Vivian Maier, Through a Clearer Lens


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But stories — like snapshots — are shaped by people, and for particular purposes. There’s always an angle. A new biography, “Vivian Maier: A Photographer’s Life and Afterlife,” by Pamela Bannos, strives to rescue Maier all over again, this time from the men who promulgated the Maier myth and profited off her work; chiefly Maloof, who controlled her copyright for a time. After a legal battle — “the Vivian Mire,” one critic called it — her estate passed into a trust last year, where it will be held for possible heirs and eventually released into the public domain.

The complete article

Parul Sehgal — The New York Times

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Student Debt’s Grip on the Economy


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American student loan debt has gotten out of control. New research from the Federal Reserve is reviewed in this article showing just how bad the situation is.

Total student debt — $1.3 trillion — is more than double what it was as recently as 2008 and is more than Americans have racked up for cars or credit cards.
But wages for college-­educated workers have only recently shown gains. They rose 6.6 percent from 2014 to 2016, as the labor market improved, but that still leaves them a mere 4.5 percent above where they were in 2002. Wage gains would have to be considerably more robust to handle rising debt burdens.

The New York Times

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If Every Day is a Rainy Day, What Am I Saving For?


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What’s it like grow up poor and remain poor as an adult? Samantha Irby offers an interesting perspective.

I know I should have invested in a sturdy pair of those bootstraps people who speak at graduation ceremonies are always talking about, but what does that even mean? Pay the rent, throw some cash at the phone bill, sprinkle a little change on the light bill, divide the remaining 20 bucks between the laundromat and a stock portfolio? It all seemed so unmanageable. And the years of being deprived or feeling stressed about money didn’t make me want to save; they made me want to spend, to immediately enjoy the fruits of the $7.25 an hour I made listening to people talk down to me in a customer service job.

The New York Times

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Can Facebook Fix Its Own Worst Bug?


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Has Facebook reached its peak with 2 billion people using it every month? If it has then there is only one way to go if Facebook does not deal with its problems and reinvent itself. Clickbaits, fake news, violent and suicide videos are being spread through Facebook’s news feed. How is Facebook trying to solve these issues?

If a human editor ran News Feed, she would look at the clickbait scourge and make simple, intuitive fixes: Turn down the Upworthy knob. But Facebook approaches the feed as an engineering project rather than an editorial one. When it makes alterations in the code that powers News Feed, it’s often only because it has found some clear signal in its data that users are demanding the change. In this sense, clickbait was a riddle. In surveys, people kept telling Facebook that they hated teasing headlines. But if that was true, why were they clicking on them? Was there something Facebook’s algorithm was missing, some signal that would show that despite the clicks, clickbait was really sickening users?

The complete article

Farhad Manjoo — The New York Times

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Chasing the Higgs Boson


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Physics can be really humbling. Success does not come easy. You do thousand runs of experiments (and a lot of them are failed ones) before you are able to establish a fact. I wonder what keeps these scientists driven?

I share with you a brilliant piece by The New York Times describing the Hunt for ‘The God Particle‘.

For all their equipment and brainy multitudes, physicists would never be able to hold the Higgs Boson in their hands. As soon as it was created, it would disintegrate in a shower of lesser particles — sometimes, for example, in a flash of gamma rays, or into a spray of lightweight particles.

“Afterward he marveled at how attitudes toward physics had changed from a few years earlier, when some people feared the new collider would destroy Earth. That and the ‘God particle’ talk had gotten the public’s attention, he had to admit: ‘Once neighbors find out that Sharma is involved in that black hole thing, the dog doesn’t pee in my yard anymore.’”

By then they had already collected as many collisions — some 400 trillion — as they had the entire previous year

Chasing the Higgs Boson

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NB: This article was a finalist for Pulitzer Prize(2014)

In Search of Islam


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“Among the Believers” was written by Naipaul in 1981. Today’s needull is a a review of the book. Many do not agree with Naipaul’s views but almost all agree that he is a great writer.

All four of them, like so many others they stand for, bring to their religion and tradition modern demands and anxieties. This creates pressures, for today’s needs are great. The outside world at once tempts and threatens Moslems. Many of them enter that world, but they can enter it only partly. When they fail to deal with it, they retreat into their shell. When they surrender to it, guilt seizes them. In Naipaul’s words: ”In the fundamentalist scheme the world constantly decays and has constantly to be re-created. The only function of intellect is to assist that re-creation. It reinterprets the texts; it re-establishes divine precedent. So history has to serve theology, law is separated from the idea of equity. …”

This theme comes close to being Naipaul’s central theme, and in dealing with it he lets his personal feelings get in the way of his presentation. He chides Moslems for being ”made” by the Western world they reject. Instead of trying to understand these people, Naipaul is ready to judge them. In his desire to discover their hidden vulnerabilities and point out their contradictions, their need for outside goods and outside approval, he tends to miss the drama and the real meaning of their situation. He forgets that it is part of the painful process of history that people are always made by the world they reject and that the rage at it they express is in large measure rage at themselves.

The complete article

Fouad Ajami — The New York Times

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The Utter Uselessness of Job Interviews


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Free form interviews – Are they useful? This needull does not think favorably.

A friend of mine once had a curious experience with a job interview. Excited about the possible position, she arrived five minutes early and was immediately ushered into the interview by the receptionist. Following an amicable discussion with a panel of interviewers, she was offered the job.

Afterward, one of the interviewers remarked how impressed she was that my friend could be so composed after showing up 25 minutes late to the interview. As it turned out, my friend had been told the wrong start time by half an hour; she had remained composed because she did not know she was late.

The complete article

Jason Dana — The New York Times

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