If you think of all the information encoded in the universe from your genome to the furthest star, from the information that's already there, codified or un-codified, to the information pregnant in every interaction, "big" has become the measure of data. And our capacity to produce and collect Big Data in the digital age is very big indeed. Every day, we produce 2.5 exabytes of information, the analysis of which will, supposedly, make us healthier, wiser, and above all, wealthier—although it's all a bit fuzzy as to what, exactly, we're supposed to do with 2.5 exabytes of data—or how we're supposed to do whatever it is that we're supposed to [...]
"Cock wire Mike Sui!" yelled one of the young men in the crowd. "Cock wire Sui is awesome!" The kimono robe and mirrored sunglasses, like some kind of last-minute frat-boy Halloween costume, that Mike Sui was wearing when he leapt onto the stage, had been shed, and Sui now prowled the stage in cargo shorts and a Nike t-shirt.
Before April, a slim few, if any, in this Shanghai crowd would have known Sui's name. And before April, NetEase, one of China's largest Internet companies, certainly would not have asked Sui to emcee its stage at China Joy, the nation's largest gaming and digital entertainment exhibition. But now it was [...]
The debating season may be presidential, but if the spectacle of supersized pandering served with an unlimited salad bar of platitudes, slogans, and empty promises strikes you as strangely unfulfilling, there is always academia, where, sometimes, the politics are as equally vicious because the stakes are equally as high. Such was the case in San Antonio recently, at the Obesity Society's 30th annual meeting, the premier scientific conference in the US on what is, arguably, the nation's most pressing health problem. As the prologue to a four-day Finnegan's Wake of technical discussion (did you know that NMDA receptor NR2B subunits in the parabrachial nucleus mediate compensatory feeding?), the society's presidential [...]
Is Brooklyn Better? Has Manhattan Gotten Worse? Revisiting NY Mag's "I Hate Brooklyn" Article Seven Years Later
Seven years ago, Jonathan Van Meter, the writer and Vogue contributing editor, published an essay in New York magazine called "I Hate Brooklyn." Here is how it begins:"Please tell me you're not moving to Brooklyn," she said. "No, no, no," I said. "Never." "Thank God." "Why would you think such a thought?" "Something about the way you said… Brooklyn… like you'd gotten comfortable with it." "No," I said, "it's just that I've had to say it a lot lately because that's all everyone ever talks about. Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Brooklyn. I hate Brooklyn."
From there, the piece proceeds to many places you'd expect (hipsters, gentrification) and, [...]
from Are You My Mother? by Alison Bechdel
I'm staring across the kitchen table at the cartoonist Alison Bechdel, filled with a vague sense of dread. I am trying not to dwell on the regrettable fact that I arrived almost 15 minutes late for our interview, which perhaps has not set the right tone. While I do not want to gush, or seem nervous, or stupid, it seems that I have just offered to make her tea, as though that were a normal way to respond to a host who has just offered to do the same. It is late afternoon, and it has been raining all damn day. [...]
Over the weekend, The Daily News reported that at least 21 people had their Tony Robbins' "Unleash The Power Within" (UPW) event cut short when they burned their feet while attempting to walk on fire. It sounds ridiculous. But every year Tony Robbins inspires tens of thousands of people to do this exact same thing. Including, at one time, myself. Earlier this year I attended a Robbins' UPW event in The New Jersey Meadowlands Expo Hall and Arena to find out how he does it. This is what I saw.
At a performance last August, the deliberate and sharply dressed emcee, who is also well known as an actor, announced his “official transition” to a huge audience gathered in the parking lot of a popular pub and pizzeria in Anchorage, Alaska: “My professional name will be my chosen and my legal name, which is Yasiin Bey. … And I don’t want to have to wait for it to be in Source or Vibe or someplace. I figure, we’re all here. We can see each other.” And then he spelled it out for them: “Y-A-S-I-I-N, first name. Last name: B-E-Y.”
When a few Alaskans made some disapproving noises, Bey responded, [...]
The second in a pair of essays today on being an expat in Berlin.
"Here is the real core of the religious problem:
Help! H e l p !"
—William James, Varieties of Religious Experience
"You're in Berlin because you feel like a failure."
I had met this man all of ten minutes ago and he had already summed me up neatly. I made subtle readjustments to my clothing, as if it had been a wayward bra strap or an upwardly mobile hemline that had given me away. More likely it was my blank stare in response to his question, "So, what brings you to [...]
Do you live in a home without books or magazines? Or have you burned them all for heat yet? Then great news! It's likely a good chunk of the East Coast may lose power and Internet. So here are some things that you could either PRINT OUT (yes, I am serious) or of course also save to your nice, long-lasting-battery'd digital reading device.
The story of the Occupy Wall Street Archive starts with Jeremy Bold, so we might as well too. When Hollywood decides to cash in and make its OWS movie, central casting could do worse than work off a picture of Bold—he has a dark goatee and black [...]
Ahmad el Abed, a tailor. Saida, Lebanon, 1948-53. by Hashem el Madani. Collection: AIF/ Hashem el Madani. Copyright © Arab Image Foundation.
No product of human industry is infinite, but photography comes close. In 1976, John Szarkowski, the longtime curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art, announced, somewhat gnomically, that "the world now contains more photographs than bricks." As a metaphor of plenitude, Szarkowski’s phrase is wonderfully material, suggesting that photographs are just another object in the world, at once essential and interchangeable. As an estimate of quantity though, it now seems impossibly low. If digital photographs count (as by now they must), then the real figure [...]
In February 1970, at Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, a pregnant woman named Colette MacDonald and her two children, Kimberley, 5, and Kristen, 2, were slaughtered in their home. Colette's husband, Jeffrey MacDonald, a 26-year-old doctor and Green Beret at the time of the crime, was convicted of the murders in 1979. MacDonald faces the next of countless court dates on September 17, still seeking exoneration. The MacDonald case has been an object of obsession and controversy for more than four decades and the subject of high-visibility journalistic debate. But respectable opinion has always vastly [...]
In the 1970s it was unusual to see wealthy families on television. The Jeffersons with their deluxe apartment in the sky, the occasional rich couple flitting over to "Fantasy Island" or booking a cruise on "The Love Boat"—these were the exceptions. But as the economy accelerated, mass culture was suddenly inundated with images of affluence. The wave hit around 1981, as the economy slowly recovered from the stagnant wages and inflation of the 1970s. Rabbit Angstrom, John Updike's scampering everyman, began to make serious money on his appreciating property and selling Toyotas on his father-in-law's lot in Rabbit is Rich; Joan Collins joined the cast of "Dynasty" as the splendid [...]
Once a month I get together with half a dozen moms from Park Slope and Carroll Gardens. We call ourselves Hookers, Sluts and Drug Addicts. They dubbed me a Hooker because I wear tight clothes and smile a lot. Sally, a stay-at-home mom of boys, is a Slut, because she’s always touching her body. The Drug Addict is a therapist who can drink a bottle of Cabernet in one sitting. (All names and some details have been changed so I don’t lose more friends than I already have.) Some work and some don’t. The working ones complain about their jobs and the non-working ones complain about their husbands. We go [...]
A phone embedded in the short story "Lonely Heart," in what seems to be a copy of "Guys & Dolls: The Stories of Damon Runyon."
Produced in partnership with Storyboard.
Blue ripped up most kites and flushed the pieces, but some, especially those received in the exercise yard, he ate.
Blue, who is 20 years old, knew that even temporary possession of written notes was against the rules, but he shrugged it off as a necessary risk. One such "kite" was an invitation, which read, "Look we cookin…send some kinda meat for your bowl." It was scrawled across a scrap of notebook paper, folded seven times [...]
Strike Debt, an offshoot of the Occupy movement, recently launched a project called the Rolling Jubilee, which has raised over $350K as I write; the money will be used to buy, and then forgive, around $7 million worth of distressed medical debt. That's what a "jubilee" meant, in Old Testament times: a period for cancelling debts, and for the manumission of slaves, that came around every five decades: "And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubile unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every [...]
"You're getting a real behind-the-scenes look," Patrick Stickles deadpanned as he steered a blue whale on wheels down Rock Road, the main drag of Glen Rock, New Jersey. It's mid-afternoon on a dreary Monday. The lunch crowd (presumably made up of people who don't commute to NYC) were sitting at scattered tables at scattered restaurants on either side of the drag. Storefronts looked abandoned rather than empty. The air was suburban-still—listless. We were en route to Rock Ridge Pharmacy, which Stickles noted I might remember from the song "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future" from his band Titus Andronicus' second effort The Monitor. Also: There was the Glen [...]
It's a simple enough conversation-starter: So, where are you from? What I've learned to say is, "I'm from D.C.," because it's a good enough answer and nobody ever really has anything to say about D.C. anyway.
I was born on Knifecrime Island, in London, and lived there until I was six. I remember it vividly: the song I'd sing with my mother as we walked to school every day, "The Paul Daniels Magic Show" I'd watch with my grandmother, and that epic schoolyard brawl I got in at St. Vincent's where I lost some teeth and Sister Patricia told me to gargle hot salt water until it felt better. [...]
On Monday morning in Tampa, I stepped out of a bathroom stall and into a large bald fellow in a blue suit. I didn't even have time to wash my hands before saying good morning to the most important Republican of our time, and my personal hero, Mr. Karl Rove. "Morning," I said. "Morning," he said. It's morning in America, again. And then walking out of the bathroom, I saw a grown, suit-clad man trying to mount a five-foot tall red, white and blue raffle-prize elephant. "Get a picture!" the guy yelled to no one.
The Marriott Waterside Hotel was Fort Romney RNC. The Marriott family are Mormon, are [...]
Part of a month-long series on terrible trips, great journeys and getting lost.
Two weeks after getting shipwrecked, Robinson Crusoe decided to move out of his tent and into something more substantial. After a short search, he found himself a nice cliff side with a west-facing grotto and a sea view. He salvaged planks from the shipwreck, split them into stakes, and used them to build his palisade. Using sails and cables from the ship, he set up a double tent to keep all his provisions out of the rain. Then he hollowed out the grotto until it was a proper cave, gave up his hammock, and moved in: [...]
On June 28th, public officials, neighborhood civic leaders, parents and their eager toddlers, poured under the iconic vaulted archway of the McCarren Park Pool.
For the actual poolgoers, it was their first visit inside the building since at least 2008, when the Parks Department permitted a series of ticketed and free live shows in the pool's empty basin. For some, it was step all the way back into their childhood, when summer meant splashing around Greenpoint with thousands of their friends.
On Thursday, everyone saw what the outdoor pool had become, for $50 million, here were one million gallons of cerulean blue water with tufts of surf, a mirror to [...]