Why does Brooklyn inspire so many young writers?
Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area (South Pasadena, to be exact). Her first language was Farsi, her second (and luckily mostly forgotten) tongue, Valley Girl. She attended Sarah Lawrence College and The Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars MA program. She has been awarded fellowships from Johns Hopkins University, Northwestern University, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Yaddo.
She began writing as an arts and entertainment journalist—her subjects have spanned from clubs (Paul Oakenfold!) to couture (Paul Poiret!); Maggie Gyllenhaal (Maggie’s first big feature!) to Fabio (Porochista’s first feature at 16!); New York City’s finest drinking establishments (Paper magazine bar columnist, 2000-2001, as well as New York magazine online bar critic) to rural Illinois’s most dangerous skydiving compound (2004 staff writer stint at The Chicago Reader). Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Daily Beast, The Village Voice, The Chicago Reader, Paper, Flaunt, Nylon, Bidoun, Alef, Canteen, nerve.com and FiveChapters.com, among others.
She currently spends a third of her time in New York City and two thirds three hours away in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania where she teaches Fiction at Bucknell University.
Question: Why does Brooklyn inspire so many young writers?
Khakpour: There’s definitely been a lot of talk of the young Brooklyn writer. And there’s now been the backlash for sure. You know I got called a Brooklyn writer not too long ago, and I was torn between a sense of pride or a sense of embarrassment, because now it’s become such a thing. I think we, again, have to think of why that phenomenon exists, right? Brooklyn was initially a cheap neighborhood for writers to live. And you could have space. And you could, probably most importantly, have your own office, which is what I have now in my current place in Brooklyn. I have a nice office. I wouldn’t have been able to get that in Manhattan at the modest price that I’m paying. So there’s those considerations. But then, you know, you get enough artists and writers moving to a neighborhood, the thing begins to brand itself – probably originating in a sense of pride, right? People saying, “Well yeah,” you know, “We’re Brooklyn writers and this is our thing,” and you know trying to defend themselves. And then it becomes a sort of embarrassing brand. So yeah there’s times . . . You have to sort of say it with a smile, you know, that you’re a Brooklyn writer. But that’s probably gonna change because Brooklyn is getting awfully expensive – to the point where it’s definitely in competition with Manhattan, especially the savory parts. So I don’t know. I wonder in a few years are we gonna have the Queens writer, (01:32:49) you know? And then far into the future it will be the Staten Island writer, you know? It’s scary. But what I don’t like about it is that it takes so much attention from all the writers that don’t even live in New York. That’s one thing about the book tour that was so interesting to me, and about the friendships I have forged with the other writers who live all over this country. And you know I think I always thought that as a writer you needed to live here. And even recently I thought it’s a good idea to be near my editor, or my agent. And you know it’s sort of a fallacy. So I don’t like the feeling that . . . I don’t like spreading the sort of idea that writers need to live, if not in Manhattan, then right by it. Because the beauty is now you can, for the most part, live everywhere . . . anywhere you want. But I do love Brooklyn, and I like . . . I like my new neighborhood in Kensington. There’s a lot of . . . There’s a very vibrant Middle Eastern community there that I can spy on, which is fun. And you get a great diversity in Brooklyn, and it’s just affordable and it’s beautiful. So a formula works I guess.
For one thing, it's cheap.
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The pizza giant Domino's partners with a Silicon Valley startup to start delivering pizza by robots.
- Domino's partnered with the Silicon Valley startup Nuro to have robot cars deliver pizza.
- The trial run will begin in Houston later this year.
- The robots will be half a regular car and will need to be unlocked by a PIN code.
Would you have to tip robots? You might be answering that question sooner than you think as Domino's is about to start using robots for delivering pizza. Later this year a fleet of self-driving robotic vehicles will be spreading the joy of pizza throughout the Houston area for the famous pizza manufacturer, using delivery cars made by the Silicon Valley startup Nuro.
The startup, founded by Google veterans, raised $940 million in February and has already been delivering groceries for Kroger around Houston. Partnering with the pizza juggernaut Domino's, which delivers close to 3 million pizzas a day, is another logical step for the expanding drone car business.
Kevin Vasconi of Domino's explained in a press release that they see these specially-designed robots as "a valuable partner in our autonomous vehicle journey," adding "The opportunity to bring our customers the choice of an unmanned delivery experience, and our operators an additional delivery solution during a busy store rush, is an important part of our autonomous vehicle testing."
How will they work exactly? Nuro explained in its own press release that this "opportunity to use Nuro's autonomous delivery" will be available for some of the customers who order online. Once they opt in, they'll be able to track the car via an app. When the vehicle gets to them, the customers will use a special PIN code to unlock the pizza compartment.
Nuro and its competitors Udelv and Robomart have been focusing specifically on developing such "last-mile product delivery" machines, reports Arstechnica. Their specially-made R1 vehicle is about half the size of a regular passenger car and doesn't offer any room for a driver. This makes it safer and lighter too, with less potential to cause harm in case of an accident. It also sticks to a fairly low speed of under 25 miles an hour and slams on the breaks at the first sign of trouble.
What also helps such robot cars is "geofencing" technology which confines them to a limited area surrounding the store.
For now, the cars are still tracked around the neighborhoods by human-driven vehicles, with monitors to make sure nothing goes haywire. But these "chase cars" should be phased out eventually, an important milestone in the evolution of your robot pizza drivers.
Check out how Nuro's vehicles work:
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