new articles to eat lunch to

'Cause I've been postin' and laughin' so long
That even my momma thinks that my mind is gone

Postby shizaam » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:45 am

viachicago wrote:
landspeedrecord wrote:the day the music burned (nyt)
The 2008 vault fire was not, as Universal Music Group suggested, a minor mishap, a matter of a few tapes stuck in a musty warehouse. It was the biggest disaster in the history of the music business

maybe this is more of "a new article to drink a nice glass of scotch to." fuck the nyt, but this is a great piece

almost feel like this deserves its own thread. such a depressing read

kept putting off reading this, but it really is fantastic
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Postby shizaam » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:47 am

ripersnifle wrote:can't believe i somehow missed this wild Jenny Odell piece in NYT from last Nov.
maybe it has already been discussed in here(?)

so good. these from her are also fantastic: ... 6d0b119583 ... ewatch.pdf
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Postby mascotte » Tue Sep 17, 2019 1:32 pm

It is perhaps not widely understood (outside the specialized domains of risk modeling and property insurance) that the last twenty years have seen the relatively rapid growth of a new kind of financial instrument: the catastrophe bond. I aim in what follows to offer the reader a brief introduction to these innovative money-things, which sit at the precarious nexus of mathematical modeling, environmental instability, and vast sums of capital. Techno-legal creations of considerable complexity (and some genuine elegance), “cat bonds” circulate in the Olympian air of global high finance, where they afford investors an opportunity to place large bets on the occurrence (and non-occurrence) of various mass disasters: earthquakes, hurricanes, plagues, suitcase nukes. The lengthy, turgid, and highly confidential specifications that make up the prospectuses of these investments might be said to represent a special and entirely overlooked subgenre of science fiction: what we discover, turning the pages of such deals, are fanatically extensive metrical descriptions of countless doomsday scenarios, each story told in lovingly legalistic and scientific detail. Unlike most dystopian fantasizing, however, the worst-case scenarios played out in the appendices of cat bond issues come with very real-world prospective paydays, precisely priced and proper to the consideration of an imaginative portfolio manager looking to diversify her investments.

Put your paranoia aside (at least temporarily). It is quite possible that cat bonds are basically a good thing, creating mechanisms as they do for hedging against the tremendously disruptive costs of low-probability, high-negative-impact natural and/or social events. It is also possible, of course, that they are simply another sophisticated exercise in plutocratic self-dealing. We will bracket that thorny problem for now, and focus here on conveying (1) a general understanding of how these instruments work, and (2) a specific appreciation of the way that they constitute perhaps the most elaborate and powerful social technology currently available for articulating just what we mean when we say “catastrophe.”
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Postby coop » Thu Sep 26, 2019 4:48 pm

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Postby dr. badvibes » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:33 pm

this too:

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Postby supersaturated » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:31 am

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Postby ripersnifle » Tue Oct 15, 2019 1:07 pm

supersaturated wrote:Patricia Lockwood on John Updike:
came here to post this. here's a pastebin if it's paywalled for people:
steakspoon wrote:sorry if sounds corny fellas but i'll always remember where i was when i heard my first big star song..the internet.
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Postby Merciel » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:04 pm

The procedural history laid out here is fascinating: ... -ring.html
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Postby murderhorn » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:41 am

ripersnifle wrote:
supersaturated wrote:Patricia Lockwood on John Updike:
came here to post this. here's a pastebin if it's paywalled for people:

yeah this is amazing. "dispatches from the days when they could have still saved us, and the world"
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Postby murderhorn » Wed Oct 23, 2019 7:42 am

also the line about spending four hours on the shading on Eve's upper lip is a Napoleon Dynamite line I think?
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Postby Shalabi » Sun Nov 10, 2019 11:02 pm

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Postby inmate » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:15 am

don't know why i've never opened this thread until now. can't wait to go through and read every single article that's been posted
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Postby Chyet » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:38 pm

The New Masters of the Universe
Big Tech and the Business of Surveillance

In his 1944 classic, The Great Transformation, the economic historian Karl Polanyi told the story of modern capitalism as a “double movement” that led to both the expansion of the market and its restriction. During the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, old feudal restraints on commerce were abolished, and land, labor, and money came to be treated as commodities. But unrestrained capitalism ravaged the environment, damaged public health, and led to economic panics and depressions, and by the time Polanyi was writing, societies had reintroduced limits on the market.

Shoshana Zuboff, a professor emerita at the Harvard Business School, sees a new version of the first half of Polanyi’s double movement at work today with the rise of “surveillance capitalism,” a new market form pioneered by Facebook and Google. In The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, she argues that capitalism is once again extending the sphere of the market, this time by claiming “human experience as free raw material for hidden commercial practices of extraction, prediction, and sales.” With the rise of “ubiquitous computing” (the spread of computers into all realms of life) and the Internet of Things (the connection of everyday objects to the Internet), the extraction of data has become pervasive. We live in a world increasingly populated with networked devices that capture our communications, movements, behavior, and relationships, even our emotions and states of mind. And, Zuboff warns, surveillance capitalism has thus far escaped the sort of countermovement described by Polanyi.
i'd rather be sippin natty than be in cincinnati
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Postby mascotte » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:58 am

The consistency of experiences — from prison to prison, from lifers to the newly incarcerated, from young and old, from black and white — paint a chilling portrait of corruption, violence and the disintegration of state institutions purported to correct and rehabilitate.

Alabama prison administrators openly flout the department’s stated rules and regulations in an attempt to exert control and discipline prisoners, the Montgomery Advertiser has found after months of reporting and interviews with dozens of men incarcerated across the state.

In the seven months since the Department of Justice released a scathing report on the Alabama Department of Corrections, prison officials have withheld food from men, micromanaging minor disciplinary infractions while violence and unexpected deaths continue unabated, including nine which occurred during the reporting of this story in September and October.
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Postby delgriffith » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:46 am

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Postby Shotfrog » Sun Nov 24, 2019 10:48 am

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Postby mascotte » Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:36 pm

Good piece on dried cats. Yes. Dried cats.
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Postby Gutslab » Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:44 pm

The Young and the Reckless: A gang of teen hackers snatched the keys to Microsoft's videogame empire. Then they went too far.
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Postby lockheed » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:03 pm

Nice day if it doesn't rain.
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Postby shizaam » Mon Feb 03, 2020 4:53 pm

this on bagels, unions, and the mob is pretty great ... union.html
"Even into the modern era, the presence of bagels in America was largely confined to Jewish enclaves, predominantly in New York City, the old-world bread still sufficiently exotic that every mention of it in the New York Times (usually brief items concerning labor issues) assumed no previous knowledge on the part of readers"
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Postby mascotte » Sun Feb 16, 2020 7:00 am

For more than half a century, governments all over the world trusted a single company to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

The company, Crypto AG, got its first break with a contract to build code-making machines for U.S. troops during World War II. Flush with cash, it became a dominant maker of encryption devices for decades, navigating waves of technology from mechanical gears to electronic circuits and, finally, silicon chips and software.

The Swiss firm made millions of dollars selling equipment to more than 120 countries well into the 21st century. Its clients included Iran, military juntas in Latin America, nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, and even the Vatican.

But what none of its customers ever knew was that Crypto AG was secretly owned by the CIA in a highly classified partnership with West German intelligence. These spy agencies rigged the company’s devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.

The decades-long arrangement, among the most closely guarded secrets of the Cold War, is laid bare in a classified, comprehensive CIA history of the operation obtained by The Washington Post and ZDF, a German public broadcaster, in a joint reporting project.

The account identifies the CIA officers who ran the program and the company executives entrusted to execute it. It traces the origin of the venture as well as the internal conflicts that nearly derailed it. It describes how the United States and its allies exploited other nations’ gullibility for years, taking their money and stealing their secrets.

The operation, known first by the code name “Thesaurus” and later “Rubicon,” ranks among the most audacious in CIA history.

“It was the intelligence coup of the century,” the CIA report concludes. “Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries.”

From 1970 on, the CIA and its code-breaking sibling, the National Security Agency, controlled nearly every aspect of Crypto’s operations — presiding with their German partners over hiring decisions, designing its technology, sabotaging its algorithms and directing its sales targets.

Then, the U.S. and West German spies sat back and listened.
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Postby deadwolfbones » Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:03 pm

Wild story about a star coder (Cloudflare co-founder) who develops a rare disease that causes his brain to atrophy: ... ung-coder/
dead was real dumb
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Postby mascotte » Sat May 16, 2020 2:22 pm

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Postby lockheed's old roommate » Thu May 21, 2020 3:16 am

jeffrey wrote:
lockheed's old roommate wrote:"up yours children!"
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Postby landspeedrecord » Tue Jul 21, 2020 9:22 am

UK garage's schism in the early 2000s forced a generation to adapt, but the scene is bubbling with fresh optimism. Gabriel Szatan spends a year inside the UKG community to find out if the momentum can last.
rather be an idiot than a sheeple
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Postby Catullus » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:59 pm

I'm too lazy to look and see if I already posted this, but I love this articles on the intellect of the octopus so much:
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Postby wintergreen » Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:02 pm

not necessarily lunch length, but i'm going to cross-post this article from the covid thread:

wintergreen wrote:this article on private equity, nursing homes, and covid is incredible:

Inevitably, then, the virus has found its most ideal conditions in the warehouses storing America’s elderly population. No one knows the current death toll. As of early July, CMS put the number at 33,509, but the count covered only federally regulated nursing homes, not assisted-living communities. The homes, moreover, were not required to report deaths that occurred before May 8, although the agency said it was confident that “the vast majority” did so. One in five nursing homes didn’t bother to report their numbers at all. A New York Times study in late June put the number of deaths in U.S. nursing homes at a staggering 55,000, but even this figure did not necessarily include all of those who became infected in a home but died in a hospital, as was the case for Sharon Mitchell. In some states, the vast majority of COVID-19 deaths were in homes: 64 percent in Massachusetts, 68 percent in Pennsylvania, 77 percent in Minnesota. In New Jersey, one in every ten people housed in nursing homes or assisted-living centers died.

As Okusanya told me, success in the nursing-home business lies in “getting the Medicare-Medicaid mix right.” In March, nursing homes suddenly got a significant boost in Medicare patients. Owing to (another) miscalculation by modelers overestimating the severity of the pandemic and the consequent shortage of hospital beds, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and other states ordered hospitals to off-load medically stable patients to nursing homes, including people who had been diagnosed with and treated for COVID-19. The nursing homes were required to accept them, and in New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo forbade homes from testing new arrivals. The results were disastrous, as carriers broadcast the virus throughout overcrowded facilities. Once this was publicized, Cuomo and other state executives came in for well-deserved abuse. But for nursing-home owners, there was a silver lining. In October 2019, Medicare instituted a change to its payment systems that made it more profitable for nursing homes to accept Medicare patients from hospitals. According to one analysis, data from April “clearly shows COVID-positive patients generated higher rates than non-COVID patients”—$699 per patient per day, an increase of 9 percent over February’s numbers. Patients were evicted to make room, the New York Times reported, many of whom wound up in “homeless shelters, rundown motels, and other unsafe facilities,” though this has long been a common practice in the industry.

However, an arid statistical table published last year by the World Health Organization suggests a more fundamental truth. It tabulates the number of nursing-home beds per hundred thousand people in each European country. Sweden scores very high—1,276 per hundred thousand. Britain is also high, at 847. The same computation puts the United States at 515. Greece, on the other hand, whose citizens tend not to put their elderly relatives in homes and still regard their care as a family responsibility, scores a mere 15. The disparities in casualty rates are equally striking. In terms of deaths per hundred thousand, Sweden’s rate is 53; the United Kingdom comes in at 66; and the United States has 39. Greece, meanwhile, despite having the largest proportion of elderly people in Europe, has so far escaped with a mere 2 deaths per hundred thousand. One might almost conclude that the death toll that has so traumatized and destabilized much of Western society in 2020 was not wrought principally by the coronavirus, but by nursing homes.

i highly recommend reading the entire article.
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Postby mascotte » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:24 pm

I remember reading selected dreams of Auschwitz survivors in an old "Zeszyty Oswiecimskie" journal from the 70s. Now someone published a thesis about it and included a few fragments. good, moving read.

As I run, the landscape is becoming increasingly unusual. I am not
surrounded by houses but by glimmering walls, abstract ornamental
shapes forming ceilings and facades. I see wavy lines, glimmering,
horizontal, above my head and at my feet. I see converging luminous
strips, they are showing me which way to run. I have to run through this
unnatural world that is nothing like the real one. ... As my thoughts
disintegrate into chaos, it dawns on me that I want to go back from
whence I came. But I know my tormentors have led me to this torturous
trap on purpose. They are pushing me further into the increasingly
horrifying torture of lines, circles, and curves that will tear me apart,
devour me, cut me to pieces with great precision, slice me up into
narrow, clear-cut stripes. ... I am under the impression that if I saw a
blade of grass, a leaf, a tiny twig, or some bit of soil, some bit of life—
something that looks alive—I would be saved. Unfortunately, none of this
happens and I wake up again, exhausted, the moment my consciousness
dies, the moment it is turned into a thousand stripes.

Owczarski, W. (2020). Dreaming “the Unspeakable”? How the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Prisoners Experienced and Understood Their Dreams. Anthropology of Consciousness, 31(2), 128–152.
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