The Best of the Web

To infinity and beyond! This week’s best of the web includes Philippe Stark’s article on infinity and its unmatched elegance in the design world, what it’s like teaching 1984 in  a year riddled with political curveballs, the teenage brides of Georgia and how a bill allowing ‘extreme surveillance’ was passed in the last week without much resistance.

1843 MAGAZINE: Philippe Starck on the infinity symbol

If you were asked what the greatest symbol on the planet was what would you say? In this short article French designer, architect and inventor Philippe Stark reveres the simplicity and elegance of infinity, ∞. It’s not something we actively meditate on, however Stark’s appreciation of a symbol, which is universally understood, allows us to spare an appreciating second for the mathematical symbol and its inventor. English mathematician John Wallis came up with the infinity symbol in 1655, and it remains a simple, but profound character. According to Starck good design is about achieving elegance, and infinity certainly ticks that box. Now, it’s time to contemplate the tick sign!

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THE ATLANTIC: What it’s like to teach 1984 in 2016

We can all agree that 2016 has the qualities of a dystopian fiction novel, but it’s not quite George Orwell’s 1984. Or is it? One teacher in San Francisco has been teaching the classic for years in a creative way, but this year Andrew Simmons believes things are different. The day after the US election results many of his students failed to turn up to his class — it’s worth mentioning 60% of his class is Latino. While Simmons simulation of a 1984-inspired state is engaging, he believes the lessons are more important now than ever to get young people to critically engage, to question the media-spin, to look for the answers. Simmons says he is ‘ecstatic’ to be a teacher during this time in American politics and history, but it’s now a question of whether students see the relevance of 1984 and what they can do to fight the acceptance of the system.

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THE NEW YORKER: The teenage brides of Georgia


As part of The New Yorker’s Photo Booth series, photojournalist Myriam Meloni traveled to Georgia to document the young brides and mothers of Georgia. The country has a long-standing tradition of girls marrying early, however it’s not all sweet wedding bells and happily ever after. Georgia has Europe’s highest rates of early marriage. Newly-married women soon fall pregnant, and complications often arise because their bodies are still growing. Many young women abandon their childhood dreams to become good wives and mothers, but sometimes there is an opportunity to continue studying and pursue a career.

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THE GUARDIAN: ‘Extreme surveillance’ becomes UK law with barely a whimper

The Investigatory Powers Act was passed last week legalising extreme forms of surveillance currently unmatched by other western countries. A lot of the public didn’t even know about the bill passing, and the opposition to it has been far and few. Lib Dem peer Lord Strasburg said: “The real Donald Trump has access to all the data that the British spooks are gathering and we should be worried about that.” The bill means that there is  lack of adequate protection for journalists’ sources. It also legalises hacking by security services into computers and phones even if the person investigated is not a suspect.

Read the full story here

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