Sunday, July 29, 2012

Links for the week ending 29 July 2012

I have to admit that the Aurora massacre and the tsunami of predictable commentary that followed more or less drove me off the internets for awhile. I'm sure you've all read plenty about it without my help, if reading about it was what you wanted to do. I will only point you at this Maia Szavalitz column at Time which asks the most obvious (yet ridiculously necessary) question about why there should be a connection between publicity, charity, and health care.

No, one more: "The grief we carry in our bodies," from Janine DeBaise. In case anyone here hasn't seen it already.

Does any other American get embarrassed when the only major news organization to jump on this sort of thing is The Guardian? Just me, then? Well. By Chitrangada Choudhury for The Guardian, a short look at the new report conducted by researchers at NYU and Fordham law schools, which found the NYPD routinely engaged in violations of basic constitutional rights against Occupy protesters.

Quinn Norton at Wired with news you can use in the event of an ongoing, slow-motion civil rights emergency: "This Cute Chat Site Could Save Your Life and Help Overthrow Your Government." Internets, fuck yeah!

At Contents Magazine, Erin Kissane interviews the founder of Homicide Watch, data-driven online reporting that logs and follows every single homicide in Washington, D.C., a priceless resource for the families of victims as well as the community at large.

Lois Beckett at ProPublica is still hammering at targeted online political advertising: "Who they're targeting, and what data they're using, is secret." But you can help drag it into the light if you're in the mood to do some crowd-sourced journalism yourself. If you're not, see this Jill Lepore essay in The New Yorker about campaign strategy as board game.

We've all seen the articles about drought and the coming rise in food prices. But there's more fun on the inflationary horizon. At Reuters, Sinead Carew reports on new data pricing plans being rolled out by Verizon and AT&T, concluding with this grim observation: "people will likely have to spend a much higher portion of their earning on Internet services in future." Fabulous.

Alison Frankel at Reuters with an op-ed suggesting that banks have earned themselves the same treatment as tobacco companies: direct judicial oversight. Not for nothing does she title this "A modest proposal," alas.

"'One cannot afford the luxury of proceeding on the basis of justice alone.'" Long and somewhat medicinal NYRB piece by St├ęphanie Giry about the disabling compromises the international community has made with Cambodia's government stacked with Khmer Rouge-linked power brokers.

Lots of tributes to Sally Ride this week, and some tantrums from prominent gay voices (cough *Andrew Sullivan* cough) about Ride's decision to only out herself posthumously. I loved E.J. Graff's two takes on Ride's status as closeted feminist icon and pioneer. At The American Prospect.

So this 17-year-old from Sarasota, FL won this year's Google Science Fair for devising a computer program that greatly improves the accuracy of less-invasive biopsies for breast cancer. An interview with Brittany Wenger by Anna Kuchment at SciAm.

Helen Branswell at CTV looks at an outbreak of drug-resistant infections in a Toronto hospital that turned out to be spreading via… newly installed handwashing sinks. Oy.

Feel like engaging in some citizen science? You're in luck! Researchers are recruiting people to search for — I kid you not — zombie bees. Seriously. Katherine Harmon at SciAm about ZomBeeWatch.Org.

Lovely guest blog at SciAm this week by Kelly Izlar on the lyricism and science of the scent of rain.

The International AIDS Conference took place this week in a oddly optimistic, even celebratory key. Not so fast. Laurie Garrett says, "The End of AIDS? What are you smoking?" And, at Colorlines, Jamilah King writes a beautiful essay asking "why we all take the risks that we do in bed."

I can't even bring myself to link to all of Irin Carmon's depressing stories at Salon about This Week In Reducing Women's Access to Reproductive Self-Determination (you can find 'em for yourself if you're in need of some extra dejection in your day), but, at Jezebel, Erin Gloria Ryan asks, "Why Do We Suck at Taking Birth Control?" Also insanely depressing, but awfully damn good as an essay, Mimi Swartz at Texas Monthly writes about the past 18 months of war on women's health in Texas. Via Longreads.

In case we forget that it's not just reproductive self-determination under attack: Akiba Solomon at Colorlines writes about the most recent Senate Farm Bill would cut some $4.5 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Trigger warnings and etc. apply: At Jezebel, Katie J.M. Baker writes about what we can learn from the Reddit thread where rapists explain themselves. At The New Inquiry, Charlotte Shane asks some difficult questions about when an individual's experience of being raped doesn't match up with the narrative society has created for the category of rape.

"I always try to point out that the 'life' part of the equation means something different to everyone." Dana Shell Smith at The Atlantic has the smartest take I've seen on the "having it all" debate. And, credit where credit is due, I saw it via a link tweeted by Anne-Marie Slaughter.

Just wonderful. At The Morning News, Jessica Francis Kane interviews her mother about the year she spent in the early 1960s as a secretary in Playboy Magazine's advertising department. Internets, it delights me when you interview your mothers.

Maira Kalman also delights me. At Maria Popova's Brain Pickings.

At Salon, Sarah Hepola writes about the pleasures and terrors of traveling alone. Honey, the hippies in the park could have told you where to camp that night!

Lindsay Miller, the author of The Hairpin's marvelous "Ask a Queer Chick" column, with possibly the best thing ever published on the internet: "The Day You Get Your MFA in Poetry."

This is from a couple of weeks ago, but, you know, I'm slow. Kathryn Schulz reviews Jim Holt's Why Does the World Exist at Vulture.

This is from a couple of years ago, but, see above. At the Paris Review, Amanda Fortini interviews Mary Karr about writing memoirs. "A kid has no control. You’re three feet tall, flat broke, unemployed, and illiterate. Terror snaps you awake. You pay keen attention. People can just pick you up and move you and put you down."

This is from right now, and it is amazing. At The New Inquiry, Laurie Penny looks at the Olympic city from the Tube. "London, Underground."