henry copeland @hc

Convener, runner, puzzler. Instigator of Racery, Pullquote, Twiangulate, Blogads. Via Wooster, New Haven, 85th and Columbus, Budapest, Paris. y84.

Recent quotes:

Portraits: filling in what's missing

Writing and painting, descriptive undertakings both, rise and fall on the same ground. The basic mistake of either is to orchestrate too much. If the great insight of Close’s work has been to make portraiture vivid by removing detail, forcing viewers to contribute their own perception to the process, what I have noticed as a reader and writer is that a similar principle applies. The best you can do is provide a constellation of individual points, just enough to let the reader form an opinion of her own. This can be challenging when the writer has something certain in mind to say, but it becomes all the more difficult when there is nothing certain to say at all. A written portrait of a portrait painter is recursive from the start, but when you’re trying to get a fix on the identity of an identity fixer whose own identity is coming unfixed, the whole thing goes uroboric.

The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close - The New York Times

It seems to me now, with greater reflection, that the value of experiencing another person’s art is not merely the work itself, but the opportunity it presents to connect with the interior impulse of another. The arts occupy a vanishing space in modern life: They offer one of the last lingering places to seek out empathy for its own sake, and to the extent that an artist’s work is frustrating or difficult or awful, you could say this allows greater opportunity to try to meet it. I am not saying there is no room for discriminating taste and judgment, just that there is also, I think, this other portal through which to experience creative work and to access a different kind of beauty, which might be called communion.

On the surface of subjectivity

Looking at a painting like “Lyle,” you see minute shades of detail: a gentle furrow in the brow, a wrinkle of amusement at the corner of the eye. This impression of detail, where no actual detail can be found on the canvas, is mesmerizing and confounding. What you are seeing isn’t really there. You are no longer looking at the actual surface of the painting, but some apparition hovering above it, a numinous specter that arises in part from the engagement of your own imagination. Through the painting, Close has accessed the perceptual center of your mind, exploiting the way we process human identity: the gaps of knowledge and the unknown spaces we fill with our own presumptions, the expectations and delusions we layer upon everyone we meet.

Futuristic Simulation Finds Self-Driving “Taxibots” Will Eliminate 90% Of Cars, Open Acres Of… — The Ferenstein Wire — Medium

A fascinating new simulation finds that self-driving cars will terraform cities: 90% of cars will be eliminated, acres of land will open up, and commute times will drop 10%. A team of transportation scientists at the Organization for Cooperation and Development took data on actual trips in Lisbon, Portugal and looked at how a fleet of self-driving, shared “taxibots” would change city landscape [PDF]. These “taxibots”, the researchers imagine, are a marriage of mass carpooling and UPS delivery intelligence: they constantly roam throughout cities and match carpool routes with mathematical elegance. Ultimately, they estimate, 9 out of 10 cars would be completely unnecessary — as would public transit.

The Paradox of Disclosure - The New York Times

My latest research, published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reveals that patients with localized prostate cancer (a condition that has multiple effective treatment options) who heard their surgeon disclose his or her specialty bias were nearly three times more likely to have surgery than those patients who did not hear their surgeon reveal such a bias. Rather than discounting the surgeon’s recommendation, patients reported increased trust in physicians who disclosed their specialty bias. Remarkably, I found that surgeons who disclosed their bias also behaved differently. They were more biased, not less. These surgeons gave stronger recommendations to have surgery, perhaps in an attempt to overcome any potential discounting they feared their patient would make on the recommendation as a result of the disclosure.

A Medical Mystery of the Best Kind: Major Diseases Are in Decline - The New York Times

Something strange is going on in medicine. Major diseases, like colon cancer, dementia and heart disease, are waning in wealthy countries, and improved diagnosis and treatment cannot fully explain it. Scientists marvel at this good news, a medical mystery of the best sort and one that is often overlooked as advocacy groups emphasize the toll of diseases and the need for more funds. Still, many are puzzled. “It is really easy to come up with interesting, compelling explanations,” said Dr. David S. Jones, a Harvard historian of medicine. “The challenge is to figure out which of those interesting and compelling hypotheses might be correct.”

The Right Food Can Promote Trust And Closeness Between People - PsyBlog

The new study found people reached agreements twice as quickly and were more generous with their money after eating the same foods together.

Too much time online 'damages immune system and makes users more likely to catch flu' - Mirror Online

The surveyed 500 people, aged between 18 and 101, and discovered that those who go on the web too much have 30% more cold and flu symptoms than those who do not. It also suggested that internet addicts may suffer stress when they are disconnected from the net and the cycle of "stress and relief" may lead to altered levels of cortisol - a hormone that impacts immune function.

» The Collapse of Complex Business Models Clay Shirky

When ecosystems change and inflexible institutions collapse, their members disperse, abandoning old beliefs, trying new things, making their living in different ways than they used to. It’s easy to see the ways in which collapse to simplicity wrecks the glories of old. But there is one compensating advantage for the people who escape the old system: when the ecosystem stops rewarding complexity, it is the people who figure out how to work simply in the present, rather than the people who mastered the complexities of the past, who get to say what happens in the future.

Washington Has Been Obsessed With Punishing Secrecy Violations — until Hillary Clinton

Had someone who was obscure and unimportant and powerless done what Hillary Clinton did – recklessly and secretly install a shoddy home server and worked with Top Secret information on it, then outright lied to the public about it when they were caught – they would have been criminally charged long ago, with little fuss or objection. But Hillary Clinton is the opposite of unimportant. She’s the multi-millionaire former First Lady, Senator from New York, and Secretary of State, supported by virtually the entire political, financial and media establishment to be the next President, arguably the only person standing between Donald Trump and the White House.

Tickling the brain can boost immunity: study

"Feeding and sex expose one to bacteria," explained Rolls said. "It would give one an evolutionary advantage if -- when the reward system is activated -- immunity is also boosted."

Ingress Has the World as Its Game Board

This blend of real-world, multiplayer interaction and complex digital strategy sets Ingress apart from other mobile games. Nodding to childhood pastimes like Capture the Flag as well as to vast online simulations like World of Warcraft, Ingress is one of the first popular games built using augmented reality, a technology that overlays virtual objects onto the real world. Developed by Google geolocation engineers and released to the public in December 2013, Ingress has more than one million active players in 4,000 communities worldwide, including heavy concentrations in the United States, Japan and Europe. Last year, Google spun out the development team into a separate company called Niantic.

Good luck suckers

Independent media is just becoming an impossible business. If you’re trying to run a content business and you’re not named Apple, Google, Facebook or Amazon, good luck to you. You’re going to need it.

New York’s Sidewalks Are So Packed, Pedestrians Are Taking to the Streets - The New York Times

“I don’t mind the walk, it’s just the people,” Ms. Singh, an account coordinator for the Univision television network, said. “Sometimes, they’re rude. They’re on top of you, no personal space. They’re smoking. It’s tough.” Ms. Singh is just one among many pedestrians experiencing a growing phenomenon in New York City: sidewalk gridlock.

As A Poor Kid From The Rust Belt, Yale Law School Brought Me Face-to-face With Radical Inequality

. A student survey found that over 95 percent of Yale Law’s students qualified as upper-middle-class or higher, and most of them qualified as outright wealthy. Obviously, I was neither upper-middle-class nor wealthy. Very few people at Yale Law School are like me. They may look like me, but for all of the Ivy League’s obsession with diversity, virtually everyone—black, white, Jewish, Muslim, whatever— comes from intact families who never worry about money. Early during my first year, after a late night of drinking with my classmates, we all decided to stop at a New Haven chicken joint. Our large group left an awful mess: dirty plates, chicken bones, ranch dressing and soda splattered on the tables, and so on. I couldn’t imagine leaving it all for some poor guy to clean up, so I stayed behind. Of a dozen classmates, only one person helped me: my buddy Jamil, who also came from a poorer background. Afterward, I told Jamil that we were probably the only people in the school who’d ever had to clean up someone else’s mess. He just nodded his head in silent agreement.

Facebook adjusts News Feed to favor friends and family over publishers | The Verge

The technical change this time around is that Facebook will favor links shared by your friends and family over links that publishers place directly into the News Feed through their pages. The Verge will share this post on its Facebook page, but that will matter less than if large numbers of people paste this link into a new post on Facebook to share it with their friends directly.

More Trump charity BS

In recent years, Trump’s follow-through on his promises has been seemingly nonexistent. The Post contacted 167 charities searching for evidence of personal gifts from Trump in the period between 2008 and this May. The Post sought out charities that had some link to Trump, either because he had given them his foundation’s money, appeared at their charity galas or praised them publicly. The search turned up just one donation in that period — a 2009 gift of between $5,000 and $9,999 to the Police Athletic League of New York City.

How Telemedicine Is Transforming Health Care - WSJ

Five to 10 times a day, Doctors Without Borders relays questions about tough cases from its physicians in Niger, South Sudan and elsewhere to its network of 280 experts around the world, and back again via the internet. In the woods outside St. Louis, shifts of doctors and nurses work around the clock in Mercy health system’s new Virtual Care Center—a “hospital without beds” that provides remote support for intensive-care units, emergency rooms and other programs in 38 smaller hospitals from North Carolina to Oklahoma. Many of them don’t have a physician on-site 24/7.

Same number looks different, depending on the trend

Maglio says the lesson here for marketers or brand managers is they may want, where possible, to focus on the message that a product or an event is on an upward trend. But if you're in the not-so-desirable position of talking about something in decline, the best approach may be to focus on only the most recent estimate and not its downward trend or to assure consumers that the trend is not meaningful.

Another Trump exageration

“They say there are 11,000 people in the hangar,” he said, to cheers from the audience. “Last night I watched as Bernie had a crowd of 3,000 people. That’s not bad. That’s not bad. And the news media said, ‘Bernie Sanders had this massive crowd of 3,000 people.’ You know what 3,000 people is? It’s like a small audience, it’s like forget it. When we have a crowd like this – look at this!” They cheered again. The actual capacity of the hangar was 2,500, and that day it was less than half full.

Counter-selling the proof of Jesus's wife

Before he was caught, Hofmann made an estimated $2 million selling his bogus manuscripts. Young, shy, and self-effacing—The New York Times called him a “scholarly country bumpkin”—he targeted buyers predisposed, by ideological bent or professional interest, to believe his documents were real. He often expressed doubts about his finds, making experts feel they were discovering signs of authenticity that he himself had somehow missed. “Usually he just leaned back quietly and let his delighted victim do the authentication, adding now and then a quiet, ‘Do you really think it’s genuine?,’ ” Charles Hamilton, once the country’s leading forgery examiner, and one of the many people Hofmann fooled, recalled in a 1996 book. Reading about Hofmann called to mind the curious e‑mails the owner of the Jesus’s-wife papyrus had sent to King. In some messages, the owner comes across as a hapless layman, addressing King as “Mrs.” rather than “Dr.” or “Professor” and claiming that he didn’t read Coptic and was “completely clueless.” In other messages, however, he is far more knowing. He sends King a translation of the Coptic that he says “seems to make sense.” He specifies its dialect (Sahidic) and likely vintage (third to fifth century a.d.), and asks that any carbon dating use “a few fibers only,” to avoid damaging the papyrus. Also strange is that he tells King he acquired the Jesus’s-wife fragment in 1997, then gives her a sales contract dated two years later.

This App Pays Your Favorite Charities For Every Mile You Run Or Bike | Co.Exist | ideas + impact

Gurkoff claims the platform offers advantages over other types of cause marketing. "In most cause marketing arrangements, the company gives a bit to charity and spends 7 to 10 times [more effort] promoting it. The promotion is what drives the return on investment, not the charity," he says. "We are trying to reverse that ratio and generate the marketing R.O.I. that companies want from ordinary advertising. This enables them to repurpose their digital media budgets—money that never ever would have gone to charity—for social good." Charity Miles itself takes 50% cut of the money raised, with some of that going to a fund to cover the possibility that people will earn more for charities than is available from sponsors. "We cap our overall liability at 50% of our revenue, which works out because we generally have a 50% margin on our engagements," Gurkoff explains.

The 5K, Not The Marathon, Is The Ideal Race | FiveThirtyEight

[…]focusing on the 5K, you’re optimizing health benefits and minimizing injuries, and if you’re deliberate about your training, you can maximize your fitness gains too. Training seriously for the 5K will get you close to your biological potential for aerobic fitness, Joyner said. “Seriously is the key though,” he said. The secret is high-intensity interval training, or HIIT — short periods of very hard efforts interspersed with easier recovery bouts. Studies show that these high intensity workouts produce greater improvements in VO2 max than the kind of long, slow workouts emphasized in many marathon training plans.1

Now Peter Thiel’s Lawyer Wants to Silence Reporting on Trump’s Hair

For instance, one of the “defamatory” statements Gawker published, according to Harder, is this: “What’s more, Ivari’s New York location is inside Trump Tower—on the private floor reserved for Donald Trump’s own office.” Harder omits, of course, the sources on which this assertion was based: Ivari’s own brochure, an archived version of his web site, and multiple advertisements Ivari placed in New York Magazine, all of which specified his New York address as being on the 25th floor of the Trump Tower in Manhattan. Furthermore, he didn’t even quote the article correctly. Here’s what Feinberg actually wrote (emphasis mine): “What’s more, Ivari’s New York location was inside Trump Tower—on the private floor reserved for Donald Trump’s own office.”

What's a virtual race? We're still learning.

Though our routes are made of pixels, they’re measured by real blood, sweat and tears.

Glenn Gould’s Every Detail. But Why? - The New York Times

Gould grew to be deeply dissatisfied with this first recording, which was, he said in an interview before the 1982 release, “just too fast for comfort.” His second take is generally slower, mellower and more reflective, though his trademark crisp touch and clarity are ever-present. Gould had given up live concertizing at 31, considering recordings a superior way to allow an artist the freedom to present a personal conception of a work. Still, his 1981 recording was not the equivalent of a Glenn Gould “edition” of the “Goldberg” Variations. Many master musicians have prepared performing editions of seminal repertory, like the pianist Artur Schnabel’s edition of the Beethoven sonatas. But Schnabel’s markings in the score are intended as suggestions, not Holy Writ. (He even later referred to the edition as “sins of my youth.”) Gould’s 1981 “Goldberg” is a fiercely individual take on the piece. Had he lived longer and recorded it again, that third take might have been different in other ways. Gould’s mind was too restless to expect otherwise.