Sunday, September 30, 2018

The Invention Of Greenwich Village

+ Saudi Arabia, Queuing, Steganography, Fashion, Guitar, Fraud

A Farewell Wave To The Village

Paul Berman | Tablet | 26th September 2018

On the rise and fall of the bohemian tradition in Greenwich Village. The story begins in the early 20th century with the arrival of Max Eastman, a charismatic left-wing publisher, and his artistic wife, Ida Rauh. It ends in the early 21st century with the demise of the Village Voice. “The tradition was anti-respectable, or, at least, arespectable. It was the Village tradition, and nothing else. Not everything about that particular tradition was wonderful, but the durability was undeniable, such that, having come into life in 1912, it managed to linger into our own moment, shriveled and decayed and, even so, recognizable” (3,300 words)

I Can’t Believe I’m In Saudi Arabia

Lindsey Hilsum | New York Review Of Books | 29th September 2018

“In June the circus came to town. Nothing remarkable, you might think, except that the town was Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, where until two years ago all forms of entertainment were banned. A movie theater has been built where men and women may sit together. It would, however, be a mistake to assume that social change presages political opening. In Saudi Arabia, change is designed precisely to curtail political upheaval or a demand for democracy. After the Arab Spring, King Salman understood that he had to do something for the two thirds of the population who are under thirty” (3,560 words)

A History Of The Line

Jamie Lauren Keiles | Racked | 17th January 2018

Or, as the British might say, a history of queuing; with much on the psychology of queuing, too. When goods are abundant, choosing to queue becomes an entertainment, even a luxury, “The sidewalk line incites emotional engagement. Moving to claim your place in the queue, you enter into a deeply felt story that ends in the triumphant conquest of goods. At first, you feel a communal sense of joy, that fizzy coalescence of being in the know: The product in question must surely be important — why else would it be that we’ve all agreed to wait? The wait is a form of work that produces meaning“ (2,840 words)

Hidden In This Picture

Sally Adee | Last Word On Nothing | September 24, 2018

Steganography is the “ancient and fine art of smuggling secret messages on apparently innocent carriers”; and especially the hiding of messages in pictures, a technique which has become much easier since almost all information became digital. You can bury a small sequence of digits in a much larger sequence of digits without anyone necessarily knowing anything of what you are doing. How is your adversary ever going to guess that a picture of a cat on the Internet contains instructions to a secret agent? “Now you can hide messages in anything: streaming video, network communications, Skype calls, email headers” (1,540 words)

My Fashion Philosophy

Agnes Callard | 29th August 2018

“Maximize number of colours in outfit. Unless dressing in all one colour, which is also great. Or in two colours alternating … Pattern clash is fun to inflict on people, it is free attention. More generally: always be more interesting than my clothes, and keep the bar high by wearing really interesting clothes … I always compliment fabulous outfits when I see them in the wild, even if just a stranger passing in the street.  People do not find this creepy; they love it” (320 words)

Video: Almost Too Late. Dan Schwartz plays harp guitar. With starscape and aurora by Mark Ellis (3m 52s)

Podcast: The Long-Distance Con | New Yorker. Maria Konnikova explores how a wealthy and experienced businessman was fleeced by a seemingly obvious conman with a tale of hidden treasure (25m 07s)

“Society attacks early, when the individual is helpless”
— B.F. Skinner

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