Sunday, April 29, 2012

Links for the week ending 29 April 2012

In our Big Issues spot at the top of the list this week, Mona Eltahawy's piece on misogyny in the Arab world for The Sex Issue (oy) of Foreign Policy, "Why Do They Hate Us?" An avalanche of response followed, including this one from Sherene Seikaly and Maya Mikdashi at Jadaliyya; this one by Ayesha Kazmi; and this one by Nesrine Malik in the Guardian. Good summations of the arguments for and against the piece (and its questionable photo-art) were presented at Foreign Policy itself. (Links via Aaron Bady, who, as men go, seems like kind of a mensch, so if you run out of things to read, you should check him out.)

That wasn't the only notable thing in Foreign Policy this week, though. Rebecca MacKinnon pulls no punches about the degree to which American corporations are providing the tools — and receiving the profits — for total online surveillance of populations in, among other places, Syria and Bahrain.

This week the Supreme Court has heard arguments on Arizona's anti-immigrant "papers please" law, SB 1070. Julianna Hing at Colorlines puts a human face on the issue with this report on the case of an undocumented Argentine father who faces deportation after worried onlookers called for an ambulance while witnessing him go into what is likely to have been diabetic shock. The cops came instead.
“I know Obama has said that he’s going to stop the separation of families but what happened? We’re a family, real humans. It hurts to be pulled apart just because of not having documents. We’re still humans. We are still a family. We have the same values as any other family.”

Even if you have your papers, diabetes takes Six Years Off, writes Erin Fitzgerald at the Rumpus: "On Paula Deen, or Why Putting This Essay Online Guarantees I Will Not Qualify For Private Health Insurance In My State." Related: very long, but very powerful testimony from a physician who once directed managed care restrictions:
Our claims to the "best health care system" in the world is beginning to have a cynical truth. We certainly do the business of health care better than anyone else. As a result, we have entered a dire phase others should avoid. We have created a monster system, one in which among other transgressions, a physician can receive a high income for doing the reverse of the profession. Instead of delivering care, a physician can be significantly rewarded for denying it. What matters if individual patients are harmed or killed, if the professional is true to a higher mission for society?

Powerful essay by Martha Culver at The Hairpin: "Vignettes From a Hospital Overnight."

Friends, do you sometimes wish there was more accurate information on the internets about what science knows or doesn't know about the variations and vagaries of menstrual cycles? Please add Kate Clancy to your feed reader, then. This week she re-posts an oldie but goodie: "Why We Shouldn't Prescribe Hormonal Contraception to 12 Year Olds." Fascinating.

I must confess that I have trouble choosing from the vast array of articles released in any given week about how we've broken the oceans and stuff. Would you like the more apocalyptic news about "Big Changes in Ocean Salinity Intensifying Water Cycle" (by Julia Whitty at MoJo)? Or would you like your despair on a smaller scale, like "Mounting Evidence Suggests Sharks Are In Serious Trouble" (by Christie Wilcox at SciAm)?

At The Atlantic Cities, Sarah Goodyear reminds us that our streets were not always ruled by cars, and that the process that made it so was (as are so many other supposedly inevitable processes) paid for by the industries with the most financial interest in the change: "The Invention of Jaywalking."

This is a terribly moving story about how even the most privileged are cut down by tragedy. I am not generally overburdened with sympathy for the demographics involved here: sorority girls, wealthy white Southerners, people published by Oprah Magazine (Jonathan Franzen is chortling at me as I type that, and I deserve it). But I needed a box of tissues while I read: "We Thought the Sun Would Always Shine on Our Lives," by Paige Williams.

At The Last Word on Nothing, Ann Finkbeiner has another wonderful essay this week, on the hobbyists who scan the skies for secret spy satellites. Where did I put our binoculars?

Timely piece by Irin Carmon on "The rise of the Mormon feminist housewife."

Also timely: E.J. Graff on the history leading up to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's recent rule-change extending employment discrimination protection to transgender and gender-queer employees.

In general I try not to link to anything at the Newspaper of Record (or to anything else where access might be limited by a paywall), but this article by Maud Newton is worth one of your ten freebies this month. "My Son Went to Heaven, and All I Got Was a No. 1 Best Seller" is, like all of her reflections on her own very evangelical upbringing, thoughtful, sympathetic, and devastating.

Speaking of Maud Newton, she interviewed Alison Bechdel this week for Barnes and Noble Review, and I can't recommend it highly enough. But I say that about the entire embarrassment of interview riches this week. There's this marvelous interview at Paper Darts with Roxanne Gay , but there's also an interview with (we are not worthy) LYNDA BARRY (at The Rumpus). And then there was an interview this week in The Guardian with cookbook author and food historian extraordinaire Claudia Roden.

I swear it really is worth it to read one more piece on Mike Daisey, if the piece is this one by Annie Strother in Full Stop.

These people write the code that guides our online lives. That's… depressing. At MoJo, Tasneem Raja recaps the phenomenon of "brogrammers" in start-up culture.

Then there are the people who make money by selling guys instructions on how to create power imbalances when looking for a date: Kelly Bourdet writes about the business of online pickup advice.

I didn't watch Sex and the City when I was the right demographic for doing so, and thus I feel completely excused from watching Girls, given that I'm officially Way Too Old to be doing so. But! Lindy West's "A Complete Guide to 'Hipster Racism'" is a very funny read even if you, too, have not watched a TV show since My So-Called Life was canceled after one season [sob]. (If you have read too many articles on Girls even though you are not watching it, you could take Nicole Cliffe's advice and read some books instead. Especially because she recommends Mary McCarthy's The Group, which I myself only recently read, and OH MY GOD, that is some excellent reading there, and I say that as someone who is entirely Team Authors-Who-Hated-or-Were-Savaged-by-Mary-McCarthy.)

Before we get all self-regarding about how we are clearly not hipsters, I at least must admit that I could not click on this link fast enough. Tell us, oh The Billfold (which is one of The Awl's best ideas yet, and that's saying an awful lot), "Is Whole Foods Really That Much More Expensive?" News you can use, people. You're welcome.

Timely for me, at least, since my kid had to play a Loyalist in a history-class debate this week: a history lesson by Jane Kamensky in the Boston Globe on the painter John Singleton Copley, who created some of the most iconic images of the major figures of the American Revolution — but never stopped thinking of himself as an Englishman.

An appreciation of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Molly McArdle at the Rumpus. This is another book that I read at an embarrassingly advanced age, and wished I'd known it my whole life.

Finally, a moving meditation on spring and infertility at Orion Magazine: "The Art of Waiting," by Belle Boggs.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Links for the week ending 22 April 2012

I wasn't on Twitter much this week — it was spring vacation for my kids — but there is still lots of reading to report from the inexhaustible internets. First, on the second anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico came a flurry of articles looking at the continued damages. At The Nation, Antonia Juhasz writes about "A Hidden Health Crisis." It's long on anecdotes and short on science, but perhaps that's the most important point:
All emphasize the need for additional research, as there is a shocking dearth of long-term studies on the impact of oil spills. It is difficult to get funding for this work, while many experts in the field are employed by the oil industry. When data are acquire, they are often "lost" to litigation culminating in settlements with nondisclosure agreements.
Mother Jones ran a series of articles: Alyssa Battissoni will give you pause while you consider the oyster — the heavy-metal-laden oysters being caught in the Gulf. Julia Whitty covers a new report that finds that dispersants used on the oil as part of the (ahem: irony alert) clean-up efforts actually accelerate the absorption of oil's toxins into the skin. Whitty is also the author of Mother Jones' Fall 2010 special report on the BP disaster, which I recommend if you didn't it catch it the first time around. Finally, also originally from 2010, Christie Wilcox at SciAm reruns her piece about oil spill clean-ups as filtered through the perspective of her grandfather, who has worked in the clean-up business for 30 years.

If the lack of hard data on Deepwater Horizon raises troubling questions about the degree to which industry (and government-directed-by-industry) shackles science, this piece about drugs, cattle, and beef production, by Melody Petersen for The Chronicle of Higher Education, should set off full-scale alarms: "'At the universities, there are certain things you just can't say, because many functions are sponsored by the major agricultural business corporations.'" Warning: this article will not do anything at all to build your confidence in the safety of our food supply.

It wouldn't be another week at the list here if I didn't have articles about privacy and civil liberties to present, right? (Sigh.) Nancy Murray of the ACLU of Massachusetts pulls no punches in this essay about the sentencing of Tarek Mehanna to seventeen and a half years in prison for translating and posting to the internet documents produced by al-Qaeda: "The Mehanna case ruling and sentencing suggest that Muslims do not have the right to protected speech, and that 'venting' can cost them the long years in prison…"

From the particular to the general: at Colorlines, Jamilah King interviews NYU professor Larisa Man about how the latest proposed cybersecurity regulation bill, CISPA, is a menace to communities of color:
Communities of color, immigrant communities and the poor suffer first and most often from government surveillance, and from surveillance on the job. Marginalized people have always relied on private social spaces where folks can vent, discuss, share ideas, and support each other, and now many of those spaces are mediated by digital technology.

Those communities are especially vulnerable if government is invited into private social spaces, because these communities are not treated as if they have inalienable rights, but instead conditional rights to housing, to raise their own children, to bodily autonomy, to life itself.

At Juan Cole's Informed Comment, professor Yfaat Weiss explores who determines national memory — and national amnesia — in a look at how officially sanctioned commemorations of Israel's Independence Day are increasingly insistent about silencing the mirror-image memories of Palestinians, for whom the day marks the destruction of communities.

This is from last week: Alma Guillermoprieto at the NYRB on the substance of the recent Colombian summit (rather than the Secret Service scandal), where she finds that Latin America may be ready to declare a unilateral end to the war on drugs.

At the New Yorker, Jill Lepore takes a long, sober, and wide-ranging look at gun ownership, gun laws, and the historical arc that shows the paths we traveled to arrive at "Stand Your Ground" laws.

From Jane Little at the BBC: the Vatican plans to rein in the United States' largest organization of nuns. "I don't think the bishops have any idea of what they're in for," says Sister Simone Campbell, the head of the affiliated Catholic social justice lobby.

At Mother Jones, co-editors Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery write a rollicking assessment of the current state of the GOP. Nothing you haven't already heard, but a fun read. Which you could probably use, if you've made it through all the depressing articles above.

Jocelyn Noveck at the Associated Press says Mommy Wars are so two months ago. Now it's time for the Doggy Wars!

Zeynep Tufekci achieves awesomeness ten different ways in this essay: "Does Facebook Cause Loneliness? Short answer, No. Why Are We Discussing This? Long Answer Below." So many fascinating theoretical constructs proposed here, including "cyberasociality" (people who have trouble converting text-based interactions into visceral sociability), and the idea that
we are shifting from “ascribed ties” –people you inherit as close ties such as your family and your neighbors—to “achieved ties” –people you connect based on shared affinities and with whom you interact using multiple means of communication.
But I also have an enormous fondness for this essay in Rookie: "Breaking Up With Facebook."
But it’s also possible that Facebook contributes to vast amounts of friendship fatigue, that feeling you get when you get worn out by people simply because you are in constant, unrelenting contact with them. Because something we fail to acknowledge right now is that it’s totally possible to run out of things to say.

This was from last week: Michelle Dean at The Rumpus looks at Flannery O'Connor's correspondence (some 300 letters exchanged) with Betty Hester, a clerk at an Atlanta credit bureau who lived "what looked like a simple, quiet, ordinary life, if an unusually lonely one." A lovely glimpse of what intense connection between isolated people looked like in the pre-internet era.

A different kind of isolation: this article in Popular Mechanics by Jennifer Bogo on life at an Antarctic research station is a delight from start to finish. Via Longreads.

From the other end of the planet, another delight: Heather Pringle at the Last Word on Nothing, on the lethal buttercup that Alutiiq peoples used to poison humpback whales in the waters off the Alaska coast.

Fierce, furious piece by Audrey Watters on the Education Innovation Summit this past week, and being there to disagree "because the greater compromise is to walk away and be silent."

Two pieces from Sarah McCarry/The Rejectionist this week. Her article in Glamour on "What I Learned from a Seven-Year Road Trip with the Wrong Guy" is now online (illustrated with perhaps the most puzzling and inappropriate stock image ever, but I'm sure the writer had no say in that matter); and, on her own site, a striking meditation on finding and not finding home.

Jessa Crispin writes about the seductive promise of fugue states: "Another Country, Another Name."

Via @jillheather, Mara Wilson delivers a blistering, hilarious review of the game Top Girl: "the messaging system says that they will give me cash if I find myself a boyfriend." Uh….

Via @paigecmorgan, Karen Gregory at The New Inquiry looks at psychic mediums as the capitalistic expression of the spiritualized self. Fascinating.
Hardly fraudulent, the contemporary psychic practitioner performs an increasingly pervasive form of labor in American society. Part life-coach, part spiritual mentor, their work capitalizes on the conditions of everyday life, particularly as the quest for personal well-being comes to stand in for more structural promises of long-term security.

Deborah Blum on Emily Dickinson, lead poisoning, and our apparently limitless capacity to fail to learn from our own history.

Annalee Newitz at celebrates 4/20 with a look at what cannabis does to your brain.

At Rookie, Jenny Zhang writes a powerful reminiscence of surviving adolescence: "Outsider/Insider.

Via @tallkate, Dispatches from Utopia talks to writers about how they juggle parenting and work. Kate sent me to this interview with Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, but the links are all worthwhile.

At the New Yorker, Amy Davidson's "Looking for Etan Patz" is an achingly perfect piece about how those of us who were then children have grown up with his face eternally on our milk cartons: "Looking at the pictures now, I can hardly believe that my child is older than Etan will ever be, because I can hardly believe that I am."

Via Longreads, "Ghosts of Hong Kong" by Daisann McLane. "The most commonly used word in Hong Kong isn’t in Cantonese but English: 'Sorry.'"

And, finally, the most powerful thing I read this week, again from The Rumpus: "What Burns In The Pit," by Ashley Ford.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Links for the week ending 15 April 2012

This was the most powerful thing I read this week: Roxanne Gay in The Rumpus on her love of The Hunger Games, and why "Just because you survive something doesn't mean that you're strong." Or maybe it does.

In the tweet that brought this article to my attention, Azmat Khan described these women in one word: survivors. Zara Jamal interviews six Pakistani women for The Atlantic.

An American teenager is killed by a drone in Yemen. No judge or jury sentenced him to death. Was his only crime being his father's son? And are these the legal precedents we are prepared to live with? By Michelle Shephard for the Toronto Star.

Ailsa Chang for wnyc writes about how the NYPD's illegal searches of men in minority neighborhoods has led to a huge increase in the number of dubious prosecutions for marijuana-related offenses.

From Ann Finkbeiner at The Last Word on Nothing, the adolescence of robins, and also of granddaughters. "How do their hearts stand it?" It's the question we're asking no matter what the topic, isn't it?

At SciAm, Melanie Lenart takes a trip to Argentina, where the switch from ranching to farming is causing water tables to rise and soaking soils in salt. Ecological systems are hella complex, yo.

Also in SciAm, more ecological complexity. In the Florida Keys, Michelle Bialek explores alien mosquito species, disease, control measures, genetic engineering, and public alarm.

At The Horn Book, Hilary Rappaport questions the persistence of gendered reading lists. I can't help but wonder if we plant the seeds of gendered byline inequities when we first inform boys that some books are nothing they need concern themselves with.

Speaking of one of the authors that Rappaport's boys loved (as does my son), Frances Hodgson Burnett really had a secret garden, for a time, on an estate she couldn't afford to keep. Vanessa Blakeslee at the Paris Review looks at Burnett's garden in the context of her career.

Sady Doyle just kills it this week at In These Times on Barbie the presidential candidate (available at toy stores now for $13.99).
As for Barbie herself, her history would stand up to the strictest conservative standards. She’s never needed an abortion. Or used contraception. Or had illicit sex, or premarital sex, or sex. Barbie, it turns out, has the single most valuable quality a woman in politics can have: A complete lack of genitalia. Also, a literal inability to speak or think for herself.

This was the weirdest thing I read all week: an account of the astrologer employed as a propagandist by the British government during World War II. By Emma Garman at The Awl.

Fabulous interview with danah boyd at about how she engages with the news, but also how Kids These Days do and don't engage with it. "When I hear news agencies talk about wanting to get young people, they don’t want to figure out how to actually inform them — they want to hear how to monetize them."

The former head of the FDIC suggests that every American household receive a $10 million loan from the federal government, so we can all invest in, you know, Portuguese debt and quit our day jobs. It's not often that sober financial bigwigs reach for this level of furious sarcasm. By Sheila Bair for the Washington Post.

Autumn Whitefield-Madrano in The New Inquiry reflects on race and the word "exotic," first in general terms, and then in personal ones.

You all probably saw this already, but seriously, who knew that Ashley Judd could unleash the righteous patriarchy-blaming like this? Awesome.

To help ease your grief about the short, brief life of the glory of the internet that was Texts from Hilary, Rachael Combe's profile of Hilary Clinton in Elle.

Fascinating Francine du Plessix Gray at the NYRB about stuttering and its sufferers (who are disproportionately male and disproportionately left-handed), including the author herself.

Last but never least, an incredible interview with Toni Morrison in the Guardian.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Links for the week ending 8 April 2012

Sighing heavily. Shaima Alawadi may have been the victim of domestic violence rather than a hate crime. By Kristina Davis for the San Diego Tribune.

This essay by Susan Gardner cuts to the brutal heart of what's at stake about universal health insurance: "Opening Pandora's Box: Why my 22-year-old kid needs Mommy's insurance."
It comes down to this: We either let these children die at birth or we as a society agree to spread the cost among all of us. There really is no other way, no matter what fancy conservative "private solution" claptrap is dressed up and churned out by Heritage next week. No one family and no one individual can possibly shoulder the medical cost of "miracle" lives.

In The Nation, EJ Graff profiles Elizabeth Warren and incumbent Scott Brown in the closely watched MA Senate race. Both candidates are running on their up-from-hardship backgrounds, but their politics couldn't be more different. Plenty of interviews with stereotype-bending MA voters flesh out this piece — and explain why Warren is most certainly not a sure bet: "Elizabeth Warren: Yes She Can?"

California's unincorporated communities are disproportionately populated by the poor and the undocumented — and they often have no access to sewage disposal and other basic municipal services. A report from Bernice Yeung for California Watch.

Another way that pockets of the US look more like developing nations: vaccine refusal rates, and the end of herd immunity. From Juliette K. Tinker at The Scientist.

In Nature, Katherine Harmon looks at the mysteries of Kawasaki Disease. Is it caused by an infectious agent? And is that agent transmitted by, of all things, the wind?

OMG! The Browser linked to a piece by a woman this week! From Walrus, a new-to-me magazine, Rachel Giese looks at medical errors.
“This isn’t an issue of incompetent people making stupid mistakes,” he says. “It’s many average, decent people working in poorly designed systems. Most medical mistakes were accidents waiting to happen.”

At Mother Jones, Julia Whitty describes some of the changes we can expect thanks to climate change and the reduction in the cryosphere, the areas where water is in its frozen state for at least one month out of the year. Yes, this is depressing.

Writer Farai Chideya reflects on what she's learned at midlife: "in the past few years, I've gotten less likely to think I can change my nature and more likely to know I can change my habits."

A deeply troubling and honest piece about transracial adoption by Debra Monroe in Guernica: "But I think of people who can’t immediately say to the officer or clerk: hey, I’m white here."

At Good, Sushma Subramanian and Deborah Jian Lee offer a fascinating and wide-ranging look at a generation of gender-ratio imbalance in Chinese villages: lonely village farmers, trafficked young Vietnamese brides, and the prospect that eventually the market will create "the rich choosing sons and the poor choosing daughters."

In SciAm, Dr. Judy Stone writes about the spread of "conscience clauses" in health care, their conflict with the traditional ethics of the medical profession, and the degree to which increasing numbers of mergers between Catholic hospitals and secular hospitals effectively shut out secular health care options.

Bug Girl presents a nice overview of the recent research on neonicotinoid pesticides and possible links to Colony Collapse Disorder in bees. Seriously, you guys, am I the only person who thinks you should have to get the equivalent of a prescription to buy pesticides for home use?

From last week, when March Madness was still a thing: Ramona Shelburne at ESPN asks why men still freak out when a woman dunks. Indirectly via Aaron Bady at The New Inquiry (his Sunday Reading posts are always worth a look).

Roxanne Gay at The Rumpus finally says what needs saying about women writers, male readers, and gender parity: "This is where we should start focusing this conversation—how men (as readers, critics, and editors) can start to bear the responsibility for becoming better, broader readers.” To quote Hillel ('tis the season for doing so): everything else is commentary.

By Amy Martinez for The Seattle Times: how is trying to strong-arm small publishers into giving exclusive ruinous wholesale discounts in return for carrying their books at all. Sobering look at what near-monopoly engenders.

From the Wall Street Journal, where Julia Angwin leads the byline: what information are Facebook apps selling about you — and your friends?

Laugh-out-loud lines in Kathryn Schultz's NY Mag review of Jeanette Winterson's and Alison Bechdel's new memoirs. "A friend told me that while I was reading Winterson and coming out as a lesbian, he was reading Martin Amis 'and coming out as a pompous dick.'"

Also very funny, especially for the shy, introverted, or insecure among us. (Ahem. A quorum, I do believe.) "The Impossibility of Making New Friends," by Janet Manley in The Bygone Bureau (which I totally found out about through The Awl, yes).

Amanda Shubert writes a wonderful piece in Full Stop about a new biography of Pauline Kael.
We don't talk about Stieglitz's bullying personality, though God knows he had one, or his professional ethics. Why should we? His aesthetic vision and intellectual muscle transformed the landscape of American arts. Few people doubt that Kael's muscle transformed the way we watch movies today, but many are more comfortable with the notion if they can prove Kael was a mean, bad person while she was doing it.

The inimitable Nicole Cliffe at The Hairpin on how becoming a parent was... not an emotionally transformative experience for her.
I love her so much, but I love her like I love my parents, and my husband, and my best friends, and my 15-year-old mixed breed dog. Incredibly! Delightfully! Fiercely! But it's not a whole new feeling. She's like having a really high-needs roommate that you just couldn't picture living without. You know, the kind that would have a chore wheel.

Again via Aaron Bady at The New Inquiry, an essay called, “dear white people, i love you,” by a blogger named samantha.

Teju Cole linked on Twitter to this decades-old essay by Elizabeth Hardwick in the NYRB on Billie Holiday. Such good writing here! If you haven’t read it before, enjoy.

Finally, ask and ye shall receive: The Rejectionist outs herself. Her first book will be out next spring.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Links for the week ending 1 April 2012

Again I lead off with the Rejectionist, for whom no pull-out quote suffices, and I sure hope she is soon to be published in a fashion that allows me to pay for the privilege of reading her. Because I am nothing if not Team People Who Just Don't Leave Your House.

At Colorlines, Mónica Novoa writes about "The Horrific Death of Shaima Alawadi and the Many Lessons of Hate." As I had reason to learn this month, this kind of hatred lives in my neighborhood, too. Does it live in yours? And how can we do more to raise our voices against it?

Fascinating account by Anna Holmes in the New Yorker about racist responses on Twitter to The Hunger Games movie casting and the man who compiled them, and connected the dots about how that racism translates into the real world. "'Remember that word innocent? This is why Trayvon Martin is dead.'"

Melissa Harris-Perry in the Nation on Trayvon Martin and being the problem: "A black body in public space must presume its own guilt and be prepared to present a rigidly controlled public performance of docility and respectability." DNLee at SciAm writes about what this looks like for a science researcher — and a concerned sister: "Brown Faces in White Places doing science (and wearing hoodies)."

Very, very long — I'm not done with it yet — but equally rewarding (and distressing): Arundhati Roy in Outlook India with "Capitalism: A Ghost Story."

Via Aaron Bady, at Al Jazeera Sarah Mousa tells the stories of Syrian activists currently taking refuge in Cairo.

Pizza, Uighurs, and Guantanamo's legacy: a moving look at dislocated former Guantanamo detainees, and how they are coping with their new lives in one of the few countries that was willing to piss off China and accept them: Albania. By Michelle Shephard for The Toronto Star.

An op-ed in the LA Times by Vicki Divoll, former general counsel of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: "So now we are targeting not just the phones but the lives of Americans, and there is no constitutional doctrine, statute or executive order addressing the issue. This is where the framers would have expected the legislature to take a good, hard look."

Incredible essay by Laura Rena Murray in The New Inquiry about seeking to be emancipated from Child Protective Services. "But I was tired of living a life that felt out of control; waiting for things to happen to me; waiting to get caught. Emancipation was proactive and no one could take that freedom away once I had it."

Via Maddow Blog, an interview in the Orlando Sentinel with outgoing president and CEO of the local Planned Parenthood, Sue Idtensohn on being on the front lines for reproductive freedoms and women's health: "I've always said, ‘I hope that someone knew that I was here.'"

From Dr. Jen Gunter, a heartbreaking description of what no health insurance looks like: late-stage cervical cancer discovered in the ER, and doctors forbidden to offer the patient treatments that would offer her a slim chance of survival. "Cancer v. the Constitution."

Does food poisoning have long-lasting later effects, like arthritis, diabetes, and kidney failure? Cheery questions from Maryn McKenna at SciAm. Now you can freak out doubly the next time you or your loved ones go down with a stomach bug!

At Nature, Heidi Ledford asks biologists what discoveries in their field would be as important and fundamental as the discovery of the Higgs-Boson particle would be in physics. Lots of interesting points about the origin of life and about aging.

Sharon Begley for Reuters reports that an incredibly high percentage of studies in cancer research could not be replicated. That's bad news for the "war on cancer," and it's bad news for science. So maybe we should take Katherine Harmon's reminder seriously: "U.S. Cancer Rates Could Be Cut in Half Today Based on What's Already Known."

"Today we have Bayer Aspirin. It relieves headaches. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, they had Bayer Heroin." Awesome piece by Esther Inglis-Arkell for on the era of wide medicinal use of heroin, opium, cocaine, and absinthe. Dosing regimens for five-day-old infants! Papal cocaine use!

This is the most depressing thing you'll read all week, by Nina Chestney at Reuters (republished by SciAm): "Global Warming Close to Becoming Irreversible."

This, on the other hand, is not bad news! Capped landfills being repurposed as solar energy fields. By Robynne Boyd for SciAm. (Now if your landfill uses methane capture AND and a solar energy field, then its contents are transmuted into pure unicorn farts, I think.) Also, Maggie Koerth-Baker looks at the potential of small hydroelectric power. Hey, if it worked for the turning the mills of the Industrial Revolution…

And another Maggie Koerth-Baker piece with an extremely necessary take on Earth Hour and the false promise that individual choices are what makes the difference.
Europeans don't use less energy than us because they're better people, who are more willing to make sacrifices and sit in the dark. They use less energy because their shared systems allow them to use less energy without having to think about it, and without it being a hardship.

At SciAm, Kristin Hendrickson (a.k.a. SquintMom) takes a long, detailed, and very interesting look at what we do and don't know about high cesarean section rates in the U.S.

Wonderful rant by Scicurious about networking in academia, though some of the questions she raises would hold true for networking in any field. The post also sports an unusually high percentage of actually useful comments, too.

If the phrase "riveting linguistic change" does not sound oxymoronic to you, you are sure to be fascinated by this piece by Julie Sedivy in Discover about vowel-shifting and political affiliation.

Wonderful piece on fact-checking in The New Inquiry by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian. "We don’t fact-check because we love facts. We fact-check because we hate liars."

Speaking of liars… Placing Mike Daisey in the context of Orientalism: another valuable piece from Maria Bustillos in The Awl.

At the venerable Geeky Mom blog, Laura Blankenship writes about Women and Coding.
I’ve taken a couple of these courses. In one from MIT, the first lesson had us calculating the first 1000 prime numbers. Woo hoo. That’s going to be something I use again. My first lesson in the class I teach? Draw a square with your robot. Same principles apply, but it’s a lot more fun, imho.

"Ghosts Are Real, At Least In Publishing." Fun Sari Botton piece at The Rumpus on ghostwriting.

Here I must confess that I may be the only feminist in the world who was never particularly drawn to or moved by the work of Adrienne Rich. But this moved me: Marge Piercy's "Another obituary." And, okay, for everyone who was irritated by the piece in the NYT (who hasn't already had this discussion with me on Twitter, hi Susan!), Michelle Dean takes on David Orr: "Adrienne Rich: 'Every Mind Resides in a Body'."

Finally, I hear there was some guy in the NYT fulminating about adults who read YA, or any other level of children's book. If any of you were so unfortunate as to read the piece in question, might I recommend an antidote? Tove Janson's Moominpappa's Memoirs, which is both a children's book and the most perfect skewering of Very Important Man syndrome ever.
I put my trivial surroundings aside and mused more and more about myself, and I found this to be a bewitching occupation. I stopped asking and longed instead to speak of my thoughts and feelings. Alas, there was no one besides myself who found me interesting.

As always, more links throughout the week @PhantomsList. Thanks for reading!