Sunday, July 6, 2014

Links for the week ending 6 July 2014

"It doesn’t matter what women choose to do with the opportunities provided by birth control—what matters is that women are allowed to make these choices for ourselves." Best pop star ever Cyndi Lauper at The Daily Beast. (Via Anna Limontas-Salisbury.)

"I have come to the point that, whenever I read the word dignity in a majority opinion, I start to flop sweat." Dahlia Lithwick signing off after the Supreme Court equivalent of "Oscar week." But before she goes, catch up on her take on the Hobby Lobby decision's, er, highlights: "For one thing we are—going forward—no longer allowed to argue the science." Fabulous. At Slate. (Via Jody T.)

"She added, “I would like to see the Supreme Court get its fanny out here and talk to these people.”" Jess Bigood and dude John Schwartz reporting for the NYT on the scene at a Boston abortion clinic after the Supreme Court struck down buffer laws.

"'But thinking one’s religious beliefs are substantially burdened … does not make it so.' She added, 'Not every sincerely felt "burden" is a "substantial" one, and it is for courts, not litigants, to identify which are.'" Irin Carmon at MSNBC covering the "open revolt" on the court evinced by a dissent issued by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Ginsburg. You yourself may have some revolt to express. Katherine Fritz at Ladypockets has some crafting solutions for you. (Hat tip to Sheila Avelin.)

"Roberts explicitly rejects the idea that there are simple analogies between the search of physical objects (tangible things) and the data to which a phone is a portal." Amy Davidson at The New Yorker on the not-bad-news decision the Supreme Court made unanimously on the need for a warrant before searching a cellphone.

"The FBI conducts a “substantial” number of warrantless queries for Americans’ e-mails and phone calls in a special database of intercepted communications, but it does not track exactly how often, an intelligence official said in a letter released Monday." Ellen Nakashima at The Washington Post.

Can't keep up with what NSA program you should be outraged about today? Julia Angwin and dudes Jeff Larson and Albert Cairo have for you special this handy chart. At ProPublica.

"Operational security and data journalism are just plain hard. But they are the realities of accountability journalism today. Not just the accountability that journalists bring to those in power, but the responsibility journalists have to their subjects, their readers, and especially their sources." Quinn Norton at Columbia Journalism Review describing the process by which a Syrian hacker got documents revealing Russian support of the Assad regime to ProPublica.

Keep up to date on Iraq by checking in with Loveday Morris at The Washington Post.

"Meera completed a BA from Jhansi in 2006; Kavita (32) has had no formal education. Both of them have children. When Meera’s daughter calls her, she gently chides her. 'You know I am working on the field, I will be late.'" At The Hindu Business Line, Priyanka Kotamraju profiles two intrepid reporters for a local weekly tabloid in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. (Via Sonia Faleiro.)

"But perhaps more subtly too, 'Spent' sells another idea being brought home by fast food and other low-wage worker protests around the country: Working class and low income Americans just are not earning enough money." At Colorlines last month, Carla Murphy reviews a YouTube documentary on poverty and the financial services industry.

"'But I don’t know why anyone has the right to use the power of the state to force their religious views on other people. If your god doesn’t want you to end your life early when you have a terminal disease, then… don’t! This law wouldn’t require anyone to do anything. But don’t tell someone else who has different religious beliefs that they can’t live their lives according to their own beliefs.'" Very long piece by Emily Guendelsberger on Pennsylvania's attempt to prosecute on homicide charges a woman who handed her 93-year-old father (then in hospice care) the bottle of morphine that hastened his death. At Philadelphia City Paper.

"It is now a crime to use drugs if you are pregnant in Tennessee." Katie Zezima at The Washington Post.

"'I felt like this was my opportunity to basically improve life for all of us, and the one key part of it is now not available, so what do I do now?' Ms. Taylor said. 'That was my only thought: "What do I do now? What do I do now?" That was kind of what started the whole chain of events that day.'" If you didn't read the NYT piece about Shanesha Taylor from two weeks ago, it is heartbreaking. By Shaila Dewan. (Via @prisonculture.)

"This week the university billing itself as the “New American University” is back in the news with a more personal story about class (and race and gender). ASU campus police arrested professor Ersula Ore for jaywalking on a campus street." From last week, Tressie McMillan Cottom at her blog.

"Weaving scholarly analysis with interviews of leading black environmentalists and ordinary Americans, Finney traces the environmental legacy of slavery and Jim Crow segregation, which mapped the wilderness as a terrain of extreme terror and struggle for generations of blacks—as well as a place of refuge." Francie Latour at The Boston Globe interviews geographer Carolyn Finney about the hidden history of African-American engagement with environmental stewardship. (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)

"If Alice is happier when she is oblivious to Bob’s pain because Facebook chooses to keep that from her, are we willing to sacrifice Bob’s need for support and validation? This is a hard ethical choice at the crux of any decision of what content to show. And the reality is that Facebook is making these choices every day without oversight, transparency, or informed consent." danah boyd at Medium with incisive commentary on the FB research study uproar.

"If Facebook is a country, then it is a corporate dictatorship. This is not a metaphor. I believe that it is beyond time that we began to hold social networking not just to the laws of the market, but to the common laws of the societies we live in and the societies we want to see." Laurie Penny at the New Statesman.

"States can make minor modifications in the Pearson contract. For instance, the contract anticipates a shift to grading student essays by computer algorithm, assuming the technology pans out, but lets states pay more to have them scored by a human reader." Count me as overwhelmed by enthusiasm to think of my kids spending the school year prepping for an essay test that will be graded by computer algorithm! By Stephanie Simon and Caitlin Emma for Politico. (Via Audrey Watters.)

"While technology has often been hailed as the great equalizer of educational opportunity, a growing body of evidence indicates that in many cases, tech is actually having the opposite effect: It is increasing the gap between rich and poor, between whites and minorities, and between the school-ready and the less-prepared." You don't say. Annie Murphy Paul at Slate.

"Hospitals across the country are struggling to deal with a shortage of one of their essential medical supplies. Manufacturers are rationing saline — a product used all over the hospital to clean wounds, mix medications and treat dehydration." Yay, free-market health care! By April Dembosky for KQED.

"s if the threat of Lyme disease weren’t enough, a new study finds that a deer tick carrying the potentially debilitating illness has a good chance of toting some other malady, too — and that may be especially true if the tick hails from the suburbs." Yay! Now enjoy summer! By Claire Hughes at

"It is one of the highest-profile retractions of the last decade, and several stem-cell researchers said they are now convinced that the stunningly simple method for producing stem cells, reported in two papers in January, won’t work." Carolyn Y. Johnson at the Boston Globe, following up on her excellent coverage of the stem-cell-discover-that-wasn't.

"Overall at the top US research institutions, male professors employed 11 percent fewer female graduate students and 22 percent fewer female postdoctoral researchers than do women professors." Also by Carolyn Y, Johnson at the Globe. Sigh.

"I wasn't hired to talk to the men." An illustrated interview with a woman in tech by Ariel Schrag, at Medium. (Via Susie Cagle.)

"It’s hard to believe this is what actually happened, but Patience Wright pulls from her skirts a bust of William Pitt from his head down to his navel, so it looks like they’re in an act of congress. And Jane Franklin thinks this is like the coolest thing she’s ever heard of." I just finished reading Jill Lepore's fantastic biography of Benjamin Franklin's sister Jane, so, in honor of Independence Day and all, here is a wonderful interview with Lepore by Joy Horowitz at the LARB from last November.

"Tampons were packed with their strings connecting them, like a strip of sausages, so they wouldn’t float away. Engineers asked Ride, 'Is 100 the right number?' She would be in space for a week. 'That would not be the right number,' she told them." At The American Prospect, Ann Friedman on a new biography of Sally Ride. (Hat tip to Jill Heather.)

"People of all genders deal with unwanted attention, but women are especially likely to be regarded as resources rather than people. It is unfair, according to many a manbaby I have spoken to, that I’m selfishly hogging my goodies. Such a shame that only I get to be in my body." Julie Decker at The Toast.

"Several years later, after my banking days were long over, my dad called me, laughing, and told me the news that a pair of robbers had walked down the line of cars waiting at the drive up window at my favorite bank, and had methodically robbed them all." Lovely essay about paranoia, risk assessment, and bank robbery by Kathleen Cooper at Medium. (Via Nicole Cliffe at The Toast.)

"Here was a game not unlike Clue—the object being to solve, from a rogue’s gallery of Cabot Cove’s finest, whodunnit—with an added twist: one of the players WAS the murderer. If you drew the murderer card, you visited people around the Cove spaces on the board and replaced their alive character tile with a dead one, thereby secretly MURDERING." For a certain child of my acquaintance, this great piece from Kate Racculia on her girlhood devotion to the doyenne of the murder capital of the world, Cabot Cove, ME.

Continuing on the theme of "things a certain child (and I) would love to own," Maria Popova at Brainpickings with some sublime illustrations from the Tove Jansson edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

"We both love Philly, and also live with a constant, yawning void of homesickness and alienation. We both tend to fill that void with junk food." Really great essay from May on dislocation, nostalgia, and junk food, by Virginia C. McGuire at Medium.

"The use of a SWAT team to execute a search warrant essentially amounts to the use of paramilitary tactics to conduct domestic criminal investigations in searches of people’s homes." Finally, I am taking next week off, so keep yourself busy next weekend reading this pdf on the militarization of law enforcement from the ACLU by a team of authors, including Kara Dansky, Sarah Solon, Allie Bohm, Emma Andersson, Jesselyn McCurdy, and dude Will Bunting. (Via Meghna Chakrabarti.)