Sunday, April 14, 2013

Links for the week ending 14 April 2013

"The Asahi Shimbun, one of the biggest newspapers in Japan, called the Fukushima plant 'a toxic water production facility' in an editorial this week." Mari Saito for Reuters on the ongoing crisis concerning leaks of ever-growing amounts radioactive water. You know. Just another little indicator that perhaps humans should first figure out how to stop being inveterate fuck-ups, and then try again with nuclear power. (Via Jim Roberts.)

"Whatever one feels about the drone program, one would think that it shouldn't result in bodies that have to be sorted into a category that basically means 'miscellaneous' or even just 'some guys who struck us as kind of shady.'" As usual, no one does outrage quite so well as Amy Davidson at The New Yorker.

At NPR, Marie McGrory on the striking pictures of Afghan photojournalist Farzana Wahidy. (Via Erin Cunningham.)

There's plenty to quarrel with in this Caroline Stauffer story for Reuters about conflicts surrounding the Brazilian government's eviction of 7,000 settlers as part of restitution to the Xavante Indians who were forced off their traditional land by the government in 1966. But it's a fascinating story nonetheless.

"The ad rests on the image of a black man screaming, 'Get your free government phone today!' from a car." From Jamilah King at Colorlines, a deconstruction of a race-based attack by Republicans of a Reagan-era program to subsidize phone service for rural, elderly, and very poor people.

"On Monday nights when shaggy-haired young men with restless video-game thumbs hustle off the bus at the recruit depot in San Diego, one of the first Marines they see is a woman." Such a great lede in Gretel C. Kovach's story at The San Diego Union-Tribune about the Marine Corps' efforts to comply with new directives to address gender discrimination and sexual assault. (Via Anne-Marie Slaughter.)

"Businesses are encouraged to keep fixed costs, such as labor and rent, as low as possible. That has paid off: The amount of profit companies make per employee has risen 34% since 2004." Alana Semuels for the Los Angeles Times on how efficiency and precarity grind down workers in every industry, from the factory floor to Manhattan trading firms. (Via Atossa Abrahamian.)

This week in Health Care and the Free Market: "The same year that naloxone became so critical to saving lives, one pharmaceutical company secured a monopoly on its production and jacked up the prices by 1,100%." By Tessie Castillo at AlterNet. (Via Kristen Gwynne.)

"He said the physician told him that Nevada had no place for him. 'Pick a state,' he said the doctor told him. 'How about sunny California? They have excellent health care and more benefits than you could ever get in Nevada.'" Sensitive but hard-hitting reporting by Cynthia Hubert for the Sacramento Bee about Nevada dumping mentally ill patients on neighboring states via Greyhound bus. An amazing piece. (Via Marian Wang.)

"Paper unicorns pop up in surprising nooks around the lab, bearing Technicolor testament to the demanding hours the scientists have spent underground." Fun profile of the lab team running the Large Underground Xenon experiment to search for dark matter in an old South Dakota gold mine. By Amina Khan for the Los Angeles Times.(Via Eryn Brown.)

Excellent bird flu explainer by epidemiologist Tara C. Smith at Slate.

"This spring, greening is being blamed for an unprecedented 'fruit drop,' in which eighteen million boxes of oranges and grapefruit fell prematurely." At The New Yorker, Michelle Nijhuis writes about the apocalypse facing Florida's citrus groves.

"'We think it might be a very general phenomenon,' McFall-Ngai says. Our microscopic passengers, that is, might be helping to steer the spaceship." On the circadian rhythms of luminous squid, and what they might tell us more generally about life. By Elizabeth Preston at Inkfish. (Via @zoobiquity.)

At The Awl, "The Great Nobel Prize Cash-In Begins With A Big Bang," by Alexis Coe, on the decision of DNA co-discoverer Francis Crick's heir to sell his Nobel Prize and other effects at auction to private bidders. Don't worry, folks! This stuff will be up for public display again just as soon as the heirs of the magnate who acquires it all go bankrupt in their turn.

This is just so damn fabulous. Grandma Got STEM, a blog collecting histories of women in science, technology, engineering, and math. There are a lot of people out there with awesome grandmas.

Also fabulous: the "Let's Talk About Names" series being co-hosted by Are Women Human? and Flyover Feminism. I arrived via Kristin Rawls' piece, and promptly fell down the rabbit hole following earlier links.

"Eden Foods, which did not respond to a request for comment, says in its filing that the company believes of birth control that 'these procedures almost always involve immoral and unnatural practices.'" Irin Carmon reports for Salon on how an organic food staple brand of co-ops and Whole Foods belies its conservative legal activism. I hear the sweet sounds of a spontaneous boycott, don't you?

"The cover that the publisher designs has a naked cartoon torso against a pink background with a camera covering the genitalia. I tell them it's usually my eye behind the camera, not my vagina." Deborah Copaken Kogan takes no prisoners in "My So-Called 'Post-Feminist' Life in Arts and Letters." At The Nation.

Jennifer Weiner's commentary on Kogan's piece is also well worth reading. (Via VIDA.)

Though it's also worth remembering that there's more to art than prestige. Another knock-out piece by Molly Crabapple, this week in Jacobin, on her journey to making political, activism-driven art.

"Surfer, rock climber, musician, yogi — all were common self-identifiers in a community of waitresses and bartenders." At The Billfold, Mary Mann writes about her post-college life in San Diego's tourist economy (and makes me all not-nostalgic for my post-college life in Maine's short-season tourist industry, where the underpaid bubble always bursts by Columbus Day).

"But they're adults. They came here to get fucked up — and your relationship to them is temporary at best. It's your job to be polite, to make conversation, and to make sure they don't kill themselves, or anyone else." Wonderful prose piece from Martha Bayne about bar life, the sometimes dicey ethics of bartending, and the rage of grief.

"When I told friends I was going to be a bridesmaid in my ex's wedding, however, the look given to me was a look often reserved for telling someone their face is on fire." Sweet and funny essay by Anna Pulley at Salon. (Via Marian Wang.)

"They can still recall the pebbles that became their toys and the hard wooden bunks where they slept with dozens of other children, most of whom would die." Breathtaking profile by Emily Langer and Ellen Belcher of two Italian sisters believed to be some of the youngest survivors with memories of Auschwitz. (Via Jim Roberts.)

Finishing up in two different directions this week. Filed under, "Things that will make you glad you exist at this moment in human history," a new book called Lost Cat: A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, reviewed at the LARB by Jillian Steinhauer. (Via Niljana Roy.)

Filed under, "Things that will make your heart hurt," Susan Faludi's masterful account of the life and early death of feminist revolutionary Shulamith Firestone. At The New Yorker.