Every day Document has an agenda: news from the under read corners of the world, and the web, that might not end up crossing your path. Discoveries, curiosities, essential cultural dispatches—with this information, go forth.



The World

A single person is stockpiling the rare metal used in smart phone batteries. 

In 2015, backed by a Russian billionaire, Anthony Milewski started buying cobalt from mining companies and putting it in warehouses. Seeped in human rights abuses and corruption scandals, half of the world’s supply can be found in the copper belt running across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, and Zambia. Since the start of 2016, the metal’s value has more than tripled, as it’s used in everything from medicine to tiles, but it’s most commonly found in batteries—particularly for mobile phones. Today, Milewski’s company holds almost 3,000 metric tons, the largest private stockpile on the planet. Bloomberg tells the story of how Milewski is exploring Canadian mines to find new supplies and the ethics of hoarding one of the world’s most sought-after metals.

“If you tried to go out and buy 3,000 tons of cobalt today in the spot market, you’d need a telescope to see the price,” Milewski, 37, says from his office in Zug, Switzerland, where he also is a managing director for Pala Investments Ltd. The company is controlled by Vladimir Iorich, who made his fortune in Russian coal and steel. “The market’s gotten so tight.”


The Mind

California’s mental services tax on the wealthy has been a huge success.

In 2004, Californians approved Proposition 63, a one percent tax on all personal income over $1 million to provide expanded mental health services statewide. Fourteen years later, researchers from the RAND Corporation have analyzed the tax’s impact from 2012 through 2016 to reveal that the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health provided prevention and early intervention services for almost 130,000 youth and intensive services. In addition to the number of people the program reaches, homelessness also dramatically dropped, the employment rate increased and participants experienced less inpatient hospitalization for their mental health problems. Scott Ashwood, the lead author of the report, said the report proved the new tax was working.

Helping young people can change the trajectory of their lives and potentially put them on a path where they experience less suffering, better relationships and more success in life.


The Future

Staring directly into your iPhone for hours is good for one thing: brain surgery.

Brain surgery is complicated, expensive and takes years of training, but in a recent report published in the Journal of Neurosurgery, scientists praised the use of smartphones in minimally invasive procedures, saying the device is easy to use, efficient, cost-effective, and a great learning tool for less experienced neurosurgeons.

During minimally invasive surgeries performed in 42 patients, a fully charged smartphone (iPhone models 4, 5, and 6) was attached to the front of the neuroendoscope by means of an adapter. The primary surgeon focused directly on the iPhone screen in front of him or her, rather than off to one side where the video monitor normally stands. The smartphone relayed images from the screen via Wi-Fi to a video monitor placed elsewhere in the operating room.



Were Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn the original influencers?

In the wake of yesterday’s news that Hubert de Givenchy’s has died at aged 91, most of the obituaries have played homage to the designers famous relationship with his muse, Audrey Hepburn. But The New York Times takes it one step further, delving into their 40-year relationship and pay respect to their relationship that, arguably, paved the way for contemporary influences, including Kim Kardashian.

Mr. Givenchy and Ms. Hepburn found each other before either was really famous—the designer had only recently opened his maison; her first major movie had yet to be released—and they stuck with each other through seven films, from 1954 to 1987. He made not just the white dress she wore to win her Best Actress Oscar in 1954 (for Roman Holiday) but her wedding dress (for her second marriage, to Andrea Dotti). And so many betwixt and beyond that, in 2016, the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague had an entire retrospective devoted to his work for the actress, called To Audrey With Love. In the show, Ms. Hepburn was quoted as saying of the relationship: “Givenchy’s clothes are the only ones I feel myself in. He is more than a designer, he is a creator of personality.”



The Met gives everyone free access to the images in its collection.

One year ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced they were aiming to give everyone free access to their collection. An ambitious feat maybe. Yet, 12 months on they’re starting to prove that they meant what they said. Quartz has reported that nearly half a million images from the museum’s collection are available for anyone to use online, however, they want. Available under a creative commons zero license, the revelation will be great news to artists, graphic designers and publishers alike as not only as they free to use, but they also come with zero conditions.

“The Met is so eager to push this project out into the world, that they’ve partnered with Wikipedia, to “Met-ify the Wiki,” as Loic Tallon, the museum’s chief digital officer, puts it. “It is beyond our website that the impact of Open Access has been most compelling, and nowhere more so than through The Met’s partnership with the Wikimedia Community and on Wikipedia,” writes Tallon in a blog post. He reports that about 10 million users are now seeing the Met’s images on Wikipedia every month, which is quadruple its online audience just a year ago.”



Longlist of writer-translated duos announced for International Man Booker prize.

It’s almost impossible to sum up the complex relationship between an author and translator but the prize-winning and self-taught translator Deborah Smith beautifully compared it to that of a pianist and a composer “All metaphors are imperfect approximations, but my favorite is that of the translator and author as instrumentalist and composer. The composer’s already done the work— how hard can it be to play?”. The endless interpretation makes it seems like an impossible task, which is why every year the International Man Booker Prize pays tribute to the best duos in the industry. This year sees stories from Iran, Poland, and Taiwan included in the line-up. The chair of the 2018 Man Booker International Prize judging panel called the process an “exhilarating adventure.”

We have traveled across countries, cultures, imaginations, somehow to arrive at what could have been an even longer long-list. It’s one which introduces a wealth of talent, a variety of forms and some writers little known in English before. It has great writing and translating energy and we hope readers take as much pleasure in discovering the work as we did.