It’s the weekend. Call a bff and go out for a coffee. Hopefully it’s not too cold anymore (or warm if you are on the other side of the world). A coffee is always a good idea, helps you wind down from your busy week schedule, helps you relax, recharge, reconnect. But let’s not forget though, coffee may today be a hipster liquid fuel for your soul it actually has a far bigger history, dare I say, far more important than it’s status today, and it has nothing to do with single origin blends and everything with changing the course of history. The brew of empire, sedition and exile
This article provided so many aha moments like the first coffee house that opened in Vienna, which was called Blue Bottle (US readers should recognise that name). At the same time it talks about the role the first coffee shop in Paris played in the birth of the literary coffee movement. Cafe Procope being alive still today
. Given that this article focuses more on the European aspect of the black drink, if you want a little more, read about how Turkish coffee brought down an empire
So that’s an interesting topic, I’ve actually written about this before so thank you for indulging me a little bit. Anyway, here’s another mind blowing article I read this week, which somehow went by unnoticed. Casey Newton is a journalist for the Verve, who went deep into his investigation with Facebook. Only he took another angle in. If Facebook is the biggest “factory” in the new digital industry, he went to talk to the factory workers. Content moderators is a key job for the company, actually outsourced to third party companies, which pay peanuts to their workers. Think glorified call centers without actually talking on the phone. But what he found was deeply distressing, people traumatised, overworked, in some cases even fearful of their lives to the point of carrying guns at work. That’s not in China or India, it’s in the US. The secret lives of Facebook content moderators
China, as always, is one step ahead, they care about controlling content far more than we do, and have a long successful history of doing it. They are good at it. They are actually so good, that a whole generation of people grew up without any knowledge of even iconic moments in global political history like the 1989 Tiananmen square crackdown. So when they build content moderator factories (notice how in this case the NYTimes calls them “censorship” factories) they actually have to teach workers this forbidden history so that they know what to look for
. No, this is the NYTimes, not the Onion, close your mouth dear reader.
OK one more article for you, this one for the sports fans among you. You know basketball is huge in Europe and surprising huge in Greece, which hosts two of the most important and successful franchises in the history of the sport. Recently one of those teams changed its coach and recruited a guy considered an icon, a legend in US college basketball, Rick Pitino. Rick moves to the country to take the helm for PAO. Then a journalist decides to call him up and find out why he would actually do that, what’s his motivation behind such a move. He comes to visit and stays a few days in Athens with the coach. It sounds easy, a straight forward story, but believe me there is more here. Even if you do not love the sport, you simply have to read this. An incredibly well written article. If the Ringer were a print magazine we would call this a page turner. This journalist come to the country and manages to understand everything and nothing about it. He captures the essence of the story while at time he feels like a rabbit caught in the headlights. Coach Pitino, incredibly, sounds like he feels the same, yet at the very end he feels that he could stay here. The exile of Rick Pitino
That’s it for this week. If you need 7 minutes of wonder, check out the video bellow. If you like reading my letters, please be so kind to forward them to your friends or share them on your social media of choice.