Saturday Links

A collection of a few links, many thoughtful, that I’ve read recently.

Losing Ground: In 50 years, most of southeastern Louisiana not protected by levees will be part of the Gulf of Mexico. The state is losing a football field of land every 48 minutes — 16 square miles a year — due to climate change, drilling and dredging for oil and gas, and levees on the Mississippi River. At risk: Nearly all of the nation’s domestic energy supply, much of its seafood production, and millions of homes. (Propublica)

Between the World and Ferguson: In the days after 9/11, it was common to hear people say that it was the first time Americans had really experienced terrorism on their own soil. Those sentiments were historically wrong, and willfully put aside acts that were organized on a large scale, had a political goal, and were committed with the specific intention of being nightmarishly memorable. The death cult that was lynching furnished this country with such spectacles for a half century. (New Yorker)

The State of the Internet is Awful, and Everybody Knows It: Things look a lot different now. The internet won, and despite killing off thousands of jobs in the print industry, it created many more than expected in an ever-multiplying array of new web ventures. But now that it won, it’s increasingly unclear that was a good thing. A lot of people who work in internet media secretly—or in many cases, not-so-secretly—hate it, and some even suspect they are actively making the world a dumber place, as they very well may be. (I was one of them, which is a big part of why I decided to quit.) Good writing and journalism have not gone extinct, but have been reduced to sharing an undifferentiated plane with lots of cynical, unnecessary, mind-numbing, time-wasting “content,” much of which hardly qualifies as writing at all. (Patrol)

Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain: But beware the false break. Make sure you have a real one. The summer vacation is more than a quaint tradition. Along with family time, mealtime and weekends, it is an important way that we can make the most of our beautiful brains. (New York Times)

Journalism and the internet: Is this the best of times for journalism? No. But it’s hardly the worst of times either. The fact is that there was no “golden age of journalism.” Journalism has always been a messy and chaotic and venal undertaking in many ways — the internet didn’t invent that. All the web has done is provide us with more ways to produce and distribute both ephemeral nonsense and serious journalism in greater quantities. (Gigaom)

Haruki Murakami: ‘My lifetime dream is to be sitting at the bottom of a well’ (Guardian)

The Hunt for Brooklyn’s Hidden Creeks: The environmental planner and map maker for the City of New York is preparing to hunt down the creeks that Brooklyn buried but couldn’t kill, in hopes that what he finds up here can help revive the canal below. As a very cool dad, Eymund’s group, itself birthed from the community-based technology sharing site Public Lab, has a very-dad moniker: CSI. Creek Scene Investigation. (Vice/Motherboard

The Micro-Dwellings of Hong Kong: From chicken-wire cages to glassed-in galleys, designers are working to make the city’s tiniest spaces livable. (Medium)

Throwing cold water on the challenge: The ice bucket challenge to fight ALS has been a tremendous success in fundraising. So are there any legitimate reasons that many people object to the campaign? (Medium)

Video Games, Misogyny, And Terrorism: A Guide To Assholes: There’s something rotten deep within gaming culture. Andrew thinks it’s time we cut it out. (Badass Digest)

The Dawn of the Post-Clinic Abortion: Some abortion rights campaigners say that their movement’s focus should be on normalizing medical abortion at home. In an essay in February on the website RH Reality Check, Francine Coeytaux and Victoria Nichols argued for over-the-counter status for misoprostol, the less restricted of the two drugs. They called it Plan C, a reference to the morning-after pill, Plan B, which they see as a model for how the abortion pills might one day become readily available, even if it seems politically impossible now. (New York Times)

The Boy with Half a Brain: Zionsville’s Jeff and Tiernae Buttars surrendered their son William to the most radical procedure in neurosurgery. The grim choice to remove a portion of his brain left everyone changed. (Indianapolis Monthly)

Music Sundays: The Barberettes

Another girl group! The Barberettes have been around for a while, they just released an album (which you can get on iTunes), but they’ve done a lot of covers and they’re really good. Here are a few of them.

Here they are covering The Andrews Sisters’ song Rum And Coca-Cola.

And covering Satin Doll.

Covering the Beach Boys’ Barbara Ann.

I really can’t recommend their music enough! I love listening to them, they’re so good. Go to the YT channel these are from for more. And don’t forget to check out their official channel for more.

Links: 08/08-08/14

Bad news, y’all: everyone should change their passwords again. I know, I’ve told you to do this once, but it’s time to do it again. Now, moving on. Remember, last week, when I said I wanted to go see One Direction this weekend? I’m going! I’m excited.

This week’s links consist of everything from the death of Robin Williams to racism to Ebola. But if you’re feeling a little down, skip to the end, where you’ll find articles about chemistry robots, Murakami novels, and some extraordinary pictures. Plus, of course, the Great Emu War.

Russian Hackers Probably Have Your Passwords. Now What?: Like many people, your first question is probably whether or not you were included in that dragnet. Hold Security, the Milwaukee-based security firm that uncovered the hack, says you can fork over $120 for an annual subscription to find out in the next 60 days if you were affected. The opportunistic move cast doubt on initial reports of the breach, but prominent cybersecurity experts have confirmed them to be accurate.  At this point, you should just assume you were hacked. (TechCrunch)

In Fatal Flash, Gaza Psychologist Switches Roles, Turning Into a Trauma Victim: Hassan al-Zeyada has spent decades counseling fellow residents of the Gaza Strip who experience psychological trauma. Now, as he prepares to aid his neighbors after a new round of combat and carnage, he has a challenging new patient: himself. (New York Times)

Kurdistan: The Best Hope for What is Left of Iraq: There must be urgency about this. Kurdistan is in clear and imminent danger. We surely don’t want to wait thirty years for a declassified CIA document that concedes that backing Kurdistan could have boosted stability but was flunked at great cost. (Rudaw)

Telling white people the criminal justice system is racist makes them like it more: A new study suggests that highlighting racism in the criminal justice system is not the answer, and in fact pushes white voters in the opposite direction. Even when whites believe the current laws are too harsh, they’re less likely to support changing the law if they’re reminded that the current prison population is disproportionately black. (Vox)

The real story behind “secret menus” is the key to hacking them: Ask a barista for a cotton candy Frappuccino, for example, and she’ll create this unofficial favorite by adding raspberry syrup to a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino, which is one of the company’s official offerings, an icy and sweet blended drink topped with whipped cream. Knowing how to ask for these twists, or “secret menu” items, is half the fun. (Quartz) Note: This is one of the things I’m not brave enough to do. Not that I’d even want to, if I was.

You can’t win a Twitter fight: I’ve had my fair share of Twitter spats and can confirm it’s an absolutely terrible venue for debate. Tone, nuance, context — all of that goes out the window. Even the most remotely controversial point is destined to be misconstrued. It’s notable that when these debates finally move to email — that is to say, out of the public realm — they become far more respectful and good-willed. (Politico)

Is Sunscreen A Lifesaver Or A Poison: As to whether I should be slathering my kid with sunscreen or not, the good news is that I’m not causing any damage by doing so, and I’m certainly sparing her the painful sunburns of my youth. On the other hand, it may be dangerous to be lulled into thinking that sun exposure is without risk when she wears sunscreen. Protective clothing, hats and shade may have as much — or more — of a direct role to play. Perhaps it’s time for another full-body bathing suit. (FiveThirtyEight)

Plot Thickens as 900 Writers Battle Amazon: Douglas Preston, who summers in this coastal hamlet, is a best-selling writer — or was, until Amazon decided to discourage readers from buying books from his publisher, Hachette, as a way of pressuring it into giving Amazon a better deal on e-books. So he wrote an open letter to his readers asking them to contact Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, demanding that Amazon stop using writers as hostages in its negotiations. (New York Times)

Timeline of China’s Social Media Crackdowns (Wall Street Journal) Note: I’ve occasionally considered signing up for a weibo account (I like a lot of Chinese/etc singers and actors), but the real name thing has always put me off.

Ebola in Africa and the U.S.: A Curation: That I am anti-Ebola panic — and especially anti-Ebola media scrum, which was disgraceful — does not mean I am not concerned about Ebola where it is authentically a problem, which is in the expanding epidemic in West Africa. It is a dreadful outbreak, it needs attention, and it says something ugly about us as a society that we only really noticed it when two Westerners were injured by it. But, again: The conditions that are pushing that epidemic along do not exist in the US. (Wired) Note: I haven’t read all of the links within this post, but her article itself is worth reading on it’s own.

About Michael Brown’s murder:

Outrage in Ferguson after police shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown: On August 9, Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by a police officer in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, MO. Eyewitnesses to the shooting report that Brown was killed while attempting to surrender, but police say that Brown assaulted the officer before the shooting. (VOX)

#IfTheyGunnedMeDown and What Hashtag Activism Does Right: Social media protests have their limits, but one thing they’re very, very good at is grassroots media criticism. (Time) Note: For pictures from the hashtag, go here. These are powerful, thought-provoking photos.

Black Residents In Ferguson, Missouri, Are Stopped And Arrested Far More Than Whites:  But a higher percentage of white residents have contraband, according to a racial profiling report from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office. (Buzzfeed)

Why Did Michael Brown Die in Ferguson?: Michael Brown didn’t die in the dark. He was eighteen years old, walking down a street in Ferguson, Missouri, from his apartment to his grandmother’s, at 2:15 on a bright Saturday afternoon. He was, for a young man, exactly where he should be—among other things, days away from his first college classes.  (New Yorker)

Social media posts from scene of Ferguson shooting (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Robin Williams, an Improvisational Genius, Forever Present in the Moment: Part of the shock of his death on Monday came from the fact that he had been on — ubiquitous, self-reinventing, insistently present — for so long. On Twitter, mourners dated themselves with memories of the first time they had noticed him.  (New York Times)

Suicide Rates Rise Sharply in U.S.: Suicide rates among middle-aged Americans have risen sharply in the past decade, prompting concern that a generation of baby boomers who have faced years of economic worry and easy access to prescription painkillers may be particularly vulnerable to self-inflicted harm.  (New York Times)

What’s Wrong With Comcast?: The story of a company that’s too big to function. (The Atlantic)

Privacy as a premium: Why it’s time to say goodbye to the free internet (The Next Web)

The female Pinterest engineer who pressed tech giants to air embarrassing diversity numbers: Before the recent wave of big technology companies releasing diversity data, there was a one-woman effort by Tracy Chou, a software engineer at the social bookmarking website Pinterest. She issued a call last fall for hard numbers showing how many women engineers worked at tech companies. (San Francisco Business Times)

In Defense of Passwords: They’re inconvenient and insecure, but the alternatives are worse. (Slate)

Blue Is For Boys, Pink Is For Girls: See Children Surrounded By Their Color-Coded Toys: A series of images from South Korean photographer JeongMee Yoon shows exactly how much things have changed today, after manufacturers and marketers made the arbitrary choice to assign pink to girls. For the last nine years, Yoon has been photographing toddlers surrounded by their “favorite” colors–little girls, dressed in pink, blending in with a sea of pink Hello Kitty and princess gear, and little boys in rooms filled with blue Lego and trains. (Fast Company/Co.Exist)

The Great Emu War: In which some large, flightless birds unwittingly foiled the Australian Army (Scientific American) Note: Who HASN’T heard of the Great Emu War???

‘I’m pretty terrified’: Scientists set to excavate ‘Natural trap cave’ where bones of tens of thousands of animals are piled at least 10 metres deep (National Post)

Organic synthesis: The robo-chemist: The race is on to build a machine that can synthesize any organic compound. It could transform chemistry. (Nature)

The 10 Best Haruki Murakami Book: My own favorites are chosen on a “gut” level; I liked these works because they awakened something in me as a reader, spoke to me about things that were already going on my mind, maybe only subconsciously. Some are powerfully entertaining, others just powerful. All seem to connect to an enduring thematic thread of identity, its construction and its preservation. (Publishers Weekly) Note: Of the ten, I’ve read 7. Of the three I haven’t read, the two earliest ones I have on ebook, but haven’t gotten to yet and #5 hasn’t been published in English in the US quite yet. Soon, though.

The Beautiful Junkyard Where Bolivia’s Trains Were Left to Rot: They’re rusted out, long ago stripped for useful parts. Covered in graffiti—some of it pretty good—they’re strangely beautiful relics of an industry left behind. (Wired)

Music Sundays: 吴亦凡 Wu Yi Fan – 《时间煮雨》Time Boils the Rain {Official Audio}

Wu Yifan (known also as Kris, formerly of the kpop group EXO) just released a single(?) for the third installment of the Chinese film franchinese Tiny Times and it’s WONDERFUL. I mean, I’m a fan of his, so maybe that’s also the fangirl in me talking, but … decide for yourself.

Links: 08/02-08/07

Today’s links are shorter, though there’s an amusing story about an adult going to a One Direction concert. I do wish I had tickets for the 1D show in Detroit next Sunday.

Apparently they’re adapting Andy Weir’s fantastic book The Martian into a movie … I’m not sure how I feel about it. But, regardless, if you haven’t read The Martian and you like science-science fiction (instead of science fantasy), you should definitely read it. The Martian is amazing.

 Q&A: Can Airlifting Rhinos Out of South Africa Save the Species?: In 2015 an organization called Rhinos Without Borders will move a hundred rhinos from South Africa to Botswana. (National Geographic) Note: there is a slightly graphic picture of a poached rhino.

 These Cycling Desks Charge Your Phone–And Your Muscles–While You Work:  At the office or airport, 30 minutes of easy pedaling on a WeBike will get you a full iPhone charge and keep you fit. (Fast Company/Co.Exist) Note: I’m not sure how these will adjust, as people are not all the same height

Instant Replay: Justice in the Age of the Viral Video (New Yorker)

Comcast Confessions: why the cable guy is always late:  More than 100 Comcast employees spoke to The Verge about life inside the nation’s largest cable and broadband company (The Verge)

I Want It, and I Want It Now — It’s Time for Instant Gratification: As for whether there’s demand, forces are converging to fulfill the notion of what some pundits label “IWWIWWIWI.” That is, “I want what I want when I want it.” It’s not the easiest acronym to get your tongue around — but it’s pretty to look at, and it’s right on the money. (Re/Code)

The Marijuana Retirement: How My Parents Became Late-Life Pot Moguls (New York Magazine)

Why Did Two U.S. Missionaries Get an Ebola Serum While Africans Are Left to Die?: The inequality in care couldn’t be starker. When a doctor and aid worker from the United States are stricken with a horrific disease, an erstwhile unknown cure is sent from freezers at the National Institutes of Health in suburban Washington, D.C., to a hospital on the other side of the world, and a Gulfstream jet outfitted for medevac is arranged to deliver them to one of the world’s premier medical centers. But when two Liberian nurses working at the same hospital are stricken with the same disease, they are treated with the standard of care that other affected Africans—those lucky enough to receive any medical attention at all—have been afforded for the past seven months: saline infusions and electrolytes to keep them hydrated. (New Republic)

The True Story Of Being A 25-Year-Old And Going To A One Direction Concert Alone:  It happened to me. I went to a One Direction concert by myself. This is my story. (Buzzfeed)