News 26.06.24: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

News 26.06.24: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web
Bellagio & Varenna by @daniele.nv

If you’ve been enjoying these curated article summaries that dive into cultural, creative, and technological currents, you may find the discussions and analyses on our Substack page worthwhile as well. There, I explore themes and ideas that often intersect with the subjects covered in the articles I come across during my curation process.

While this curation simply aims to surface compelling pieces, our Substack writings delve deeper into topics that have piqued our curiosity over time. From examining the manifestation of language shaping our reality to unpacking philosophical undercurrents in society, our Substack serves as an outlet to unpack our perspectives on the notable trends and undercurrents reflected in these curated readings.

So if any of the articles here have stoked your intellectual interests, I invite you to carry that engagement over to our Substack, where we discuss related matters in more depth. Consider it an extension of the curation – a space to further engage with the fascinating ideas these pieces have surfaced.


While scrolling TikTok in 2022, Kaylen came across something unexpected: a video about relationships and anxiety, made by her therapist. She wasn’t sure how it found her, since they didn’t have each other’s numbers. But what was most remarkable about this experience was that it had happened before. She had come across her previous therapist online on YouTube in 2022 and had been uncomfortable then, too.

“That was actually part of the reason why I was like ‘I think I’m going to stop therapy for a while,’” the Los Angeles-based 29-year-old says.

The stars of TherapyTok, as it’s called, pull in numbers not dissimilar to the artists and influencers who found mainstream fame on the app. A video about suicide warning signs has more than 9 million views. So does another about whether or not you’re in “freeze mode.” Those posts are among the tens of thousands of contributions psychologists have made to the platform. However, despite their popularity, and the rise of things like “therapy speak,” users have conflicted feelings about seeing their own mental health professional in front of the camera.

In 2022, Nori-Sarma and her colleagues published a study examining the association between heat and mental health-related emergency room visits among US adults. During the hottest days of the summer, more people went to the emergency room for mental health conditions like substance use disorders, mood and anxiety disorders, stress disorders, other behavioral disorders, and more.

How can people care for their mental health on an ever-warming planet? There are few answers, but Nori-Sarma hopes further research will help illuminate who is most vulnerable to heat-related mental distress and how mental health clinicians can best care for patients when it’s hot.

Read the rest of this article at: Vox

When Robert Towne sat down to write the screenplay for Chinatown, he quickly found himself lost in a maze of his own making. He had set out to write a detective story in the tradition of Raymond Chandler, one that would pay tribute to the Los Angeles of his childhood—a time before industrial smog choked the city, and before the Manson murders persuaded his friends to buy handguns and guard dogs. He wanted it to star his friend Jack Nicholson, whom he had first met in an acting class in the 1950s. And he planned to borrow liberally from a book on Southern California history that his then-girlfriend, Julie Payne, had found for him at the library.

If the movie was to be about Los Angeles itself, Towne wanted to intertwine the characters’ personal drama with some sordid local scandal—and where better to look for inspiration than the actual history of how the city had stolen water from a valley 250 miles away, ravaging the valley in the process? Towne had found an original sin on which to build his story, but the audacity of the crime and the sheer depth of conspiracy required to pull it off seemed impossible to fit into a screenplay. His first draft was about 340 pages.

In the 50 years since its releaseChinatown has helped shape our general understanding of how Los Angeles secured its lifeblood—the fresh water that enabled a booming population to drink and bathe to their heart’s content in a supposed paradise. As California’s water-supply issues have grown even more pronounced in the decades since the film’s release (from 2000 to 2021, the state experienced its driest period in 1,200 years), Chinatown has become a useful shorthand for the flagrant corruption that enabled a major city to flourish next to a desert, distilling the real, unwieldy history down to a more compact myth. Released in the midst of the Watergate scandal and at the tail end of the Vietnam War, the film arrived at a moment when the American public was becoming even more disillusioned with the country’s institutions—a trend directly reflected in many of the era’s films, as studios hoped to lure in younger audiences. A cohort of angsty young filmmakers dubbed “the New Hollywood” seized the opportunity to deconstruct typical American narratives, usually sending the audience out on a downbeat, unresolved note.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 26.06.24: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

About 13.8 billion years ago, the entire cosmos consisted of a tiny, hot, dense ball of energy that suddenly exploded.

That’s how everything began, according to the standard scientific story of the Big Bang, a theory that first took shape in the 1920s. The story has been refined over the decades, most notably in the 1980s, when many cosmologists came to believe that in its first moments, the universe went through a brief period of extraordinarily fast expansion called inflation before settling into a lower gear.

That brief period is thought to have been caused by a peculiar form of high-energy matter that throws gravity into reverse, “inflating” the fabric of the universe exponentially quickly and causing it to grow by a factor of a million billion billion in less than a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a second. Inflation explains why the universe appears to be so smooth and homogeneous when astronomers examine it at large scales.

But if inflation is responsible for all that can be seen today, that raises the question: What, if anything, came before?

No experiment has yet been devised that can observe what happened before inflation. However, mathematicians can sketch out some possible scenarios. The strategy is to apply Einstein’s general theory of relativity—a theory that equates gravity with the curvature of space-time—as far back into time as it can go.

Read the rest of this article at: Wired

News 26.06.24: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

Debra Stevens’ new baby arrives at Elephant Havens the same day I do. As trucks roll down a sandy road, Debra and her husband, Scott Jackson, walk ahead to the quarantine boma where half a dozen elephant handlers are making preparations. The boma, or livestock enclosure, is constructed with round eucalyptus poles sturdy enough to withstand the force of small elephants. The poles are spaced just far enough apart so that a handler can slide through sideways. This 16-by-16-foot covered corral was built about 130 yards from the larger structure that houses the sanctuary’s existing herd of nine elephant calves. The quarantine allows fresh rescues peaceful recuperation for weeks or months until they’re ready to join the others.

When Boago “Bee” Poloko steps out of one truck, Debra opens her mouth in a silent scream, and then she skitters across the sand toward him and jumps, throwing her arms around his neck and kicking her legs back. “A giiiirl!” she squeals.

Bee wears khaki pants with a gray button-down, black boots, a white ballcap, and, in this moment, a huge grin. He is a large man with a head as round and shiny as a bowling ball. Maybe it’s his size, his direct manner of speaking, or the gold-rimmed Ray-Bans he usually wears, but 36-year-old Bee is unmistakably the boss of this operation. I get the sense that his smiles have to be earned, and a successful rescue is as worthy an occasion as any. This sanctuary, which Bee founded with Debra and Scott in 2018, is the first for orphaned elephants in Botswana, Africa, and the natural evolution of Bee’s family legacy. Both his dad and grandfather worked as elephant handlers.


The mood turns sober when the young elephant stumbles out of the truck, into the boma. Her eyes were wrapped in cloth to help keep her calm on the journey, and she blindly bumps her head along the inside perimeter of the posts until Bee manages to reach through and loosen the blindfold. The elephant shakes her head, and the cloth falls. Once she sees humans, her ears flare out wide, contradicting her emaciated frame. A backbone juts up like a curved fin, and her hide hangs in loose folds where limbs meet midsection. After getting her bearings, she rushes in our direction, stopping short of the posts.

“OK, Debra, let’s move away,” says Onks Motamma, one of the lead elephant handlers, steering us back. The elephant rams her head into a metal gate and then jerks her trunk up and down as if to slap anyone who dares come near. “She’ll be screaming probably,” Debra says to me. “I’m going to warn you, because I know that’s going to be hard for me.”

That night, after dinner, Debra walks a dirt path to the main bomas to say good night to the rest of the herd. The nine calves have already guzzled their nighttime bottles, and their only sounds are low, sleepy grumbles. “They talk to each other,” Debra whispers. Elephants are believed to make infrasonic sounds that are too low for the human ear but can be felt by other pachyderms miles away via their sensitive feet. We never heard the new arrival scream, and Debra says she thinks the herd sent calming communications.

Debra approaches the first boma, and a large calf pushes his trunk through the posts. The 1-year-old calves are as tall as Debra’s waist, but 4-year-old Mofalodi towers more than a foot above her. Debra helps guide the elephant’s large trunk up over her left shoulder, around her back, to the right side of her waist.


Read the rest of this article at: D Magazine

News 26.06.24: Five Essential Articles from Around the Web

Before dawn on a June morning in 2010, police burst through the high security gates of a palazzo belonging to a notable mafia family on the edge of a small town in Calabria. As agents swarmed through the building, turning the place over, family members moved frantically to hide any evidence. Maria, the family’s 12-year-old daughter, was given a page ripped from a notebook. It was a list of debts owing. She was told to hide it: “Put it in your knickers, they won’t touch you.” Her brother Cosimo, 14, watched in helpless rage as his father, mother, even his grandmother, were handcuffed and led out to the waiting police cars.

After the arrests, Cosimo was the only male family member outside prison, and it became his responsibility to collect money for the lawyers’ fees. He was a baby boss with his own driver, visiting local businesses who were on the family’s books, and demanding payment with menaces. “He was recognised as the boss,” says journalist Dario Cirrincione. “If he went to a bar in the village, older men would get up to greet him. People waited on him, drove him around, did anything he needed. This sort of treatment turns these kids into little kings.”

The Calabrian mafia, the ’Ndrangheta, is based on family groups in small towns along the coastline of Italy’s toe. The area is littered with half-built factories, projects paid for by state development funds and abandoned once the ’Ndrangheta got its hands on the money. Since taking control of the port at Gioia Tauro on the west coast, the organisation has become one of the biggest importers of cocaine to Europe. The authorities have made sweeping arrests over the past decade, and staged a series of maxi trials in reinforced bunkers, involving hundreds of defendants. But the family structure means the organisation is hard to dismantle. As fathers and grandfathers are serving life sentences, many in high-security jails, the younger members are starting their criminal careers ever earlier.

For two years, Cosimo only saw his father behind a glass screen in a high-security prison. His father told him he had to “grow”, to be a man, take charge, use his head. He was responsible for his sister. If Maria went out, he would send his thugs to check where she went and who she saw. He was living like a gangster, out all night, fighting, getting home at dawn. “People expected me to be forceful,” he said later in an interview with Italian TV. “They expected me to behave badly. I had all the hunger for power of a kid who feels he is invincible.”

Cosimo was chasing one businessman for €5,000. He waited outside the school gates for the man’s son, scared the boy and pushed him around. In spite of the very real threat of reprisals, the man reported the incident. The police were aware of Cosimo’s delinquent behaviour: he had visited other businesses, accompanied by his heavies, demanding money. He had taken a selfie in a balaclava as he robbed a tobacconist at gunpoint. He had filmed a youth getting beaten up, laughing as he urged the victim, who was on the floor, bleeding and vomiting, to fight back. But threatening children was a step too far. Cosimo was arrested.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian