Data, Life, Beef, Women, Power

How Digital Advertising Markets Work

Dina Srinivasan | American Prospect | 24th June 2019

The value of data. “Say Michael goes to CNBC’s website each morning to follow the markets, and to the New York Times each evening for book reviews. CNBC knows that Michael follows the markets, and might monetise his view at a $30 CPM. The Times knows that Michael reads books, and might monetise his view at a $10 CPM. If the Times can find out that Michael is reading CNBC in the mornings, then when Michael visits the Times books section in the evening, the Times can monetise him at $30 too” (3,100 words)


Life Is Tough

David Barash | Aeon | 31st July 2019

Humans have evolved to flourish in a very narrow range of environments. If conditions on Earth had been even slightly different, humans as such would not have come into being. Many other life forms are far less sensitive to their environment. You can freeze tardigrades for years on end, or boil them in superheated steam, and they will just shrug it off. All other things being equal, therefore, if life exists anywhere else in the Universe, it will probably be much more like a tardigrade, and much less like a human (2,400 words)


The End Of Beef

Rowan Jacobsen | Outside | 31st July 2019

We are now at the tipping-point where "alt-meat" — made from plants, not animals — starts conquering the world. Alt-beef burgers match regular burgers for taste, with more protein and less fat. Big food chains are serving them. The price is competitive, and will plunge with scale. The only comparative advantage for traditional meat is nostalgia value. "Baby Boomers are going to stick with beef right up to the point where their dentures can’t take it any more. Gen Z will find the stuff as embarrassing as dad jeans" (2,500 words)


The Tyranny Of The Ideal Woman

Jia Tolentino | Guardian | 2nd August 2019

“Today’s ideal woman coexists easily with feminism in its market-friendly and mainstream form. This sort of feminism has organised itself around being as visible and appealing to as many people as possible; it has greatly over-valorised women’s individual success. Feminism has not eradicated the tyranny of the ideal woman but has entrenched it. Most pleasures end up being traps, and every public-facing demand escalates in perpetuity. Satisfaction remains necessarily out of reach.” (4,500 words)


The Great Successor

Anna Fifield | Sinocism | 2nd August 2019

Kim Jong Un’s biographer tells how the new North Korean leader moved quickly, once in power, to purge the old guard loyal to his father. Chief of the General Staff Ri Yong Ho was relieved of his positions “for health reasons”, according to the official account, and never seen again. His face was edited out of photos and his name deleted from documents. Defence minister Hyon Yong Chol was accused of treason after falling asleep while Kim was talking, and blown to a pulp by anti-aircraft guns, in public (3,450 words)


Video: 17 Small Ideas. Delightful visual anthology of illusions and vignettes (2m 52s)

Audio: 1:23:45 | Chernobyl. Craig Mazin tells how he created the acclaimed HBO series Chernobyl, a dramatic reconstruction of the nuclear catastrophe in Soviet-era Ukraine (51m)

Afterthought:
”Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original”
— Judith Butler