An inversion of nature: how air conditioning created the modern city | The Guardian


The shopping mall would have been inconceivable without air conditioning, as would the deep-plan and glass-walled office block, as would computer servers. The rise of Hollywood in the 1920s would have been slowed if, as previously, theaters had needed to close in hot weather.

The expansion of tract housing in postwar suburban America relied on affordable domestic air conditioning units.

A contemporary museum, such as Tate Modern or Moma, requires a carefully controlled climate to protect the works of art.

Source: An inversion of nature: how air conditioning created the modern city | Cities | The Guardian

Amsterdam’s Centrumeiland: A Lean, Green Artificial Island Dream | CityLab


One of those islands—Centrumeiland, or “Center Island”—rose above the waterline in 2015, when it found its first life as a campsite and arts installation.

This year, it’s finally ready for building, and the plans for this new land are nearly as striking as the creation of the island itself. Soon to emerge on the new land is something that could stand as a global example: A new community that will be 70 percent self-built, populated mainly with affordable homes that will leave the lightest of possible carbon footprints.

Lying at the heart of Europe’s most densely populated country, Amsterdam has little room to grow if it isn’t to gobble up the last remaining green space in the polycentric 8.5 million-strong Randstad metropolitan region.

What the city does have on its doorstep, however, is water—lots of it. That water comes in the form of the IJmeer lake, created in the 1930s when the mouth of what was formerly a bay was closed off with a huge dyke.

Source: Amsterdam’s Centrumeiland: A Lean, Green Artificial Island Dream – CityLab

Dockless Scooter Startups Heat Up Micromobility Wars | CityLab


Like their pedal-powered relatives, the scooters are available to book via app and can be parked and picked up anywhere, thanks to GPS and sensor-enabled technology. And much like the early days of Uber and Lyft, the out-of-nowhere appearance of these scooters has triggered a backlash from locals in virtually every city.

Meanwhile, the players are competing fiercely for territory.

Source: Dockless Scooter Startups Heat Up Micromobility Wars – CityLab

Why financial criminals use real estate to launder money | Curbed


Real estate is often the preferred destination for a financial criminal’s ill-gotten gains for the same reason real estate is attractive to any investor: Real estate prices are generally stable and will appreciate over time. Real estate is also functional; a money launderer could use the property as a second home or rent it out, earning income from the investment.

Real estate also offers a path to legitimacy that is more efficient than the purchase of stocks or other assets related to financial institutions. It’s also less subject to scrutiny—those institutions have a legal requirement to report suspicious activities.

Source: Why financial criminals use real estate to launder money – Curbed

Chicago Faces a Defining Moment in Police Reform and Civil Order


The consent decree is a dense document. In assessing its provisions, it’s important not to allow the complexity of the prescription to obscure the stark simplicity of the diagnosis: The Chicago Police Department engages in an unconstitutional pattern and practice of excessive force, including deadly force, primarily against people of color.

These patterns of unconstitutional police violence are enabled and shielded by systemic deficiencies in supervision, accountability, and training, and by the code of silence within the department.

That is the heart of the matter, the core problem that the array of reforms is designed to address. The sheer number of discreet measures invites a checklist approach that sees police reform as a matter of ticking off boxes on a long list.

Such an approach fails to comprehend that some reforms have priority because they are foundational and must be securely in place for other measures to be credible and effective.

Source: Chicago Faces a Defining Moment in Police Reform and Civil Order

‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills | SFChronicle.com


No. These announcements may sound great, but they look painfully naive in the face of the growing storm that is the global plastic recycling market. At the same time that the news is filled with these flashy industry recycling pledges, we are getting an increasingly frantic story from across the country and the world that our plastic simply isn’t getting recycled.

A 2017 study found that of all the plastic ever created, only a paltry 9 percent has been recycled, and the rest is clogging our streets, waterways, and has even made its way into our food systems. Beyond the fish on our plate, tiny pieces of plastic have been found in sea salt, honey, and even beer. Not to mention 94 percent of the United States’ drinking water.

Source: ‘Recyclable’ is a word, not a promise — most plastic goes to landfills – SFChronicle.com

The Birth of the New American Aristocracy | The Atlantic


The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children.

We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy.

Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club.

But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.

Source: The Birth of the New American Aristocracy – The Atlantic

Related>

The Conversation | The Atlantic


I think the lack of a military draft since 1973 has contributed to the acceleration of class separation in American society. Remember the days when the likes of John F. Kennedy could serve alongside and develop relationships with people from various socioeconomic levels?

Americans have not had that kind of class intermingling for decades.

Source: The Atlantic September 2018 Issue: The Conversation – The Atlantic

Mission First: The Story of an NSA Hacker | SIGNAL Magazine


Millions of times every single day, antagonists search for entry into the U.S. Defense Department’s networks. They come from all over: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran. Some are sponsored by nation-states; others are terrorist groups.

Given the rapid-fire, all-action, all-the-time operations tempo, that movie might be called Fast & Furious: The Cyber Connection. “The speed of cyber is a buzzword, but the surprising thing is how true that is. The turnaround on a mitigation for something we’ve discovered is very fast,” he offers. “It’s a lot. The threat is ongoing and persistent.”

Source: Mission First: The Story of an NSA Hacker | SIGNAL Magazine

Convergence Guides Army Cyber | SIGNAL Magazine


The U.S. Army Cyber Command’s successful consolidation of capabilities from cyber, intelligence, electronic warfare and signal forces may be the deciding factor in whether sophisticated adversaries prevail in the future battlespace, says Lt. Gen. Stephen G. Fogarty, USA, leader of the command.

The general emphasizes that cyber is a weapon system, not a service. He states that Army cyber must operate, aggressively defend and modernize these principal weapon systems—both nonsecure and secret Army networks. Where some people would consider these networks a service or an administrative capability, Gen. Fogarty says he views them as core warfighting platforms or weapon systems. “We have to operate them, defend them and modernize them to keep pace with the requirements our combat commanders place on us and that our adversaries pose a threat to,” he states.

The general points out that all these activities focus on supporting active combat operations worldwide over a network that is secure, resilient and adaptive, allowing commanders to leverage the entire power of the U.S. Defense Department.

Source: Convergence Guides Army Cyber | SIGNAL Magazine