I'm afraid this was the news that most firmly gripped my household this week, though the world continued generating distressing events at its usual pace.
Amid the debate about the Israeli army's use of Twitter to taunt Hamas, Sara Hussein at AFP writes about women and young children in Gaza enduring night after night of air strikes. For the AP, Karin Laub reports on the propaganda war in which "the suffering of children has served as a powerful tool."
A reproductive health tragedy from Ireland, where a woman who was neither Irish nor Catholic was denied an abortion for religious reasons and instead succumbed to septicemia during a prolonged miscarriage. From Emer O'Toole at The Guardian, "I am ashamed that Ireland's medieval abortion law still stands."
At io9, Annalee Newitz covers research presented at the 2012 American Public Health Association conference: "What happens to women denied abortions? This is the first scientific study to find out."
From Habiba Nosheen and Hilke Schellmann at The Atlantic, more reporting from Pakistan, where a teenage rape survivor whose family refused to end her life in an "honor killing" struggles to find any semblance of justice in the courts.
A long piece by Lee Hancock for the Dart Society about American military sexual assault survivors whose battle for justice in both the courts and the media has been stymied at every turn. It will give you an even greater appreciation of what rape survivors endure to get even the possibility that their stories will be told.
One last piece about violence without redress, from Alma Guillermoprieto at the NYRB on the murders of Mexican journalists. "We would like you to consider the consequences of offending us further. We know you would not look forward to the result."
In the aftermath of the recent U.S. elections, Maeve Reston at the Los Angeles Times covers Mitt Romney's phone call to big donors blaming his loss on "gifts" the Obama campaign gave to young and minority voters. Meanwhile, back in reality, Lois Beckett at ProPublica recaps what we actually know about how the Obama campaign used big data to target and persuade voters. At the New York Times (click wisely!), Zeynep Tufekci worries about the implications for democracy of data-driven persuasive techniques. And Elizabeth Drew at the NYRB looks at how voter suppression efforts effected election outcomes.
At her blog, Dana Goldstein reflects on the future of a social justice curriculum in an era of competing school reform agendas driven largely by nonprofit foundations.
Knockout piece by Madeleine Schwartz at The New Inquiry on teen pregnancy, MTV documentaries, and very real changes in the importance and relevancy of the nuclear family.
From Logan Sachon at The Billfold: "The First Time I Ever Actually Thought About Gun Laws."
From the previous week, one of the oddest stories I have ever read: "The Man Who Smelled Too Much," by Gendy Alimurung at LA Weekly. Via Longreads.
I'm still enamored of Arika Okrent's column at Mental Floss. This week, "11 Weirdly Spelled Words — And How They Got That Way."
"A sentence is, in fact, a machine, an intricate and delicately balanced equation; good copy-editing — good editing more generally — is a way to help a writer get the equation so exactly right that it starts to not seem like one at all." Yuka Igarashi at Granta on the perils and pleasures of, ahem, copy-editing.
Via Maida, Jennifer Dziura making a fabulous point at The Gloss: "When Men Are Too Emotional To Have A Rational Argument."
The Rookie crew discusses cultural appropriation and fashion and agrees on one thing: Björk can wear anything she wants.
Serious(ish) and thoughtful personal narrative at Gawker from comic genius Mallory Ortberg: "Have You Heard the One About the Religious Woman Who Stops Being Religious in College?"
This is quite possibly the best thing ever. From the incomparable Sarah Miller at The Awl: "Brad And Angie Go To Meet The African Pee Generator Girls."
On the other hand, here is Nicole Cliffe being just delightful with "For Those Who Have Asked Politely About My 'Novel'."
Finally, from Kathryn Schulz at Vulture, an incredibly moving meditation on categorization of human difference, compassion, and "radical humanity." An amazing piece.