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Heaven got a new mayor in Rob Ford this week. Putin got a new gf. Trump got us all angry when he suggested women be punished for abortions. Microsoft’s AI bot—deactivated last week for being a racist—got back on Twitter to talk about weed. Architectural visionary Zaha Hadid died. Brussels re-opened its airport. Canada’s dreamy PM peacocked as his father once did. And Christian Louboutin announced a new line of nude shoes for every shade of “nude.”

Under ordinary circumstances, we’d spare you the drudgery of Trumpthink in this spot. But when it’s Patricia Lockwood, Twitter’s poet laureate, you know it’s gonna be funny as hell and actually not soul-destroying. For this electric piece of Trumping in The New Republic, she dives deep into the infernal fires, right down there where the cow truthers live.

The reporters around me entered a hive rhythm, interacting with the scene entirely through their laptop screens. I wondered what they were writing, what it was possible to write. Polemic has not worked, and neither has the I-know-that-you-know-that-I-know-that-we-know tone we’ve come to adopt in straight news stories. Trump presents a surface with no handle, a wall without a door. He is the opposite of nuclear physics but has the same effect: When you set out to think about his implications, your mind runs up against the problem of scope.

The New York Times tries to soberly report on new research around the fate of the West Antarctic ice sheet. But even the Gray Lady sounds a little panicked talking to these scientists. And she’s right to be so: this is not good. 

Another epic smackdown from the preeminent techno-critic of our time, Evgeny Morozov. This article profiles a man peddling empty Silicon Valley savvy to the slow-moving, bureaucratically gunked up White House. 

Batman took on Superman and we all kinda shrugged. But ​David Jenkins, for Little White Lies,​ is worth reading to understand how we all ended up trapped in this never-ending trailer for another movie always just-in-the-distance.

Not a poem and not quite an article, these six short fairy tales for the modern woman—well, they make you feel something. 

The world’s first artificially intelligent creative director writes its own jokes.

Facebook finally released the Oculus Rift this week. While everyone recognizes the goofiness of a device that resembles a domesticated Facehugger—you know, the thing from Alien—developments in virtual reality are more generally met with solemn warnings about our inevitable fate as flesh batteries. Here's Ian Bogost on embracing VR as a creative medium with more texture than what science fiction would have us believe.

Liberia plans to outsource its primary education to a Zuckerberg-backed private school-in-a-box firm, where teachers read a scripted curriculum from tablets. Well meaning, no doubt, as the country's education system is a mess. But as the UN's Special Rapporteur on the right to education points out, outsourcing the entirety of the state's education obligation to the algorithms and big data decision-making of the "world's largest education innovation company” is ​an absolutely horrible idea in almost every way. ​

We interpreted the recent partnership between Genius and Spotify as a positive sign that the former was pursuing monetization with ingenuity rather than cynicism. But this will be tested by their newly announced advertising business. Here's hoping it won't resemble the spammy text-highlighting adware of past browser eras. 

Something about the absurd crystallization of our current world, where networks of interest (your Instagram following or your fundamentalist sect) engenders detachment from reality, self-involvement, extreme behavior, etc., etc.

The field recordings of Alan Lomax are one of the most important cultural treasures on the planet. Thanks to a largely volunteer-driven effort, more than 17,000 of them—an impossible catalogue of folk music in its myriad forms—are now available online. Let's all get lost.

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Designers have used this Henry Ford quote to justify the need for critical user research. But this instinct for empathy—to consider what people ​really​ want—can mutate into the sort of cynical distrust that animates so many task-optimization services today, ignoring the pleasure that can be found in "the friction and finitude of everyday life."

We choose to accept this un-peer-reviewed tweet as definitive proof that ​Planet Nine is out there, lurking. Not at all ominous.



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The Overprint is a weekly newsletter from Make Ready + The Alpine Review.
Illustration by Chris Lange.
 
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