Sunday, April 27, 2014

Links for the week ending 27 April 2014

"CDC's current funding for gun violence prevention research remains at $0." Lois Beckett on politically motivated suppression of basic research.

"A common thread running through stories of the unenrolled is cost. Many people either do not qualify for federal subsidies or believe that the assistance is not enough to make insurance affordable, interviews with consumers and experts suggested." At the NYT, Abby Goodnough continues her valuable series on the implementation of the ACA.

"She waited for him to hang up. Then she smashed the receiver several times against the base of the phone. Then she went outside to face her friends. 'I guess my brother just killed my mom,' she said." Wrenching profile of an Ontario family trying to move on after one member's mental illness spiraled into violence. By Amy Dempsey at the Toronto Star. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)

"I’ve been reflecting lately on the young people who live in the world, unmoored. The ones who seem to be passing through and don’t have any expectations of staying for long." @prisonculture at her blog on a young man she knows who was recently shot.

"The 234 missing girls are not being seen as Hausa or Igbo or Yoruba; they are simply people's children." Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani at The Guardian on the response of ordinary Nigerians to the extremist kidnapping of students from a school in the northeast.

"In Bujumbura, the sleepy capital on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, the radio echoes from shops, bicycle taxis, police handsets and cell phones. Around midday and in the evenings, when the main stations do their news programs — most in French (the colonial tongue) and Kirundi (the indigenous language) — it can feel as though the city itself is emitting the broadcasts." Cora Currier reports from Burundi, where radio has been a major player in preserving a fragile peace after civil war. At Al Jazeera America.

"Also important, the emails sent to professors were sent by 'prospective students' interested in working with the professor in a graduate program. This is noteworthy because it means that women and racial minorities are discriminated against before they even begin the application process to graduate school. Nicki Lisa Cole at analyzes a recent study on racial and gender bias among professors. (Via @SocImages.)

"His defensiveness at having someone explaining the limits of his own understanding of racism is palpable. He feels that he has been called out, shamed, and silenced. It is not clear whether or not he understands that his horror at being condescended to, his opinion disregarded, is among the very experiences of racial injustice that Sotomayor is describing." Dahlia Lithwick at Slate on the majority decision — and the dissent — in Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action.

"To be isolated from history in a hall of mirrors is heaven to a young person, and the bliss of this collective, amnesiac atemporality on some campuses extends way beyond spring break." Jia Tolentino, who teaches at the University of Michigan, at The Hairpin, writing about the Schuette decision.

"Our resistance is corporate labor. Take the very structure of hashtags. If capitalism works on the principle of false scarcity, achieving trending status makes hashtags 'scarce.'" Every sentence of this piece is diamond-sharp. Tressie McMillan Cottom and dude Robert Reece at her blog.

"The impressive ad hoc capacity that can be focused via digital tools– and with the aid of trending topics and other social media affordances — allows citizens to carry out actions for which they would previously have needed to build powerful and robust social institutions. Such institutions could then do other things besides the specific actions of the moment for which the citizen-capacity came together." Zeynep Tufekci at Medium asking incisive questions about what social media does badly compared to traditional organizing.

"It’s a specious notion that free trade will singularly usher in political reform, when in fact China’s economic might has buoyed censorship beyond its national borders. At the same time, no one should expect heroism from for-profit enterprises; and I have a hard time begrudging people who make their livelihood in China, including foreign journalists, for proceeding with caution." Nuanced piece about working under censorship, by Leslie Anne Jones at Aeon.

"In today’s economy, it’s possible to insulate yourself from almost all embodied interactions with employees—Internet commerce, customer assistance live chat, and even self checkout at the grocery story provide a soothing buffer from class inequities. But you can’t mechanize the labor that takes care of your child—at least not yet—which is part of the reason that nanny politics, for lack of a better word, remain so fraught." Anne Helen Petersen at The Baffler from a couple of weeks ago, on her experiences as a "liberal arts nanny."

"And this is perhaps the biggest thing my parents have taught me, by example, which is always the best way for a parent to teach something: that you follow what you believe in and if it doesn’t work out, you don’t sit around whining. You find something else productive that you can feel good about. You contribute something." At The Billfold, Lauren Quinn on giving up her dream of writing a book.

"We shouldn’t be reading to check off boxes. We should be reading in a way that, when we look at what we’ve consumed, we recognize a diversity of perspectives and ways of seeing the world." Roxane Gay at Slate on "women you should be reading" lists.

"There are certain phrases that tip people off about gender bias. For example, if people do some kind of neuroscience study, let's say it's an MRI study with humans. These researchers will often say, 'This is a hardwired difference between males and females.' Well, if these are adults [who are being studied], it's not hardwired at all, right?" At Popular Science, a Q & A with Janet Hyde at the University of Wisconsin on a new fellowship (er) in feminist biology.

"Repetitiveness actually gives rise to the kind of listening that we think of as musical. It carves out a familiar, rewarding path in our minds, allowing us at once to anticipate and participate in each phrase as we listen." From last month at Aeon, Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis on repetition as a fundamental part of how we hear music.

"As Wikipedia moves forward, I hope to advocate for Wikipedia taking a keener interest in its labor practices as pertaining to digital volunteering. Most volunteers or unpaid interns sign a volunteer contract- are such contracts necessary for digital volunteering?" Wikipedia editor Dorothy Howard muses on the implications of who performs the free encyclopedia's labor. (Via Karen Gregory.)

"In a 2014 study that analyzed data from a private apparel retailer’s website, MIT’s Simester found that only about 1.5 percent of customers, or 15 out of 1,000, write reviews." Josephine Wolff at Nautilus on the unrepresentative nature — not to mention outright fraud — that limits the usefulness of online product and service reviews.

"In its simplest terms, gold-digging is trying to use someone else’s privilege for a leg up." Promising new column at The Billfold by a very young writer named Diana Clarke.

"The future is dark, which is the best thing the future can be, I think. It’s an extraordinary declaration, asserting that the unknown need not be turned into the known through false divination, or the projection of grim political or ideological narratives; it’s a celebration of darkness, willing—as that “I think” indicates—to be uncertain even about its own assertion. Rebecca Solnit on Virginia Woolf and accepting uncertainty. At The New Yorker. (Via Jody T.)

"That people came to the Tambopata to see something—as I first wanted to see it—as pristine, virgin, untouched. The 'real' Peru. But as I spent more time in the ensconced fantasy that the research center seemed to be, the real Peru was out there, through the television, in the streets, in the mines." At Vela, Amanda Giracca complicates a volunteer stint at a Peruvian nature reserve.

"If I think of anxiety as this entity separate from myself, a curse from a God who would test me, I become this divided person who is constantly trying to walk half of herself out the door." Lovely essay on faith and anxiety by Laura Turner at The Toast.

"Oy. Okay. So, the show is sort of a solo show. I call it an interactive baking comedy. I tell stories. There’s an emotional arc. I structured the stories around the baking process: DRY – WET – MIX – FORM – BAKE." Lili Loofbourow interviews comedian Heather Gold at The Hairpin.

"I want visitors to understand that our eighteenth-century forbears weren’t stupid. In the absence of key pieces of information—for examples, germ theory—they developed a model of the body, health, and healing that was fundamentally logical. Some treatments worked, and many didn’t, but there was a method to the apparent madness." This is so wonderful. Lindsay Keiter at The Appendix on what she teaches visitors to a Virginia living history museum's apothecary shop. (Bah, I don't have a record of where I got this link from. My apologies to whoever you are, and thank you!)

"What kind of an asshole doesn’t talk to their own mother? Let me try to answer that." Finally, from Gabrielle Moss at The Toast, an excellent essay on being estranged from one's parent(s).

I'm taking a vacation from the internets this coming week. I'll see you back here on 11 May. As always, thanks for reading!