News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets / via Pinterest Pinterest

News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

When my son was little, my mom started collecting his outgrown clothes to give to strangers on the internet. She would meet these people through Buy Nothing, a project that had been created by two women from Bainbridge Island, Washington, not far from her home in Seattle. The mission of Buy Nothing, which had a local cult following, was to revive old-fashioned sharing among neighbors. People were organized by town or neighborhood into Facebook groups, where they could post what they needed, or no longer needed, and their neighbors would respond accordingly.

What made this different from Goodwill, Craigslist, or other freebie groups was that the people in your group always lived close by, and—because Buy Nothing was hosted on Facebook—everyone’s names and photos were visible, and messaging other members was as easy as texting. Pickups tended to happen at the front door, prompting face-to-face conversation. After a while, strangers became friendly acquaintances, their stoops integrated into your mental map of your town. Through my mom, random people came to own the forgotten detritus of my motherhood: unused diapers, a nursing cover (“that you threw in bathroom trash,” my mom accused in an email). My mom had been living frugally and sustainably long before it was fashionable—diluting her dish soap, cutting her sponges into quarters—and on Buy Nothing, she’d found her people.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

Why do so many people have an immediate, intuitive grasp of this highly abstract concept—“subjective age,” it’s called—when randomly presented with it? It’s bizarre, if you think about it. Certainly most of us don’t believe ourselves to be shorter or taller than we actually are. We don’t think of ourselves as having smaller ears or longer noses or curlier hair. Most of us also know where our bodies are in space, what physiologists call “proprioception.”

Yet we seem to have an awfully rough go of locating ourselves in time. A friend, nearing 60, recently told me that whenever he looks in the mirror, he’s not so much unhappy with his appearance as startled by it—“as if there’s been some sort of error” were his exact words. (High-school reunions can have this same confusing effect. You look around at your lined and thickened classmates, wondering how they could have so violently capitulated to age; then you see photographs of yourself from that same event and realize: Oh.) The gulf between how old we are and how old we believe ourselves to be can often be measured in light-years—or at least a goodly number of old-fashioned Earth ones.

Adults over 40 perceive themselves to be, on average, about 20 percent younger than their actual age.

As one might suspect, there are studies that examine this phenomenon. (There’s a study for everything.) As one might also suspect, most of them are pretty unimaginative. Many have their origins in the field of gerontology, designed primarily with an eye toward health outcomes, which means they ask participants how old they feel, which those participants generally take to mean how old do you feel physically, which then leads to the rather unsurprising conclusion that if you feel older, you probably are, in the sense that you’re aging faster.

But “How old do you feel?” is an altogether different question from “How old are you in your head?” The most inspired paper I read about subjective age, from 2006, asked this of its 1,470 participants—in a Danish population (Denmark being the kind of place where studies like these would happen)—and what the two authors discovered is that adults over 40 perceive themselves to be, on average, about 20 percent younger than their actual age. “We ran this thing, and the data were gorgeous,” says David C. Rubin (75 in real life, 60 in his head), one of the paper’s authors and a psychology and neuroscience professor at Duke University. “It was just all these beautiful, smooth curves.”

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Perhaps we should start with the dumplings themselves, which are, of course, delicious. Worth the trip. Worth planning the trip around. Particularly the soup dumplings, or xiao long bao, which are — you could argue, and I would — the platonic ideal of the form: silky, broth-filled little clouds that explode inside your mouth upon impact. An all-timer of a dumping.

And that, more or less, is the most you will hear about the food made at the wildly popular Taiwanese dumpling chain Din Tai Fung: It’s great, it’s a draw, it’s the reason for everything that follows.

The remainder of our story begins and ends and pretty much exclusively takes place in Glendale, California — a city of close to 200,000 that sits just 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

Glendale, like other cities within the Greater LA region, is often unfairly provincialized. For example, my 101-year-old grandmother, a native Angeleno, still calls Glendale “Dingledale” and still complains about briefly living there about eight decades ago. These cities are — again, unfairly — given a kind of shorthand: Santa Monica’s got beaches; West Hollywood’s got good nightlife and (relatedly) the gays; Studio City’s got… a studio? So does Burbank. But Glendale: Glendale’s got more Armenians than almost anywhere but Armenia and also, malls.

Read the rest of this article at: Eater

News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Today marks a year since Russian President Vladimir Putin embarked on his mad quest to capture Ukraine and conjure into existence some sort of mutant Soviet-Christian-Slavic empire in Europe. On this grim anniversary, I will leave the political and strategic retrospectives to others; instead, I want to share a more personal grief about the passing of the hopes so many of us had for a better world at the end of the 20th century.

The first half of my life was dominated by the Cold War. I grew up next to a nuclear bomber base in Massachusetts. I studied Russian and Soviet affairs in college and graduate school. I first visited the Soviet Union when I was 22. I was 28 years old when the Berlin Wall fell. I turned 31 a few weeks before the Soviet flag was lowered for the last time.

When I visited Moscow on that initial trip in 1983, I sat on a curb on a summer night in Red Square, staring at the Soviet stars on top of the Kremlin. I had the sensation of being in the belly of the beast, right next to the beating heart of the enemy. I knew that hundreds of American nuclear warheads were aimed where I was sitting, and I was convinced that everything I knew was more than likely destined to end in flames. Peace seemed impossible; war felt imminent.

And then, within a few years, it was over. If you did not live through this time, it is difficult to explain the amazement and sense of optimism that came with the raspad, as Russians call the Soviet collapse, especially if you had spent any time in the former U.S.S.R. I have some fond memories of my trips to the pre-collapse Soviet Union (I made four from 1983 to 1991). It was a weird and fascinating place. But it was also every inch the “evil empire” that President Ronald Reagan described, a place of fear and daily low-grade paranoia where any form of social attachment, whether religion or simple hobbies, was discouraged if it fell outside the control of the party-state.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 24.02.23: Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

David Wakeling, head of London-based law firm Allen & Overy’s markets innovation group, first came across law-focused generative AI tool Harvey in September 2022. He approached OpenAI, the system’s developer, to run a small experiment. A handful of his firm’s lawyers would use the system to answer simple questions about the law, draft documents, and take first passes at messages to clients.

The trial started small, Wakeling says, but soon ballooned. Around 3,500 workers across the company’s 43 offices ended up using the tool, asking it around 40,000 queries in total. The law firm has now entered into a partnership to use the AI tool more widely across the company, though Wakeling declined to say how much the agreement was worth. According to Harvey, one in four at Allen & Overy’s team of lawyers now uses the AI platform every day, with 80 percent using it once a month or more. Other large law firms are starting to adopt the platform too, the company says.

The rise of AI and its potential to disrupt the legal industry has been forecast multiple times before. But the rise of the latest wave of generative AI tools, with ChatGPT at its forefront, has those within the industry more convinced than ever.

“I think it is the beginning of a paradigm shift,” says Wakeling. “I think this technology is very suitable for the legal industry.”

Generative AI is having a cultural and commercial moment, being touted as the future of search, sparking legal disputes over copyright, and causing panic in schools and universities.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

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