Joseph Smith and the Birth of Mormonism

Joseph Smith and the Birth of Mormonism

The cartoonist Noah Van Sciver explores the life and times of an American prophet.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/joseph-smith-and-the-birth-of-mormonism

His latest book, the graphic-novel biography “Joseph Smith and the Mormons,” will be published at the end of July. It is a nuanced and complicated portrait of Mormonism’s founder. Using Smith’s short life, from his childhood in upstate New York to his violent death when he was thirty-eight, at the hands of a mob in Illinois, Van Sciver tells his interpretation of the religion’s early years. Van Sciver’s Smith is a would-be prophet, driven by faith yet full of human frailty, who rose from humble beginnings to build a quintessentially American religion in the expansionist years of the eighteen-hundreds. We talked to the author about what compelled him to take on this book.

Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist.

Jason Brassard Spent His Lifetime Collecting the Rarest Video Games. Until the Heist.

The porn trilogy for Nintendos. Atari games from the 1980s. Pristine nostalgia, potentially worth millions, gone in a night.

via Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2022/06/rare-nintendo-atari-games-stolen

On the rainy evening of November 6, a man and a woman arrived in a beat-up car. The man was wearing a Nike baseball cap, the bill obscuring his face. He held a large fountain soda in his left hand, frustratingly disregarding the sign asking visitors not to bring food or drink inside. The woman seemed younger, in jeans and some kind of poncho, with a wet grocery bag in her hand. The two of them walked to the register, where the woman opened the bag to reveal some of the rarest games the staff had ever seen, then arranged them on the glass checkout counter, hoping to make a deal. One of the clerks, Spidey sense triggered, called the Voegeles at home. Mandi came in.

The Accidental Media Critics of YouTube

The Accidental Media Critics of YouTube

One of the most popular genres of videos online is to comment on other videos online. Are they comedians or media critics?

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/29/magazine/youtube-critics.html

Kolodziejzyk and Miller and others like them — YouTubers like Drew Gooden and Danny Gonzalez — don’t just inform you about internet ephemera; they also reveal the shady online courses, moneymaking conventions and NFT hype that some of the internet’s influential celebrities have had their hands in. (Celebrities whose audiences, it must be said, consist largely of teenagers.)

Abortion Ruling Poses New Questions About How Far Supreme Court Will Go

Abortion Ruling Poses New Questions About How Far Supreme Court Will Go

The decision overruling Roe v. Wade exposed internal divisions among conservative justices about reconsidering other rights.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/25/us/supreme-court-abortion-contraception-same-sex-marriage.html

“One of two things must be true,” they wrote. “Either the majority does not really believe in its own reasoning. Or if it does, all rights that have no history stretching back to the mid-19th century are insecure. Either the mass of the majority’s opinion is hypocrisy, or additional constitutional rights are under threat. It is one or the other.”

‘An Invisible Cage’: How China Is Policing the Future

‘An Invisible Cage’: How China Is Policing the Future

Vast surveillance data allows the state to target people whose behavior or characteristics are deemed suspicious by an algorithm, even if they’ve done nothing wrong.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/25/technology/china-surveillance-police.html

They can warn the police if a victim of a fraud tries to travel to Beijing to petition the government for payment or a drug user makes too many calls to the same number. They can signal officers each time a person with a history of mental illness gets near a school.

What Hundreds of Photos of Weapons Reveal About Russia’s Brutal War Strategy

What Hundreds of Photos of Weapons Reveal About Russia’s Brutal War Strategy

A New York Times analysis of visual evidence from Ukraine showed widespread use by Russia of cluster weapons banned under certain international treaties.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2022/06/19/world/europe/ukraine-munitions-war-crimes.html

The Times examined more than 1,000 pictures taken by its own photojournalists and wire-service photographers working on the ground in Ukraine, as well as visual evidence presented by Ukrainian government and military agencies. Times journalists identified and categorized more than 450 instances in which weapons or groups of weapons were found in Ukraine. All told, there were more than 2,000 identifiable munitions, a vast majority of which were unguided.

The Shameless Farce of Boris Johnson’s Attempt to Send Refugees to Rwanda

The Shameless Farce of Boris Johnson’s Attempt to Send Refugees to Rwanda

A plane was on the runway when the European Court of Human Rights interceded. Now Britain may leave the court.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/the-shameless-farce-of-boris-johnsons-attempt-to-send-refugees-to-rwanda

The European court ruling prompted a wave of emergency appeals from the other six passengers. At around 10 p.m., half an hour before the plane was due to take off, there was no one left to take to Rwanda. Later, the jet, which had been hired at a reported cost of five hundred thousand pounds, flew back to Spain

Video: China’s Surveillance State Is Growing. These Documents Reveal How.

Video: China’s Surveillance State Is Growing. These Documents Reveal How.

A Times investigation analyzing over 100,000 government bidding documents found that China’s ambition to collect digital and biological data from its citizens is more expansive and invasive than previously known.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/video/world/asia/100000008314175/china-government-surveillance-data.html

A Times investigation analyzing over 100,000 government bidding documents found that China’s ambition to collect digital and biological data from its citizens is more expansive and invasive than previously known.

NFT Prices Drop as “Crypto Winter” Descends

NFT Prices Drop as “Crypto Winter” Descends

Bloomberg reports that the popular Bored Ape NFTs saw a 25% decrease in average price along with other “blue-chip” tokens.

via Hyperallergic: http://hyperallergic.com/740883/nft-prices-drop-as-crypto-winter-descends/

Referring to “expensive digital images of monkeys” as “100% based on greater fool theory,” Gates drove home the point that assets like NFTs are entirely contingent on a consumer market that believes they have value. Unlike, say, a house, which retains the intrinsic value of being a place to live, no matter what extrinsic value is conferred upon it by demand in the real estate market, an electronically unique picture of a cartoon monkey does nothing for you, unless everyone believes it is a desirable object. Hard to believe, but there you have it.