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Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

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Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

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Wealthy Russians Are Back To Buying Real Estate In Europe — Sanctions Be Damned

After the start of the war in Ukraine, Russian oligarchs and other rich individuals turned to the real estate markets in Dubai and Turkey. Now Russian buyers are back in Europe. Three EU countries in particular are attracting buyers for their controversial "golden visa" program.

BERLINWestern sanctions imposed after the start of Russia's war against Ukraine have made financial outflows from Russia much more difficult — and paradoxically have also helped to strengthen Russia's economy, as the renowned economist Ruben Enikolopov recently noted in an interview for the online media "The Bell".

So while sanctions have not completely prevented these financial flows, they played a role in changing their direction.

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It was notable in real estate purchases during the first year of the war: as Russian buyers moved away from the previously coveted European market to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as to Turkey or the South Caucasus and even Southeast Asia.

Instead of "Londongrad", where the high- to middle-income earners from Vladimir Putin's empire turned for the previous two decades, people suddenly started talking about "Dubaigrad."

But this trend now seems to have peaked, with unexpected signs that Russians are back on the European real estate market.

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Meet The Weather Influencers: Climate Change, Vacation Plans, Lightning Bolts!

In recent years, social interest in climatology has grown exponentially, turning meteorologists into quasi-rockstars who, thanks to technology, can interact with their audiences and provide real-time updates.

Bernard Mergen's bookWeather Mattersexplores the notion that meteorological experiences hold a strong presence in people's imagination, sometimes even elevated to a quasi-religious category: it illuminates the paradoxes of order and disorder in everyday life and brings together forces such as scientific law, chance, and free will.

Our society lives with the constant need to know what the weather will be, tallied in the countless inquiries we make to websites or mobile apps. In the face of this and the specter of global warming, the job of climatologist and good ol' fashion weather forecaster is no longer confined to a trivial elevator conversation, but becomes a matter of public interest.

And with that, meteorologists have become true modern rock stars.

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Amazon Greenwashing: How The World's Largest Retailer Hides Its Carbon Footprint In Plain Sight

An investigation reveals that the company does not own any of the three renewable power plants it claims to operate in Spain — as well as a scheme allowing Amazon to dodge full regulatory oversight of its projects.

MADRID — Elías Bendodo, who was then Minister of the Presidency for the regional government of Andalusia, Spain, wore a reflective vest with the initials "AWS" when he inaugurated the Cabrera Solar photovoltaic plant in June 2021. This plant is located in the municipality of Alcalá de Guadaíra, near Seville.

AWS stands for Amazon Web Services, which is Amazon's cloud services brand. This "Amazon solar plant" — how it was described by the Andalusian government in their press release at the inauguration — has a capacity of 200 MW, and was designed to provide energy to as many as 120,000 households.

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On its official website, the multinational company led by Jeff Bezos features an interactive map titled "Our Renewable Energy Projects Worldwide." In Spain, it counts 45 projects. Most are solar panels installed on the rooftops of Amazon facilities, while 18 projects are more substantial, including solar and wind farms.

Amazon also periodically issues press releases that sound something like this: "Amazon surpasses 1.55 GW of renewable capacity in Spain with two new solar plants in Castilla y León and a new solar roof in Catalonia."

So far, everything appears normal. These are common strategies for any company. However, as La Marea has been able to verify, Amazon does not in fact own at least some of these projects.

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food / travel
Katarzyna Skiba

“Ghost Kitchens” Are Coming To Europe — Why They Might Not Last

“Ghost Kitchens” or “Dark Kitchens" — restaurants that only serve delivery customers — have exploded in the post-pandemic landscape, and are now becoming more common in Europe. In spite of their convenience, many have reported poor working conditions and health code violations.

PARISDriven by the COVID-19 pandemic, online deliveries have drastically increased in recent years. Even as lockdowns have come to an end, the promises of convenience from online giants such as Amazon, to delivery apps such as GoPuff, Deliveroo and Uber Eats continue to aid their ongoing success among consumers.

Though fast-food and convenient shipping are best-known as an American phenomenon, “ghost kitchens," or online restaurants without a storefront, have now entered the European market.

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On the inside, they have more in common with an assembly line in a factory than a traditional restaurant kitchen. They have no storefronts or sit-down space, and instead operate exclusively through online delivery apps such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Customers who believe they are ordering from a nearby restaurant instead receive meals from a chain which may be producing several different cuisines at once, for several different apps. They are often located in industrial areas, frequented only by delivery drivers looking to pick orders up.

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In The News
Valeria Berghinz, Michelle Courtois and Anne-Sophie Goninet

No Ceasefire, Maduro Election Interference, No Más Sexy Halloween Nurses

👋 Häj ą̊ dig!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Israel and the U.S. dismiss global calls for Gaza ceasefire, Venezuelan elections are in doubt and Spanish nurses are not Ok with those racy (or ghoulish) Halloween costumes. Meanwhile, Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza dives back into the abortion debate in the wake of the recent elections that will push the conservative ruling party out of power.

[*Elfdalian, Sweden]

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Carlos Javier González Serrano

When Finding Your “Better Self" Means Not Caring About Others

Many of the contemporary philosophies that promise to help us improve our lives and well-being also require cutting off relationships with other people — one of the most important parts of living in a society with others.


MADRID — Abundant, insidious… Everyday, everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we receive, whether surreptitiously or explicitly, messages inviting us to acquire and feed our subjective autonomy through personal development exercises, emotional coaching, self-improvement techniques, some dubious self-help method or through different esoteric or "healing" paths, like astrology, tai chi, flower therapy, energy therapies, which promise individual fulfillment.

The rules are simple, but stupefying and, most worryingly, require severe emotional discipline: "Show your self-love," "Be your own universe," "You forge your absolute self," "Embrace your being and it will embrace you” and other similar nonsense and trivialities.

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These sayings, which aspire to be heirs of the Enlightenment (whose Kantian motto – sapere aude! "Have courage to use your own reason" – intended to provide individuals with the intellectual tools to achieve independent free will) or of stoicism, hide a dangerous and alienating political (or apolitical) drift.

Through the trivialization and commercialization of people's emotional insecurity, submerged in an intellectual narcotization caused by various contemporary malaises which have become endemic, these personal development maxims rob us of one of the most essential elements of a healthy society: the ability to feel affected by others.

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Ignacio Pereyra

The Truth About Men's Health — And Why We Don't Talk About It

There are obvious and not-so-obvious reasons that adult men tend to do a bad job in taking care of their health and well-being.

Updated Oct. 19, 2023 at 7:50 p.m.

When the doctor asked a friend of mine what he was doing at the clinic that day, the answer was a jovial: “I don’t know. Well, I do — so my wife, who told me to come, can stop busting my balls!”

My friend, an almost 50-year-old father of three, is telling me about his health check a few days ago. His wife smiles a smile which sits somewhere between relief for her insistent win, and resignation at the narrative. I feel a bit uncomfortable: Am I a sour grape if I don’t smile along with him? Should I say something? I haven’t been asked anything, so I stay quiet, not wanting to be a bore.

It did however feel like a great opportunity to bring up this issue. It reminded me of a diploma in masculinities and social change which I took last year, led by Argentine psychoanalyst Débora Tajer. She spoke of how men come to health care late, and when they do it, it’s at a woman’s suggestion, or because we simply can’t ignore it anymore.

Of course, some men do get basic health checks, irrespective of it being on their own initiative or at someone else's (be it a medical certificate needed for work or sports). But it’s not the norm, nor is it the only way we can describe our relationship to our health, or how we look after ourselves.

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Senior Influence: Why Some Brands Are Finally Dropping Ageism From Their Advertising

As the number of people over the age of 65 increases, some global brands are taking steps to reduce ageism in advertising, both for ethical and business motivations.

MADRID — Elderly people still rarely appear in advertising — and when they do, they are usually represented either in a stereotypical or a pejorative way.

But advertising experts say the tables are turning. Although still rather limited, initiatives that defy such ageism and age discrimination are beginning to pop out.

Marc Compte, professor of Information and Communication Sciences at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), gives as an example campaigns such as #AWorld4AllAges, launched in Nov. 2021 by the WHO with the support of the 194 member states of the organization.

The aim was to change the way people think, feel and act regarding age and aging.

“It was a turning point,” Compte says. Two other recent campaigns featured older actors: the first by L'Oréal on social media, which included a dozen influencers between 45 and 84 years old, and Zara in summer 2023, with 67-year-old actress Ángela Molina.

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Raquel C. Pico

Curtains For Glitter? Europe Bans The Most Shiny Of Microplastics

The European Union has just banned glitter, among many other microplastics. Still, that doesn't necessarily mean the end of 'sparkle' — we'll just need to look for more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

MADRID — Adored by some, abhorred by others, a dream-making nightmare of arts and crafts that's ultimately impossible to ever fully remove. It's glitter the reigning sovereign of kids' birthday parties and New Year's eve, which also happens to be a highly polluting substance.

After all, not only is it made of plastic and thus takes long time to degrade, but its tiny size makes it spread and become a burden on the environment. Trying to use glitter responsibly is not a simple task, but disposing of it is even harder.

That's why scientists and environmentalists have been calling for a more critical view of its use. Some have advocated for it to be discontinued, which is what has just been decided in Europe, where glitter was recently banned.

The decision is part of the fight against pollution and the EU's green transition. As the European Commission explained in a press release announcing the measure, the regulation is expected to prevent "the release of approximately half a million tons of microplastics into the environment."

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Fran Sánchez Becerril

A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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This Happened

This Happened — September 29: COVID-19 Death Toll Hits 1 Million

On this day in 2020, the worldwide death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic reached one million.

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