Thursday, February 23, 2012

Links for the week ending 26 Feb 2012

Why we're here: Meg Clark guest-posts at The Rejectionist about Jonathan Franzen and Edith Wharton. (There was also this piece in the LA Review of Books today, but the Meg Clark is better.) Friends, I can't stress this enough: we don't have to read anything by anyone named Jonathan. Ever. In the event that you find yourself staring down unwanted text by someone named Jonathan, you have options. Close the tab. Turn the page. Read something else. Like for example….

Slain American journalist Marie Colvin's final report from Homs, Syria. Also, her address from a 2010 memorial for journalists killed while reporting from conflict zones.
We go to remote war zones to report what is happening. The public have a right to know what our government, and our armed forces, are doing in our name. Our mission is to speak the truth to power. We send home that first rough draft of history. We can and do make a difference in exposing the horrors of war and especially the atrocities that befall civilians.

Glorious science writing from Ann Finkbeiner at The Last Word on Nothing: "The universe is a foam of blank bubbles surrounded by skins of matter."

Two incredible paired pieces by Sally Adee from a few weeks back: "Zap Your Brain into the Zone" for New Scientist, followed by a more personal take on the same story for The Last Word on Nothing, "Better Living Through Electrochemistry." The second piece in particular is stunningly good.

Have you been getting your science writing from articles in women's magazines? Uh. Don't. Hilary Rosner explained why a few weeks ago.

Maureen Tkacik's blissfully blistering anti-hagiography of Steve Jobs, who refused surgery for his rare and completely treatable cancer: "'The big thing,' his wife explained to Isaacson, 'was that he really was not ready to open his body,' as if such a move might jeopardize his manufacturer’s warranty."

Kick-ass independent tech journalist Audrey Watters on New York City's Teacher Data Reports and the problems with "value-added assessments" as an indicator of teaching skill.

Knockout work from a freelance writer: Kelly Bourdet's "Anatomy of the Great Adderall Drought."

You perhaps remember that I have some, uh, issues with sunscreen. Here's yet another reason to love it, from Inkfish: "Your Sunscreen Makes Fish Anorexic". There's a joke to be made in there somewhere about aquatic pro-ana Tumblrs sponsored by sunscreen manufacturers, but I wouldn't dream of going there.

Laurie Penny writes a love letter to London as she heads off to New York, from where she promptly files a razor-sharp dispatch on our resurgent war on women's sexuality for New Statesman. While we're on the subject, this chilling short story by Amanda Ching deserves to be widely read: ILU-486.

If you missed it the first time, Maria Bustillos on romance novels at The Awl.

For those of you (@writingasjoe et. al.) who were recently debating the subject, Nicole Bernier has "Mixed Feelings About Pinterest."

Amy Jean Porter at The Awl on the end of the non-winter. There are flowers and sticks and a woolly mammoth.

Via @nybooks, a very funny interview with writer Deborah Eisenberg.
he said, “Well, what do you want to do with your life?” and I said, “Nothing.” And he said, “Well, nobody does nothing, you can’t do nothing.” And I said, “Well I’m going to approximate it to the extent that I can.” And he said, “You’re not going to be happy doing that.” And I said, “Watch this!”