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Don’t cross the Wirecutter picket line

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The journalists at The Wirecutter are on strike, so you shouldn’t use their affiliate links to by products this weekend:

The union is asking readers to not shop through Wirecutter during the strike, which is intended to end on Tuesday, spanning some of the peak online shopping days of the year.

Management is not happy. In the Times all-company Slack, David Perpich, whose title is head of standalone products, which means he oversees things like Wirecutter and the Cooking product — and whose grandfather is Arthur Ochs Sulzberger — posted a message saying that, while the institution understood the right to strike, management was “disappointed.”

[…]

Many Wirecutter staff realized early on that their Times colleagues weren’t as excited about their arrival, even as the then-CEO extolled at sale time that Wirecutter “embodies the same standards and values that are the pillars of our own newsroom.” But Wirecutter was always treated as a second-class citizen, isolated in its own Slack, its own offices, and its own reporting structure under Perpich. It never joined the newsroom, and its work was openly sneered at by some longtime staffers. Many Times staffers don’t believe their work is journalism at all. The pay scale, as well, is substantially different from Times salaries. Even Times fellows, which are yearlong full-time jobs in the newsroom designed to train emerging journalists, receive a significantly higher salary than the starting rate for Wirecutter writers.

The reason the union is asking readers to not buy through the site is that the company’s main revenue base has always been from referral fees from sales on sites like Amazon. Recently, Wirecutter has become part of the Times’ subscription offerings, and also, the future of affiliate revenue is always cloudy, as much of it depends on the whims of Jeff Bezos. Subscribers and their retention is the most important thing to the business side of the Times, according to its chief executive. Wirecutter recruited 10,000 subscribers in its first month behind the paywall.

To state what should be obvious, the idea that what the Wirecutter does isn’t real journalism is absolutely absurd. Careful research and informed judgment about consumer products is a very valuable service that requires a lot of work and knowledge to do well. And this would be true even before we get to things like how little the Times did to meaningfully inform voters during the election campaign that is about to result in the end of reproductive freedom in America. It’s long past time for these journalists to be compensated fairly, so respect their picket line.

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deebee
10 days ago
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Wirecutter has been junk from the beginning. Think of product you know a lot about, now read the Wirecutter article about it… it’s a terrible take right? They’re all that bad, but if you don’t know anything about juicers or electric blankets or whatever the “let’s take a fun look at ___” tone is a disguise for their haphazard picks based of arbitrary criteria.
America City, America
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fxer
10 days ago
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Conveniently my ad/dns blocker won’t resolve any wirecutter links because they wrap them in some banned tracking redirect url (wlink.co?), so I always have to manually search for items anyway
Bend, Oregon

Happy Inferior Meat Day

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I maintain that if any of this food was good, we would eat it more than once a year.

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deebee
13 days ago
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Happy thanksgiving from a guy who trashed his own wedding because it didn’t pass the bechdel test
America City, America
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Technique.

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Technique is the proof of your seriousness.

Wallace Stevens

For the love of God, stop playing Jenga with wheels of cheese.  Cut the wheel in half and then cut wedges from the half.  See the "Half-moon Wedge" above. 

Do you cut pizza one slice at a time?
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deebee
13 days ago
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America City, America
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Circling the Drain: What to Do With London Zoo’s Deserted Penguin Pool [ARTICLE]

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That London Zoo’s Penguin Pool has serious issues is a fact that all relevant parties seems to agree on. The architect’s own daughter has gone so far as to suggest blowing up this iconic work. Still, who is to blame for its problems, what the fix should be, or whether it should even be saved at all have become the subjects of heated debate.

Built in 1934, Berthold Lubetkin’s penguin pool was a Modernist marvel. Its twisting pair of intertwined ramps highlighted how light and thin concrete could appear, unsupported over long spans and gracefully spiraling up into the air. Creating these interlocking surfaces was made possible with help from engineer Ove Arup, whose firm is now famous for supporting daring architecture around the world.

The London Zoo penguin pool has since been granted protected status as a landmark, for its place in Modernist history as well as the renown of its creators. And for a long time, it worked as designed, more or less:  it housed penguins. But in the early 2000s, zookeepers determined that the concrete surfaces were promoting bumblefoot infections in these animal residents, who then had to be moved to a new penguin beach. The question ever since has been: what to do with this old pool?

Sasha, the architect’s daughter, lamented to the Camden Journal that the exhibit “was designed as a showcase and playground of captive penguins” and she “can’t see that it would be suited to anything else.”  Plus, times have changed and our understanding of the needs of animals has as well, so in some ways the design, while eye-catching, is also outdated. Thus, she suggested: “Perhaps it’s time to blow it to smithereens.” Not everyone agrees with this assessment, however — in fact, some think it could work to this day, albeit with some caveats.

The pool has adamant defenders who contend that neither the designer nor the original structure are at fault for the current state of the structure or the injuries to its occupants. John Allan, who worked on restoring the penguin pool back in the 1980s, notes: “the original poolside paving was largely rubber, for the penguins’ comfort, but was replaced by the zoo with concrete.” Also, during the restoration, his team were asked to add quartz granules to help zookeepers gain traction on slippery surfaces. This demanded feature arguably created or at least exacerbated the infection of penguin feet within the exhibit.

Allan, who also wrote a biography of the pool’s architect, further points out that the original birds selected for the exhibit “were an Antarctic species which preferred to huddle together,” but that “these were replaced with South American Humbolts, which prefer to burrow, thus making the original nesting quarters less suitable.” His argument, in short, is that the zoo’s choices of materials and penguins is to blame. And he is not the only one to come to the structure’s defense.

George Osborne, editor of The Evening Standard, went so far as to claim that that destroying this landmark building would be an “an act of cultural vandalism,” calling Sasha Lubetkin’s comments “patricidal.” To its fans, the pool represents a turning point in architectural and engineering history, whatever its utility may (or may not) be today.

There is little question that this structure was ground-breaking. Per the V&A Museum: “The Penguin Pool provided Ove [Arup] the perfect opportunity to exploit the potential of reinforced concrete. He advanced the idea that the concrete slab or panel was the most effective form for reinforced concrete. He also proposed that concrete structures should be cast as one unit with the joints as strong as the central elements. He argued that with this approach any shape could be achieved.” Perhaps notably absent from this description of inventive engineering, though, is consideration of what actual penguins need.

For its part, the London Zoo seems more interested in the future than the past, boasting that its resident “penguins now live on Penguin Beach, Europe’s largest penguin pool, which has a rocky, sandy beach, nesting areas and a 1,200sqm pool holding 450,000 litres of water — alongside a penguin nursery where chicks can learn how to swim.” As for the old habitat: they have no plans for the place — it has become the proverbial elephant in the room, still there but not really addressed.

Special thanks to Stephen Wood and Daria Kwiatkowska for the story tip. Historical images via the RIBA Library Photographs Collection.

The post Circling the Drain: What to Do With London Zoo’s Deserted Penguin Pool appeared first on 99% Invisible.

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deebee
23 days ago
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"...during the restoration, his team were asked to add quartz granules to help zookeepers gain traction on slippery surfaces. This demanded feature arguably created or at least exacerbated the infection of penguin feet within the exhibit."

A metaphor for all human activity on this planet
America City, America
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The American Intelligentsia

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OK.

Joe Rogan says he’s in charge of his own body, and this time it has nothing to do with the COVID-19 vaccine. In a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, the comedian and podcast host claimed he could perform oral sex on himself.

Rogan had been explaining how he goes about shaving his own asshole, saying, “I spread my legs apart and I go head between the legs.” His interlocutors Ari Shaffir, Mark Normand, and Shane Gillis expressed doubt, to which Rogan replied, “I could suck my own dick if I wanted to.” Rogan added, “I’m super flexible. I’ve never done it but I’ve put it around my face just to know I could do it.”

As the three other men howled in protest, Rogan insisted. “I can flatten my body out. You know I can. You remember that time when Burt said ‘can you do a split’ and I just dropped down and did a split,” he said. “If you can bend your head and go fully flat where do you think your face is and where’s your dick?”

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deebee
23 days ago
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45 days until 2022, Loomis begins to sprint
America City, America
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Flinch

4 Comments and 9 Shares
Premed: "Does this count for a physics credit? Can we shorten the string so I can get it done faster? And can we do one where it hits me in the face? I gotta do a thing for first aid training right after."
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deebee
29 days ago
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Bring your dad to work day at the xkcd writers room
America City, America
popular
29 days ago
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3 public comments
mareino
29 days ago
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Me, an amateur: I've seen too many videos where the demonstrator screws up and pushes the ball instead of releasing it.
Washington, District of Columbia
duerig
29 days ago
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The right answer is to put a steel core in the bowling ball and a well-timed electromagnet under the floor. That'll show those the physicists.
splungedude
28 days ago
To stop it dead in it's tracks or to speed it up? Both would be pretty funny
duerig
28 days ago
I was thinking adding just enough speed to bop the physicist on the nose. But stopping it in its tracks would be hilarious to. For a long time I have wanted to make a perpetual motion machine as a desk toy but add some subtle electromagnet or something to make it actually appear to function at first glance.
fancycwabs
29 days ago
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As an engineer, I've never felt as seen as I do in this comic.
Nashville, Tennessee
ChrisDL
29 days ago
yep. yep yep yep yep. Yep-a-roonie.
shaddow825
29 days ago
Look, an engineer saying something that doesn't even apply to the situation, yea I can see why that fits.
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