Sunday, August 12, 2012

Links for the week ending 12 August 2012

"Shenyang Zhou assured the American buyers that his Chinese-made weight-loss capsules were safe. Zhou was sure because he had a test — one person eats a whole bottle." Another story from Trine Tsouderous at the Chicago Tribune that will make you rethink ever taking any optional drug-type product again.

At Reuters, Melanie Hicken reports, "New homes burn faster, but states resist sprinklers." I had no idea about the fast-burning property of lightweight-construction. (On the other hand, my house is so old that it probably burns in slow-motion.)

Also from Reuters, your Let's Despair story of the week, by Deborah Zabarenko: "July was hottest month ever for continental U.S.: NOAA." But Julianne Hing at Colorlines will make you smile with "Our Aunties' Best Tips to Beat the Summer Heat."

"How lobbyists became Congress's leading policy wonks." By Suzy Khimm at the Washington Post.

Able to save American health care with one arm tied behind her back two broken ribs: "Justice Ginsburg shrugs off rib injury." By Joan Kiskupic for Reuters.

The new health care law may have devastating consequences for immigrants and mixed-status families. By Salimah Ebrahim for Reuters.

Also, Michelle Andrews at the Washington Post reports, "Parents' insurance covers children up to age 26 — but not for pregnancy."

It was Be Horrified At Louisiana Charter Schools Week at Mother Jones. Kate Sheppard reports on a Delhi, LA school that requires female students to submit to pregnancy tests and expels those students found to be pregnant. And Deanna Pan covers "14 Wacky 'Facts' Kids Will Learn in Louisiana's Voucher Schools." Oy. Friends, just say no to privatizing public education, m'kay?

At Boing Boing, Maggie Koerth-Baker digs into the math and answers the question, "What do Christian fundamentalists have against set theory?"

Pussy Riot's show trial is drawing to a close in Moscow. Miriam Elder at The Guardian reports on the powerful closing statements of the accused young women.

Maria Sudekum reports for the AP about the arson destruction of a mosque in Joplin, MO only a few days after the massacre of worshippers at a Sikh temple outside Milwaukee, WI. Here's the link to contribute to the rebuilding campaign for the mosque. This E.J. Graff piece at The American Prospect, "The Opposite of American," sums up exactly why I am making a contribution.

At Salon, Irin Carmon combs through Ann Romney's public statements to create a portrait of the woman who would be First Lady.

At ProPublica, Lois Beckett continues her series on political campaigns and online targeting: "Pandora Asks Listeners to Share Their Emails With Romney."

From Soraya H at Tehran Bureau, "The Open Secrets of Ramadan," about fasting observance in Iran this year.

This story is being sold on the quirkiness of the inmates' entertainment choices — The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air!—but there is a lot of poignancy to Carol Rosenberg's reporting for the Miami Herald on what gets stocked in the small library for Guantanamo inmates now entering their second decade of captivity.

Katherine Harmon at SciAm on what brain scans of people with hoarding disorders reveal. Oh, boy. If the underlying issue is an inability to make decisions about what to do with your stuff, I'm in trouble…

Science + history = APOCALYPSE. "Mass grave in London reveals how volcano caused global catastrophe." By Dalya Alberge at The Observer. Via Janice Liedl.

At SciAm, Dana Hunter has been blogging a wonderful series of posts about volcanic monitoring and the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980. This week she covers the eruption itself (but I highly recommend going back to read the whole series, too). "The Cataclysm: 'Vancouver! Vancouver! This Is It!'"

Pretty soon it will be controlling drone attacks, right? "Brain In a Dish Flies Plane: A living 'brain' of cultured rat cells can control an F-22 fighter jet flight simulator." By Jennifer Viegas at Discovery News. Via Dan Sinker.

Oh, dude. At Jezebel, Lindy West eats the new "female gaze of contempt" for dinner. Hilarity ensues.

By Jennifer P at, an excellent advice column on creeper dudes and rape culture. Via Liz Henry.

Shani O. Hilton at Outside: "Gabby Douglas' Blackness Matters, Except When It Doesn't."

At The Atlantic, Jen Doll interviews Molly Templeton, who set up a women's How-to Tumblr in response to the NYRB's disgracefully gendered how-to issue. I haven't even read the Tumblr yet, and already it makes me happy.

"My kind of base position on existence is that you just have to admit you're a bit of a twat." At The Hairpin, Chiara Atik interviews Caitlin Moran on how to be a feminist.

Oh, please, go right ahead and belabor this point: "only a white man would believe that the online literary culture — or anything on the Internet — suffers from too much niceness." Roxanne Gay at Salon on the latest literary faux-outrage.

This article has perhaps the greatest collection of categorical tags of all time. "Let's Discuss the Merits of Anthropologie (The Clothing Store, Not the Discipline)." By Logan Sachon and Miranda Popkey at The Billfold.

Also at The Hairpin, another essential pie chart from Ann Friedman: "What Are We Doing Now That Birth Control Is Free?"

Via Jodi Ettenberg, a lovely essay by Annia Ciezadlo at Granta (in honor of the publication of the late Anthony Shadid's memoir) about the bakeries of Beirut.

Not sure how I missed this the first time around, but better late than never. From last month, Maria Bustillos at The Verge with a thoughtful (and gorgeously illustrated) piece: "Not fade away: on living, dying, and the digital afterlife."

Emily Rapp on cultural manifestations of grief, from the Batman movie to Yaddo, at The Rumpus. "Don't worry about inspiring anyone, or how to be a model of someone else's idea of resilience and survival."

Finally. This is by a guy, and it is exactly how it's done right. Shaun Usher at Letters of Note asks for our help in redressing the gendered imbalance in the letters he usually publishes. Know of some awesome letters by women? Send 'em to him. Thanks.