Watching the Eclipse with the Photographer David Burnett

Watching the Eclipse with the Photographer David Burnett

http://ift.tt/2vUtRRv

  • The New Yorker offers a signature blend of news, culture, and the arts. It has been published since February 21, 1925.

    Read more »

Travel

via Everything http://ift.tt/2i2hEWb

August 22, 2017 at 04:34PM

The Boston Protests Revealed the Limits of Trumpism

The Boston Protests Revealed the Limits of Trumpism

http://ift.tt/2vUbBrt

The “free speech” rally in Boston this past weekend was organized by a
half-dozen young people, college-aged and libertarian-minded. If on
campus they were familiar figures—their designated spokesman was a film
major and the leader of his college’s chapter of Young Americans for
Liberty—then off campus, as the rally they organized drew widespread attention, they were out of their depth. The young organizers had
secured a few well-known figures from the alt-right to speak at the
rally. There was Kyle Chapman, the muscular ex-con who became famous
after wearing a gas mask to an alt-right rally in Berkeley and hitting a
counter-protester in the face with a stick. There was Joe Biggs, the
conspiracist radio host. And there was Augustus Invictus, who ran a
long-shot bid for the U.S. Senate in Florida in 2016, and whose campaign
there was undermined by revelations that he had denied the reality of
the Holocaust and, as part of a pagan ritual, had filmed himself stabbing a
goat to death and drinking its blood. Before the rally, Invictus was
disinvited. The others came.

After Charlottesville, it was obvious that the Boston rally would be a
national event. I met the organizers briefly on Thursday, on Boston
Common, where they were busy disavowing the more obviously noxious parts
of the movement. They said that they had been meeting with officials
from the Boston Police Department, which had allowed the event’s permit
to stand on the condition that no backpacks or sticks would be allowed. The organizers had issued a statement on the rally’s Facebook
page telling members of the Ku Klux Klan not to come (there had been a
rumor that some might show up) and asking those people who did attend
not to bring provocative signs or materials. They spoke out against the
Charlottesville rally and the people who had demonstrated there. They seemed
eager to show an ideologically neutral commitment to the principle of free speech, despite the fact that their most prominent speakers came from the alt-right. At the last minute, the organizers had invited leaders of a
local Black Lives Matter group to address the rally, though none
accepted.

Well before noon on Saturday, the appointed time of the rally, its basic
shape was obvious. A few dozen enthusiasts stood inside a gazebo in the
center of Boston Common. They were surrounded by a vast, empty
perimeter maintained by the police. Outside the perimeter, some forty
thousand counter-protesters, by the police commissioner’s estimate, had
gathered. The counter-protesters outnumbered the protesters by something
like four hundred to one. Inside the gazebo, the rally proceeded, though
the scale of the counter-protest and the police presence meant that it
ended early. (Chapman, for instance, did not get a chance to speak.)
Decorum was kept. There were no deaths or significant injuries, and no
property damage. There was also no obvious point. Free speech is a great
principle and a fine slogan, but it did little to distinguish the
protesters from the vast crowds of Bostonians opposing them, who were also speaking freely. The alt-right, like every political movement, votes with its feet. Fewer than a hundred people attended.

The problem of the Boston rally is the problem of those on the
Trumpist right more generally. Their grievances are obvious. What
they want is much less clear. We are nearly eight months into Donald
Trump’s Presidential term, and he remains a strangely isolated figure,
ignored by a growing portion of his own Administration and party—a man
on a raft. Trump tweets that he will ban transgender people from serving in the military, and the Pentagon ignores it; he
denounces his own Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, in the manner of a
cable-news commentator, and Republicans
vociferously defend Sessions; he promises to rain “fire and fury” on
North Korea, and his own Secretary of State insists that he did not
really mean it, that nothing has changed.

Trump’s most basic campaign promises—to build a wall on the border with
Mexico, to exclude undesirable immigrants, to tear up trade and military
agreements and rewrite them—are not close to becoming real. Part of the
problem, as Republicans have said incessantly, though mostly on background to
reporters, is Trump’s personality—his inattention to
detail, his tendency toward rage and bombast. But it is also starting to
seem as if there is a more basic problem: the nationalist wing of the
Republican Party helped to give Trump the White House, but it has not
given him an agenda.

Last week, Stephen Bannon, the President’s chief strategist and the man
who was supposed to provide a nationalist theory for the Administration,
left the White House. His departure had been coming for a while; he reportedly submitted his resignation on August 7th, but the
announcement was delayed by the events in Charlottesville. In an exit
interview with The Weekly Standard, Bannon, who will once again take
over Breitbart News, declared that his shackles were now off, and that
he would make war on the forces pushing the Trump Administration away
from its base and toward “globalism.” He would again become, he said,
“Bannon the barbarian.”

But too little barbarism has never been the nationalists’ problem.
Instead, the trouble has been that they don’t have a workable idea.
Bannon’s program was supposed to turn politics away from the globalists
and to protect the jobs and well-being of members of the white working
class. But when these instincts collided with debates in Washington
about how to actually achieve those goals, they collapsed so quickly
that it was natural to wonder whether the President, or those around
him, had really believed in them at all. The promises to protect the
health insurance of ordinary Americans, for instance, rapidly dissolved into
health-care plans that would strip coverage from millions of people
while giving enormous tax breaks to billionaires. If you take the rage
and partisan feeling away from Trump’s movement, then what is left,
beyond an atmosphere of grievance and suspicion? Maybe, after
Charlottesville, the nationalist movement will look as meek as it did in
Boston: a few dozen men in a gazebo, cut off from the rest of us and
abetted, at a distance, by an unspecified number of propaganda bots.

Travel

via Everything http://ift.tt/2i2hEWb

August 22, 2017 at 04:34PM

New York’s Oldest Subway Cars, Beautiful Symbols of a Sad Decline

New York’s Oldest Subway Cars, Beautiful Symbols of a Sad Decline

http://ift.tt/2x8sw8p

In 1964, the New York City Transit Authority introduced the shiny,
stainless-steel R32 subway car. “There was a very special inaugural trip
that took place on today’s Metro-North line into Grand Central Terminal,
welcoming the trains into New York,” James Giovan, an educator at the
New York Transit Museum, told me recently. The R32s were dubbed
Brightliners. By 1965, six hundred had been
built
. With their
brilliant corrugated bodies, they bore little resemblance to other cars.
They were praised for having the clearest intercom system. Their plastic
benches marked the end of gritty rattan-wicker seats. The R32 was the
train of the future, offering a vision of what mass transit would look
like in fifty years—literally, as it happens, because, against all odds,
roughly two hundred of the original R32s still operate on New York
City’s C, J, and Z lines. They are the oldest subway cars still in service in
the city, and among the oldest still operating in the world.

Amid a year of perpetual delays, terrifying derailments, power blackouts
that have left riders stranded underground and between stations for
hours at a time, service changes so counterintuitive and so alien that
they could have been devised by Kafka or M. C. Escher—not to mention the
century-old tile peeling from the station walls, the mystery stalagmites
and stalactites, the rusted support beams, the countdown clocks that seem
to operate beyond the boundaries of time and space—the R32, once a
forward-looking beacon for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority
(which absorbed the New York City Transit Authority, in 1968), is now a
symbol of its failure to update its technology and infrastructure. Many
of the R32 cars have trouble maintaining their air-conditioning for the
duration of their trips; they are usually switched out for newer cars
during the summer months. Today, the mean distance between R32 failures
is thirty-three thousand miles, meaning that they happen for those cars
about thirteen times as often as they do for the newer R188 cars, which
can go four hundred and thirty-six thousand miles without a mechanical
failure. The C line has been ranked the worst in the
system
by the Straphangers Campaign more often than any other subway line, a
feat owed, in no small part, to the ancient cars that service it. Those
frequent failures can create delays that ripple throughout the subway
system.

In July of 2011, the M.T.A. published a preliminary
budget
for the next three years, noting that the R32 cars were “already well
past the standard expected useful life of 40 years.” However,
“structural defects” had led to the “accelerated retirement of R44
cars,” and so the R32 would have to stay in service, the report
explained, until at least 2017. Barring any further delays, the cars are
now expected to stay in service until 2019. In the meantime, extended
construction on the L train’s Canarsie tube will entail increased
service on the nearby lines, a task that will partially fall to the
R32s. That they are still in use at all is emblematic of the way the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority has long operated: underfunded and
saddled with the lofty task of carrying the entire city without
pause, the M.T.A., by necessity, stretches everything long past its
expiration date. According to a 2012 survey of the system, ninety per
cent of the city’s stations have architectural or structural flaws.
Knowledgeable observers have offered repair and upgrade timelines that
stretch over half-century increments. Costly patch jobs required to keep
the old cars running further deplete funds that should be allocated to
the primary culprit in subway delays: the signal system—the central
nervous system of the
M.T.A
.,
responsible for controlling the movement of trains. That system is still
made up, for the most part, of prewar technology. The difficulty of
securing funding and of scheduling repairs has helped keep it in place,
along with the fact that the only way to update it would be through long
service interruptions, which people hate. And so delays have become
routine, and the necessary repairs have become lengthier to complete and
more expensive than they might have been twenty-five years ago—when,
according to the Times, the city first brought up the need to update
the signal
system
.

That the R32s have endured through all this tells another story: they
are genuinely a marvel of mid-twentieth-century engineering. They were
based on a 1949 prototype by the Budd Company, in Pennsylvania, for a
car called the R11, which was intended for a proposed Second Avenue
subway line, the M.T.A.’s greatest and most famous
delay
.
The Budd Company’s decision to build the new cars from stainless steel
meant that each would be four thousand pounds lighter than its
predecessor. And, even today, the R32s are more pleasant to ride, when
they’re working, than the newer R160 cars that replace them during the
summer. Their lights are a duller, softer white than those in the newer
cars. Poles are located in the middle of the car, rather than jutting out
from the seats, as they do in some later models. The R32 cars are the same width
as those replacing them, yet they feel wider, more open. And there is
no high-pitched dubstep squeal as an R32 leaves the station.

The Budd Company filed for bankruptcy in 2014, meaning that the R32s
have not only outlasted their intended period of service but have
outlasted their manufacturer. They have lived through eight mayoral
appointments and ten Presidents. They are essentially your grandmother’s
Volvo from the sixties, if that Volvo had millions of miles on its
odometer and was responsible for getting your entire family to and from
work, and if Volvo had gone out of business several years ago.

The R32 is, not surprisingly, a favorite of train nerds, as well as of
subway professionals. All of the subsequent New York City subway
cars—including the glitzy R179s slated to replace the R32s—owe much to
their design. “When that car was brand-new, nothing
before looked like that,” Giovan said. “But almost every car after it resembles it in
some way.” And so, when the new trains of the future
finally—finally—arrive, we’ll see glimmering steel machines with bright
headlights, the direct descendants of a machine that lasted much longer
than it ever should have been asked to.

Travel

via Everything http://ift.tt/2i2hEWb

August 22, 2017 at 04:34PM

David Remnick Talks Spy Novels with a Former Spy

David Remnick Talks Spy Novels with a Former Spy

http://ift.tt/2vYHFsG

Jason Matthews spent over thirty years in the C.I.A., working in the former Soviet bloc and other hot spots, and when he retired he turned to the next best thing: writing spy novels. While they’re contemporary—Vladimir Putin appears as a character—they have more in common with John Le Carré’s tales than with the action thrillers of the post-9/11 era. In many of today’s stories, Matthews says, “a former F.B.I. guy is being chased by crazed colleagues, and with the help of a bipolar girlfriend does something amazing. I wanted to tell a more basic story about the classic Cold War struggle of East and West.” The forthcoming third volume in his trilogy is called “The Kremlin’s Candidate,” presumably with a nod toward current events. Whatever we may eventually learn about Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian intelligence, Matthews thinks that we ought not to be surprised: in matters of infiltration and compromise, he says, the Russians are always way ahead of us.

Note: In his interview with David Remnick, Jason Matthews misspoke in defining the acronym MICE used by the C.I.A. It is usually rendered as Money, Ideology, Compromise (or Coercion), and Ego.

Travel

via Everything http://ift.tt/2i2hEWb

August 22, 2017 at 04:34PM

Delta Introduces Video Chat Function for Customers to Interact With Agents

Delta Introduces Video Chat Function for Customers to Interact With Agents

http://ift.tt/2wkmqEc

In the commercial airline industry, carriers are constantly trying to outdo one another with innovations, no matter how big or small they may be. Take, for example, Delta’s latest development, which allows for customers video chat with the carrier’s reservations team. With the new technology, Delta is the first carrier in the US to offer a video chat function for its customers.

Delta announced today that passengers traveling through Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) can choose to video chat with a Delta representative. At DCA, passengers who are interested in the video chat function will see five digital screens with individual receivers. If you’re interested, all you have to do is pick up the tablet, initiate the video with a touch and you’ll then be connected via video with a Delta rep.

delta video

This latest addition from Delta has good intentions to make the airport and customer service experience easier, faster and more personable. But we can also see how the video chat functionality has the potential to be a bit awkward. Airport terminals around the ticket counter are loud and hectic, so it seems like an odd place to implement a new video chat function.

It’s conceivable that Delta wanted to be the first US carrier to offer this functionality for customer service, but its intentions likely meant well. Delta’s innovating in the reservations and customer service platforms in that it recommends that passengers interact with the airline on social media in addition to calling and emailing the airline. Plus, the Atlanta-based carrier is in the process of turning the airport experience into a paper-free one, using passengers’ fingerprints. Perhaps this video technology will take off, bound for other airports, but we’re curious to see how this pilot program works out.

Featured image courtesy of Delta.

Travel

via The Points Guy http://ift.tt/26yIAN2

August 22, 2017 at 04:16PM

Why Virtuoso’s New Must-Go Destinations Feel Similar

Why Virtuoso’s New Must-Go Destinations Feel Similar

http://ift.tt/2v2qTvN

Russ Bowling  / Flickr

A street in Puebla, Mexico, a destination with a growing luxury traveler base. Russ Bowling / Flickr

Skift Take: A new Virtuoso survey covering coveted luxury destinations for fall and the holidays doesn’t cover new territory, but some trends are revealed by reading between the lines.

— Laura Powell

At first glance, the results from Virtuoso’s new survey revealing this fall’s top-of-mind destinations don’t seem all that revolutionary. The international network of high-end travel advisors, drawing from transactional data, says the top ten must-go places for luxury travelers this fall and holiday season are Italy, the United Kingdom, France, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, Australia, The Netherlands, Germany, and China.

Most of the agents Skift interviewed agreed, however, that these findings are a bit broad. Drilling down, according to Victoria R. Boomgarden, president of Direct Travel Luxe, the reason countries like Italy and France are perennially on these lists is because they “offer an embarrassment of riches.” Her customers have “love affairs with certain countries and they go back again and again to go deeper” in search of more authentic experiences. So, for example, in Italy, luxury travelers have been heading to places like Puglia and Umbria, and more recently have been discovering Piemonte.

JoAnn Kurtz-Ahlers, president of Kurtz-Ahlers & Associates, a high-end consulting and marketing company, agrees. “Americans are going farther afield into new areas of these countries. In China, she mentions areas like Lijiang and Chengdu, while in Mexico, Merida and Puebla are gaining traction. The latter destination, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a recent addition to the luxury map due, in large part, to the spring opening of a new Rosewood property.

In fact, says Boomgarden, it is often the case that the arrival of a luxury hotel drives a surfeit of new business to a destination, whether a previously-unexplored place or a perennial favorite.

Those tried and true destinations in Europe can be particularly popular during autumn, when temperatures are moderate, crowds are smaller and prices are lower, Yes, even the rich are value-driven, according to Boomgarden. In fact, some luxury travelers prefer to wait to rent villas in Italy or France until the fall shoulder season arrives.

The Virtuoso survey analysis notes that “The Netherlands and Germany are particularly popular options for river cruisers wanting to visit the celebrated Christmas markets.” Meanwhile, “other travelers are focusing on warm-weather spots as the weather turns, such as South Africa, Mexico and Australia. In particular, South Africa continues to attract upscale explorers due to its wide array of adventure experiences.”

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

August 22, 2017 at 04:05PM

News: Scowsill takes up leadership of tech giant EON Reality

News: Scowsill takes up leadership of tech giant EON Reality

http://ift.tt/2vVmF85

Scowsill takes up leadership of tech giant EON Reality

EON Reality, a world leader in augmented and virtual reality based knowledge transfer for industry and education, has announced David Scowsill will take up the role of chief executive with the company.

The former head of the World Travel & Tourism Council stepped down earlier this year.

He was replaced at the organisation by former Mexican minister of tourism, Gloria Guevara Manzo/

In his new role, Scowsill will succeed Mats Johansson, who will continue to serve on the board and as president of EON Reality.

Scowsill has also been appointed to the board of directors.

“The world is entering a new phase of technological disruption, driven by big data, artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality, and virtual reality,” said Scowsill.

“This will have a dramatic impact on all of our lives, with many jobs being automated and others being created.

“EON Reality is at the epicentre of this tsunami, accelerating knowledge transfer to students and professionals alike.

“I am delighted to be joining the EON family at this critical stage, when the company is scaling rapidly, developing the technology platform and rolling out interactive digital centres around the world.”

The World Travel & Tourism Council is a private sector research and advocacy organisation that represents the travel industry globally.

Scowsill doubled membership over the last five years, through an outreach to globally operating companies in Asia and bringing in a mix of online and technology businesses.

Regularly providing current affairs and financial commentary on CNN, BBC, Bloomberg, CCTV and CNBC, he has interviewed many high-profile individuals and heads of state including presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton and former prime ministers Tony Blair and David Cameron.

He drove a program of visits with 85 heads of state to promote a sector which supports 294 million jobs and generates ten per cent of world GDP.

Prior to joining the WTTC as president in November 2010, Scowsill was an independent chairman and director who built an extensive network in private equity and venture capital.

He worked for six years with private equity houses, completing multiple deals in the technology and travel sectors.

Scowsill served as chief executive of Opodo, the pan-European online travel agency owned by nine of Europe’s leading airlines.

Here he built the company from start-up to a €500 million transaction turnover in two years, before the business was sold in 2004 to Amadeus, a technology company that serves the global travel industry.

Scowsill joined the board of Hilton International in 1997 as senior vice president of sales, marketing, and IT, driving a $100 million technology development program and leading the marketing brand re-unification between the two Hilton shareholder companies.

He has also previously worked at British Airways, from 1993 to 1997, as director for Europe/Middle East, and as regional general manager Asia/Pacific.

Leading the operations throughout south-east Asia, Japan, China and Australasia, he negotiated the joint service agreement and global alliance with Qantas, which became the model for future collaborative airline agreements.

Scowsill joined American Airlines in 1991 as managing director sales, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.

He is a graduate from the University of Southampton, UK, where he received a BA honours degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies.

Travel

via Breaking Travel News http://ift.tt/QS6xbI

August 22, 2017 at 03:51PM

New Skift Research Report: The State of Conferences and Events 2017

New Skift Research Report: The State of Conferences and Events 2017

http://ift.tt/2io2hay

Skift Take: The rapidly evolving conference and events sector is facing increasing competition. While competition brings better technology solutions, organizers need to maintain value in their conferences to remain viable in the long-term.

— Dave Montali

Today we are launching the latest report for our Skift Research subscribers, The State of Conferences and Events 2017.

Skift’s The State of Conferences and Events 2017 report examines the trends that are reshaping the meetings and events sector across all industries, evaluating how factors like new types of event technology, changes in sponsor activations and shifts in the broader culture are offering new opportunities for executives organizing meetings. It also investigates some of the challenges forcing meeting organizers to fundamentally rethink their approach to such gatherings, as the demands from audiences, sponsors, new types of conferences, and bigger questions about how to measure success remain on many executives’ minds.

Preview and Purchase

As conferences and events become a more important part of businesses’ branding and promotional efforts, many are also trying to steal a page from traditional music and entertainment festivals to keep attendees engaged and excited. On top of this, the changing demographics of corporate event attendees are causing a shift in audience preferences related to event programming and use of social media. Both of these factors are contributing to a phenomenon where traditional corporate meetings are becoming “festivalized,” incorporating the same creative, visceral, multimedia-focused activities one might have found only at a music or film festival in the past.

The high expectations set by C2, SXSW and TED are just one big change shifting the conferences and events landscape for meeting planners. Rapidly evolving event technology is another area that’s reshaping every aspect of the event experience, transforming everything from event management to analytics, digital event content and engagement, on-site networking, and personalized attendee programming. Most importantly, the evolution of marketing automation and data capture tools are helping organizers to inform strategic meeting management (SMM) and assess return on investment (ROI) more effectively.

Preview and Purchase

What You Will Learn From This Report

  • How have events like SXSW, TED and C2 transformed the event sector and raised the expectations of attendees?
  • Why are more corporate conferences and events taking their inspiration from creative-driven music and film festivals?
  • What types of technology are meeting organizers currently deploying for their events?
  • Which types of event technology tools offer the best return on investment for meeting planners, and create the best experience for guests?
  • Why is personalization critical to designing a successful meeting in 2017?
  • How do event organizers use tools like artificial intelligence and chatbots to improve the conference experience?
  • What struggles do event organizers face when creating compelling event sponsorship programs?

Subscribe to Skift Research Reports

This is the latest in a series of monthly reports, data sheets, and analyst calls aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision-maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

After you subscribe, you will gain access to our entire vault of reports conducted on topics ranging from technology to marketing strategy to deep dives on key travel brands. Reports are available online in a responsive design format, or you can also buy each report a la carte at a higher price.

Travel

via Skift https://skift.com

August 22, 2017 at 03:37PM