Sunday, September 9, 2012

Links for the week ending 9 September 2012

Twitter informed me early and often that the Democrats held their nominating convention this week. Garance Franke-Ruta diagnoses the reasons behind the "enthusiasm gap" for The Atlantic.

It's clear that the Republican strategy for addressing their party's unpopularity with minority groups is to simply suppress minority voters in every possible way. Lois Beckett and Suevon Lee at ProPublica report on the "Five Ways Courts Say Texas Discriminated Against Black and Latino Voters."

What could go wrong? The EPA grants Shell permission to begin preliminary work on oil drilling in the Arctic waters of the Chukchi Sea even though the company has already stated that it will not be able to meet environmental emissions standards. By Yereth Rosen for Reuters.

At The Nation, Bryce Covert examines staggering job losses in the "pink collar" sector of the economy — administrative support and secretarial work — and how those losses are sending increasing numbers of women to minimum wage service industry jobs.

Hilary Russ for Reuters reports on how Central Falls, Rhode Island emerged from bankruptcy with a plan that pleases credit markets but leaves elected officials powerless, city taxpayers fielding millions of dollars in of fees, and retired city employees grappling with slashed pensions.

Kim Zetter reports for Wired about sophisticated hacker attacks involving "zero-day vulnerabilities," often involving weaknesses in the Adobe Flash Player.

Do you welcome our robot overlords? Geeta Dayal at Wired on the blocking of a livestream broadcast of the presentation of the Hugo Awards, and why "We pause this program for copyright identification" may be the signature announcement of the century.

At The Guardian, Hilary Osborne asks, "Do you own your digital content?" Spoiler: no.

"It's not my fault you're pretty." A harassment tale.

More harassment tales. Via @actuallyaisha.

Amanda Marcotte hits it out of the park about harassment: "women are discrete individuals, not support staff for men… They aren't your moms. You are adults now. It's time to start self-soothing."

At The Crunk Feminist Collective, "At the Risk of Sounding Angry: On Melissa Harris-Perry's Eloquent Rage."

An often frustrating but important three-part piece by "Jungli Pudina" at The New Inquiry about the ordeal of a Pakistani-American family whose children were put into foster care after the mother initially attempted to treat a burn with home remedies rather than taking the child immediately to the emergency room. "(Actually, the crux of the matter is that the System itself is rotten. And these people think that there is no world other than their own.)"

And then on the other hand: at The Chicago Reporter, Maria Ines Zamudio on the 233 children murdered between FY 2000-2011 "after the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services had investigated their cases for alleged abuse or neglect."

"That day, her son had received 31 electric shocks as punishment for misbehaving." Jennifer Gonnerman at New York Magazine on the horrifying punitive practices of a residential treatment center for troubled children and adults. Via Longreads.

At Ms. Magazine, Michele Chabin writes about a brave group of Palestinian and Israeli women who travel illegally between the West Back and Israel in order to socialize — and challenge Israeli policy.

I was and am completely awed by the sheer journalistic accomplishment that is Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers — my choice for the best book of 2012, whatever else gets released this year. Emily Brennan interviewed Boo for Guernica on the ethical dilemmas of reporting on poverty.

Maggie Koerth-Baker at Boing Boing does such a great job of sketching complexity in a few paragraphs: "Are pesticides evil, or awesome?" Good links, too.

Hantavirus, brain-eating amoebae, West Nile virus… how about "Brain Parasites, California's Hidden Health Problem"? By Mollie Bloudoff-Indelicato at SciAm. Warning: bloody photos of brain surgery.

I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this. "Bed Bugs Reported at L.A. Central Library." By Simone Wilson at LA Weekly. Includes helpful list of other municipalities with library bed bug outbreaks.

Wait! Don't give up in despair! This week, NASA astronaut Sunita Williams and her colleague, Japanese astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, made a critical repair to the International Space Station using… an extra toothbrush. By Megan Garber at The Atlantic.

I have never been to a CON of any sort, and do not even read sci-fi but rarely. Still I find fascinating Annalee Newitz's close analysis of how various geek communities are adjusting to the idea that women should be equal participants. This is how social change happens, yo.

At SciAm, Kate Clancy wins the internets this week with a piece critiquing media coverage of a recent study identifying a factor in semen that may induce ovulation — in llamas. Now everyone sing along: "Yes, it's just my llama and me!"

Was the Minnesota State Fair just past the greatest flowering of cultural expression in human history? You decide. Photos from the 2012 Llama pageant, by Meg Holle (via @missludmilla). And gay marriage seed art, courtesy of Kiera Butler at Mother Jones.

Rebecca Lawn for the BBC on the triumph of "tu" over "vous" on Twitter.

By Nicole Pasulka at The Believer, "Eddie Is Gone," on surfing, anticolonialism, tourism, and bravery.

It… confuses me that an article this good is on BuzzFeed. Doree Shafrir on night terrors and so much more. Really, mind-bogglingly good — and I'm not just saying that because I live with two people who suffer from night terrors. (I'd have them read the article, but it would just make them anxious, which would give them more night terrors. Right.)

On a plain old ordinary Blogspot template, the legendary Judy Blume writes about being treated for breast cancer. May she have the most rapid and complete of recoveries. (I suspect I am not alone among middle-aged ladies in finding her presence on social media as heartening to me now as her books were to me as a child.)

Zoƫ Heller writes the takedown of the week and The NYRB goes NSFW in, er, honor of Naomi Wolf's Vagina: A New Biography. "It is unclear how Wolf tells a uniquely dimmed vitality from the ordinarily dimmed kind." This, friends, is how you write a negative review!

Elizabeth Bachner at Bookslut with another essay that somehow manages to be about everything: birthdays, ballet dancers, suicides, marmosets. "History of My Mind: Reading 'The Walk.'"

Finally, the most layered and moving piece I read all week, by Martha Bayne in The Rumpus last Sunday, "Knocked Over: On Biology, Magical Thinking and Choice."