Links for 2018-07-03

  • ‘Nothing to worry about. The water is fine’: how Flint poisoned its people | News | The Guardian

    The anxiety reverberated all the way to the state capital, Lansing, where Governor Rick Snyder was weeks away from winning reelection. His chief legal counsel, Michael Gadola, wrote in an email: “To anyone who grew up in Flint as I did, the notion that I would be getting my drinking water from the Flint River is downright scary. Too bad the [emergency manager] didn’t ask me what I thought, though I’m sure he heard it from plenty of others. My mom is a city resident. Nice to know she’s drinking water with elevated chlorine levels and fecal coliform … They should try to get back on the Detroit system as a stopgap ASAP before this thing gets too far out of control.”

    (tags: flint michigan bureaucracy water poisoning corrosion poison us-politics environment taxes)

  • The iconic _Fountain_ (1917) was not created by Marcel Duchamp

    In 1982 a letter written by Duchamp came to light. Dated 11 April 1917, it was written just a few days after that fateful exhibit. It contains one sentence that should have sent shockwaves through the world of modern art: it reveals the true creator behind Fountain – but it was not Duchamp. Instead he wrote that a female friend using a male alias had sent it in for the New York exhibition. Suddenly a few other things began to make sense. Over time Duchamp had told two different stories of how he had created Fountain, but both turned out to be untrue. An art historian who knew Duchamp admitted that he had never asked him about Fountain, he had published a standard-work on Fountain nevertheless. The place from where Fountain was sent raised more questions. That place was Philadelphia, but Duchamp had been living in New York. Who was living in Philadelphia? Who was this ‘female friend’ that had sent the urinal using a pseudonym that Duchamp mentions? That woman was, as Duchamp wrote, the future. Art history knows her as Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven. She was a brilliant pioneering New York dada artist, and Duchamp knew her well. This glaring truth has been known for some time in the art world, but each time it has to be acknowledged, it is met with indifference and silence. This article addresses the true authorship of Fountain from the perspective of the latest evidence, collected by several experts. The opinions they voice offer their latest insights.  Their accumulation of evidence strengthens the case to its final conclusion. To attribute Fountain to a woman and not a man has obvious, far-reaching consequences: the history of modern art has to be rewritten. Modern art did not start with a patriarch, but with a matriarch. What power structure in the world of modern art prohibits this truth to become more widely known and generally accepted? Ultimately this is one of the larger questions looming behind the authorship of Fountain. It sheds light on the place and role of the female artist in the world of modern art.

    (tags: elsa-von-freytag-loringhoven marcel-duchamp modern-art history art-history scandals credit art fountain women)

  • Cory Doctorow: Zuck’s Empire of Oily Rags

    the sophisticated targeting systems available through Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other Big Tech ad platforms made it easy to find the racist, xenophobic, fearful, angry people who wanted to believe that foreigners were destroying their country while being bankrolled by George Soros. Remember that elections are generally knife-edge affairs, even for politicians who’ve held their seats for decades with slim margins: 60% of the vote is an excellent win. Remember, too, that the winner in most races is “none of the above,” with huge numbers of voters sitting out the election. If even a small number of these non-voters can be motivated to show up at the polls, safe seats can be made contestable. In a tight race, having a cheap way to reach all the latent Klansmen in a district and quietly inform them that Donald J. Trump is their man is a game-changer. Cambridge Analytica are like stage mentalists: they’re doing something labor-intensive and pretending that it’s something supernatural. A stage mentalist will train for years to learn to quickly memorize a deck of cards and then claim that they can name your card thanks to their psychic powers. You never see the unglamorous, unimpressive memorization practice. Cambridge Analytica uses Facebook to find racist jerks and tell them to vote for Trump and then they claim that they’ve discovered a mystical way to get otherwise sensible people to vote for maniacs.

    (tags: facebook politics surveillance cory-doctorow google twitter advertising elections cambridge-analytica racism nazis)

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