Sunday, August 19, 2012

Links for the week ending 19 August 2012

From Moe Tkacik at Reuters, a blistering opinion piece on the peculiar institution of student loans.

"Eight attacks, 11 days." Uzma Kolsy at Salon on the violence visited on American Muslim and Sikh communities.

Annalee Newitz at breaks down some of the reasons why Trapwire, the ubiquitous data-storing surveillance system recently made public by Wikileaks, could be illegal.

Lisa Rein reports for the Washington Post that electronic monitoring of their own employees by federal agencies may be targeting whistleblowers rather than actual threats.

From Jennifer Valentino-DeVries at the Wall Street Journal, "Is Your Chat Program Safe Enough? Why It's Tough to Say."

At CNN, Mary Ellen O'Connell, a professor at Notre Dame specializing in international conflict law, examines the surprisingly complex question, "When are drone killings illegal?"

Of course, "legal" and "illegal" are only worth as much as the court judging them, in which case this wins the very crowded field of competitors for most depressing news of the week: "Warrantless cellphone tracking is legal, federal court rules," by Helen A.S. Popkin at MSNBC.

Amy Davidson at the New Yorker on Mitt Romney's mysterious tax returns.

Worth one of your precious free New York Times reads: Maggie Koerth-Baker explains what we know about what does — and doesn't — change our minds.

Also at the NYT, Atossa Araxia Abrahamian writes about her own quest to make a home for herself in New York City in the face of immigration hurdles and a lifetime of statelessness.

In Arizona, undocumented young people celebrating having been awarded the right to work and a two-year stay on the threat of deportation were brought up short when Gov. Jan Brewer announced that the state will refuse to issue them drivers' licenses. By Liz Goodwin at Yahoo News.

The defeat of Republican moderates in primaries this week in Kansas means the state that saw Dr. Tiller murdered is about to become that much crazier, writes Irin Carmon at Salon.

The most unflinching article I have ever read on the topic of abortion, by Lynn Beisner at The Guardian: "I wish my mother had aborted me. "

At Mother Jones, Stephanie Mencimer writes that VP candidate Paul Ryan sponsored an antiabortion bill so extreme that it would effectively end the IVF as it is currently practiced.

You can read the closing statements of the Pussy Riot Three here at n+1. Susan Bernofsky writes about the team of translators that made these statements so quickly available.

And in squashing-freedom-of-expression news in the US, The New Inquiry reprints Polina Marinova's letter of resignation from the University of Georgia's student newspaper, The Red & Black, after new rules basically forbid students from practicing journalism.

Also at The New Inquiry, Astra Taylor on responses she received to her observations on attending public schools after being homeschooled: "The Prison-Educational Complex."

"It is strange and sad to recommend that someone censor your own work." Via Jillian York (I think), Sarah Kendzior on advising an Uzbek reader to stop sharing her work on Facebook.

At Time, Maia Szalavitz looks at the evidence suggesting that the diagnosis of "Bipolar 2" is a construct designed by pharmaceutical companies for profit.

"If I make a mistake, it's not because I have ovaries." Fabulous takedown of sexist Gizmodo commenters by Molly Oswaks.

Very long and thought-provoking, a post by Dorothy Bishop on the advantages and disadvantages of creating medical labels for learning difficulties. Via Scicurious.

Scicurious covers the Spanish study showing that pop music really does all sound the same these days. Ah, science!

At Grantland, Jane Leavy profiles neuropathologist Dr. Ann McKee, whose research on sports-related concussion's effects on the brain threatens to upend the NFL.

"How a Tick Bite Made Me Allergic To Meat." Yikes! By Helen Chappell at Discover.

At The Last Word on Nothing, Sally Adee looks at a species of lizard with a DNA mutation that has eliminated males. Because you know your day needed news about lesbian lizards.

At Brain Pickings, Maria Popova has a tribute to Julia Child on the occasion of her 100th birthday.

Is YA so dominated by women because it's a "prestige-free zone?" Interesting argument by Laura Miller at Salon.

Finally — and, dear god, yes! — "Why I Hate Food: A Polemic," by Mary Rechner at Propeller. Via Suzi Steffen.