Sunday, May 27, 2012

Links for the week ending 27 May 2012

New Big Issues, same as the Old Big Issues. This week's reminder that our justice system is… not so just comes from Our Lady of Changing How We Parent Forever, Carol Dweck, who was one of a team of Stanford authors that found that knowing a defendant's race changes how we view juvenile crime and rehabilitation. "The findings showed that people without racial animus or bias are affected by race as much as those with bias." Want to watch a similar effect in action? Nicole Pasulka at MoJo asks whether 23-year-old CeCe McDonald was really convicted of having the gall to survive a hate crime.

At AlterNet, Adele M. Stan takes note of the ways that major media frames Obama's unpopularity among struggling whites without college degrees as a racism issue, when in fact the numbers were very similar for the past several Democratic candidates. It's always good to remember that racial angst sells newspapers… er… advertising eyeballs. When in doubt, look for the data.

Efforts to "Suppress the Vote" get taken to a whole new level in Ohio, writes Dahlia Lithwick at Slate. As vote-suppression tactics gain traction across the country, Lithwick quotes the author of a new guide to stomping down the vote, Wendy Weiser at the Brennan Center for Justice:
"If you want to find another period in which this many new laws were passed, restricting voting, you have to go back more than a century — to the post-Roconstruction era, when Southern states passed a host of Jim Crow voting laws and Northern states targeted immigrants and the poor."

Because suppressing the vote is never enough: Sarah Libby at TPM reports that Republican state houses have also managed to redistrict out a disproportionate number of women in legislatures at both the state and federal level. Great work, boys.

But don't worry! Angry mobs protesting the diminution of democracy will be controlled via armed drones — ahem, unmanned aerial vehicles — in the skies, writes Annalee Newitz at io9. Won't that be fun? Um. Probably not, if their NATO use has been any guide, writes Louise Arbour at Foreign Policy. "Recent studies estimate that one civilian dies for every four to five suspects killed." And that's a statistic that's sure to bring an end to insurgency, right? Just ask Yemen.

Via EJ Graff, a well-researched article by Sharon Johnson at Women's eNews about the scandal that is waitresses' wages. "Ninety percent of female serves are not paid enough to enjoy basic economic security."

Facebook executives and insiders, however, are doing just fine, despite a completely botched IPO described by Heidi Moore for The Guardian (which, as usual, does a better job covering American issues than most American media sources do).

This link is to a .pdf because the first part of the online series appears to be down. At Center for Democracy and Technology, Erica Newland publishes her speech, "Disappearing Phone Booths," a powerful exploration of how we are losing the ability to do just about anything — including use the bathroom! — unnoticed. If you'd rather not download the .pdf, here is a link to the second part of the four-part post — maybe they'll fix the link to the first part eventually.

This week in questions you can't believe someone still has to answer, Diane Ravitch at the NYRB takes on the latest industry-laden task force report that claims that only private industry can Save Our Schools and the Nation. Lest you think that these are simply academic questions, let me remind you that the forced corporate takeover of schools in high-poverty areas has already begun. Let's not wait until they come for the suburbs to object, okay?

By Kiera Feldman at This Land Press, a heartbreaking look at how one private evangelical school near Tulsa allowed sexual abuse of its students to go on for years. A fine, if sobering, explanation of how closed systems protect themselves rather than the students they are supposed to serve.

At the NYRB, the essential Alma Guillermoprieto looks at how Latin America has begun what may be the beginning of the end for what must be the most unsuccessful war in human history: the war on drugs.

Maryn McKenna looks at the continuing fallout for what most be one of the most spectacularly bad decisions the CIA ever made: sponsoring a fake polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan as part of its plan to smoke out Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, at SciAm, Judy Stone questions whether a new government push to develop and test pediatric vaccines for anthrax won't prove just as counterproductive for public health in the long run.

At Wired, the First Lady of Poison, Deborah Blum, recounts a nicotine murder in 19th century France and how it drove the development of forensic science.

At the Columbia Journalism Review, Trudy Lieberman looks at a local New Jersey paper's report on health care providers who pressure patients to sign up for new credit cards in the office before providing treatment. Seriously. How this is not five million different kinds of illegal, I do not know.

At Time, Maia Szalavitz looks at recent recommendations against PSA screenings (and similar recommendations against frequent mammograms). Why do people roundly ignore those recommendations? Because a single personal anecdote from someone we know, no matter how rare the situation it describes, drives how we approach testing far more effectively than a raft of population statistics.

Moving piece by Petula Dvorak at the Washington Post about the experience of a family whose child began showing strong signs of being transgender by the age of two.

GQ is rather an odd source for an article for this particular longreads list — or maybe the question should be why women's magazines don't publish more longreads? — but, in any event, this GQ profile by Amy Wallace of R&B genius D'Angelo is a masterpiece of the genre. Read it, and you'll never be satisfied by a celebrity puff piece again.

At The Millions, Jennifer Miller pleads the case for writing what you know even though the literary world is full-on glutted with people just like you, where "you" are (for the purposes of this essay) "white girls from Connecticut." (My people! We are legion!) Meanwhile, at Full Stop, Stephanie Bernhard takes a fascinating look at the historical development of "identity literature," arguing that copyright and its concomitant promise of originality have led inexorably to the privileging of authorial identity over the text itself. Wide-ranging and deeply considered, this is not to be missed — and not just because of the many sharp-eyed digs at our current pantheon of male literary grouches.

Speaking of identity! Only half of this conversation is being conducted by a woman, but, oh, hell, go on and read it anyway. Hilarious, surprising, and wise in equal measure: Maria Bustillos and David Roth converse on TED Talks, Scalzi, and the existential question of whether it's not easy, being a straight white male.

This is pretty much just for Paige, but it is so perfectly just for Paige that I think you should all admire it: at Legal Nomads, "It's Surprisingly Easy to Be Gluten Free in Italy." (I personally would solve the problem of being gluten-free in Italy by eating nothing but gelato, but THAT'S JUST ME, right?.)

If you decide to walk around Italy in search of gluten-free food, start off with a pro tip from Mary Beard at the Times Literary Supplement, who schools you on the walking habits of the Roman Empire.

A wrenching piece on divorce, loss, grief, madness, and (re)birth by Gayle Brandeis at The Rumpus.

Finally, one more thing from Maria Bustillos, at ANIMAL: on travel, bureaucracy, and the undermining of what she calls Americans' invincible kindness.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Links for the week ending 20 May 2012

Today in our Big Issues spot, profiting on the poor. Barbara Ehrenreich has a long piece (which ran in Mother Jones and other places) giving an overview of strategies that government (particularly local governments) and corporations use to fleece money from people with the fewest resources and least ability to defend themselves. The criminal justice system, in particular, has become a machine for squeezing money out of the poor. Cindy Chang for the New Orleans Times-Picayune looks at the profit motive that drives Louisiana's incarceration rates, the highest in the entire world. At Colorlines, Leticia Miranda looks at the outrageous rates that private telecommunications companies charge inmates and families for phone calls to and from prisons. And, lest we forget that these predatory practices are disproportionately employed against people of color, two pieces on the very different outcomes faced by whites and blacks: Dafna Linzer at ProPublica (and the Washington Post) on how the Justice Department's Office of the Pardon Attorney has "torpedoed" the chances of presidential pardons for thousands of prisoners — and, of those few that were granted, white applicants were four times as likely to receive a pardon than minority ones. Also, from Julianne Hing, the story of Kelley Williams-Bolar, the Ohio mother convicted of a felony (lated pardoned to misdemeanor charges by Governor John Kasich following a national outcry) for enrolling her daughters in a better school system by listing her father's address. This last is a layered, complicated story that does not end in easy answers.

I promise that I will not subject you to every damn poll-and-prognosticate article that comes down the path between now and November, but this piece for Reuters by Margot Roosevelt (yes, one of those Roosevelts) is fascinating for its window on the exhaustion felt by armed forces veterans after more than a decade of war.

Another window on the often bitter circumstances military veterans and their families are made to endure: Florence Williams at Mother Jones on a breast cancer cluster — among men who lived at the North Carolina Marine base Camp Lejeune, which "enjoys the distinction of having hosted what is arguably the most contaminated public drinking water supply ever discovered in the United States."

In Guernica, Arab-American writer Randa Jarrar describes the (ironically enough) Kafkaesque experience of being denied entry to Israel.

"The Rise of Europe's Private Internet Police," by Rebecca MacKinnon in Foreign Policy. Private corporations making money off restricting access to stuff on the internet? What could go wrong?

From Julia Angwin at The Wall Street Journal's What They Know series on online privacy, the secret court order to reveal information from the email account of WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Applebaum — who has not been charged with any crime — and how the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act is used to demand information without a warrant. Will the courts and technology companies successfully push back?

When I told my husband that I'd started following Laurie Garrett on Twitter, he shook his head. "That's a bad idea. Too depressing." Truth! Like for example this cheery piece on "Egypt's Real Crisis." Political upheaval? Repression? Sectarian violence? Nuh-uh. Epidemics of bird flu and foot-and-mouth disease, both currently circulating unchecked in the nation. Sigh.

If that didn't depress you enough, learn to look at your bottles of medications askance through Garrett's three-part series: "Ensuring the Safety and Integrity of the World's Drug, Vaccine and Medicines Supply." You're welcome.

I'm really sorry, you guys, but coffee probably won't make you live forever after all. (It will just make you bouncier during the time you have!) By Deborah Katz at the Boston Globe.

At her new home at Wired, Deborah Blum takes a very entertaining look at just how successful a headscarf-based plot to poison the Dalai Lama would be.

Margaret Talbot at The New Yorker looks at the statistical hooey while also summing up the case for a new frame for "boomerang kids," twentysomethings who live with their parents. Or, to put it another way, as did Lindy West in her very funny Jezebel piece offering advice to new graduates, "If you got arrested, do you have someone that could bail you out of jail? If the answer is yes, then you are broke and not poor." See also: Logan Sachon at The Billfold chats with her dad about money.

In a just world, Roxanne Gay would be one of our most highly paid national pundits. This week she has a thoughtful, layered essay at The Rumpus on the complexity of privilege and the ultimate futility of "playing Privilege or Oppression Olympics." (And, yes, she mentions Scalzi's piece, so if for some reason you haven't had the pleasure yet, you can follow her link.)

In the same just world, this fabulous essay by Emily Willingham would be the very last word EVER produced about The Mommy Wars (™). Another response piece of a very different sort from Jill Lepore at The New Yorker on the history of American photographs of breastfeeding. (Watch out. The last paragraph is an unexpected punch in the gut.)

Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel offers "A State-By-State Guide to 2012's Anti-Choice Laws (So Far)." It's, um, a long article. (The tl:dr? Vote. Seriously. Vote.) Meanwhile, at Salon, Irin Carmon presents a wish list of proactive bills that Democrats ought to be introducing to further a host of women's issues.

At The Smart Set, Jessa Crispin reviews a trio of books about gender and masculinity and observes:
It seems to me, from afar, that men must choose a subculture and mold themselves accordingly. They are not encouraged to drift between as women are. I’ve read enough gender theory to be able to parrot simple reductions like “femininity is a performance” whenever appropriate. But masculinity is a performance, too, and it seems like a much less fun performance.
(This probably doesn't exist solely to prove Crispin's point, but, if you have not yet seen the glory that is the Is This Feminist? tumblr, I can only say that I find your failure to do so PROBLEMATIC.)

Cheryl Strayed is back this wee with a new Dear Sugar column at The Rumpus. I mean, you knew that already, right? So this link is solely for your convenience. You're welcome.

Wonderfully geeky piece by Skud examining the knitting-as-programming metaphor. Major bonus points for its invocation of Our Lady of Eternal Knitting Awesomeness, Elizabeth Zimmermann. Even if you never plan to knit a stitch in your life, you cannot go wrong by picking up a copy of EZ's Knitting Without Tears as, you know, spiritual guide or something.

At Rookie, Krista Burton writes a lovely and funny piece about not being an OCD child.

Last but not least, the best thing I read all week: at Brink Magazine, Shannon Service takes us on a tour of — and donates some exhibits to — Croatia's Museum of Broken Hearts.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Links for the week ending 13 May 2012

Oh, Mother's Day. My very least favorite holiday in the whole world! And, of course, it dominates the Writing on Teh Internets this week. Le sigh. But don't worry — I won't ask you if you're mom enough to read this week's links. I won't ask you because I DON'T CARE. (In related news, do you know what I like best about having older children? Being able to GIVE ZERO FUCKS about the Mommy Wars™.)

The Last Word on Nothing spent the week looking at the options available to women today as they consider childbearing. Cassandra Willyard considers whether to have a baby; Christie Aschwanden enjoys her decision to not have children. Cameron Walker speaks up for having two kids; Jessa Gamble and Michelle Nijhuis discuss their (current) One-Child Policy. Sally Adee wraps things up with a look at the prospects for artificial uteri (oh, all right, ectogenesis — but "artificial uteri" is much more fun to say). Read all of these pieces, and I officially bestow upon you the title of Well-Informed Mom, regardless of your reproductive experience. (You must, however, subtract Well-Informed Mom points for every mothering article you have ever read in the New York Times.)

At SciAm, Kate Clancy looks at cooperative foraging and childcare, and how that affects the amount of energy individuals have available for reproduction.

At Colorlines, Mónica Novoa brings us an interview that undocumented student Angy Rivera conducted with her mom, who is also undocumented. The pride and concern — plus the adolescent breaking away and parental guilt-induction — will be familiar to most of us, even if the situation of being undocumented is not something that most of us reading have experienced.

Some people have no papers, and some people have lots. Fresh on the heels of Michelle Bachmann's acquisition and repudiation of Swiss citizenship, Atossa Abrahamian looks at the jumble of legal and cultural factors that underlie double citizenship and asks whether citizenship is still a meaningful category in an era of international travel, when one's personal and work life can take place across national borders. Jennifer Saunders, a poet living in Switzerland, makes a similar point from a personal perspective: "I don't have intentions. I have a life. Who among you can say you intend to remain in the state in which you currently reside forever?

Some people's children get thrown away: Liliana Segura writes in The Nation about children ages 14 and under sentenced to life in prison without parole for violent crimes because of mandatory sentencing laws, questionable prosecutions, incompetent defense attorneys, and — of course — racism: "Of the 13- and 14-year-olds sent to die in prison, 70 percent are, like Trina, kids of color."

At Jezebel, Katie J.M. Baker writes a troubling dispatch from Missoula, Montana, the subject of a recently opened Justice Department investigation into gender bias: "In Missoula, I'm learning, drunk guys who may have 'made mistakes' nearly always get the benefit of the doubt. Drunk girls, however, do not."

Rebecca Solnit is back this week, writing about Fukushima in the London Review of Books: "In Fukushima just over half of the 59 municipalities test for radiation in school lunches, some before the children sit down to eat, some afterwards. Whether or not they change the menu when the levels are too high is not clear." My god.

At Salon, Irin Carmon asks: why has the Obama Administration endorsed an abstinence-only program for sex-education? It's science! Um, kind of. But never mind about government money going to fund homophobic curricula for 7th-9th graders! Obama endorsed gay marriage, and that makes it all better. Right? Well, bitter cynicism aside, E.J. Graff at The Nation makes a compelling case for why Obama's marriage equality stance really does matter.

Hey, did you lose $2 billion this week? No? Slacker. Here's a nice explanation of how it's done by Heidi N. Moore at Marketplace, so that you can do better next week.

What could go wrong? The responsible folks at Wall Street would like to repeal Dodd-Frank and anything else that even thinks about maybe possibly regulating them. (By Suzy Khimm at the Washington Post.)

At the Guardian, Suzanne Goldenberg traces the way oil and coal industries have turned to tobacco-industry tactics to create fake "grassroots" groups to oppose renewable energy funding.

Laura Secor's reportage in the New Yorker from Iran's February elections is smart, sad, and scary in turn.

Melissa Chan got kicked out of China this week after five years as Al Jazeera English's Chinese correspondent. Here she reflects with remarkable fairness and nuance as she says goodbye to a job and a country she clearly loved.

I was a night owl, so I worked in restaurant kitchens, but in nostalgic memory of all my summers spent with prescription drug-scavenging kids for whom "to chambermaid" was a verb, Elizabeth Eslami's essay in The Rumpus about hotel housekeeping.

"Deleting the people I’ve dated would be like tearing up a picture of your ex; except this picture grows and changes and says annoying things and gets married and moves to Zurich." Kelly Bourdet on the zombie-like appeal of exes on Facebook.

Hannah Nordaus writes an extremely clear guest post for Boing Boing about what we do and don't know about honeybee die-offs following recent headlines about the possible role of neonicotinoid pesticides in bee mortality.

Julia Whitty at Mother Jones covers similar territory concerning die-offs of thousands of dolphins and pelicans off the coast of Peru since January.

At SciAm, Ilana Yurkiewicz writes about presumed authority and real helplessness as a first-year medical student taking a history from a suicidally depressed victim of domestic and sexual violence.

I can't believe the Los Angeles Times was stupid enough to let this woman go: in The New Inquiry, Susan Salter Reynolds coins the wonderful term "New Transcendentalist" to describe the work of Marilynne Robinson.

Via Autumn Whitefield-Madrano at The New Inquiry: This is hilarious and terrifying and confirms my suspicion that Amy Chua was ON TO SOMETHING when she forbid her girls to attend slumber parties: the toe hair story, from kate at eat the damn cake. (I am a proud member of Team Hobbit Toes. I mean, I wasn't when I was of slumber party age, but now? See above in re: GIVES ZERO FUCKS.)

If you, like me, were somewhat questionably parented during adolescence, it's never too late to go back and let Rookie cover the bases you missed, like in this essay: "When no one validates your choices, it's OK to validate your own." Also, this fabulous essay on quitting smoking from Sady Doyle: "The behavior of addiction doesn’t rely on physical dependency. It relies on your willingness to use something external to compensate for something inside yourself."

Meandering and, yes, wholly beautiful essay by Elizabeth Bachner at Bookslut about, well, everything, really: "Nothing is going to come off the way I think it’s going to come off. What I think is going to happen in round one isn’t the same thing that I’ll actually discover in round seven."

I WILL NOT EAT THE AZALEAS New Amy Jean Porter! New Amy Jean Porter! New Amy Jean Porter! (The outtake at the end made me laugh and laugh. We have those same pink cups.)

Those of you who have known me forever (in internet years) know that I always link to the same bitterly funny Mother's Day piece every year. (Which I'm not doing here! Because it's by a guy! But you know I want to!) But even a black-hearted cynic like myself occasionally gets all weepy about a Mother's Day essay. So here you go: Drew Zandonella-Stannard writes the most beautiful damn tribute to her two moms.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Links for the week ending 6 May 2012

This week PBS's Frontline finished running an investigation of the global financial crisis, "Money, Power, & Wall Street." It looks to be four of the most essential hours we could spend in front of a screen in this election year. But if you're looking for something to read rather than watch, I recommend the articles posted on the website, especially those by Azmat Khan. "Did the Fed's Emergency Lending Prop Up 'Too Big to Fail'?" she asks. She also name-checks an essential article by Suzy Khimm (who has really been on fire this week) at the Washington Post on the "Occupy wonks" who are "more likely to use a flowchart than protest signs to fight big banks."

Another important read from Suzy Khimm this week: "Why the Violence Against Women Act is a LGBT issue."

For May Day, Rebecca Solnit has a very long reflection (made even longer by the usual unnecessary Tomgram introduction, which you should certainly skip) on how our current cultural moment and the possible futures it contains are perfectly reflected in the dystopia of The Hunger Games. (Parenthetical critical aside: Ah, you know, I recommend this with reservations. I think Rebecca Solnit is one of our most essential writers, someone with whose work any educated person should be familiar. This essay certainly has the dazzling syntheses that make her writing so illuminating and valuable. But the sense of wonder her best writing contains seems to me to be increasingly replaced by a sense of, for lack of a better word, smugness. She has a right to that smugness, I suppose — see above in re: "one of our most essential writers" — but I find myself at the end of a paragraph or two practically hopping up and down with irritation even when I entirely agree with her. YMMV, of course.)

It's been absolutely weeks since I last linked to anything by Laurie Penny, but I very much liked her thoughts on what journalism is for in this era, or any era. The last paragraph in particular is wonderful:
There’s always a chance, isn’t there, that my affection for my friends and colleagues makes the best efforts of our young lives loom larger in the heart than their ultimate significance deserves. Privately, though, I doubt it. I believe in fearless journalism, and I believe that it will continue, and I have seen it change the world in the most daring and intimate ways. I am still inspired by the brave reporters and polemicists who laid the path we run on, I still look to my peers to give me courage, and I still wake up in the night dreaming of the perfect paragraph – the one yet to be written. Some day, I will get old, but I don’t think honest writing ever will.

This was a week to contemplate the incredible bravery some women must summon in order to make art. From the paper of record, so use your ten-free-clicks judiciously: Eliza Griswold in the NYT Magazine profiling women poets in Afghanistan. The stories of the poet-martyrs are wrenching; the translated poems are often stunning. (Hat tip: @paigecmorgan.)

The Nation goes for the laughs in this headline, but the story behind the imprisonment of Russia's all-female protest punk band is deadly serious: "Free Pussy Riot"

DNLee wrote a very moving piece at SciAm this week on her experiences at the intersection of Impostor Syndrome and racism. As if to prove the point that this toxic mix is not only to be found in the sciences, some racist drivel in the Chronicle of Higher Ed reminded us that it's rife in the humanities as well. I recommend this excellent response from TressieMC: "The Inferiority of Blackness as a Subject." (Another parenthetical critical aside! While I may or may not agree with the general gist of Marjorie Perloff's assessment of the state of poetry today, driven by academic jobs and their imperative to publish, I think Perloff comes dangerously close to what TressieMC describes above when she chooses a poem about a specifically black female experience as her example of What Is Wrong With Poetry Today. And I'm pretty surprised — or I shouldn't be? — that no one at the Boston Review pushed her on that before going to print with it. Seriously, there was not a single poem in the collection that she could have used to make her point effectively withOUT signaling unexamined racist bias???)

Via @ejgraff, Miriam Jordan's reporting for the Wall Street Journal about the very messy realities behind the Ethiopian adoption boom, and, by extension, international adoption more generally.

By Kate Kelland for Reuters on cancer care in African nations that have only recently made enough strides in the battle against infectious disease to allow their citizens to live long enough to get cancer. "Most of Africa's around 2000 languages have no word for cancer." Fascinating and distressing in equal measure — six oncologists in the entire nation of Ghana? My god.

The years pass and our interests change, but I'll always be your go-to person for monitoring How Freaked Out We Should Be About Bird Flu. The previously censored studies about how many mutations may be required in H5N1 to create efficient transmission among mammals began to be released this week. Here is coverage of the first of those studies from two of the giants of infectious disease journalism: Helen Branswell at the Winnipeg Free Press, and Pulitzer Prize-winner Laurie Garrett, who says the new paper "offers genuine grounds for concern." Oy.

At Wired, Maryn McKenna looks at how cheap rapid tests for detecting STDs has had an unintended consequence in that they discourage tracking of drug resistance in those diseases. (Pro tip: drug resistance in STDs is Bad. Really Bad.) And Scicurious looks at a paper which claims that a rise in STDs creates a rise in, um, foot fetishism.

Also from Scicurious this week, because I firmly believe that even non-scientists can learn to read the latest health coverage more critically the more we also read critiques like this one, on findings correlating high fat diets and depression in mice, which, she reminds us, raises more questions than it definitively answers.

Beautiful and funny piece from Kathryn Schulz in New York Magazine about internal body clocks, artificial light, and social time. "Among species, we humans are to time what Polish villagers have long been to place: unhappy subjects of multiple competing regimes." As we reach the end of our first year at the OH MY GOD IT STARTS WHEN??? middle school, I can only say a deeply heartfelt "AMEN" to all of this. (Only six more years to go. OH MY GOD.) Also from the same author, a piece about her own personal struggles with trying to reconcile an internal clock that's wildly at odds with social time.

Possibly the best wording of a Big Science Question that I have ever seen: Ann Finkbeiner asks, "What's the Matter With Gravity?"

Lovely little guest post by Whitney Barlow at The Last Word On Nothing that absolutely captures the experience of trying to shape life-as-it-happens into a neat blog narrative, life in this case being a lost hummingbird who overwintered in the shrubs in front of New York's American Museum of Natural History.

Five mind-bending facts about the DNA of plants from Daisy Yuhas at SciAm.

At The Rumpus, Aubrey Hirsch talks back to the visibility of pregnancy and the way it makes your private life public property. A universal experience, but a particular political moment:
The right is lobbying against my reproductive freedoms in all forms, at all levels, in every way they can. Some days it seems that every news article I read is an attack. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t affecting my self-worth. What’s wrong with me, I wonder, that I can’t be trusted with my own freedom?

At The Hairpin, Nicole Cliffe lays bare the brutal truth about parenting (and, honestly, life): "we want to think there's an immense barrier between us and disaster, but there isn't. Just luck." (I'd tell you about similar stories from this household, but which ones to choose? Baby LG falling off the bed onto the hardwood floor… twice? Three-year-old LG falling down our steep staircase? The time BB got a black eye and a dislocated elbow within a few days of each other? Those days, I do not miss them…)

Jane Stevens on a new approach to high-school discipline that takes as its starting point the assumption that the CDC's Adverse Childhood Experiences Study explains an awful lot of why adolescents act out in class.

From Liat Kornowski at The Atlantic: iPhones made by blind people for people are revolutionizing how they navigate everything from streets to their own clothes closets.

At The Billfold, a very strong essay by Kate Abbott about becoming a stay-at-home mom — and losing her ability to control her spending: "The Responsible Thief."

There was no way on earth I could refrain from linking to this: Elif Batuman in the New Yorker on "The Phantom Matzo Factory." You should follow Batuman on Twitter, by the way. She is hilarious.

Via @lucypigpuppet, by Abi Sutherland at Making Light, a thoughtful meditation on Minecraft and learning to live in a world of limited resources. Though I must warn you that you will have that song stuck in your head for days afterwards.

We fell down the '80s rabbit hole last weekend playing a little YouTube-based game we call "Dueling '80s Hits." In the aftermath of that game, I found this little gem of 2011 interview with former Yaz(oo) frontwoman Alison Moyet about her arc from teen punk band to international stardom. If you were a fan of Yaz in the '80s (or her solo work later), don not miss! (However, this time I must warn you that Moyet has lost a significant amount of weight and now looks disconcertingly like Greta Garbo, which, what? I did not expect that.)

Even if you haven't watched a moment of Downton Abbey (and, you will not be surprised to learn, I haven't), this essay by Francine Prose in Granta about the series' appeal is well worth a read.

And, finally, the essay to end all essays on Girls, by Roxanne Gay at The Rumpus. I could not be more impressed with the work Gay is producing these days. She is simply amazing.