The idea is simple: an article, a link, a quote, and an angle, because the bigger narrative is everything.
+“Domino’s Is Repairing Roads, And Some People Says It Reveals A ‘Dystopian’ Truth About America” | Business Insider | Kate Taylor | 06/12/2018
“On Monday the pizza chain announced a campaign to repair potholes. The company is already working with local governments in Bartonville, Texas; Milford, Delaware; Athens, Georgia; and Burbank, California, to repair roads, filling potholes and stamping the repairs with a Domino’s logo.
“We don’t want to lose any great-tasting pizza to a pothole, ruining a wonderful meal,” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said in a statement. “Domino’s cares too much about its customers and pizza to let that happen.”
But for some the project raises questions about why a pizza chain is taking initiative to fill potholes.
Road repairs are typically the responsibility of the government, paid for by taxes. The fact that a pizza chain is stepping up in areas where the government is falling short seems, for some, to be a dystopian solution.”
The Angle: Pizza plugged potholes. The wall between the public and private sector is eroding. As it withers away, Domino’s gives us a vision in which the public/private wall itself becomes a commodity to be leveraged.
+“Twilight of the Rock Gods” | The Wall Street Journal | Neil Shah | 03/26/2017
“[W]ith many of rock’s founding fathers and mothers reaching their 70s, the end of the age of rock ’n’ roll is just beginning. While every generation bemoans the passing of its great artists, the outsize influence of rock promises to have a profound impact on popular culture and overall music-industry sales. Of the 25 artists with the highest record sales in the U.S. since 1991, when reliable data first became available, just one—Britney Spears—is under 40, Nielsen data show. Nineteen of the 25 are over 50 years old.”
The Angle: What are we left with when the backbone of modern American music (one of the few true gifts baby boomers will have bequeathed to us) breaks? Teenybopper love songs and mumble rap, that’s what. Wither the old gods.
+“It’s Near Impossible to Afford Housing Literally Anywhere Now and It’s Getting Worse” | Vice | Matt Taylor | 06/14/2018
“There is not a single county in America where someone earning minimum wage can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment while working a normal 40-hour week. More shocking: You would have to work 122 hours a week for all 52 weeks of the year to afford rent on a two-bedroom at the national average rate on the federal minimum wage of $7.25. You don’t need to be a democratic socialist firebrand or an advocate for the poor or even a policy wonk to see that something is deeply, deeply out of whack here.”
The Angle: The wages of the minimum wage. This is what happens when a “McDonald’s” job has to support a household. “McDonald’s” jobs were never intended for that, but they have to because the “good” jobs are gone and human labor isn’t as valued as it used to be.
+“Federal “Countering Violent Extremism” Grants Focus on Minority Communities — Including in Schools” | The Intercept | Murtaza Hussain | 06/15/2018
“By deputizing ordinary people to act as informants against other members of their communities, critics say, the programs can act as tools of unjust surveillance for the government. In the United Kingdom, CVE [Countering Violent Extremism] programs have been blamed for creating a climate of fear among British Muslims, who have been targeted by medical professionals and teachers tasked with rooting out extremist ideologies among those they serve. These programs have led to perverse situations in which staff at children’s nurseries were asked to identify possible extremism among the toddlers under their care. In the U.S., “community outreach” programs have sometimes served as cover for gathering intelligence on immigrant and minority communities. A 2015 report by The Intercept documented how law enforcement-led community outreach programs to Somali communities in Minnesota covertly operated as a channel for conducting surveillance.”
The Angle: You down with CVE? The core idea of these surveillance programs is that certain communities are more prone to “ideological violence.” However, there are no programs for countering mass violence by native born Americans.
+“The Stanford Prison Experiment Was Massively Influential. We Just Learned It Was A Fraud.” | Vox | Brian Resnick | 06/13/2018
“A new exposé published by Medium based on previously unpublished recordings of Philip Zimbardo, the Stanford psychologist who ran the study, and interviews with his participants, offers convincing evidence that the guards in the experiment were coached to be cruel. It also shows that the experiment’s most memorable moment — of a prisoner descending into a screaming fit, proclaiming, “I’m burning up inside!” — was the result of the prisoner acting. “I took it as a kind of an improv exercise,” one of the guards told reporter Ben Blum. “I believed that I was doing what the researchers wanted me to do.””
The Angle: “Big science” gets bigger and bigger. It turns out that a number of famous experiments in psychology have been problematic and need reevaluation. The “replication crisis” is here to stay…which makes testing others’ data and conclusions more expensive and more difficult.
+“The Little-Known Behavioral Scientist Who Transformed Cities All Over The World” | Fast Company | Leidy Klotz
“Ingrid, however, was no conventional designer–she was a psychologist. And by entertaining such questions, Ingrid and her husband took the first steps on a journey to create city spaces for the full range of human needs. The Danish couple’s ideas have since made life better in cities like New York, Moscow, Buenos Aires, Sydney, and London. Of course, many parts of many cities still seem optimized for buildings and cars. But the story of Ingrid and Jan is a model for what partnerships between behavioral scientists and designers can look like today.”
The Angle: Awesome Ingrid Gehl. One of the few who really thought through the idea of livable spaces dominated by humans, not by cars and trucks–and she wasn’t even an architect! More: “She emphasized that people need to stay healthy, comfortable, and safe, and psychologically well. And cities could help. They could meet our need for human contact, or for privacy. They could enhance how we experience life, how we share and create ideas, and how we walk, play, and stay active.”
+“How Technology Transforms The World Of Comic Books” | The New York Times | George Gene Gustines | 06/13/2018
“There has been some experimentation — like Marvel’s Infinite Comics, where each tap or click would control the pacing, reveal a new image or show off a minor special effect, like blurring — but the experience of reading a comic digitally still does not feel dramatically different from reading one in print. But for me there is a line: I do not care for “motion comics,” which include sound and often feel like low-budget animation.
And I’m certainly not over print. During a recent meeting of a graphic novel book club (which we call the Murder Colonels, thanks to an extra nerdy comic reference), a fellow member showed an “Absolute” edition of a story, which was printed on larger, sturdier paper that allows the artwork to truly shine. A double-page spread in a deluxe printing can be stunning to behold and worthy of study.”
The Angle: Funny books go hi-tech. The New York Times has a guy who writes about comics. His name is George Gene Gustines. Even if you’re not into comics, he’s worth paying attention to. Whatever the medium, he’s a good writer and a strong critic, something we need more of.
+“Lost John Coltrane Recording From 1963 Will Be Released at Last” | The New York Times | Giovanni Russonello | 06/07/2018
““In 1963, all these musicians are reaching some of the heights of their musical powers,” said the saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, John Coltrane’s son, who helped prepare “Both Directions at Once” for release. “On this record, you do get a sense of John with one foot in the past and one foot headed toward his future.””
The Angle: The last hard bop jazz genius. A new recording from him is like a an unpublished James Joyce story.