Thursday, August 21st, 2014
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Travis Scott, "Quintana Pt. 2"

"THIS IS NOT A MIXTAPE FREE ALBUM AND VIDEO FOR THE KIDS," tweeted Travis Scott after posting the sprawling, guest-packed Days Before Rodeo in full. You can stream it here; listen in the track above for an uncredited guest from T.I.

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Brand Citizens United

That my shampoo, lunch, toilet paper and vitamins may have been discussed in a single company's annual meeting is something I both take for granted and otherwise bury as deeply as possible. It's bizarre and uncomfortable: Conglomerate brand ownership makes for good trivia and bad thoughts.

The consumer conglomerates themselves don't usually hide, exactly. General Mills isn't worried that people will be shocked to discover that Hamburger Helper and Lucky Charms share a parent company. But Clorox doesn't go out of its way to remind shoppers that Liquid-Plumr, Burt's Bees and KC Masterpiece trade under the same ticker symbol. And you don't see AB InBev posters in your [...]

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Premium Gore

The first episode of Steven Soderbergh's The Knick, which is streaming for free, is worth watching just for the street scenes in turn-of-the-century New York. It's a nasty, crowded place, but the shots aren't overstuffed and bustling—the show knows it has time, so it doesn't feel the need to introduce you to every rag peddler and slumlord at once. In this way, it is not like a movie.

Here is how The Knick is like a movie: It's beautiful, and it's totally disgusting. The Knick is possibly the most visually arresting show in TV, not only for its setting but for its portrayal of the human body, inside [...]

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Ryn Weaver, "Stay Low"

A nice counterpoint to Weaver's "Promises" and "OctaHate." Never quite an anthem but not nearly a downer.

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Questions We Ask the Oldest People

Can you imagine reading a story like this about yourself? A 111-year-old retired Japanese educator who enjoys poetry has been recognized as the world's oldest living man…

Asked how he felt about the record, Momoi pushed his back upright and said he wants to live longer.

"Say, another two years," he said.

Momoi said he enjoys reading books, especially Chinese poetry, and sometimes practices calligraphy.

He said there is no special trick for his longevity, but his caregivers say Momoi keeps early hours and eats healthy, according to NHK public television.

It's always the same pattern with these wire stories:

Oldest person, do you think you have long [...]

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Subway Rat Goes Big

There's a rat. The intercom woman speaks: "The next stop is 47th–50th Streets, Rockefeller Center." The rat is walking in your direction. The train across the platform—other way—is about to leave. "Stand clear of the closing doors, please." The rat is trotting like a wolf. A loud clattering sound: A suitcase down the stairs? Repairs? The rat doesn't care. The rat is galloping. The rat is here. The rat bites. Get off my subway platform, human. Your time is over.

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Kelela with Le1f, "OICU"

Kelela, sounding pained but calm. Le1f, floating easily in P. Morris's murky production. A good song for staring blankly into the middle distance! [Via]

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Say What You Mean, New York Post

The Post has come out boldly in favor of catcalling. Some of the essay's core points, adjusted for clarity: I realize most women with healthy self-confidence don’t court unwanted male [THREATS AND VERBAL ASSAULT]. In fact, most women seem to hate it. It’s not brain science — when a total stranger [DEMEANS AND INTIMIDATES] you, it’s validating. Enjoying male [VIOLENCE] doesn’t make you a traitor to your gender.

The saddest thing about these unimaginatively provocative stories—the DON'T HATE ME FOR MY PRIVILEGE essays, the CALM DOWN, PEOPLE! rants—is that the best-case outcome is the education of one person: The writer-subject, who will become either permanently entrenched or emotionally [...]

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The Weird Near Future of News

NowThisNews was started a couple years ago as a "brand new video network built from scratch for people who get their news on mobile devices and through social streams." It was given five million dollars. Its early videos were short YouTube-style news bulletins; most of the old embeds seem to be gone. Now, a few PIVOTS later, the company is focusing on publishing news directly to apps, including Vine and Instagram. This concept—bypassing websites, going directly to other companies' channels—is something that a lot of people will start trying over the next year, because the internet is broken.

NowThisNews is also publishing directly to [...]

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Fifty Years Before Ferguson

How the media talked about a dead teenager, fifty years ago last month:

The shooting occurred at 9:20 A.M. outside a six-story white brick apartment house at 215 East 76th Street, opposite the Senator Robert F. Wagner Junior High School, where summer school classes were in progress

The dead boy was James Powell, a student at the school, who lived at 1686 Randall Avenue, the Bronx. The police said the youth had been shot twice, in the right hand and in the abdomen, by Lieut. Thomas Gilligan of Brooklyn's 14th Division.

The trouble began when Patrick Lynch, superintendent of the building at 215 East 76th Street, sprayed water on [...]

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Worm Ethical

"Martin Smith does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations." —A disclosure, standard for its publication, on a story titled "The world’s weirdest creature finds descendants in cuddly velvet worms," about '[a] 500-million-year-old 'worm with legs.'"

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Soul Death on the Help Desk

Based on this short story from a few years ago, a portrait of a certain strain of human bitterness. (Via)

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Mick Jenkins ft. The Mind, "Shipwrecked"

The first track on a languid but powerful mixtape from Chicago rapper Mick Jenkins. The whole thing is streaming here; the title track and "Healer" are two highlights among many. (Via Fader)

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Post-Text is the Most Text

Felix Salmon, April, on his surprising new job: But the core of what I do at Fusion will be post-text. Text has had an amazing run, online, not least because it’s easy and cheap to produce. When it comes to digital storytelling, however, the possibilities — at least if you have the kind of resources that Fusion has — are much, much greater.

People batted around that "post-text" line for a while, made their jokes, and forgot. Now, today: My first #post-text project for Fusion: Bad Paper, a game which should help people understand the world of debt collections in a fun, immersive way.

Bad Paper is a choose-your-own-adventure-style game, turning what [...]

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iLoveMakonnen ft. Drake, "Club Goin Up on a Tuesday"

This is an unusual song, constitutionally. Atlanta upstart iLoveMakonnen (Makonnen Sheran) released a video for his track, "Club Goin Up On A Tuesday," last month, and it was a hit. Not huge, but it got noticed. Quite noticed! So Drake shows up to guest on a remix of the same track. He doesn't bigfoot, though: he sings with deference to Sheran's style, almost in Sheran's style, higher and smoother than we've really heard him before.

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Ferguson, Missouri, According to Drudge

"Today Matt Drudge can influence the news like Walter Cronkite did," Mark Halperin said in a 2006 interview promoting his new book, cowritten with John Harris, who had not yet founded Politico. "If Drudge says something, it may not lead everybody instantly in the same direction, but it gets people thinking about what Matt Drudge wants them to think about." A late entry in the literature of the Drudge mythology, but a representative one: Drudge drives the news! All hail Drudge, the rascal.

Eight years later, his site looks and feels the same. The same people read it: The establishment crew maybe a little less; the paranoiacs maybe a [...]

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Media Horrified By Mirror

On "fake" fly-by-night news sites as campaign tools: The NRCC's single-page sites are designed to appear to be a local news portal, with logos like "North County Update" or "Central Valley Update." The articles begin in the impartial voice of a political fact-checking site, hoping to lure in readers. "We'll take a look at her record and let you decide," starts one. Then they gradually morph into more biting language. At the very bottom, in a box, is the disclaimer that the NRCC paid for the site.

A perfect plan! And unassailable within its horrible context: The intent is to mislead, obviously, but that is true of literally every [...]

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Music Scene Finds a Way

"I'm outside a strip mall in Stockton, Calif. It's got a big Asian grocery store, a pet shop, and a secondhand store, called D. Thrift. There are about 50 kids my age — all in their late teens and early 20s — talking and smoking in front of an empty storefront. It used to be a cellphone shop and before that a place that sold diet pills, but tonight it's the best underground rock show in town."

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Nick Hakim, "Cold"

In the mode of the New New New Music Criticism, which lives exclusively in Soundcloud and YouTube comments and is actually possibly an improvement, overall: "Chills!!" Nick Hakim is very good at singing. [Via]

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