Lots of news of the war in Mali this week. At The New York Times (reiterating the usual clear-cookie advice), Lydia Polgreen reports from Timbuktu about the city's relief after being liberated by French and Malian troops. (Warning: opens with a grim couple of paragraphs about the amputation of an accused thief's hand.) Lest you feel like cheering, Rukmini Callimachi reports for the AP, also from Timbuktu, that captured Islamist rebels describe having underwent "waterboarding" torture at the hands of Malian troops. Meanwhile, at Foreign Policy, political scientist Laura Seay warns against relying on talk-show pundits for information about the conflict: "Mali Is Not a Stan."
It's hard to make sense of the chaos in Egypt at the moment, but Abigail Hauslohner at The Washington Post will at least keep you informed of latest developments.
A reminder that the easiest way to keep on top of war news is to read Torie Rose DeGhett's excellent This Week in War round-up. That's where I found Ann Jones' piece in Guernica, "Counting Down to 2014 in Afghanistan." "Washington has long appeared to be fighting its own war in defense of a form of government and a set of long-discredited government officials that ordinary Afghans would never have chose for themselves and have no power to replace."
"With Just a Mobile Phone, even the most humble pastoralist is able to partake in the world of e-finance, zinging his meagre shillings across the country to relatives wherever they may be. Poverty Over. With Just a Mobile Phone." Stinging satire of the African diaspora's triumphant return home by an anonymous woman for the Guardian.
This week in You Have To Be Fucking Kidding Me, Batsheva Sobelman for the Los Angeles Times on coercive long-term birth-control treatments administered to Ethiopian immigrants as a condition of their admittance to Israel.
Also this week in YHTBFKM, the Miami Herald's indefatigable Carol Rosenberg reports from the ongoing censorship circus that is the trial against 9/11 conspirators at Guantánamo. The lede says it all: "The military judge presiding at the Sept. 11 trial Thursday ordered the government to unplug any outside censors who can reach into his courtroom and silence the war crimes tribunal."
Monica Davey for The New York Times on the limits of municipal gun-control laws in Chicago: "Some 7,640 people currently hold a firearms permit, but nearly that many illicit weapons were confiscated from the city's streets during last year alone."
Kim Zetter reports for Wired on new amendments proposed to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act following the suicide of Aaron Swartz earlier this year, which would "exclude breaches of terms of service and user agreements from the law." Includes a link for contacting your lawmaker about supporting the amendments.
At Colorlines, Julianne Hing offers a list of six things you can do to get involved in shaping the debate on proposed immigration reform.
Sociologist Erin Hatton writes about the gendered history of the temporary labor industry — "jobs designed for 'Never-Never Girls' rather than valued employees" — at the NYT's Opinionator blog.
"It's not even a flashcard approach; it's a series of lacunae, startlingly free of insight or context, mentioning not one single book or author, and only one political or religious figure (George Washington) in the nine minutes I watched. I've seen more informative cereal boxes." Maria Bustillos at The Awl with a wide-ranging (and very quotable) conversation about MOOCs and the future of a college education. (My kids are currently advocating for primary education to be replaced by six hours of VlogBrothers' Crash Course per day, to which I say: nice try, kids.)
At Vice, a personal essay by Molly Crabapple about having been a light-skinned, mixed-race, angry 12-year-old: "Anything I know about swagger, I learned as a twelve-year-old in a room full of adults who'd labelled me profoundly troubled. Don't give them satisfaction. Keep your back straight. Meet their eyes."
Activist Michelle Kinsey Bruns testifying at Feministing: "The other voices are those of fifty-five Catholic high-school students from Louisiana and their chaperones beginning their trip home from the 2013 'March for Life' in Washington. I am standing in the middle of their reserved car. I am about to tell them that I had an abortion, and I am about to tell them why." (Via Cory Ellen Gatrall.)
Billfold editor Logan Sachon and pseudonymous "Martha Kaplan" are having a conversation about depression and money that's really worth eavesdropping on.
This… may be the most awesome use of epidemiological statistical analysis of all time: Hilary Parker at New York Magazine examines the relative risk of being named Hilary/Hillary and concludes that she bears "the most poisoned woman's name in recorded history in the U.S."
"'Oh God. The internet!'" Hilarious (ahem) interview with Jamaica Kincaid by Hannah Levintova at Mother Jones.
"It was a direct round-trip flight plan: no layovers, no re-routes, just on 7,000-mile round trip between Logan International Airport and the Arctic Circle." Martine Powers for the Boston Globe on what scientists have learned about avian migration patterns while trying to avert airport bird strikes. (Via Amanda Katz.)
"'My family has been blowing glass in Hebron for around 700 years.'" Fascinating profile of Hebron's amazing traditional glassblowers, by Gail Simmons for an oil company PR magazine. (Wait. What? Read it anyway.) Via Sara Hussein.
In the most recent issue of New England Review, Anne Raeff on growing up in the shadow of the Holocaust and her parents' complicated German heritage and personal histories. (Via Longreads.)
"There is something you haven't noticed yet. What is it? IT CAN BE VERY SMALL." Finally, a reminder that not every intersection of the internets and education must result in a venture-capitalist scheme. Lynda Barry is posting to her tumblr notes from the class she's teaching at UW-Madison this semester. Featuring the most beautiful handouts ever in the history of university education. (Via Maria Popova, and someday someone is going to explain to me why cutting and pasting some complicated little icon is a better idea than just typing "via.")