Sunday, September 7, 2014

Links for the week ending 7 September 2014

"The children, now young adults, journeyed with her back to the school, sometimes for the first time since the tragedy. In silence, with their eyes shut, they remembered." Almost unbearable photo essay by Diana Markosian on the tenth anniversary of the Beslan school siege and massacre. Text by Katya Cengel. At Time. (Via Torie Rose DeGhett's This Week In War.)

"Natalia Semeniuk, 14, had to flee her summer camp for orphans in the Donetsk Oblast town of Komsomolske along with other children on Aug. 28, when the shelling shattered all windows in the classroom." Oksana Grytsenko at Kyiv Post.

"In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent—a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality." Grim and beautifully written, Masha Gessen at the NYRB with "The Dying Russians." (Via Betsy Phillips.)

"When Adeba Shaker arrived at a house in Raabia, Iraq, after being kidnapped by Islamic State militants last month, one of her captors received a phone call." Benedetta Argentieri for Reuters on the escape of a 14-year-old Yazidi girl, and the plight of the women and girls still held captive. (Link via This Week In War again.)

"'At the moment they feel the law won’t protect them, because the other victims weren’t protected, so why would they be?'" Nuanced piece on the horrifying child-rape scandal in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham. By Homa Khaleeli at The Guardian.

"The law gives police incredibly wide latitude to use force against civilians if they feel they're under threat. In theory, it's the job of police departments to come up with policies that hold cops to a higher standard for using force." Dara Lind at Vox about the wide variability in training procedures for police in the use of force.

"The young Abu Khieder men who have been arrested, and their families, deny that they did anything illegal. They insist that those arrested had attended protests peacefully or were bystanders." Anne Marie O'Connor at The Washington Post on the Israeli arrests of up to 30 members of a single Palestinian-American family whose crime may be in being related to the Palestinian teen burned alive by Jews in a revenge killing earlier this summer.

"The federal officials said the probe will look not only at Ferguson but also at other police departments in St. Louis County. Some, like Ferguson, are predominantly white departments serving majority-African-American communities, and at least one department invited the Justice Department to look at its practices." Sari Horowitz, Carol D. Leonnig and Kimberley Kindy for The Washington Post.

"It’s hard to imagine how a small, low-income city like Ferguson can scrounge up anything close to $40 million should they end up settling the suit. The sum dwarfs the city’s total revenues for the fiscal year." Aviva Shen at ThinkProgress on how police misconduct drains public coffers — and rarely results in any penalty to the individuals or departments involved.

"Daniel Holtzclaw, the 27-year-old Oklahoma City police officer charged with sexually assaulting eight black women, is also a defendant in a wrongful death suit filed earlier this year." Aura Bogado at Colorlines.

"Not terribly long ago in a country that many people misremember, if they knew it at all, a black person was killed in public every four days for often the most mundane of infractions, or rather accusation of infractions – for taking a hog, making boastful remarks, for stealing 75 cents." Isabel Wilkerson, whose The Warmth of Other Suns would be on my shortlist for required reading, at The Guardian on police violence as a phenomenon best understood in the context of a culture that encouraged lynching.

"I know what I first felt when I saw each one, aside from sick: the urge—a gut instinct, a child’s fantasy, really—to leap into the picture, save everyone, and stop everything." Jill Lepore at The New Yorker.

"What’s interesting is that 76 percent of teachers are still women today. That’s because teaching remains the most common first step out of the working class and into the middle class. So we’re always having new generations of women who are, say, the first in their families to graduate from college." Dana Goldstein talks to Rebecca Traister at The New Republic about feminism and teaching.

"'I know that it’s difficult, because abortion is not accessible to them. But this is not our work. I think this is a problem the U.S. has to solve itself. There are so many resources, so much money available there for abortion rights groups, I think they should be able to work on this. Starting on paper, with changing the laws.'" Emily Bazelon at the NYT on the Dutch woman spearheading the "Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion." (Via Jenna Wortham.)

"In a similar study done in a laboratory, Ms. Correll asked participants how much they would pay job applicants if they were employers. Mothers were offered on average $11,000 less than childless women and $13,000 less than fathers." Claire Cain Miller at the NYT.

"In the final evolution of the meme, the soundbite falls away and ventriloquism robs these individuals of the ownership of their own words." Lauren Jackson on "Memes and Misogynoir" at The Awl.

"All I know is that crowds and intentions can turn on a dime and sometimes, like when they are erasing people who look like you or they call you by the wrong name, you can choose to not turn with them." Tressie McMillan Cottom at her blog, on an incident in the life of Black Twitter.

"What else will a curated feed optimize for? It will almost certainly look more like television since there is a reason television looks like television: that’s what advertisers like." Zeynep Tufekci at Medium on the prospect of an algorithmically arranged (as opposed to chronologically arranged) feed at Twitter. (I gotta say, for the purposes of this project, I will be stuck knowing more of what I already know rather than stumbling upon new-to-me voices and perspectives, should Twitter go that route.)

"Astronomers have mapped the cosmic watershed in which our Milky Way Galaxy is a droplet." Camille M. Carlisle for Sky and Telescope.

"Physarum is a gelatinous yellow decomposer which, though it’s single-celled, can grow to up to several square meters. Also, it’s smarter than you." Elizabeth Cutrone taking the Gal Science slot this week at The Toast.

"It did not have to be that way. If diagnostic facilities like those at Kenema had been more widely available, the virus could have been caught as it emerged." Also proving the point that slime mold is smarter than us, Pardis Sabeti on the loss of her colleagues in Sierra Leone. At the NYT.

"No one has ever conducted a physical search for 52 Blue. An entrepreneur named Dietmar Petutschnig is currently prowling the South Pacific in a small sailboat, but his hunt for the whale seems more metaphorical, a kind of personal branding." An excerpt at Slate last week from Leslie Jamison's new longread for The Atavist.

"Although they were quiet children, they seemed excited to see me, and, without saying very much at all they invited me to their camp. I followed them because those were the days I followed people without asking too many questions." Lovely short piece by Jami Attenberg at The Hairpin.

"One December evening, I used one of my most embarrassing moments as the basis for an essay for a 17-year-old Chinese girl who had never desired something she could not afford." Eunice Park at Vice on making a living — and losing a self — by ghostwriting college application essays for wealthy Chinese students. (Via David Hull.)

"They never put their needs first, unless it indirectly serves someone else — a manicure, some highlights. They make sure everyone around them is 100 percent satisfied. Like grocery-store managers. Like customer service reps. Like masseuses who also give free happy endings." Just reminding you-all that Heather Havrilesky's Ask Polly column is at The Cut now.

"I had often imagined what it would be like to be in the middle of an epidemic, a theme I had encountered in action movies and Edgar Allan Poe. But in reality it was different: Life changed gradually, until one day you suddenly realized that the effects of the sickness were everywhere." Finally, a rare personal essay from the NYT's Ellen Barry.