War Hotels (Al Jazeera Documentary)

Christian Phalange Gunmen in the Holiday Inn Hotel, Beirut 1976, printed 2013 Don McCullin born 1935 ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Purchased with the assistance of the ARTIST ROOMS Endowment, supported by the Henry Moore Foundation and Tate Members 2014

Preparing for my trip to the Middle East, I stumbled upon the AlJazeera documentary on War Hotels. I can only highly recommend this fantastic and eerie series about how architecture (particularly of hotels) becomes so important from so many vantage points, even in times of crisis.

War Hotels – Al Jazeera English

The internet, but not as we know it: life online in China, Russia, Cuba and India | Technology | The Guardian

In Cuba, internet access is limited. But if you can’t get to the internet, there are ways of bringing it physically to you.It’s known as “el paquete semanal” or “the weekly packet”, an external drive loaded with thousands of hours of media content that is delivered to customers by enterprising ‘suppliers’ like Alberto Jorge.“With el paquete you choose what to watch and when to watch it,” says Jorge, 34, as he walks the cracked paving slabs of west Havana delivering the drives.

Source: The internet, but not as we know it: life online in China, Russia, Cuba and India | Technology | The Guardian

Dropgangs, or the future of darknet markets • Opaque Link

Instead of using websites on the darknet, merchants are now operating invite-only channels on widely available mobile messaging systems like Telegram. This allows the merchant to control the reach of their communication better and be less vulnerable to system take-downs. To further stabilize the connection between merchant and customer, repeat customers are given unique messaging contacts that are independent of shared channels and thus even less likely to be found and taken down. Channels are often operated by automated bots that allow customers to inquire about offers and initiate the purchase, often even allowing a fully bot-driven experience without human intervention on the merchant’s side.


The other major change is the use of “dead drops” instead of the postal system which has proven vulnerable to tracking and interception. Now, goods are hidden in publicly accessible places like parks and the location is given to the customer on purchase. The customer then goes to the location and picks up the goods. This means that delivery becomes asynchronous for the merchant, he can hide a lot of product in different locations for future, not yet known, purchases. For the client the time to delivery is significantly shorter than waiting for a letter or parcel shipped by traditional means – he has the product in his hands in a matter of hours instead of days. Furthermore this method does not require for the customer to give any personally identifiable information to the merchant, which in turn doesn’t have to safeguard it anymore. Less data means less risk for everyone.

Source: Dropgangs, or the future of darknet markets • Opaque Link

The World Would Be a Better Place Without the Rich

So why do we spend more? “Because people at the top have so much more,” he notes. They’re spending more on their own celebrations, and they set the consumption standard, unleashing what Frank has labelled “expenditure cascades.” People at every income level feel increasing pressure to reach the higher consumption bar those directly above them have set.

Source: The World Would Be a Better Place Without the Rich


Einen ähnlichen Hauch von Endphasenkapitalismus mögen Leser eines weiteren, äußerst lesenswerten Artikels der New York Times über „Pop-up Experiences“ verspüren. „Pop-up Experiences“ sind temporäre, meist rein auf Visualität und die perfekte Oberfläche ausgelegte „Ausstellungen“, die Inhalte höchstens Alibi-haft vermitteln, und in allererster Linie ebenfalls als Selfie-Kulissen dienen. In der New York Times schildert Autorin Sapna Maheshwari ihre Eindrücke beim Vorhaben, jegliche „Pop-up Erfahrung“ aufzusuchen, die New York in den vergangenen Wochen zu bieten hatte. Was als lustige Idee für eine Story begonnen hatte, habe sich schnell „zu einem masochistischen Marsch durch Abgründe der Sinnlosigkeit“ entwickelt, so die NYT-Journalistin.

Source: Influencer Marketing bizarr: Jetzt kommen simuliertes Wohnen und Selfie-Fabriken | OMR – Online Marketing Rockstars

Dhaka Student Protests

Students in Dhaka, Bangladesh, protesting against dangerous roads. 4 female students raped as a result. So now the students are guarding the females in Dhaka (shown in pic)

Podcast Diet, June 2018

  • Caliphate – A podcast by the New York Times on the state of ISIS, but simultaneously also shedding light on how journalism is made in the light of terrorism. How to report on reporting? How do fact-check sources, how to get inside the minds and doings of ISIS, the threat that has encapsulated the media in the past years? Rukmini Callimachi’s podcast is captivating, thrilling and extremely interesting. I’ve fallen with love with her completely (although to be fair her incredibly radio-genic voice may have helped in that)
  • Reply All – Whenever I recommend Reply All, I describe as a podcast “that sheds light on the myths of the internet”. I feel it’s fair to say that people on Twitter will love how Reply All’s little stories and intriguing episodes (about all sorts of media- and web-related subjects, including memes, obscure tweets, crazy movements and interesting trends). They really dig deep into and explain things that I’d completely forgotten. It’s the only podcast I’ve been going back through every episode they’ve ever aired.

There’s not much else yet here. I often try out podcasts but rarely get hooked on them like I got hooked on these. I’m definitely a fan of Gimlet media, but looking to expand on more European-centric podcasts, so if anyone has equally entertaining recommendations, hit me up on Twitter.