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Washington Post: "They all starred in ‘Godspell’ – Then They Became Comedy Legends" By Zachary Pincus-Roth

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Writing in The Washington Post , Zachary Pincus-Roth explains that Eugene Levy, Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Victor Garber, and Paul Shaffer all appeared in the musical play Godspell . This is not too surprising, since that play has always been in production somewhere since it was created, and a great many well-known performers have appeared in it at some point in their careers. What's a little more interesting is that they were all in the same cast at the same theater at the same time. Full article with photographs, audio files, and videos here.

Current Affairs: "The Annihilation Of Florida: An Overlooked National Tragedy" by Jeff VanderMeer

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Writing in Current Affairs , novelist and noted Floridian Jeff VanderMeer connects a great many dots (with links and footnotes) regarding how and why Florida leaders and developers have repeatedly worked together to destroy the state's unique ecosystem, what's wrong with the toll roads projects, why the wildlife corridor will fail, and why most Floridians sleep each night on the suffocated corpes of gopher tortoises. It's detailed, vigorously-argued, and must-read treatise on why we need to care for this onetime Eden.  You can tell many stories about Florida, but one of the most tragic and with the worst long-term consequences is this: since development in Florida began in earnest in the 20th century, state leaders and developers have chosen a cruel, unsustainable legacy involving the nonstop slaughter of wildlife and the destruction of habitat, eliminating some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world.   Full article here.

Rolling Stone: "Vangelis, Oscar-Winning Composer of ‘Chariots of Fire’ and ‘Blade Runner,’ Dead at 79 " by Daniel Kreps

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Writing in Rolling Stone , Daniel Kreps considers the life and work of progressive music pioneer Vangelis, who passed away on May 17.  “Vangelis Papathanassiou is no longer with us. For the whole world, this sad news demonstrates that the world music scene has lost the international ‘Vangelis,’ the protagonist of electronic sound, of the Oscars, of Mythology and the hits,” Greece’s prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis tweeted, as translated by Rolling Stone . “For us Greeks, who know his second name was Odysseus, it means that he’s begun his long trip to the Chariots of Fire. From there, he’ll always send us his notes.” Full obituary here.

X-Ray Literary Magazine: "The Song In Your Head" by Curtis Smith

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Writing in X-Ray Literary Magazine , Curtis Smith connects a great many feelings in only six paragraphs. Here's the first: You stop at the market after work. This Tuesday, that feels like a Thursday, these speeding years and forever days, and, short of death, there’s no end in sight. The weekends where all you want to do is sleep. The vacations you can’t afford. You’re here for dinner, although cereal feels like a saner option than making one more decision. A song plays, and here you are, adrift on a marketer’s algorithm, taken back to your teenage bedroom, and what would that girl say if she could see you now?   Full text of "The Song In Your Head" here.

Lapham's Quarterly: "New Look, Same Great Look — The History Of Humans Being Confounded By Color Photography" by Kim Beil

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Writing in Lapham's Quarterly , Kim Beil works through the history of color photography — and its meaning, its interpretations, its mysteries and consternations. Along the way, she consults Ludwig Wittgenstein and Oliver Sacks. It's not a simple subject to consider because it encompasses issues of physics, physiology, and culture: While many midcentury commentators were content to gesture vaguely to poor memory or a lack of objectivity, inventor Edwin Land dedicated twenty years of experimentation to trying to explain these effects. Land was critical of color photography, despite his role as Polaroid’s founder and chairman, because photography “reinforced the belief that the colors discerned by Newton in the spectrum are, with minor qualifications, the colors of the world around us.” Color, in Land’s view, is largely internal. It is far more influenced by our expectations than by any other factor, even ambient light. He wrote—and proved—that “the eye has evolved to see

Rest of World: "Sea Change — Google and Meta’s New Subsea Cables Mark A Tectonic Shift In How The Internet Works, And Who Controls It" by Andrew Blum and Carey Baraka

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South African lines of steam navigation and cables in 1893. (Public domain.) Writing in Rest Of World , Andrew Blum and Carey Baraka describe how Google and Meta are building a massive new undersea cable network to expand and improve Internet access to the 1.4 billion people who live in Africa. These immense infrastructure projects are as impressive and potentially world-changing as they were centuries ago when the tech giants of those days began laying telegraph cable. There is colossal good to be accomplished by this work, but there is a caution: The Internet’s initial promise was to decentralize telecommunications, releasing consumers from the monopoly grip of telecomms incumbents. Over the last 30 years, the internet has done that, and much more. But undersea cables, owned by the Internet’s behemoths, hint at a return to where we started: a near future in which a select group of massive corporations have not merely tightened their hold on our online activity but have deliber

The Washington Post: "Authoritarianism is surging — Can liberal democracy fight back?" by Carlos Lozada

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Writing in The Washington Post , Carlos Lozada reviews two new books on the threats to liberal democracy: Liberalism and Its Discontents by Francis Fukuyama and The Age of the Strongman by Gideon Rachma: When warring cultures and distant poles are the recurring metaphors for our politics, genteel calls for moderation may seem quaint. When authoritarian impulses are ascendant, wishing for self-restraint can feel foolish, a denial of reality and an abdication of responsibility. But what if moderation and restraint — the acceptance of limits in political life — are not just the right thing, but really all that is left to try? Full review here.