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Popular Elsewhere

14:07 UK time, Monday, 12 September 2011

 A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.


Time headline

 Time readers are drawn to a guide on how to survive a catastrophe. One survivor quoted in the article is Kent Harstedt who survived when, in 1994, the ferry he was on sunk in the Baltic Sea. He witnessed something strange about the other passengers' reactions. "Entire groups seemed to be immobilized. They were conscious, but they were not reacting."

The article says surprisingly this actually isn't that unusual. "Crowds generally become quiet and docile. Panic is rare. The bigger problem is that people do too little, too slowly. They sometimes shut down completely, falling into a stupor. " So, the piece concludes, panic can be good for you.

Guardian headline 
From how to survive a catastrophe, Guardian readers are finding out how to predict one. Or not, as Charlie Brooker hints. He's not convinced by the claim that a new supercomputer, Nautilus, will be able to predict future revolutions. For one thing, the proof seems to be that after ingesting news articles the computer predicted the Arab Spring and Osama Bin Laden's whereabouts. Only the computer predicted the events after they happened. But that's not all. Brooker points out that the machine works by spotting the frequency of emotive words like "terrible" and "awful" in news articles, then cross-references them geographically.

Brooker points out some interesting anomalies are sure to crop up. "It probably believes the British public is on the verge of violently overthrowing Jedward, whereas the reality, as we all know, is that the beloved Jedwardian Era shows no signs of abating."

New York Times headline

The buzzword of the moment is "authenticity" according to a well hit New York Times article. It says the word is rolling off the tongues of celebrities, web gurus and politicians. Even the Vatican has weighed in. The paper points out "In a June statement entitled 'Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age,' Pope Benedict XVI said that increasing involvement in online life 'inevitably poses questions not only of how to act properly, but also about the authenticity of one's own being.'"

But there's a twist. The more people shout about how true to themselves they are being, the bigger the demand for at least an acknowledgment of artifice. Honestly.

Daily Beast headline 

And one person who has confessed to not being authentic about her intentions was Nancy Upton when she entered a fashion chain's competition for a plus-size model. She explains in a popular Daily Beast article that she entered American Apparel's plus-size model contest as a joke.

Upton took part as a form of protest against what she sees as the tone the company was speaking to women in larger sizes, who it had previously said weren't their target audience. She sent in photographs of her "bathing in salad dressing, chugging down chocolate sauce, and Hoovering fried chicken". But the part she didn't predict was that she would go on to win which she said "shocked me nearly as much as the crudity of the whole campaign itself".


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