Sunday, November 25, 2012

Links for the week ending 25 November 2012

Only a mini-post this week, as your host is only just returned from the usual round of holiday travel, and took yet another small holiday from the news whilst away.

Maria Bustillos at The Awl writes, "Assets & Liabilities: Understanding The Rolling Jubilee Project." Some illuminating interviews here.

Carin Cooper guest-blogs at Scientific American about how citizen science is helping to make sense of an avian pox epidemic among birds in Great Britain.

Also at Scientific American, a very funny book review of the Encyclopedia Paranoiaca by Maria Konnikova. You'll never want to eat anything again!

Fabulous piece by Virgina Hughes at The Last Word on Nothing on one young woman's struggles with a crippling sleep disorder — and how her search for a cause has been complicated by an epidemic of "slipping the mickey" in a rural Italian village in the late 1980s!

Finally, from Sarah McCarry at The Rejectionist, an essay about not being able to sit through violent movies. I pretty much haven't gone to the movies since Quentin Tarantino came into vogue, so I can only say: amen.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Links for the week ending 18 November 2012

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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Links for the week ending 11 November 2012

It was a heartening week for re-immersing myself back in the news. To start, here's a compilation of some of the best writing I read about the U.S. elections on Tuesday.

From Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: "If the quarrels and deliberations associated with politics are, as Obama said in his speech, 'a mark of our liberty,' then his daughters were a mark of the passage of time."

Irin Carmon writes at Salon on the election outcomes of the war on women: "I once heard Ruth Bader Ginsburg quote her husband — a feminist ally before there were very many — saying that 'the symbol of the United States really isn't the bald eagle. It's the pendulum.'"

E.J. Graff at The American Prospect on the victories for same-sex marriage at the ballot box: "Americans have moved farther and faster on marriage equality than I had dared to dream."

At The Atlantic, Rebecca Rosen writes about the get-out-the-vote sociological experiment that you were part of if you logged into Facebook on Election Day.

"'We went into the evening confident we had a good path to victory,' said one senior adviser. 'I don't think there was one person who saw this coming.'" From Jan Crawford at CBS News, a report that will make you even more thankful that this team is not going to be in charge of managing the U.S.

This made me a little weepy and should be the very definition of how one goes on to live a dignified life in the wake of such a public failure. At The New York Times (but it's a blog post, so it shouldn't count against your 10-article tally), Katharine Q. Seelye shadows 79-year-old Michael Dukakis and his wife, 75-year-old Kitty Dukakis, as they go door-to-door for Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

Finally, two reports from the voting booths on election night. At The New Yorker, Louise Erdrich writes a dispatch from Minnesota. "'Valiant attempt,' she says as he walks away. It is more a sneer than a compliment." And this heartbreaker from Laurie Penny at Vice: "Feeding Hurricane Victims Democracy Hot-Dogs on Election Night."

From the indefatigable Rebecca Solnit, here reprinted at Guernica Magazine, "Disaster has now become our national policy: we invite it in and it directs us, for better and worse."

Elizabeth Kiem at The Morning News: "Our final class, a discussion of Colson Whitehead in a Dumbo bookstore just yards from the East River was canceled. Whitehead's Zone One had become Zone A, and our far-ranging musings joined the mandatory evacuation."

From Scicurious at SciAm, a look at a new study that concludes: "not all stresses are created equal, even the traumatic ones. And it turns out that it's not the stress itself that is important… it's whether or not you have any control over it."

My kids agree that this is the coolest story of the week's news cycle (though even my kids are savvy enough to question why the girls are labeled "African," as if they had no nationality): Leslie Katz at CNET covers "Pee power! African teens create urine-fueled generator." (Thanks to Rachel Hartman for finding coverage of this story by a woman!) For a broader look at the Maker Faire in Lagos, Nigeria, Yinka Ibukun covers it for the Guardian.

Amazing work at Boing Boing by Maggie Koerth-Baker, who interviews James D. Watson about the newly released extended edition of his classic book, The Double Helix, showcasing (among other things) primary documents relating to the treatment of scientist Rosalind Franklin.

"If this trend continues, the universe will get only 5 percent more stars, even if we wait forever." Rebecca Boyle at Popular Science informs us that we are — cosmologically speaking — already in the End Times.

This is the "Leave 'Em Hanging" portion of the List this week. At The Hairpin, the first in a forthcoming series of posts about the pseudonymous author's personal experience with Scientology. At The New York Review of Books, the first article in Janet Malcolm's three-part series about the murder of Michelle Malakova's father, and the prosecution of the child's mother, Mazoltuv Borukhova, for that crime.

Yesterday was a "global day of action" for wounded Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai. At the Guardian, Irna Qureshi writes about her British-born cousins who were denied the right to an education for being female.

Sady Doyle continues to hit it out of the park at Rookie: "I Am Whatever I Say I Am: A persona is a handy thing to have."

Thoughtful reflection by Autumn Whitefield-Madrano at The New Inquiry: "On Being a Fat Child."

Via Maria Bustillos, who reminds us that some old white guys know how to be the good guys: "Harvard Library To Contribute 'Crown Jewels' to Digital Public Library of America." By Radhika Jain for The Harvard Crimson.

A moving personal essay on new parenthood in the surveillance age at The Rumpus by Megan Stielstra: "Channel B."

And finally, this, which I saved from a couple of weeks back because it was too awesome to go unrecorded even during a vacation from the news: by Arika Okrent at Mental Floss, "From Y'all To Youse, 8 English Way to Make 'You" Plural."