’ve always been told that I have a fast metabolism. I stay thin no matter what I eat; it’s only in the past few years, as I’ve entered my mid-thirties, that I’ve experienced growing horizontally. I play squash a few times a week, run with a friend on Thursdays, and walk the dog. Otherwise I spend whole days at the computer, then sedentary on the couch, then asleep. And yet I stay lanky and get “hangry” easily; in the afternoons, after a hearty breakfast and two helpings at lunch, I go looking for another meal. I sometimes wake up hungry in the middle of the night. Where’s all the food going?

Our bodies require a lot of calories, and most of them are spent just keeping the machine running. You don’t particularly feel your liver, but sure enough it’s always there, liver-ing; likewise your kidneys, skin, gut, lungs, and bones. Our brains are major energy hogs, consuming around a fifth of our calorie intake despite accounting for just a fiftieth of our body weight on average. Possibly mine is less efficient than yours: I have an anxious cast of mind—I ruminate—and maybe this is like running in place. I sometimes feel sluggish while writing, after working a paragraph over in my head, and I used to assume that this meant I needed caffeine. Eventually, I discovered that a sandwich worked better. The effort of thinking had run my calories low, and it was time to throw another log on the fire.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

On the morning of July 5, 2017, a gray Toyota Camry slowly turned into the cul-de-sac of a quiet neighborhood in Bangkok—a moderately upscale subdivision on the western edge of the city, where the pulsating capital’s downtown high-rises began to flatten out into highways and canals snaking through tropical forest and farmlands.

Behind the wheel sat a woman who went by the nickname Nueng. A slight, 46-year-old agent of the Royal Thai Police with a short, boyish haircut, she wore a white polo shirt and black pants rather than her usual military-style uniform. Both she and the female officer beside her in the passenger seat were working undercover.

Nueng’s heart pounded. For more than two years, law enforcement agents from around the world had been hunting the dark-web mastermind known as Alpha02, a shadowy figure who oversaw millions of dollars a day in narcotics sales and had built the largest digital drug and crime bazaar in history, known as AlphaBay. Now, a coordinated takedown and sting involving no fewer than six countries’ agencies had tracked Alpha02 to Thailand. The operation had finally led to this quiet block in Bangkok, to the home of a 26-year-old Canadian named Alexandre Cazes. Nueng knew that the success of the plot to arrest Cazes and knock out this linchpin of the global underworld economy hinged on what she did in the next few moments.

Trying to give the impression of an inexperienced driver, Nueng slowly rolled the car toward a model home and real estate office at the end of the cul-de-sac. She signaled to a security guard outside the house that she had taken a wrong turn and needed to pull a 180. She heard him shout at her to back directly out instead, that the street was too narrow for a three-point turn.

Nueng quickly muttered a nearly silent prayer—an adapted, high-speed plea to the holy trinity of the Buddha, his teachings, and all the monks and nuns in his service. “Dear Buddha, please bless me with success,” she whispered in Thai. “Dear Dhamma, please bless me with success. Dear Sangha, please bless me with success.”

Then she put the car in reverse, turned the wheel to the left, and ever so gently—almost in slow motion—slammed the Toyota’s fender into Alexandre Cazes’ front gate.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

At the June 2005 premiere of Mr. & Mrs. Smith, it didn’t matter that Brad Pitt was casually rocking a shock of peroxide-blond hair, distressed jeans, and a deep-brown leather jacket, all working hard to distract from his ecstasy of a smile. He was a vision, and so was Angelina Jolie. When she charged from the back of a limo in a black gown (also leather), tits hiked to the heavens, chestnut-brown hair slicked back off her face, it’s no wonder the crowd swelled in volume. Pitt and Jolie never actually got that close to each other at the event; in most of the pictures taken of them, others fill the frame. But one photographer did manage to capture them together. Physically they remain apart, his body facing the opposite direction and awkwardly blocking half the shot. But her eyes, beaming his way, tell a story of closeness. Here are two heavenly bodies, each outshining everyone in their path, poised to become the greatest couple of the modern age.

This was a different time in the history of stardom. Social media wasn’t a compulsory platform upon which famous people could play out their lives as if they were at all relatable to ours. IP hadn’t yet become king, so studios still warred with one another over who could attract the most compelling names and faces rather than dusty franchise rights. Pitt and Jolie were actors, yes, and they were celebrities too, but they had each individually earned a label not every actor or celebrity can: movie star. It’s a distinction that refers to more than just sex appeal and charisma and points to a figure’s ability to, as film historian Jeanine Basinger puts it, make myth and ritual out of themselves.

Read the rest of this article at: Vulture

News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“There used to be families living here, houses. There’d be people grilling, kids swimming,” Glenn Bailey tells me. “There’s much more land under water now.”

Robert Thompson nods. “We lose six feet of shoreline every year.”

Bailey and Thompson and I are standing on a small beach looking out on the Albemarle Sound, talking about flooding. Some locals say the water in this spot used to be about 80 feet farther out; some say a quarter mile. Now, there’s about 15 feet of sand between the end of the road and the beginning of the waves.

This is Tyrrell County, North Carolina, some 30 minutes inland and a whole world away from the state’s storied Outer Banks. Half the county is publicly owned land and much of that is wilderness, home to bears, migrating tundra swans and a few red wolves. Elsewhere, what was once impenetrable undergrowth has been transformed into vast fields of corn and soybeans that thrive in exceptional soil. The county is the state’s least populous — it has only one official town, Columbia, and a smattering of smaller hamlets like Alligator — and also one of its poorest.

If the county is thinly populated, remote and poor, Alligator is those things to an extreme. Founded before the Civil War, the township has been so isolated for so long that some people who live here speak with a “Hoi Toider” accent that originated with English settlers in the 1600s. Still, not long ago, it was lively — people both white and Black farmed and fished and sent their kids out to roam. It’s mostly Black now, and it’s dwindling: only around 250 inhabitants. The median household income is around $31,000, about half the state average.

Bailey is an Alligator native, Thompson a county commissioner. I asked them to describe how the flooding is getting worse. The yards are so wet that gardens can’t thrive, they said. One of the local cemeteries is periodically under several feet of water. Bailey’s own land gets inundated for months at a time. “I had to put waders on to get back there to my hog pen,” he says. “It was knee deep.” Congregants put on rubber boots to get into the local Baptist church on Sundays.

Read the rest of this article at: Noema

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News 26.10.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

He was abducted by a squad of feds in camouflage tactical gear, Mark Pettibone was playing a pickup game of Frisbee.

It was what had become a normal night for the summer of 2020 in Portland, Oregon. The city was now four months into the pandemic and two months into the ongoing protests against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

At this point, Mark and his friend Connor O’Shea — whom he knew from his job at Trader Joe’s — had made a habit of going regularly after work to protest at the Multnomah County Justice Center, a downtown building that houses a jail and the local district attorney’s office. It had been weeks — almost two months — of tear gas and flash-bangs. That was the new normal.

This evening had been violent, too. The city cops had shown up and made their usual show of force before retreating into the Justice Center. The feds had briefly popped out of the IRS building next door — possibly to arrest someone, it was never easy to tell in the chaos — but they had gone away quickly. This is what counted as a mostly quiet night.

Mark had gotten to know many of the other protesters, and the demonstrations themselves had come to be more than just an expression of conscience. The protests were a community, a physical space filled with people and crisscrossed with relationships; being at them sometimes involved getting tear gassed, and sometimes it involved hanging out and playing Frisbee.

But it was getting late, and the two friends were ready to turn in for the night. As they walked toward Connor’s car, a small cluster of protesters waved them over. “Did you hear? There are feds driving around picking people up in unmarked vans.”

Mark and Connor had already heard the rumors swirling around. But even in a summer where they had seen things they couldn’t believe, the idea of getting abducted still seemed unthinkable.

Then someone pointed down the street at a parked minivan. “Uh, excuse me,” they said. “Is that a fed?”

The group all turned to look. That was when a different van came roaring up to them from the other direction.

The doors slid open, and it only took a split second for Mark to process the men in camouflage and tactical gear before adrenaline kicked in. He and the rest of the group scattered in all directions.

Mark ran directly into traffic, almost getting hit by a Mustang that braked just in time. He had no time to react — he was sprinting as fast as he could. Who was chasing him? The men in military garb did not wear badges, insignia, or any identifying markers that Mark could see; the van was similarly unmarked. It was 2:30 in the morning, and Mark did not want to stop and find out.

His heart was pounding; the bile rising in his throat. He could hear footsteps behind him — he glanced over his shoulder and saw the man in camo fatigues hot on his heels. Mark tried to run faster, but he had never been athletic. An engine was revving somewhere nearby. When he turned the corner, there it was — the van — coming from the other direction. He was trapped.

Mark dropped to his knees and put his hands up. As they pulled him into the van, all he could say over and over again was, “Why?”

Read the rest of this article at: The Verge

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