The Rise of the Internet’s Creative Middle Class

The Rise of the Internet’s Creative Middle Class

Fourteen years ago, Kevin Kelly famously proposed that an artist could make a living online with a thousand true fans. Has time proved him correct?

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-rise-of-the-internets-creative-middle-class

The recent history of the Internet, however, warns that we shouldn’t necessarily expect the endearingly homegrown nature of these 1,000 True Fans communities to persist. When viable new economic niches emerge online, venture-backed businesses, looking to extract their cut, are typically not far behind

Bill Barr Calls “Bullshit” on Trump’s Election Lies

Bill Barr Calls “Bullshit” on Trump’s Election Lies

On the second day of public hearings on the January 6th attack, the former Attorney General and other members of Trump’s inner circle revealed the extent of their hypocrisy.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-bidens-washington/bill-barr-calls-bullshit-on-trumps-election-lies

This made for compelling congressional testimony. I cannot think of any other instance in American history when a former Attorney General of the United States has accused the President who appointed him of peddling “bullshit” to the American people.

Opinion | Donald Trump, American Monster

Opinion | Donald Trump, American Monster

A man of pure narcissistic psychopathy feels no guilt and has no sense of the damage he does.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/11/opinion/trump-january-6.html

The hearing drove home the fact that Trump was deadly serious about overthrowing the government. If his onetime lap dog Mike Pence was strung up on the gallows outside the Capitol for refusing to help Trump hold onto his office illegitimately, Trump said, so be it. “Maybe our supporters have the right idea,” he remarked that day, chillingly, noting that his vice president “deserves it.”

‘This Is Uncomfortable’: Saudi Arabia Upends Genteel World of Pro Golf

‘This Is Uncomfortable’: Saudi Arabia Upends Genteel World of Pro Golf

By promising top players multimillion-dollar paydays, the kingdom moved beyond investing in a sport and made a play to control one. Then the PGA Tour struck back.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/09/sports/golf/liv-golf-pga-tour.html

“If Saudi Arabia want to use the game of golf as a way for them to get to where they want to be, and they have the resources to accelerate that experience,” one of the LIV Golf signings, the former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell said this week, “I think we’re proud to help them on that journey.”

How Shanghai Residents Endured the COVID Lockdown

How Shanghai Residents Endured the COVID Lockdown

For more than two months, China’s financial hub, which is home to some twenty-five million people, came to a halt.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-shanghai-residents-endured-the-covid-lockdown

just to clear the air, a municipal secretary told reporters, “We are not going into lockdown, and it is unnecessary to do a lockdown.” In the following days, Shanghai entered what is known to the rest of the world as a “lockdown.” But the accurate term, according to officials, translates as “whole-area static management.”

Putin’s Shadow Soldiers: How the Wagner Group Is Expanding in Africa

Putin’s Shadow Soldiers: How the Wagner Group Is Expanding in Africa

Best known for its mercenaries, the Wagner Group also mines diamonds, spreads disinformation and props up autocrats in an effort to grow Russia’s footprint.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/31/world/africa/wagner-group-africa.html

But Wagner is far more than a simple guns-for-gold scheme. Operating through a sprawling web of shell companies, it has become a byword for a broad spectrum of Kremlin-backed operations in over a dozen African countries. Wagner meddles in politics, props up autocrats and orchestrates digital propaganda campaigns. It donates food to the poor and produces action movies set in Africa. It has even organized a beauty pageant.

‘From Russia With Love’: A Putin Ally Mines Gold and Plays Favorites in Sudan

‘From Russia With Love’: A Putin Ally Mines Gold and Plays Favorites in Sudan

Backed by the Kremlin, the shadowy network known as the Wagner Group is getting rich in Sudan while helping the military to crush a democracy movement.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/05/world/africa/wagner-russia-sudan-gold-putin.html

But Wagner is far more than a war machine in Africa, and a close look at its activities in Sudan, the continent’s third largest gold producer, reveals its reach.

The (No Longer) Secret World of Surf Spots

The (No Longer) Secret World of Surf Spots

Publicizing certain surf spots, especially ones off the beaten path, is similar to violating the first rule of Fight Club. Instagram and some new surfers have threatened that reverence.

Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/06/sports/secret-surf-spots.html

“One of the reasons I was drawn to remote, wild places is I was so sick of dealing with things at home,” Burkard said, using an expletive, as he cited having his car vandalized and receiving death threats.

How the Internet Turned Us Into Content Machines

How the Internet Turned Us Into Content Machines

Two new books examine how social media traps users in a brutal race to the bottom.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/infinite-scroll/how-the-internet-turned-us-into-content-machines

The rise of social networks in the twenty-tens made this model only more dominant. Our digital posting became concentrated on a few all-encompassing platforms, which relied increasingly on algorithmic feeds. The result for users was more exposure but a loss of agency. We generated content for free, and then Facebook mined it for profit.

The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge

The Surreal Case of a C.I.A. Hacker’s Revenge

A hot-headed coder is accused of exposing the agency’s hacking arsenal. Did he betray his country because he was pissed off at his colleagues?

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/06/13/the-surreal-case-of-a-cia-hackers-revenge

One of the Nerf gunfighters was Joshua Schulte—his real name. A skinny Texan in his twenties, he had a goatee and a shaved head. In what may have been a preëmptive gambit, Schulte gave himself the nickname Bad Ass, going so far as to make a fake nameplate and stick it on his cubicle. But others in the office called him Voldemort—a reference to the hairless villain in the Harry Potter books

Two January 6th Defendants and the Consolidation of Right-Wing Extremism

Two January 6th Defendants and the Consolidation of Right-Wing Extremism

As Congress searches for accountability, Guy Reffitt and Jessica Watkins remain defiant.

via The New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/news/dispatch/two-january-6th-defendants-and-the-consolidation-of-right-wing-extremism

In the seventeen months since the insurrection, Cohen said, a unit of some nine hundred analysts had picked up on a number of disturbing patterns. “Anti-government militia, hard-core white supremacists, and even people more from the anarchist movement have come together,” he said. Their goals are explicit: “assassination of elected officials, and violent activities to resist government activities, or programs.”