Weekend Reads: 10/09/2020

As we crawl ever closer to the presidential election in November, I want to remind you that all must vote and you must vote Biden/Harris. There is no alternative, no other choice. If you value your life and the lives of the people around you, and on this planet as a whole – you must vote for Biden/Harris. They were not my top picks, but I no longer care about that and neither should you.

Vote.

Now, onto the articles.

Mike Pence Is the Future. God Help Us. (The Bulwark)

This is your Republican party now.

Meet the Customer Service Reps for Disney and Airbnb Who Have to Pay to Talk to You (ProPublica)

Arise Virtual Solutions, part of the secretive world of work-at-home customer service, helps large corporations shed costs at the expense of workers. Now the pandemic is creating a boom in the industry.

Dreading a dark winter lockdown? Think like a Norwegian (Guardian)

Studies show people living in the Arctic Circle are armed with a mindset that helps combat the long ‘polar night’. It might come in handy for us all…

Now, two older articles to remind us, in part, why voting this year is so important.

Call It Rape (Long Reads / The Normal School)

“What is it about ‘no means no’ that you all don’t understand?”

The Abortion Ministry of Dr. Willie Parker (Esquire)

In Mississippi, there is only one clinic where a woman can go if she needs an abortion. The state is trying to close it down. At that clinic, there is a doctor who tends to the needs of these women, and he has to fly in from out of state to do it. There is no shutting him down.

I’ll leave you with the beautiful title song from Maeve Gilchrist’s newest album, The Harpweaver (Spotify and Apple Music). Listen to an interview with Gilchrist on NPR here.

Weekend Reads 10/02/2020

Wow. It’s been a week, hasn’t it? Here are some articles to read – if you can tear yourself away from social media for a few minutes. If the news ever takes a break.

It Took COVID Closures to Reveal Just How Much Libraries Do Beyond Lending Books (Observer)

This behind the scenes diligence meant that during the pandemic, libraries were able to prove themselves to be more resilient, future-proof and adaptable than many of us may have realized. In fact, the coronavirus crisis has enabled many libraries to truly prove their worth.

Look Toward a New Era (NY Times – $$)

With a shift to online resources well underway, “the most trusted civic institutions” are in a good position to deal with the changing future.

Hero Rat Wins A Top Animal Award For Sniffing Out Land Mines (NPR)

For the first time, one of Britain’s highest animal honors has been awarded to a rat. The animal has detected dozens of land mines in Cambodia and is believed to have saved lives.

Attack of the Superhackers (narratively)

A group of ex-soldiers cracks safes, picks locks and steals data — all in the name of corporate security.

Millennials Are Trying To Shake The Stigma Of Moving Back In With Their Parents (Buzzfeed)

Millennials are moving back in with their parents in numbers not seen since the Great Depression. Here’s what it’s like for some of them.

A School Ran a Simulation of the Pandemic—Before the Pandemic (Wired – $$)

A Florida middle school has staged mock outbreaks for years to teach science and civics. Last December’s lesson was an uncanny harbinger of Covid-19.

Have a good weekend, everyone.

Cemetery in the cold October rain | Park Cemetery, Marquette, Michigan.
(c) yooperann

Weekend Reads – Friday, August 30 2020

This week’s post is a collection of articles that span a lot of topics. There’s no theme, except that I found all of these links interesting. If you’re looking for something a bit more pandemic related, check out my Wednesday Links post from earlier in the week – it’s all about COVID/SARS COV2.

How to Outrun a Dinosaur (Wired – $$)

If, through some scientific malfunction, you found yourself transported 70 million years into the past, you might be safer from certain hungry reptiles than you think.

The K-Pop Fans Who Tweet Fake News (Paper Magazine)

Why some K-Pop fans obsessively “clear the searches”

Black ‘The Sims 4’ Players Are Changing One of the World’s Biggest Games (Vice)

The Sims has been an industry leader in terms of diversity and inclusion, but black players have been fighting to see themselves in the game for years.

Transparent Public Toilets Unveiled In Tokyo Parks — But They Also Offer Privacy (NPR)

The project’s eye-catching toilets are part of a plan to put people at ease when visiting a public bathroom – a prospect that can trigger a number of responses, from relief to trepidation.

Note: I love these bathrooms. They are absolutely gorgeous – especially when seen at night. It makes me want to move to Japan.

Anatomy of a Photograph: Authoritarianism in America (The Atlantic – $$)

When the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shows up at a peaceful protest in battle fatigues, it’s time to pay attention.

The Prince of Georgia Is Big on Instagram (Wired – $$)

The musician BERA is the son of the country’s former prime minister and richest man. When street protests arose in Tbilisi, I went to check on him.

Confessions of an ID Theft Kingpin: Parts One and Two (Krebs on Security)

At the height of his cybercriminal career, the hacker known as “Hieupc” was earning $125,000 a month running a bustling identity theft service that siphoned consumer dossiers from some of the world’s top data brokers. That is, until his greed and ambition played straight into an elaborate snare set by the U.S. Secret Service. Now, after more than seven years in prison Hieupc is back in his home country and hoping to convince other would-be cybercrooks to use their computer skills for good.

And finally, a cartoon that sums up a lot of how I feel. Tag yourself: I’m Too Direct

COVID Risk Comfort Zone (xkcd)

Weekend Reads – Friday, August 21 2020

Quite a few of the articles this week are ones that I read in 2018. There are a couple of newer articles here too, but again, these are mostly a couple of years old. There will be more of these as I work my way through my backlog of articles that I saved to read later.

What Really Scares Voting Experts About the Postal Service (The Atlantic – $$)

No matter what Trump says, the USPS has the money and the capacity to handle a huge surge in mail-in ballots. But new restrictions could disrupt the election.

How Much of the Internet Is Fake? (New York Magazine)

Turns Out, a Lot of It, Actually.

Dr. Google Is a Liar (New York Times – $$)

Fake news threatens our democracy. Fake medical news threatens our lives.

“I’m Going To Be Honest With You,” The Grandfather Told Police. “I Killed A Lot.” (Buzzfeed)

In this excerpt adapted from The Devil’s Harvest, Jessica Garrison reveals how a contract killer’s 35-year run of murder and mayhem in California’s Central Valley reflects a far more widespread injustice: The institutions that were supposed to protect a community failed it again and again.

I Voted (Washington Post – $$)

How facing death changed the political views — and influenced the vote — of one man with cancer

I Used to Write for Sports Illustrated. Now I Deliver Packages for Amazon. (The Atlantic – $$)

There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company, in playing for the team that’s winning big.

At U.K. Care Home, Residents Brilliantly Re-Create Iconic Album Covers On Twitter (NPR)

(c) Robert Speker

From the department of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”:

Surreal, audacious, unfinished – the Sagrada Família remains a divine work in progress (Aeon Video)

Towering above the nearby blocks in the Eixample district of Barcelona, the Sagrada Família is unmistakable for its colossal scale and its convention-defying architecture

TW: If you’re uncomfortable with mosquitos (or insects in general) you may want to give this video a pass. However, it’s worth watching and extremely interesting.

Weekend Reads – Friday, August 14 2020

Have some time this weekend? Here are some links I’ve been meaning to post for a while.

As a side note, if a subscription may be required to view the article, you’ll see dollar signs ($$) next to the publication name. If you don’t have a subscription to the publication, sometimes you can view these articles in the incognito/private mode of your browser. If you notice one I’ve not marked, let me know.

Tune In, Drop Out (Rest of World)

In the face of social and professional pressure, many young South Koreans are simply opting out — and the economy is adapting to them.

America Should Prepare for a Double Pandemic (The Atlantic)

COVID-19 has steamrolled the country. What happens if another pandemic starts before this one is over?

Streaming Isn’t Everything, and Blu-rays Are Back to Prove It (Wired – $$)

As the gaps in streaming libraries become greater, so does physical media’s comeback story.

My Father Says He’s a ‘Targeted Individual.’ Maybe We All Are (Wired – $$)

My dad is one of thousands who believe the government is subjecting them to mind control. As a daughter and a journalist, I felt a duty to investigate his claims. Have these individuals been America’s prophets all along?

The Widely-Spoken Languages We Still Can’t Translate Online (Wired – $$)

People who speak languages missing from Google Translate, Siri, and Wikipedia will face future crises—leaving aid organizations scrambling.

Reconsidering the Jewish American Princess (Vox)

How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.

Emily Dickinson’s Electric Love Letters to Susan Gilbert (Brain Pickings)

“Come with me this morning to the church within our hearts, where the bells are always ringing, and the preacher whose name is Love — shall intercede for us!”

Photographs of (models of) the moon (1874) (Public Domain Review)

Weekend Reads

These are late, but please spend some time reading. Also, if you can’t get to a protest, Wired has a bunch of things you can do to help:

Your weekend reads are below. I ran out of time to read all of these, but I plan to before the weekends up – and you should, too.

Notes – The NY Times, Wired, and Atlantic articles may have paywalls – if you run into them, try a different browser, incognito mode, a different device, or consider a subscription (I am debating subscribing to The Atlantic).

Please stay safe, stay healthy, and defund the police.