Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Synthetic Ski Slope On Top of a Danish Waste-to-Energy Plant























Outside Mag – "Denmark Took a Mountain of Trash and Made a Ski Hill"

"...Amager Bakke, or CopenHill, as it’s been dubbed, is a 462,848-square-foot waste-to-energy plant—which just happens to have a ski slope on its roof—rising like a glittering aluminum iceberg from the flat plains of a semi-industrial section of Amager (pronounced, inexplicably, “am-ah”), an island that comprises part of the city of Copenhagen.

Standing at the 279-foot summit of what is now one of the city’s tallest structures presents a surreal spectacle: skiers whooshing down a vast carpet of green Neveplast, a synthetic “dry skiing” surface from Italy, amid a staggering panorama that’s dominated by the smokestacks of nearby biomass plants and, behind them, the gloomy, fog-shrouded expanse of the North Sea, dotted with massive wind turbines. Like the writer Don DeLillo’s “postmodern sunsets,” it’s at once inspiringly beautiful and vaguely apocalyptic.

...

CopenHill, which, along with the plant below, is owned by Amager Resource Center (ARC), offers more than skiing. You can simply hike to the summit on the marked trail for the best view in Copenhagen, stopping to admire the wild strawberries growing on landscaped sections to one side of the slope (where a fox was recently spied). You can also run that path up (there’s already a Strava segment). If you’ve any gas left, there are CrossFit bars at the top. “Last weekend we had a race with 450 people dressed as Santa Claus,” Cecilie Nielsen, CopenHill’s head of customer relations, tells me. “It was awesome.”

Come spring, one of the world’s tallest climbing walls, a twisting and weaving ascent, will open on a corner of the building, which will eventually be laced with green as the structure’s built-in aluminum window boxes begin to bloom. And, lest they forget why they are there, climbers, as they traverse along the holds, will get occasional views into the plant itself, where soaring apses support the huge and complex workings that turn Danish garbage into Danish heat and electricity.

That a cutting-edge waste-to-energy facility now also boasts the best skiing in Denmark—call it the powder plant—is thanks to native son Bjarke Ingels, one of the world’s best-known architects and an espouser of a way of thinking he’s called “sustainable hedonism,” a near oxymoronic philosophy that dares to ask the question: Can saving the world be fun?

...

The idea of a hill loomed, by necessity, early in the project. The engineers, Ingels says, had dictated a basic envelope for the building, based on the machinery inside. “It was this kind of tiered series of blocks that got taller,” he says, like an ascending stereo-equalizer display. “The diagram was already mountainesque.”

Initially, BIG added “the simplest kind of sloping roof,” adorned with a rooftop park. But he felt they were “staying in the realm of cosmetics,” like “putting lipstick on a pig.” He wondered if they could do something more transformative. On a site visit, Ingels noticed the nearby Copenhagen Cable Park, which whizzes wakeboarders around the harbor via overhead wires. “It just became so clear: the skiers had already arrived, but only in the summer.”

That part of Copenhagen wasn’t hurting for open space, but what it lacked—what the entire country lacked—was an enticing ski hill. “You have to drive four hours to Isaberg, in Sweden,” he says. “And Isaberg is not a very large mountain. The main slope is only a 150-meter [492-foot] drop. So it dawned on us that we could actually do two-thirds of a real mountain ski slope.” It seemed far-fetched at first. They talked to a ski-resort operator. They talked to Team Denmark, an elite-sports organization. No one told them it couldn’t be done, if only because no one had done it. “We started getting an understanding that we couldn’t actually shoot the idea down.”

Not that it was easy. As Jesper Boye Anderson, a designer at BIG, had told me in the firm’s Brooklyn offices: “You don’t open the code books and then look how to do a ski slope on top of a waste-burning plant.”"


Previously on Bjarke Ingles:
Architect Bjarke Ingels (2011)
New Business Story (2012)
Two World Trade by Bjarke Ingels (2015)
Each Apartment Has Its Own Pool (2016)
The Bjarke Ingels Group Plans for the Oakland Athletics (2018)

The Making of Inception's Snow Scene in Alberta




Unofficial Networks – "Canadian Ski Resort Used To Film "Inception" & "The Revenant" Plans To Reopen 2020"

Ovi – an All-Time Great


























The Globe and Mail – "It’s time we treat Alex Ovechkin as an NHL all-time great"

"As you read this, Alex Ovechkin has just scored his 700th NHL goal.

That puts him in the same career postal code as Brett Hull and Phil Esposito.

If he lasts another couple of years – which he will because, as Ovechkin has told us, “Russian machine never breaks” – he’ll be up there with Gordie Howe and Wayne Gretzky.

But Ovechkin is already the greatest goal scorer in hockey history.

When Gretzky was netting 70, 80, 90 goals a season, about eight goals were scored in the average NHL game. That rate had fallen to fewer than six when Ovechkin began his run.

In retrospect, it feels as though about half of Gretzky’s goals were scored on some skinny, flailing idiot who’d come 10 feet out of his net trying to cut down the angle and then fell over. And as you may recall, he had a fair bit of help as well.

Ovechkin has spent large chunks of his career cutting his own trail through the NHL. He came in during the tail end of the Dead Puck Era. He’s faced bigger, faster goalies, all of whom are now equipped like they work as tackling dummies for attack dogs. The defenders have been super-sized as well.

Most tellingly, none of Ovechkin’s brightest contemporaries are anywhere near him. Sidney Crosby is closest – and he’s 250 goals behind.

Had he played in Gretzky’s era, on a team such as the mid-eighties’ Oilers, just imagine the numbers Ovechkin might’ve put up. A thousand goals, easy. Maybe a lot more.

Ovechkin hasn’t been misunderstood or underappreciated, but he has been overanalyzed. As observers, we’ve spent a great deal of his career trying to figure out what he represents."

The Need for Extended and Forged Families in America






































The Atlantic – "The Nuclear Family Was a Mistake"
By David Brooks

"When we discuss the problems confronting the country, we don’t talk about family enough. It feels too judgmental. Too uncomfortable. Maybe even too religious. But the blunt fact is that the nuclear family has been crumbling in slow motion for decades, and many of our other problems—with education, mental health, addiction, the quality of the labor force—stem from that crumbling. We’ve left behind the nuclear-family paradigm of 1955. For most people it’s not coming back. Americans are hungering to live in extended and forged families, in ways that are new and ancient at the same time. This is a significant opportunity, a chance to thicken and broaden family relationships, a chance to allow more adults and children to live and grow under the loving gaze of a dozen pairs of eyes, and be caught, when they fall, by a dozen pairs of arms. For decades we have been eating at smaller and smaller tables, with fewer and fewer kin.

It’s time to find ways to bring back the big tables."

Westworld Season 3 Trailer



March 15, 2020

Vida Americana at the Whitney Museum of American Art



























Vida Americana: Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945 
February 17 - May 17, 2020

New York Times - "How Mexico’s Muralists Lit a Fire Under U.S. Artists"

"From floated proposal to finished product, “Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925-1945” at the Whitney Museum of American Art represents a decade of hard thought and labor, and the effort has paid off. The show is stupendous, and complicated, and lands right on time. Just by existing it accomplishes three vital things. It reshapes a stretch of art history to give credit where credit is due. It suggests that the Whitney is, at last, en route to fully embracing “American Art.” And it offers yet another argument for why the build-the-wall mania that has obsessed this country for the past three-plus years just has to go. Judging by the story told here, we should be actively inviting our southern neighbor northward to enrich our cultural soil.

That story, a hemispheric one, begins in Mexico in the 1920s. After 10 years of civil war and revolution, that country’s new constitutional government turned to art to invent and broadcast a unifying national self-image, one that emphasized both its deep roots in indigenous, pre-Hispanic culture and the heroisms of its recent revolutionary struggles.

The chosen medium for the message was mural painting — monumental, accessible, anti-elitist, in the public domain. And three very differently gifted practitioners quickly came to dominate the field: Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros: “Los Tres Grandes” — “the three great ones” — as they came to be known among admirers."


Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Future of Content






















Quartz - "The age of the vertically shot blockbuster is upon us"

Russian director Timur Bekmambetov is "developing “the first vertical format blockbuster,” according to Deadline. Based on the true story of a Soviet fighter pilot who led an escape out of a Nazi concentration camp in World War II, the film, titled V2. Escape From Hell, will be shot and released entirely in vertical mode, rather than in the traditional horizontal format moviegoers are accustomed to.

Though designed to be watched on phones, the film will also be shown in theaters in 2021. It’s unclear exactly what that will look like on movie screens: Either the film will be projected exactly as it was shot (resulting in two large black bars on either side of the picture) or it will be reformatted to fit the big screen."
















The Verge - "QUIBI VERSUS THE WORLD: Can Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman change everything about video on your phone?"

"Jeffrey Katzenberg insists that his new video-streaming service Quibi isn’t competing against Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, or any of the other streaming services that have launched or are launching soon. You’ve got it all wrong. You’re not even asking the right questions.

“We don’t think we’re in the streaming wars,” Katzenberg, the former boss of Walt Disney Studios and founder of DreamWorks, tells The Verge in a closed-door meeting the day before the company’s grand reveal at a CES keynote. “They’re all battling for this,” he says as he thrusts his arm toward a TV in the room. “We’re going for this,” he says, gesturing toward his phone. “Don’t tell them!”

Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman, who is best known as the CEO of HP and eBay, are publicly announcing Quibi at CES — but not quite unveiling it — after having raised $1 billion on the promise of a roster of Hollywood stars and supposedly revolutionary video-streaming technology that delivers portrait and landscape video at the same time. Everything on Quibi is designed for viewing on a phone, on the go, in 10 minutes or less. These chunks of video are called “quick bites” — hence, “Quibi.”

When Quibi arrives on April 6th of this year, it’ll cost $5 a month for an ad-supported version or $8 a month for an ad-free experience. Katzenberg and Whitman formulated this idea nearly two years ago and have been relentlessly signing up the biggest names in Hollywood to be a part of it."






















Variety - "Tinder’s Apocalyptic ‘Swipe Night’ Interactive Dating Show Sets Release DateTinder’s Apocalyptic ‘Swipe Night’ Interactive Dating Show Sets Release Date"

"Tinder next month will bow its first original entertainment content — “Swipe Night,” an interactive adventure series in which viewers are forced to make dating choices on humanity’s last night on Earth.

Variety previously reported details of the location-based social network/dating app service’s foray into original content, which recently wrapped production in Mexico City and was directed by Karena Evans, who has helmed numerous music videos for rapper Drake including “In My Feelings” and “Nice For What.” The project had a budget of over $5 million and the six-episode series has a total runtime of more than two hours, Variety reported.

The first episode of “Swipe Night” will premiere Sunday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. local time in the U.S. Subsequent installments will be released weekly on Sundays and will only be available for 6 hours (from 6 p.m. to midnight local time). The show’s title is a play on “swipe right,” the Tinder action for indicating you’re attracted to someone based on their profile.

Why is Tinder launching choose-your-own-adventure-style thriller about the end of the world? The company explained that by presenting a “shared content experience,” it wants to provide an icebreaker for Tinder members to connect with each other. "


























CNN - "Game over for HQ Trivia"

"It's over for HQ Trivia.

The company behind the once-popular live mobile trivia game is shutting down, CNN Business has learned. HQ will part ways with 25 full-time employees.

When HQ launched in 2017, its first game HQ Trivia quickly attracted millions of people across the world who stopped whatever they were doing twice a day to play the game on their smartphones. The company was profiled by The New York Times and its original host Scott Rogowsky became a household name, appearing on programs like NBC's "Today" show.

But over the next year, the game's popularity faded and its parent company was hit with a series of setbacks. The company grappled with internal turmoil, including the death of HQ cofounder Colin Kroll, who died in December 2018 from a drug overdose.

CEO Rus Yusupov said in a company-wide email on Friday that "lead investors are no longer willing to fund the company, and so effective today, HQ will cease operations and move to dissolution." In the email, which was obtained by CNN Business, Yusupov also disclosed that the company had hired a banker "to help find additional investors and partners to support the expansion of the company." He said the company had "received an offer from an established business" and was expected to close the deal on Saturday, but the potential acquisition fell through."

Stranger Things 4 Teaser and Netflix's 2020 Film Roadmap



No date yet on ST4.

Some of the Netflix original movies announced for 2020 via Netflix Film's Twitter on 1/3/20:

MANK: From director David Fincher (THE SOCIAL NETWORK, ZODIAC, GONE GIRL, FIGHT CLUB), the story centers around the writing of CITIZEN KANE. Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Charles Dance, and Lily Collins star.

REBECCA: Director Ben Wheatley's adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel (adapted by Hitchcock in 1940) follows a newly-married young woman (Lily James) who finds herself battling the shadow of her husband's (Armie Hammer) dead first wife, the mysterious Rebecca.

THE OLD GUARD: From director Gina Prince-Bythewood (LOVE & BASKETBALL), Charlize Theron and Kiki Layne lead a covert group of immortal mercenaries who must fight to keep their team together when they discover the existence of a new immortal and their extraordinary abilities are exposed.

HILLBILLY ELEGY: Amy Adams, Glenn Close, and Gabriel Basso star in director Ron Howard's adaptation of J.D. Vance's memoir of the same name, a modern exploration of the American Dream about three generations of an Appalachian family.

DA 5 BLOODS: The latest Spike Lee joint follows four African American vets who return to Vietnam, searching for the remains of their fallen squad leader and the promise of buried treasure. Chadwick Boseman, Paul Walter Hauser, Norm Lewis, Delroy Lindo, and Jonathan Majors star.

EUROVISION: When aspiring musicians Lars (Will Ferrell) and Sigrit (Rachel McAdams) are given the opportunity of a lifetime to represent their country at the world’s biggest song competition, they finally have a chance to prove that any dream is a dream worth fighting for.

I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS: A road trip becomes a twisted mix of palpable tension, psychological frailty, and sheer terror in the latest from Charlie Kaufman (BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, ADAPTATION, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND), starring Jesse Plemons, Jessie Buckley, Toni Collette, and David Thewlis.

THE LAST THING HE WANTED: In this Joan Didion adaptation from Dee Rees (MUDBOUND), a veteran D.C. journalist (Anne Hathaway) loses the thread of her own story when a guilt-propelled errand for her father thrusts her from byline to unwitting subject in the very story she’s trying to break.

A FALL FROM GRACE: In this thriller from Tyler Perry (MADEA'S FAMILY REUNION), Grace (Crystal Fox), a disheartened woman restored by a new romance, discovers her relationship is full of secrets, and her vulnerable side quickly turns violent. Phylicia Rashad, Bresha Webb, Cicely Tyson also star.

TIGERTAIL: This film from writer/director Alan Yang (MASTER OF NONE) tells the story of a Taiwanese factory worker who leaves his homeland to seek opportunity in America, where he struggles to find connection while balancing family & newfound responsibilities.

SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL: Mark Wahlberg reteams with director Peter Berg (FRIDAY  NIGHT LIGHTS (Movie)) to play an ex-cop, Spenser, who moves in with Hawk (Winston Duke), an aspiring MMA fighter with his own rap sheet. Between gym rounds, the duo’s taunts turn to trust, and they team up to solve a double homicide.

THE PROM: Ryan Murphy (THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE) directs this story of a lesbian teenager who's banned from attending the big dance with her girlfriend. The injustice prompts a cast of Broadway eccentrics to descend on the small Indiana town to fight back. Meryl Streep, James Corden & Nicole Kidman star.

OUT OF THE FIRE: Tyler Rake (Chris Hemsworth) is a fearless black market mercenary with nothing left to lose when his skills are solicited to rescue the kidnapped son of an imprisoned international crime lord. Action-packed, edge-of-your-seat thriller directed by Sam Hargrave.

Billie Eilish's James Bond Theme



Related,
No Time to Die (trailer)

and...

Mighty Ducks Reboot




























TMZ - "EMILIO ESTEVEZBACK ON THE ICE ...'Mighty Ducks' Reboot!!!"

"Filming is already underway for the 10-episode TV series, which Disney says is set in present-day Minnesota and features the Mighty Ducks as an ultra-competitive, powerhouse youth hockey program.

Emilio's gonna reprise his role as Coach Bombay and guide a ragtag group of misfits as they discover the joys of playing for the love of the game. In other words, it's pretty much the same plot as the 1990s trilogy."

People - "See the First Look Photos of Emilio Estevez as Coach Bombay in Mighty Ducks Reboot"

"On Thursday, Disney+ announced the 57-year-old actor will be reprising his role of coach Gordon Bombay — which he played in The Mighty Ducks film franchise — in the upcoming TV series based on the sports trilogy."

The Batman Starring Robert Pattinson



June 25, 2021
Written and Directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, War of the Planet of the Apes)

Starring:
Robert Pattinson as Batman
Zoë Kravitz as Catwomn
Paul Dano as The Riddler
Jeffrey Wright as James Gordon
John Turturro
Peter Sarsgaard
Jayme Lawson
Andy Serkis as Alfred
Colin Farrell as Penguin


Modern Art






































Remix of Bartholomeus van der Heist's 1600's work.

Via Reddit: Painting I found in a shop. Should have bought it.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Olympic Dreams



"the first movie to ever be filmed during an ongoing Olympic Games"

February 14, 2020

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The French Dispatch






































July 24, 2020
Written & Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Steve Park, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson

Rochester, Minnesota City Flag





























MPR News – "Replacing Rochester's city flag design may be harder than it sounds"

Hiro Murai Breaks Down Teddy Perkins Scene



Related,
Ryan Coogler Breaks Down the Busan Casino Fight Scene

Hiro Murai:
The End of Robbin' Season
Childish Gambino – "This Is America"
Nike for LeBron James – The Tattoo (Directed by Hiro Murai)

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Thursday, January 30, 2020

R.I.P. Kobe Bryant



ESPN – "Kobe Bryant's greatness was both beautiful and maddening"
By Zach Lowe

Wall Street Journal – "What Kobe Bryant Meant"
By Jason Gay

The Ringer – "Kobe and Gianna"
By Shea Serrano

Business Insider – "Kobe Bryant was known for his intense work ethic, here are 24 examples"

American Dinner






















The Atlantic – "How America Lost Dinner"

"Forgetting you mail-ordered a bespoke set of ingredients for a selection of restaurant-style recipes is a luxurious predicament to be in, but the frequency with which those meal kits seem to be abandoned points to the very same problem they were invented to fix: Consumer surveys have found that most people who buy meal kits do so in hopes of saving time. As it turns out, it takes time to unpack, cook, and clean up after a meal-kit dinner, too.

While Blue Apron reported more than 1 million subscribers back in 2017, the meal-kit market today is struggling to retain subscribers. People seem no closer to consistently finding time or energy to cook. Instead, many turn to popular chains such as Chipotle and Sweetgreen; the fast-casual takeout market is only expanding. People who want to save time in the kitchen “meal prep,” the lifestyle-influencer world’s preferred term to describe cramming enough cooking into one day to spread the results out over an entire week of meals.

It isn’t just buying groceries and figuring out meals that apparently have become more untenable in the past several decades. The very act of feeding yourself in America has changed in fundamental ways. Dinner is the meal in which the social ramifications of those changes are perhaps most acutely felt. People in the United States eat alone more frequently than they ever have before. After decades as the idealized daily performance of the country’s communal life, dinner as it’s commonly imagined has begun to vanish.

...

Eating dinner alone is still eating, of course. But food can have far more value than just calories. As public-health campaigns are keen to remind people, there are good reasons to cook dinner and eat with your family. Cooking gives people better control and understanding of what they consume, which usually leads to more healthful choices than whatever a restaurant serves up. Preparing food and eating with friends or loved ones is also the kind of intimate bonding that strengthens social ties. Researchers have compared isolation’s impact on health to that of smoking cigarettes, and Americans are deeply lonely. Those who worry about the deterioration of dinnertime aren’t simply scolds.

They might be scolding the wrong people, however. By all indications, Americans want to cook and eat together. They’ll subscribe to delivery ingredient boxes by the millions, buy a staggering number of Instant Pots and air fryers, and make the internet sometimes feel like one giant recipe swap. It isn’t that they’ve gotten lazy or gluttonous. The very structure of American life has changed to make the basics of stability difficult to attain, down to something as simple as eating with your partner or child, or having a partner or child at all. The problem of dinner is far larger than what you’re going to eat."

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Last Thing He Wanted - Trailer



February 21, 2020
Directed by Dee Rees (Mudbound)
Based on The Last Thing He Wanted by Joan Didion
Starring Anne Hathaway, Ben Affleck, Rosie Perez, Willem Dafoe

2020 NFL Draft Stage in Las Vegas




















Via @arashmarkazi:

"The stage for the 2020 NFL Draft in Las Vegas will be on the water at the Fountains of Bellagio. The players will be transported to the stage by boat."

Hieroglyphs to Emojis






































New York Times – "Emojis Meet Hieroglyphs: If King Tut Could Text"

"Hieroglyphics was a complete written language, and while even an illiterate person could recognize and understand some basic symbols, the scribes worked according to strict rules and had to be highly skilled. Ancient Egyptian inscriptions eventually morphed into the dry efficiency of the first alphabet of around 20 characters, which could be more easily taught and executed, leading to an explosion in communications.

“What’s happened now,” said Ms. Ben Dor Evian, who has a hieroglyph app on her cellphone, “is that it is easier to click on an emoji than to write a whole word.”

Emojis often serve as emotional shorthand — think smiley blowing a heart kiss to soften a message or send love, or a winking face to signal sarcasm — filling an expressive void that text messages may fail to convey.

In ancient Egyptian writing and art, the image of a scarab, or dung beetle, expressed a whole concept of the afterlife and rebirth and was used in inscriptions as the verb “to become.” Hieroglyphics also had ways of adding context in the form of a set of mute symbols known as “classifiers.” A Libyan throw stick could, for example, be used to denote foreignness."

Friday, January 17, 2020

The Writing of Ted Chiang





















New Yorker – "Ted Chiang’s Soulful Science Fiction"

"Chiang has been described as a writer of “humanist” sci-fi; many readers feel that his stories are unusually moving and wonder, given their matter-of-fact tone, where their emotional power comes from. "

...

"“I don’t get that many ideas for stories,” Chiang said, around a decade ago, in an interview with the sci-fi magazine Interzone. “If I had more ideas, I would write them, but unfortunately they only come at long intervals. I'm probably best described as an occasional writer.” That is still more or less true. Chiang continues to make ends meet through technical writing; it’s unclear whether the success of “Arrival” could change that, or even whether he would desire such a change. A script based on another of his stories, “Understand,” is also in development. “I don't want to try to force myself to write novels in order to make a living,” Chiang wrote, in an e-mail. “I'm perfectly happy writing short stories at my own pace.”"






































One of the New York Times's 10 Best Books of 2019:

"Many of the nine deeply beautiful stories in this collection explore the material consequences of time travel. Reading them feels like sitting at dinner with a friend who explains scientific theory to you without an ounce of condescension. Each thoughtful, elegantly crafted story poses a philosophical question; Chiang curates all nine into a conversation that comes full circle, after having traversed remarkable terrain."

The Plot Outline for Knives Out





















From Rian Johnson's Twitter: "Have mentioned it in a few writing-centric interviews, so I dug up my barely legible moleskin notebook outline for @KnivesOut . This is how I always diagram stuff out before I start writing. (Spoilers... I guess?)"

Related,
Favorite Movies of 2019

Sunday, January 12, 2020

How to Listen Better



























New York Times – "Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How."

"Of course, technology plays a role. Social media provides a virtual megaphone, along with the means to filter out opposing views. People find phone calls intrusive and ignore voice mail, preferring text or wordless emoji. If people are listening to anything, it’s likely through headphones or earbuds, where they feel safe inside their own curated sound bubbles. This is all fueling what public health officials describe as an epidemic of loneliness in the United States.

But tech is not the only culprit. High schools and colleges have debate teams and courses in rhetoric and persuasion, but rarely, if ever, offer classes or extracurricular activities that teach careful listening. You can get a doctorate in speech communication and join clubs such as Toastmasters to perfect your public speaking, but who strives for excellence in listening? The image of success and power today is someone miked up and prowling around a stage or orating from behind a lectern. Giving a TED talk or delivering a commencement speech is living the dream.

The cacophony of modern life also stops us from listening. The acoustics in restaurants can make it difficult, if not impossible, for diners to clearly hear one another. Offices with an open design ensure every keyboard click, telephone call and after-lunch belch make for constant racket. Traffic noise on city streets, music playing in shops and the bean grinder at your favorite coffeehouse exceed the volume of normal conversation by as much as 30 decibels, and can even cause hearing loss.

So how can we reclaim the lost art of listening? After a couple of years studying the neuroscience, psychology and sociology of listening, as well as consulting some of the best professional listeners out there (including a C.I.A. agent, focus group moderator, radio producer, priest, bartender and furniture salesmen), I discovered that listening goes beyond simply hearing what people say. It also involves paying attention to how they say it and what they do while they are saying it, in what context, and how what they say resonates within you.

...

Good listeners ask good questions. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned as a journalist is that anyone can be interesting if you ask the right questions. That is, if you ask truly curious questions that don’t have the hidden agenda of fixing, saving, advising, convincing or correcting. Curious questions don’t begin with “Wouldn’t you agree…?” or “Don’t you think…?” and they definitely don’t end with “right?” The idea is to explore the other person’s point of view, not sway it.

For example, when trying to find out why people might go to the grocery store late at night, a focus group moderator told me, she didn’t ask leading questions like, “Do you shop late a night because you didn’t get around to it during the day?” or “Do you shop at night because that’s when they restock the shelves?” Instead, she turned her question into an invitation: “Tell me about the last time you went grocery shopping late at night.” This, she said, prompted a quiet, unassuming woman who had hardly spoken up to that point to raise her hand. “I had just smoked a joint and was looking for a ménage à trois — me, Ben and Jerry,” she said. Grocers, take note.

You also want to avoid asking people personal and appraising questions like “What do you do for a living?” or “What part of town do you live in?” or “What school did you go to?” or “Are you married?” This line of questioning is not an honest attempt to get to know who you’re talking to so much as rank them in the social hierarchy. It’s more like an interrogation and, as a former C.I.A. agent told me, interrogation will get you information, but it won’t be credible or reliable.

In social situations, peppering people with judgmental questions is likely to shift the conversation into a superficial, self-promoting elevator pitch. In other words, the kinds of conversations that make you want to leave the party early and rush home to your dog.

Instead, ask about people’s interests. Try to find out what excites or aggravates them — their daily pleasures or what keeps them up at night. Ask about the last movie they saw or for the story behind a piece of jewelry they’re wearing. Also good are expansive questions, such as, “If you could spend a month anywhere in the world, where would you go?”

Research indicates that when people who don’t know each other well ask each other these types of questions, they feel more connected than if they spent time together accomplishing a task. They are the same kinds of questions listed in the widely circulated article “36 Questions That Lead to Love” and are similar to the conversation starters suggested by the Family Dinner Project, which encourages device-free and listening-focused meals.

Because our brains can think a lot faster than people can talk, beware of the tendency to take mental side trips when you should be listening. Smart people are particularly apt to get distracted by their own galloping thoughts. They are also more likely to assume they already know what the other person is going to say."

U.S. Chinese Relations




































New Yorker – "The Future of America’s Contest with China"

"On the balcony, to Xi’s right, was the politburo’s reigning propagandist, Wang Huning, a former professor who once travelled the United States and honed a prickly theory about dealing with its people. “The Americans pay attention to strength,” he wrote, after attending a football game at the Naval Academy. “Football has some strategy, but it’s not elegant; mainly, it relies on strength.” He added, “The Americans apply that spirit to many fields, including the military, politics, and the economy.”"

The Origins of Layering






















The Atlantic – "The Military Origins of Layering:The popular way to keep warm outdoors owes a debt to World War II–era clothing science."

High School Basketball Superstars


























The Athletic – "A weekend with Sierra Canyon, as Bronny James, Zaire Wade and ‘The Show’ take over Minneapolis"

"They’ve all come here for a high school basketball doubleheader, featuring two local powerhouses and two nationally ranked teams from each coast. But truthfully, everyone is really here to eyeball Sierra Canyon. The private Los Angeles-area school features several five-star prospects in its starting lineup and two social media stars coming off the bench: LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., and Zaire Wade, the son of Dwyane Wade. Their presence, along with the occasional cameos from their famous fathers, has turned Sierra Canyon into a prep version of the mid-1990s Chicago Bulls, a nationwide barnstorming unit that attracts hordes of selfie-takers and autograph seekers wherever it goes.

The Trailblazers are in Minneapolis for games on back-to-back nights, the first of which airs on ESPN2 with the second one streaming on ESPN3. Fifteen of their games will be shown on one of the ESPN platforms this season, a record for a high school team."