Seeking a professional opinion on the Bravo reality series Gallery Girls, we asked the London-based art dealer, curator and writer Kenny Schachter to weigh in. After his recap of the first two episodes, we weren’t entirely certain he would stay in the game. But today we received his thoughts on episode three. Stay tuned (we hope) for further musings on the program from Mr. Schachter, whose writing has appeared in books on architect Zaha Hadid, and artists Vito Acconci and Paul Thek, and who is a contributor to the British edition of GQ and Swiss money manager Marc Faber’s Gloom Boom & Doom Report.
I set out this week to suspend disbelief (yes, a paradoxical prospect given that we are dealing with a reality show) close my eyes and hold my nose, take a giant leap of faith and try my very best to find something redeeming in the third installment of Gallery Girls (here, GG). But based on the evidence of this program, it seems that a serviceably watchable, remotely entertaining television show about art is just too good to be true, and despite the sheer focus and determination with which I attempted to seek out the merit in this enterprise—and, reader, I tried, I really tried—my efforts were in vain.
Freedom may just be another word for nothing left to lose, but it was also a way of life for one Queens peacock—or, at least, it was until today. DNAinfo reports that the wayward bird has been captured after nearly a month on the lam—a bitter reminder to New Yorkers that freedom is fleeting.
red in the face
After we posted on the cheating scandal embroiling Harvard University yesterday, a student implicated in the investigation wrote in to offer another side of the story.
If you haven’t been following, the university said yesterday that nearly half of the 279 students in an undergraduate course—later identified by the Harvard Crimson as Government 1310: Introduction to Congress—were being investigated for academic dishonesty on a take-home final exam.
According to press reports, the inquiry was opened after a teaching fellow, or TF for short, noticed that students collaborated on the exam despite instructions that such collaboration was prohibited, and that some students used “same long, identical strings of words.”
But our source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while collaboration may have been expressly forbidden*, it was widely practiced by students and even teaching fellows.
It’s hard to be heads down when it’s hot out. Exhortations to “just keep shipping” trigger fantasies of sailboats; Friday afternoon happy hours just aren’t as appealing as sangria on a terrace in Spain. Besides–is there any surer sign of a healthy startup sector than tech stars taking lavish vacations?
Google engineer Morgan Marquis-Boire and Ph.D. computer science student Bill Marczak introduced New York Times readers today to FinSpy, one of the scariest spyware packages you’ve probably never heard of. Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak have been on FinSpy’s trail, mapping all its nasty flavors, since earlier this year. The software suite is available to law enforcement for legitimate investigative use, but the researchers have found it is also being used by oppressive governments to track the communications, activities and personal connections of political dissidents.
In a report linked by the Times, Mr. Marquis-Boire and Mr. Marczak detail how they first learned of the spyware as a Trojan payload attached to emails sent to Bahraini human rights activists, then began peeling apart its other, much creepier uses–tracking everything a target does with a smart phone. Pretty much any smart phone. The researchers’ list of what FinSpy Mobile can do is chilling:
It's a dog's life
Keeping dogs in the city has always been something of a complicated prospect—besides sharing close quarters with a furry creature, most New Yorkers lack both yards and the time to take their dogs on the requisite 2-3 walks a day.
Dog walkers have long ambled the halls of New York apartment buildings, multiple leashes in hand, but as New Yorker’s spare time diminishes and luxury buildings look for new ways to draw tenants, a new breed of pet care has become increasingly popular—the full-service dog concierge.
Avraham Tischler, a 21-year old underdog candidate for the State Senate in southern Brooklyn, has suddenly surged to over 27,400 followers as his September 13 primary date fast approaches. A cursory survey of dozens of the followers showed all of them to have no activity and no followers, a hallmark trait of fake, automated accounts. Furthermore, the Twitter tool StatusPeople estimated 100 percent of his followers as “fake.”
The number stands in sharp contrast to his generally inactive account. Mr. Tischler, who started his campaign account earlier this summer, has only made 23 tweets, and the only interaction others have had with his profile in recent days was political blogger Yossi Gestetner noting the giant leap in followers. The exact point when he accumulated these followers was unclear, but a Google cache from last month shows him with six followers.
BAT OUT OF HELL
The final print column by Arthur S. Brisbane in his capacity as New York Times public editor—a position created in the wake of 2003′s Jayson Blair scandal, making him only the fourth ombudsman in the paper’s history—ran on August 26th. The final day of his term is today, August 31. But one can only imagine that the Times is eager for this day—and his tenure with the paper—to end.
Best Laid Plans
We often think that zoning codes, the string theory of our cities big and small, as shaping every inch of the built environment. But really, zoning is more like the mold into which we pour our hopes and desire. Emphasis on desire.
The Times reports that a zoning law meant to bar smut sellers and strip joints from residential neighborhoods has been struck down in court. It used to be common for shops to carry a mix of licit and illicit goods, pretending, life those softcore flicks on Cinemax, that it wasn’t what it really was.
A little over a month ago, The Wall Street Journal identified the Curse of Dick Fuld, after the bank bosses who picked assets off the carcass of Lehman Brothers resigned from their posts in unceremonious fashion.
First went Bob Diamond, who snapped up Lehman’s U.S. securities business for Barclays, and who stepped down at the beginning of July after his bank agreed to pay $450 million to settle an investigation into its efforts to manipulate interbank lending rates.
Next fell Nomura chief executive Kenichi Watanabe and chief operating officer Takumi Shibata—who led Nomura’s deal for Lehman’s European and Asian units—amid an insider trading scandal that roiled the Japanese firm.
This week, it seemed, Barclays and Nomura appeared to pare back their respective global ambitions in tandem.