Long reads

Weekend long reads – 15 December

Take some time this weekend to delve a bit deeper and enjoy these long reads.

Empire states of mind: Johnny, Patti and Jay – Jack Hamilton (Los Angeles Review of Books)

There’s something so New York about this — as New York as the Ramones, really. New York City offers up inimitable cultural experiences along with an inimitable self-regard for those experiences, like gazing out a window at an expanse of beauty while keeping one eye fixed on your own reflection in the glass.

The insourcing boom – Charles Fishman (The Atlantic)

Yet this year, something curious and hopeful has begun to happen, something that cannot be explained merely by the ebbing of the Great Recession, and with it the cyclical return of recently laid-off workers. On February 10, Appliance Park opened an all-new assembly line in Building 2—largely dormant for 14 years—to make cutting-edge, low-energy water heaters. It was the first new assembly line at Appliance Park in 55 years—and the water heaters it began making had previously been made for GE in a Chinese contract factory.

Google’s lost social network – Rob Fishman (Buzzfeed)

How Google accidentally built a truly beloved social network, only to steamroll it with Google+. The sad, surprising story of Google Reader.

The long strange trip of Dock Ellis – Patrick Hruby (ESPN)

Six hours earlier, Ellis had been in Los Angeles, nursing a hangover, dazed and confused, enjoying what he thought was his day off. Two hours later, he would be standing on the mound at San Diego Stadium, throwing baseballs he couldn’t always feel, in the general direction of batters he didn’t always see, trying very, very hard not to fall over.

Parents of micro preemie face heart-wrenching decisions – Kelly Benham (Tampa Bay Times)

There was a 20 percent chance she could live and be reasonably okay. I pictured her in the slow class at school, battling asthma or peering through thick glasses. We would buy her pink sparkly ones and tell her they were cool.

Literacy privilege: How I learned to check mine instead of making fun of people’s grammar on the internet – Anonymous (Painting the Grey Area)

Do I sound angry? That’s because I am. I’m angry that linguistic elitism is so deeply embedded in our social discourse with so little critical analysis. I’m angry that it took me four years of being slapped in the face with the daily realities of poor literacy skills before I finally relinquished my own prescriptive bayonet.

New York after Paris – Alvan F. Sanborn (New Yorker)

It is by virtue of its unity and symmetry that Paris is supreme. The beautiful features of New York, on the contrary, turn their backs most impolitely on each other, paying no more attention to symmetry and unity than a woman’s watch pays to time.

Can you die from a nightmare – Doree Shafrir (Buzzfeed)

It was creepy to wake up violently in the middle of the night. It was creepier when no one could tell me why it was happening.

The dream and the myth of the paperless city – Matt Stroud (The Verge)

When Kyle Hillman proposed his big idea for Chicago’s high-tech, completely paperless future, he did not suggest that Mayor Emanuel’s administration in Chicago should “make every single document in Chicago’s history paperless by 2015.” Instead, he suggests eliminating paper created in future government transactions.

The power of negative thinking – Oliver Burkeman (Wall Street Journal)

Fortunately, both ancient philosophy and contemporary psychology point to an alternative: a counterintuitive approach that might be termed “the negative path to happiness.”

After the Arab Spring, Yemen’s women are left behind – Janine di Giovanni (The Daily Beast)

The Arab Spring gave Yemen’s women a public voice and a visible face. But the revolution has faded without changing anything for millions who are married too young and shut away in mud huts for the rest of their lives.

Lunching with mass murderers – Nate Thayer (New Mandala)

Although popularly labeled as Communists, evidence from previously unpublished interviews with all the top leadership of the Khmer Rouge show the movement and its murderous policies were founded and implemented on an amalgam of ideology and homegrown political theory uniquely Cambodian.

Twilight on the tundra – Julia Phillips (The Morning News)

How do you see what the mushers see? You mush. Turn in an application to the Beringia, a dog sled race stretching over Russia’s easternmost tundra. In 1991, the Beringia was awarded a Guinness Word Record for longest mushing trail ever. This year it covers 685 miles.

The marriage plot: Inside this year’s epic campaign for gay equality – Molly Ball (The Atlantic)


And while Obama’s reversal was instantly hailed as a watershed moment, behind the scenes, Wolfson and his allies were already well on their way to fulfilling an even grander ambition. Gratified to have finally lured the president to their side, the activists were quietly working to bring voters on board, too. Though gay marriage was already legal in six states and Washington, D.C., it had been granted each time by judicial fiat or legislative action — voters had never yet endorsed same-sex marriage at the polls.

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