Long reads

Weekend long reads – 22 December

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

Snow fall: The avalanche at Tunnel Creek – John Branch (New York Times)

The Cascades are among the craggiest of American mountain ranges, roughly cut, as if carved with a chain saw. In summer, the gray peaks are sprinkled with glaciers. In winter, they are smothered in some of North America’s deepest snowpack.

Best Practices for Raising Kids? Look to Hunter-Gatherers – Jared Diamond (The Daily Beast)

For example, if a baby was playing next to a fire, adults did not intervene. As a result, many adults in that society had burn scars, which were legacies of their behavior as infants.

Hipsters On Food Stamps, Part 1 – Anonymous (The Last Psychiatrist)

Those are two “hipsters”, and the punchline is that they pay for their foodie porn with foodie stamps, which sounds like it should be a terrible thing, except it’s in Salon.com, which means they’re going to try and tell you how it’s a good thing, which they don’t, because they can’t.  It’s madness.

Utopian for beginners :An amateur linguist loses control of the language he invented – Joshua Foer (The New Yorker)

In 2004, he published a monograph on the Internet that was titled “Ithkuil: A Philosophical Design for a Hypothetical Language.” Written like a linguistics textbook, the fourteen-page Web site ran to almost a hundred and sixty thousand words. It documented the grammar, syntax, and lexicon of a language that Quijada had spent three decades inventing in his spare time. Ithkuil had never been spoken by anyone other than Quijada, and he assumed that it never would be.

How fake images change our memory and behaviour – Rose Eveleth (BBC Future)

But human memory is far more like a desert mirage than a transcript – as we recall the past we are really just making meaning out of the flickering patterns of sights, smells and sounds we think we remember.

Human rites: Rituals bind us, in modern societies and prehistoric tribes alike. But can our loyalties stretch to all of humankind? – Harvey Whitehouse (aeon)

Strange objects — long stone knives, masks and other ritual regalia — lie tucked away from prying eyes, shrouded in darkness as surely as if they had been buried underground


Myers-Briggs test not all psychologists’ type – Lillian Cunningham (Sydney Morning Herald)

Now, 50 years after the first time anyone paid money for the test, the Myers-Briggs legacy is reaching the end of the family line. The youngest heirs don’t want it. And it’s not clear whether organisations should, either.

Too Big to See with the Naked Eye – Anne McClintock (Guernica)

By the middle of the year, climate numbers were tipping into record superlatives: hottest summer in human history, worst droughts, wildest fires, worst floods, highest rivers, worst storms, lowest rivers, worst winters, thinnest polar bears, fewest bees, and no more Lonesome George, the Galapagos tortoise, last of his kind, who died in June. And everywhere the stealthy rising of the seas. But one fact towered above the rest: the colossal melt of Greenland.

I’m Not The Product, But I Play One On The Internet – Derek Powazek (Powazek)

There are several subtextual assumptions present in “you are the product” I think are dangerous or just plain wrong that I’m going to attempt to tease out here. Many of these thoughts have been triggered by Instagram’s recent cluelessness, but they’re not limited to that.

10 non-violent ways to thwart a Westboro Baptist Church protest – Adrienne Crezo (Mental Floss)

This weekend the WBC’s spokesperson announced their plans to picket at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here are 10 nonviolent counterprotest techniques — used previously or newly planned — that we may see in action if Westboro shows up in Newtown.

 The Freedom of an Armed Society – Firmin Debrabander (New York Times Opinion Pages)

Furthermore, of the weapons that proliferate amongst the armed public, an increasing number are high caliber weapons (the weapon of choice in the goriest shootings in recent years). Then there is the legal landscape, which looks bleak for the gun control crowd.

 Saying goodbye to now – Thomas Beller (The New Yorker)

Right then, as she was airborne, my hand twitched and sla
pped my pocket, in the dim hope that I could locate my camera, pull it out, and shoot while the moment still held. But there was no camera, and anyway there was no time. I will never forget this image, though I may already be embellishing it. And you will never see it. You may picture it, but the picture itself was not taken. I had to fight off a sadness about this, because the moment, after all, was happening, and it was beautiful, and anything that detracted from my perception of that was a shame.

Judge, There’s a Grub In My Scoop – Bernard Lagan (The Global Mail)

Rather, Justice Rares hit the nail squarely, if rather too bluntly for some squeamish Canberra journos, writing: “It is more likely Mr Lewis was focused on obtaining good copy for stories to sell newspapers.”

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