Sunday, November 24, 2013

Links for the week ending 24 November 2013

"The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests." Every news outlet in the whole freakin' world should have led with this story by Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian this week. I'm just saying.

"Saleh was so troubled by what he saw that he decided to install video cameras in his store. Not to protect himself from criminals, because he says he has never been robbed. He installed the cameras — 15 of them — he said, to protect him and his customers from police." Incredible, outage-causing story by Julie K. Brown at the Miami Herald on the "broken-window" theory of law-enforcement gone very, very wrong.

"For Ms. Barrington-Ward, joblessness itself has become a trap, an impediment to finding a job. Economists see it the same way, concerned that joblessness lasting more than six months is a major factor preventing people from getting rehired, with potentially grave consequences for tens of millions of Americans." From last weekend, Annie Lowrey at the NYT on the dire straits of the long-term unemployed. (Via Lizzie O'Leary.)

"Reed said it was 'ignorant' to question efforts to help people in need or blame Walmart for the economic realities of the labor force nationally. 'You can't find a decent job anywhere,' she said." Nuanced and deeply sad article by Olivera Perkins at the Cleveland Plain-Dealer on the widely reported Thanksgiving food drive one Ohio Walmart is holding for its employees. (Via David Hull.)

"While it’s hard to say exactly what Duquesne should have done for Vojtko in the months before she died, her case highlights the devil’s bargain universities have made by exploiting adjuncts—who, at Duquesne and elsewhere, are finally fighting back." From L.V. Anderson at Slate, a look at the complexities behind the another widely reported labor-outrage case on the death of a recently fired elderly adjunct.

"The rules governing academic and scientific research recognizes that some groups are too vulnerable to risk the failure that the scientific method requires." Super-smart essay by Tressie McMillan Cottom on why education "reformers" should be held to the same Institutional Review Board standards as any other university-based experiment involving other human beings.

"Intersectionality is more like layers of sand than overlapping lines; often, the consequences of inequality don't cross - they coexist and even feed one another. They aren't visibly alien to one another, and it isn't always possible to parse them out." Wonderfully thorough and readable essay by Carmen Rios at Autostraddle on a recent report on the immense diversity of challenges facing LGBT workers of color in America.

"For transgender women, it doesn’t get better, apparently. We experience most of the violence with none of the visibility. We are the dead and we are the forgotten." Powerful piece by Samantha Allen at Jacobin for Transgender Day of Remembrance.

"Qatar has the world’s highest ratio of migrants to citizens, with its 250,000 nationals accounting for only about 12 percent of the population." Mind-boggling statistics in this piece by Abigail Hauslohner for the Washington Post on slave-like labor conditions in one of the world's wealthiest nations.

"The less than one mile her children have to walk to reach school daily has been flooded with sewage for days. Local health officials say that polio has been detected in the untreated sewage, after several outbreaks have been reported nearby this year." This article by Sheera Frenkel at Buzzfeed makes some questionable editorial choices in blaming the sewage floods in Gaza City on the shutdown of Egyptian tunnels (rather than on, say, why fuel-to-power-sewage-plants needs to be smuggled into Gaza in the first place), but it is still worth reading, because otherwise how will you know that Palestinian parents have to decide whether to send their kids to school and exposing them to rivers of polio-infected shit every morning?

"Laura Conteh didn’t know what war sounded like until the night it engulfed her life." It's not often that I say "You have to read this piece at The Telegraph," but this Jean Friedman-Rudovsky article on the lives 15 years later of women who had been forced to join the rebel fighters during Sierra Leone's civil war is exceptional. (Via E.J. Graff.)

"The demonstrators have even been giving the brioches out to the freshly deployed policemen to show that at last Tripoli is getting the upper hand." Forget cronuts. Here is a great little piece from Rana Jawad at the BBC about the role of baryoosh pastries in the movement to expel armed militias from Libya's capital city.

"The fight for bipartisan normalcy has already been lost. The majority leader merely sounded the death knell. There will be lots of loud lamenting at the wake that follows. Don’t be fooled." Emily Bazelon at Slate on the nuclear option and the filibuster in the Senate.

"But Chin is an undisputed leader in the field, and her work has brought new insights to scientists’ understanding of Mesozoic Era, when towering reptiles walked the earth. 'I think it’s fair to say I’ve studied more dinosaur feces than most,' she says modestly." From Elizabeth Strickland at Nautilus, the best article on the study of prehistoric poop that you will read all week.

"The similarities between astrophysics and virtual mass slaughter for recreational purposes begin at the start of both activities." This piece by Elizabeth Tasker at The Toast confuses me, because (back in 19…cough…nevermind) Prof. Robert P. Kirshner did, in fact, demonstrate to the class how galaxies were distributed throughout the universe using a large pepperoni pizza. Maybe the distribution of galaxies throughout the universe is much more like pepperoni pizza than the formation of individual galaxies, which is like playing video games? In any event! My personal confusion notwithstanding, it is a fabulous piece and you should read it.

"It was loud in the way that a flock of geese is loud. One big conversation; nothing individual. What I imagine Twitter would be if all those quips were given voice. And then…out of the crowd of people crushing to connect to the person next to them in some semi-meaningful way, strode this Amazon in a shiny bunny suit." Also fabulous and at The Toast, the second in a series of pieces by Sherlynn Hicks.

"Writers are generally fated to commit the truest parts of themselves to the page, whether they choose to own their work in public or not. That is the ultimate vulnerability, and it is inescapable." Maria Bustillos at The New Yorker on anonymous writing.

I'm making grand and yet ironized claims, announcing a situation and commenting on that situation at the same time. I'm offering an explanation and rolling my eyes—and I'm able to do it with one little word." You've probably read this piece by Megan Garber at The Atlantic already, but you should read it again, because happiness! (Via V.C. Maguire.)

"On Wednesday he ate through three plums but he was still hungry. He had always been hungry. Famine filled his mouth and his throat and his lungs; even his veins felt empty. Death wore him like a hollowed skin." Mallory Ortberg rewrites The Very Hungry Caterpillar and it is terrifying. At The Toast.

"Let me go, and you live, she said to her mother, before the current took her. None of this is metaphor. Ten thousand lives did not shut very beautifully, suddenly, or close like roses." At Vela, a remarkable assemblage of writers' responses to Typhoon Haiyan. Do not miss.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Links for the week ending 17 November 2013

Skimping on news of the world this week, but a lot of personal essays and longreads. First off, though, in case you haven't seen it, here's your one-stop shopping for explaining to your FB friends why the Philippines really does not need donations of your old shoes and crap. By Jessica Alexander at Slate. (Jia Tolentino has suggestions for how to send money for aid and recovery here.)

"A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday." Suzanne Goldenberg at the Guardian.

"In the business world, successful businesses thrive and weak, underperforming ones wither and shut down. Proponents argue that when this principle is carried over into public education, the resulting competition lifts the bar of expectation and results for everyone. But in practice, schools are not businesses and communities don’t function the same way as markets, and school closures haven’t left a trail of academic success stories in their wake." Sobering and aptly titled report by Julianne Hing at Colorlines on "The Brutal End of Public Education" in Philadelphia.

"The cancellation crisis is a product of certain Obama weaknesses—his faith in the obviousness of his own good sense, his failure to measure his opponents—and may turn out to be the single thing he’s done that will most help those who call him a deceiver and a fraud." Amy Davidson at The New Yorker.

"But the free clinic is also where some people learn that there is no hope for the chemotherapy or surgery that they need but can’t afford. When UTMB refuses to treat them, it falls to us to tell them that they will die of diseases that are, in fact, treatable." This essay by Rachel Pearson at the Texas Observer should be required reading at every medical school in America. Also you should read it. (Via Melissa del Bosque.)

"It’s hard to know where to begin, so Dr. Theresa Cheng concerns herself with what she knows best as a dentist: his teeth." From Sarah Zhang at The Seattle Times, a Veterans' Day story.

"That’s part of the genius of the program: By segregating and fast-tracking the veterans from students who might have never treated a wound or seen a patient, they can adopt a go-fast approach that gets them into the job market." From Carol Rosenberg at The Miami Herald, another Veterans' Day story.

'It makes no sense,' said Dr. Leone. 'The people who are really transmitting are the ones who are sort of getting away with not disclosing.'." Seriously good explanation of how complicated and variable a diagnosis of "herpes" really is, by "An HSV-Negative Lady" at The Hairpin.

"When I saw the girls staring, their eyes like marbles, I knew I had to be the calm one because there would be no one capable of saving me except me." I do not even know what to say about this essay by Ariella Yendler at The Toast about being beaten with a tire iron, except that she is a badass, and you should read it even if you have to slide your eyes really fast over all the graphic parts (like I do).

"'He’s alive now,' I said, looking at the person in my left hand. The voice said that he understood, but that it wouldn’t last, and that he would send an ambulance for us right away." This piece by Ariel Levy at The New Yorker is pretty much unbearable reading, and I strongly advise that you do not click on it if you have ever had a traumatic pregnancy loss, unless you're prepared to cope with PTSD all over again. The piece is terribly beautiful if you can handle it, though.

"The same woman can wake up one morning with regret, the next with relief—most have feelings too knotty for a picket sign. 'There’s no room,' one woman told us, 'to talk about being unsure.'" Twenty-six women tell the stories of their abortions. By Meaghan Winter at NY Mag.

"When Hana died, she became one of at least dozens of adoptees alleged to have been killed at their adoptive parents' hands in the past 20 years, and part of a far larger group of children who become estranged from their adoptive families—frequently, as it turns out, large families with fundamentalist beliefs about child rearing." Another wrenching piece from Kathryn Joyce at Slate on abuse of international adoptees.

"A lifetime spent holding a part of yourself in reserve does not resolve with the birth of a child. We mothers are still entitled to unknowable parts, if we want them." A very fine short essay on the particular tension of being an introvert and a mother, by Stacia L. Brown.

"The hostility is not directly specifically at black women, but as the presence of black women in this space as avatars of change. Our hypervisible invisibility in spaces like Austin portend a demographic shift that a country that will tell our president to go back to Africa is obviously not equipped to process. To be the sole black person in any space brings its own challenges. But to find yourself as the sole honest black friend to numerous white people is more than a full-time job. It becomes a second identity, a shadow." At PostBourgie, Joshunda Saunders writes about leaving Austin, Texas.

"Bangs are not historically accurate. Mom worried that the other women would remark upon them." If you never thought you'd have any reason to read anything about Civil War re-enactors, Leigh Stein is about to change your mind. At The Toast.

"Lamenting my age, at this point, even in jest, feels ungrateful. It's sort of an insult to the integrity of my intact life, without which I would not be sitting here. You pull out any of the pieces, however much I may have hated them at the time, and the results would be unpredictable. This is where I am, this is how long it took." Because how can I not link to this essay at NPR by Linda Holmes when she is so approximately my vintage? (Via Jody T.)

"Like most people in New York City, I daily expect to find myself walking the West Side Highway with nothing but a shopping cart stacked with bottled water, a flashlight, and a dead loved one on my back, seeking a suitable site for burial. The postapocalyptic scenario—the future in which everyone’s a corpse (except you)—must be, at this point, one of the most thoroughly imagined fictions of the age." Zadie Smith again at the NYRB, and hooray for that.

"People stroll in and out of the Loaf 'N Jug, a lady with Pringles, a guy slapping a fresh pack of Marlboros, a teenager sipping something blue. It's a clear May day in Colorado, and the hit man is a good listener." At GQ, Jeanne Marie Laskas with the most amazing story you will ever read about undercover agents who pose as hit men.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Links for the week ending 10 November 2013

"Nearly 40 percent of all workers in the country made less than $20,000 last year, according to data from the Social Security Administration, which doesn’t include figures on benefits such as health insurance or pensions." Bryce Covert at Think Progress.

"Now that the average amount per person has dropped from $1.50 to $1.40 per meal, it will be even harder for families to stretch their food budget to the end of the month." Elizabeth Weinstein at the Huffington Post with some hard truths about food stamps. (Via Elizabeth Lower-Basch.)

"I wish they would be more considerate of what we’re doing with the pay rate. They’re a little cheap: 31 cents for a carton of grapes. I would like another two or three cents a carton, because it’s really hard and heavy work." Undocumented farm worker Odilia Chavez talks to Lauren Smiley at Modern Farmer. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)

"The gang’s embrace of the bulldog logo has put university administrators in an excruciatingly awkward position amid a gang crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives." At the NYT, Malia Wollan writes about the Fresno State mascot's second life as a gang logo. (Via Lois Beckett.)

"Eight out of 10 misdemeanor cases have been dismissed between 2006 and 2012, shows a Chicago Reporter analysis of records for 1.4 million cases maintained by the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County and the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts." Angela Caputo at The Chicago Reporter on the results of Chicago's version of stop-and-frisk. (Via Christie Thompson.)

"She’s doing paperwork — denying a pile of requests from her physicians for additional care for their patients. The requests are appropriate, she says, but the hospital just doesn’t have the money to pay for the care. 'If someone shows up with a torn ACL, we can’t afford to fix it,' she says. 'He will walk with a limp.'" At Stanford Medicine Magazine, Tracie White reports on the state of health care at Rosebud Indian Reservation. (I cannot remember where I found the link to this, but if it was you, thank you!)

"Why would she be preoccupied with a button while the other people in the photograph were terrified of being killed? Why was the button undone to begin with?" At Bag News, Valerie Wieskamp interrogates one of the iconic images of the Vietnam War — a photo of a group of women and children just before they were massacred at My Lai — for what it says about rape and sexual assault during the war. (Via Marian Wang.)

"Her medical records were so damaging to her case that any rational plaintiff’s lawyer would have been begging for a settlement once they came to light. But Jones’s lawyers had attacked KBR relentlessly in the media for four years, and the company wasn’t about to settle before airing its side. In the end, KBR made sure Jones got her day in court. " At The Washington Monthly, Stephanie Mencimer takes a second, devastating look at a widely reported Iraq-contractor rape case. (Via Pamela Colloff.)

"Things that men were placed into isolation for: gang activity, sharing a cell with a gang member during a previous incarceration, depression, psychosis, throwing feces, fighting off attackers, complaining about the food, schizophrenia, suicide attempts, threats of violence, listlessness, and gang activity by relatives with whom they had no contact." Erika Price is amazing again, this time on a solitary confinement prison operated until last year by the state of Illinois. At The Toast.

"He'd endured awfulness that no child should. But despite that, and because of it, it was naïve to think he had emerged unscathed. But this case wasn't really about who to blame. It was about what to do. What to do with Joseph. " Deeply disturbing piece about the ten-year-old boy who shot and killed his neo-Nazi father. By Amy Wallace at GQ.

"In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only dangerous criminals.' But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them." From Emily Bazelon at Slate, a long piece about the shocking Nazi origins of the Republican claim that women can't get pregnant from rape.

"Key members of the US House of Representatives are calling for the National Science Foundation (NSF) to justify every grant it awards as being in the 'national interest'. Sarah Zhang at Nature.

"Extrapolating from 34 months of Kepler observations, Petigura and colleagues found that 22 percent of 50 billion sun-like stars in the galaxy should have planets roughly the size of Earth suitably positioned for water." Hooray! There are more planets we can fuck up when we're through with this one (or it's through with us). By Irene Klotz for Reuters.

"Quilting. In space. Could the manly test pilots of the 1950s have imagined such a future? But there she is, blonde and Minnesotan and explaining how she manipulated fabric in zero gravity." Helen Fields writes about astronaut Karen Nyberg, who returns to earth from the ISS today, at The Last Word On Nothing.

"Finally, on a spring day a decade and a half after the seven friends bought the land, my husband, our infant daughter and I found ourselves the only permanent residents of the entire 80 acres, living in what suddenly felt like a gatehouse to nowhere." Michelle Nijhuis at Aeon on how she first embraced and ultimately rejected homesteading off the grid in Colorado.

"I like the term “people with print disabilities,” which encompasses people with visual impairments as well as people with a wide range of cognitive processing issues—various learning disabilities—that affect the ability to process standard print material. The term forces us to think of print as the problem, rather than looking at the individual human being and his or her individual sensory and cognitive apparatus. Fascinating interview with Georgina Kleege by Sara Hendren at The Atlantic on assistive technologies for the visually impaired. (Via Rebecca Rosen.)

"I remember looking at the rattled expressions on the customs officials' faces as a constant stream of Zorn's musicians came through customs all wearing bright red RHYTHM AND JEWS! T-shirts." Laurie Anderson at Rolling Stone on her more than two decades together with the late Lou Reed. (Via Maud Newton.)

"Joni is 70, which means we only have at least 50-60 more years with her." For Janine (and everyone else!), Nicole Cliffe at The Toast has links and videos on the occasion of Joni Mitchell's birthday.

"Things are changing so fast that in some places, transformation is evident even during the relatively short time period of high school matriculation." From Marie Lyn Bernard at Autostraddle, your weekly dose of hope with a roundup of LGBT homecoming queens and kings around the nation.

"When I first traveled to Rio de Janeiro to research all things Elizabeth Bishop, in 2002, I did not understand how or why everyone—from university professors to taxi drivers, artisans, artists, and entrepreneurs—had something to say about a poeta norteamericana." Mostly I am including this Paris Review piece by Magdalena Edwards so that one of you nice people will alert me when this movie arrives on Netflix or Amazon Prime or iTunes or wherever it is Kids These Days watch movies when not in NYC or LA, god knows I have no idea about such things!

"Q: How many male novelists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: ”It’s only the institution I have a problem with,” he explained to the empty bar.
" Mallory Ortberg at The Toast.

"I am convinced that steadily attending to an idea is the core of intellectual labor, and that steadily attending to people is the core of kindness. And I gravely worry that Twitter undermines that capacity for sustained attention." Finally, Kathryn Schulz at NYMag, being very smart about the allure and diminishing rewards of Twitter.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Links for the week ending 3 November 2013

"In testimony that caused the translator to stop and begin to weep, he said: 'Congressman Grayson, as a teacher, my job is to educate. But how do I teach something like this? How do I explain what I myself do not understand? How can I in good faith reassure the children that the drone will not come back and kill them, too, if I do not understand why it killed my mother and injured my children?'" From Karen McVeigh at the Guardian, a sobering account of the testimony of Pakistani drone victims before Congress — well, to the five lawmakers who bothered to show up for the hearing.

"Polio has broken out among young children in northeast Syria after probably originating in Pakistan and poses a threat to millions of children across the Middle East, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Tuesday." By Stephanie Nebehay at Reuters.

"Prey had been spotted, he told a friend. When the host asked what they were going to hunt, he said, 'A beautiful deer.' " The incredible Ellen Barry at the NYT on serial gang-rapists in Mumbai.

"Ahead of the Sochi Olympics in February, Russia is taking saliva samples from religiously conservative Muslim women, according to locals in the North Caucasus, gathering DNA so authorities can identify the body parts if any become suicide bombers." Alissa De Carbonnel at Reuters with yet another reason why the upcoming Winter Olympics looks to be the worst idea ever in the history of sports.

"With only 16,000 inhabitants, Greenland’s capital isn’t exactly Copenhagen or Washington, but by Greenland standards, Nuuk is the rare Arctic metropolis. At the foot of the Sermitsiaq mountain, a 12-story apartment complex and a new shopping mall sit side by side with brightly colored wooden houses from the eighteenth century." At Foreign Affairs, Anna-Katarina Gravgaard reports on Greenland's debate on rare-earth mining — and how to more generally approach the new realities that climate change is bringing to the country.

"The National Security Agency and its British counterpart have apparently tapped the fiber-optic cables connecting Google’s and Yahoo’s overseas servers and are copying vast amounts of email and other information, according to accounts of documents leaked by the former agency contractor Edward J. Snowden." From dude Charlie Savage, Claire Cain Miller, and Nicole Perlroth at the NYT, it's another week, another data surveillance revelation.

"In fiscal year 2007, before the recession began, there were about 26 million people receiving food stamps. As of this past July, the most recent month of data available, there were nearly 48 million, representing about a seventh of the American population." As of Friday, those 48 million people have even less money for food. Because that's how we value human life in this country, abortion politics notwithstanding. Catherine Rampell reports for the NYT.

"They are sick four times as often as kids who are not homeless, twice as likely to be hungry, and suffer from emotional and behavioral problems at three times the rate of other children." That's the 1,168,354 homeless children counted in the U.S. in 2011. By Sarah Goodyear for The Atlantic.

"'I would have to work a minimum of three jobs, each 40 hours a week at minimum wage. That’s to keep the lights on. No groceries, no gas,' said Donnie, who made $70,000 in his best year." Suzy Khimm reports for MSNBC on the sequester's effects on the coal-mining areas of Kentucky.

"The Davises’ ordeal was always going to be painful. But the grim path that led them to a night in the car was determined, nearly every step of the way, by a state that has scrambled to be the most 'pro-life' in the nation." Irin Carmon reports for MSNBC on the quest of one poor young Oklahoma couple to end a a pregnancy in which the fetus suffered from severe brain malformation.

"That meant that starting this morning, Nov. 1, clinics in Fort Worth, Lubbock, El Paso, McAllen, Austin, Waco, and San Antonio have had to cease providing women with access to legal abortion care. In Austin, that means that Planned Parenthood's South Austin clinic, which provides abortion care up to 20 weeks at its surgical center, will be unable, until further notice, to provide any abortion care." For couples like the Davises, the options are now even fewer. Jordan Smith reports for The Austin Chronicle on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that shutters more than a dozen clinics across Texas.

"The 2nd Circuit hasn’t said whether Scheindlin’s ruling against New York City was right or wrong. Instead, the three-judge panel said she 'ran afoul' of the code of conduct for federal judges by making her impartiality seem as if it could be questioned and through her 'improper application' of the rule by which judges agree to handle 'related cases.'" At Slate, Emily Bazelon explains the 2nd. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling against Judge Shira Scheindlin in the NYC stop-and-frisk case.

"Notes from a morning meeting of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight total exactly '6 enrollments' after the marketplace’s first day. It turns out that, behind the scenes, the launch looked just as bad as it did for the general public." This Buzzfeed-type list by Sarah Kliff at the Washington Post about the first 31 days of is nonetheless very informative.

"'The idea that it is not statistically significant to have 19 people die in a couple of days really tells you the enormity of this problem,' she said." Yamiche Alcindor and Meghan Hoyer at USA Today report on a week in which four mass murders took place the U.S. in four days.

"In progressive organizations, the health of the whole community hinges on the safety of every member, not just the most popular ones. We have to step up to for the victims, which means listening to them, making their comfort a priority, and not pressuring them to engage with the abuser so that others can come to terms with what has happened." Mikki Kendall at The Toast.

"Exasperated, the protesters began to post criticism of the new policy in reviews of books on censorship, and in some cases posted reviews making ridiculous attacks on authors (such as accusing the late children’s author Tove Jansson of engaging in orgies with moomintrolls), in order to test the limits of the moderation policy." Laura Miller at Salon on the Goodreads Review Wars of 2013. (Hat tip to Jody T.)

"Although the biggest schools have equipment managers, sometimes that conversation happens with the head coach — who has a financial incentive. Coaches typically receive money from shoe companies in exchange for wearing the apparel and making appearances at that company's events." Football players at some colleges can't tape up their ankles because that would… cover up the shoe-company logo their coaches and programs are being paid to advertise. By Rachel Axon at USA Today.

"This is someone weighing your Black history and your Black pain versus their own sense of folly and choosing themselves. And that, beloveds, is what White privilege is all about. 'I hear what you all are saying, but at the end of the day, I come first.'" At Ebony, Jamilah Lemieux drops the mic on white people in blackface.

"I do not know how much my mother spent on her camel colored cape or knee-high boots but I know that whatever she paid it returned in hard-to-measure dividends. How do you put a price on the double-take of a clerk at the welfare office who decides you might not be like those other trifling women in the waiting room and provides an extra bit of information about completing a form that you would not have known to ask about?" Seriously amazing essay by Tressie McMillan Cottom about the survival skills that drive status-symbol purchases by poor people.

"And so it was that, in December 2011, Coy showed up for kindergarten in a rainbow dress and pink leggings, chin-length blond hair held back with barrettes, and a baby-toothed smile – no longer a 'he' but a 'she.'" Another great piece by Sabrina Rubin Erdely for Rolling Stone, on a family's quest to support their transgender child in the very epicenter of Focus on the Family's hate-activism.

Today, a paper in the journal Immunity provides even stronger evidence to support Profet’s toxin hypothesis. In it, Stanford University School of Medicine scientists show that small doses of venom and the subsequent allergic pathways triggered serve to protect mice against fatal doses of venom later on." Did allergies evolve to save your life… from poisonous snakes? Christie Wilcox at Discover. (Hat tip to Rachel Hartman.)

"First-person cultural narratives about major battles are often written through the distorting haze of a long memory — that's what David Carr was trying to counter when he investigated his own past for his memoir Night Of The Gun. But there's no substitute, really, for the necessary honesty that comes with currency. Allie Brosh is Allie Brosh right now." Nice Linda Holmes review at NPR of Allie Brosh's book. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)

"a leaf just blew in me a leaf just blew in me." I am not even kidding that Mallory Ortberg made me CRY with "Texts From a Jack-O-Lantern." At The Toast.

"Saying ‘The laundry is done’ is like saying: ‘There, I am old. I am all done ageing.’ No. Just as you will get older and older until you die, you will always have laundry to do." Heather Havrilesky wins the internet this week with this essay about laundry at Aeon.

"'Very grand, that was,' said my father a little later, when we had descended into a not-grand-at-all café to happily eat a baby cow covered in tuna sauce. Seeing his relief I thought sadly of Charlotte Bartlett, and heard her grating voice echoing in my own mind: I feel that our tour together is hardly the success I had hoped. I might have known it would not do." But Zadie Smith wins everything everywhere with this essay on public gardens at the NYRB.