Monthly Archives: August 2015

Crackland Ballet, Hurricane Katrina, Kenyan Fishers and US Gun laws: Facts, and Opinions, this week

Ballet in Brazil’s ‘Crackland’. By Nacho Doce (*unlocked)

On the outskirts of Sao Paulo in Brazil, the rough Luz neighbourhood – known as Cracolandia or “Crackland” locally for its widespread use of crack cocaine – might seem a world away from the beauty and grace usually associated with ballet. But there’s another side to life in Luz, in a country that’s among the world’s biggest consumers of crack cocaine.

A child walks on a street in the Lower Ninth Ward neighbourhood, an area damaged by Hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States August 18, 2015. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina triggered floods that inundated New Orleans and killed more than 1,500 people as storm waters overwhelmed levees and broke through floodwalls. Congress authorized spending more than $14 billion to beef up the city's flood protection after Katrina and built a series of new barriers that include manmade islands and new wetlands. Reuters photographer Carlos Barria returned to New Orleans after documenting events in 2005 and found a city much rebuilt and renovated, although abandoned homes show Katrina’s lingering impact. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

  Hurricane Katrina 10 years on, a Photo-Essay by Carlos Barria (*unlocked)

When I arrived in New Orleans after the 2005 hurricane, which caused flooding in 80 percent of the city and killed 1,572 people, the scene was quietly apocalyptic. There was dark water all around, empty highways, bodies wrapped in plastic. The calm before the storm, the saying goes. But for many survivors of Katrina, it’s the calm after the storm that truly haunts.

Europe faces a 1945 moment, by Jonathan Manthorpe, International Affairs columnist (*subscription)

Astonishingly, Europe’s dysfunctional and divisive refugee policies have now collapsed entirely in the face of the onslaught of hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from the Middle East and Africa. The last time Europe faced a similar crisis on this scale was at the end of the Second World War, which carries many experiences and lessons, some of which are worth examining in the light of what is happening today.

Kibibi Mramba replants mangroves along a creek in the Kenyan coastal town of Kilifi. TRF/Sophie Mbugua

Kenyan fishers swap boats for mangroves and mariculture. TRF/Sophie Mbugua

 Kenyan fishers swap boats for mangroves and mariculture. By Sophie Mbugua (*unlocked)

Coastal mangrove forests, which are being destroyed quickly,  are among the world’s most important wetland ecosystems, providing crucial habitat for wildlife and fish, slowing coral reef sedimentation, and protecting coastlines from severe weather events. One solution has been found by a Kenyan community group, which acts as a volunteer forest guard, restores Kenyan mangroves, and maintains  tidal fish ponds — both helping to conserve local marine life, and make a living for its members as climate change impacts bite and fish catches on the open sea shrink. 

Bucking Pop Music Labels: Colleen Peterson, Brief Encounters by Brian Brennan (*subscription)

The newspapers couldn’t figure out how to classify Colleen Peterson’s singing when she was first making her way in the music business in the late 1960s. Neither could the record industry. Sometimes she was listed under folk, other times she was classified as blues, other times she was categorized as country. When asked to provide her own description, Peterson offered a new coinage: CRB, country rhythm and blues.

Apocalypse now: our obsession with the end of the world. By Natasha O’Hear and Anthony O’Hear (*unlocked)

What constitutes an “apocalypse” has mutated dramatically over the centuries, from the English to the Jewish to Barack Obama. And the torrid apocalyptic speculation surrounding our own era is nothing out of the ordinary. In constantly citing it today, journalists are drawing on a distinguished and rich apocalyptic tradition, the details of which may have been updated to reflect new global developments and social trends.

Maybe this time America won’t run away from better gun laws, by Tom Regan, Seeking Orenda column (*unlocked)

Alison Parker and Adam Ward, gunned down by an enraged former co-worker at the WDBJ7 TV station in

Alison Parker and Adam Ward, gunned down by an enraged former co-worker at the WDBJ7 TV station in

Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic (heaven knows I thought this would come before now), but I think we might be at a crucial tipping point moment in the long history of trying to enact stronger gun regulations in the United States, and finally putting the demon of the National Rifle Association behind us.

Sam McClure, Muckraker, by Jim McNiven, Thoughtlines column (*subscription)

There were reasons why Sam McClure’s low-cost, good quality magazine sold well in the tough economic climate from 1890:: cheaper postal rates and rural delivery; new technology including high-speed presses and halftone photoengraving; and a growing demand for low-cost outlets for advertising. McClure’s also innovated with an in-house staff of writers and editors.

Fighting Olympic eviction in Rio favela, by Ricardo Moraes, Reuters (*unlocked)

As sports arenas rise up around them and the houses of neighbours are reduced to rubble, more than 20 families refuse to leave their favela, or squatter settlement, on the border of the Olympic Park in Rio de Janeiro, vowing to fight eviction whatever the cost. With just a year to go before the Games come to Brazil, over 90 percent of residents in the slum of Vila Autodromo have already left after accepting compensation and their homes destroyed. Some 50 or so families remain, living in a ghost town with sporadic access to water and electricity and having suffered violent run-ins with police. About half of those families are digging in their heels.

 

In Case You Missed It:

Focus on the Pacific War:

Military gambit behind Putin’s Arctic oil ambitions
JAMES HENDERSON  

Science seeks solutions for drug-tainted waterways  
ELIZABETH GROSSMAN

Old Traditions, New Pastures: Portugal’s last shepherds 
RAFAEL MARCHANTE, Reuters

HBO’s “Show Me a Hero:” Q&A With David Simon 
MARCELO ROCHABRUN 

 

UPDATED August 29 to correct a columnist’s byline

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*Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded content,” or solicit donations from foundations or causes; this is possible because some of our work is behind a paywall. Please support us by purchasing a $1 day pass or subscription (click here), making a donation, and/or spreading the word.

 

 

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Migrants and David Simon’s latest: matters of Facts, and Opinions

A boy walks through Gevgelija train station near the Greek border with Macedonia July 30, 2015. Tens of thousands of migrants, mainly from the Middle East and Africa, use the Balkans route to get into the European Union, passing from Greece to Macedonia and Serbia and then to western Europe. After walking across the border into Macedonia to the small local station of Gevgelia, migrants pile onto an overcrowded four-carriage train in sweltering heat, young infants among them, to travel about 200 km north. Their aim: to enter Serbia on foot, another step in their uncertain search for a better life. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

A boy walks through Gevgelija train station near the Greek border with Macedonia.  REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

This week we bring to you an eclectic array of stories. Inside our site find works on David Simon’s new U.S. TV series on HBO; the rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, migrants, and columns that will provoke — at least — thought.

In Dispatches:

Migrants: A Train Towards a New Life. Photo-essay by Ogden Reofilovski, Reuters

This summer tens of thousands of refugees have passed through Macedonia, another step in their uncertain search for a better life in western Europe. They all travel in harsh conditions and face many challenges en route. The small railway station of Gevgelia, a stone’s throw from the border with Greece, has space for about 20 passengers to wait comfortably for a train heading north.

Korean Peninsula Tensions Rising. By Ju-min Park and Sohee Kim 

A man from an anti-North Korea and conservative civic group holds up a banner depicting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during an anti-North Korean rally in central Seoul, South Korea, August 21, 2015. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

A man from an anti-North Korea and conservative civic group holds up a banner depicting Kim Jong Un. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

South Korea stands ready to respond to further provocations from North Korea, the presidential Blue House said on Saturday, as an ultimatum loomed for Seoul to halt anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts by late afternoon or face military action. Tension on the Korean peninsula has been running high after an exchange of artillery fire.

Bison on the prairie, a conservation success. By Todd Reubold (*unlocked)

Three years ago, 63 bison originally from Yellowstone National Park left a quarantine facility just outside the park’s boundary where they were being monitored for brucellosis and made the journey nearly 400 miles to the Fort Peck Reservation in northeastern Montana. The transfer, which brought bison back to a stretch of the high country prairie from which they had been absent since the 1870s, was part of a larger program aimed at moving the animals to remote locations across the West to boost resilience to diseases that could wipe out a single herd.

Mass grave reveals organised violence among Europe’s first farmers. By Rick Schulting (*unlocked)

The discovery of 26 bodies with lethal injuries in a 7,000 year old mass grave in Germany provides more evidence of organised large-scale violence in Neolithic Europe. One theory blames the environment. A period of climatic instability led to increased competition for resources and eventually to conflict – including the extermination of some entire communities. This interpretation very much divides the room.

In Arts:

HBO’s “Show Me a Hero:” Q&A With David Simon. By Marcelo Rochabrun (*unlocked)

HBO’s TV series Show Me a Hero: In an America generations removed from the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the young mayor (Oscar Isaac) of a mid-sized city is faced with a federal court order to build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of his town. His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future.

 Hail to the Chieftains: Paddy Moloney, by Brian Brennan (*subscription)

Nobody had ever made a living playing Irish traditional instrumental music so Paddy Moloney followed his mother’s advice and got himself a day job. He worked from nine to five as a clerk at a Dublin building supplies firm and spent his evenings and weekends playing tin whistle and uilleann pipes at community halls and house parties around Ireland. He experimented with different combinations of instruments in trios and quartets until he found a sound he liked well enough to record. The resulting album, The Chieftains I, was released in 1963 when Moloney was 25.

In Commentary and Expert Witness:

As religions grow, so will world’s problems, by Tom Regan (*unlocked)

The recent report on future religious trends published by the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050.” is an amazing look at the future of the world’s religious and non-religious alike. It’s also worrisome.

Refugees are now the biggest crisis facing the European Union, by Jonathan Manthorpe (*subscription)

Among the many compelling pictures in recent weeks of would-be refugees swarming across the Mediterranean one from the Greek island of Lesbos caught my attention in particular. It was a short video of an infuriated Greek woman confronting a milling throng of young and apparently fit and healthy Syrian men who had recently made the short passage to her island from Turkey in hope of sanctuary in Europe. “Go home and fight,” she yelled repeatedly at the young men. “Go home and fight.” I could see her point.

Dementia epidemic may not actually be getting worse. By  Yu-Tzu Wu and Carol Brayne (*unlocked)

The notion of a dementia epidemic has been a big concern in ageing societies across the globe for some time. With the extension of life expectancy it seems to be an inevitable disaster – one of the “greatest enemies of humanity”, according to UK prime minister David Cameron. Many shocking figures have been published pointing to dramatic increases in dementia prevalence and massive predicted costs and burdens. Yet new evidence seems to suggest otherwise.

Last but not least, in case you missed them:

Military gambit behind Putin’s Arctic oil ambitions;  Blasts in Chinese port kill 50, injure at least 700;  The search for sustainable plasticsBehind the scenes of the Tour de FranceJapanese Remorse: Once More With Feeling;  …. Browse our Reports, Opinion-Features and Photo-essay sections for much, much more. Access the entire site with a $1 day pass, or help support us with a subscription. Thanks for your interest.

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*Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded content,” or solicit donations from foundations or causes; this is possible because some of our work is behind a paywall. Please support us by purchasing a $1 day pass or subscription (click here), making a donation, and/or spreading the word.

 

 

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Facts, and Opinions, this week

The Milky Way rises in the southern sky over the remote fishing village of Joe Batt's Arm in the small hours of a summer night  on Fogo Island off the north east coast of Newfoundland in the north west Atlantic ocean.  Photo by Greg locke © 2015 - www.greglocke.com

The Milky Way rises in the southern sky over the remote fishing village of Joe Batt’s Arm in the small hours of a summer night on Fogo Island off the north east coast of Newfoundland in the north west Atlantic ocean.
Photo by Greg locke © 2015 – www.greglocke.com

Seventy years ago this month the Pacific War of World War II ended, and the Atomic Age began. First off this week, F&O focuses on the war, and continuing aftermath:

Japanese military close up on Nanking Castle.

Japanese military close up on Nanking Castle.

Japanese Remorse: Once More With Feeling, by Jonathan Manthorpe (*subscription)

Japan’s current Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is having another crack on August 15, the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in the Pacific, at finally drawing a line under the country’s imperial past.

 European Scientists and Yankee Managers build ‘The Bomb,’ by Jim McNiven (*subscription)

A week short of a year after America’s entry into World War II, on December 5, 1942, an enemy alien set off a nuclear reaction about five miles south of the Loop in Chicago.

Why do we pay so much attention to Hiroshima and Nagasaki? by Matthew Seligmann (*unlocked)

This may seem an odd question to ask, especially at the time of their 70th anniversaries, but it is not as flippant as it sounds

Hiroshima’s literary legacy, by Daniel Cordle (*unlocked)

Perhaps John Hersey’s greatest achievement is to render the Japanese bomb victims human to his American audience.

Shadows of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, a photo essay by Issei Kato of Reuters (*unlocked)

Related:  Iran, nuclear waste, and Fukushima, by Penney Kome (*unlocked)

The world still contends with every scrap of radioactive nuclear waste generated since Enrico Fermi’s first controlled chain reaction in 1942 – some 250,000 glowing toxic tons of used fuel alone.

World and War, by Deborah Jones, 2014 (*subscription)

Our predecessors followed the passionately intense ideologues and imperialists of the late 19th and very early 20th centuries, all the way into a world war.  Asking, a century after World War I began,  what are today’s failures of imagination? Which ideologues and imperialists are we failing to stand against?

In Arts:

From the West End to The Well-Manicured Man: John Neville, Arts columnist Brian Brennan’s new Brief Encounter (*subscription)

John Neville was a star of the London stage during the 1950s, excelling both in Shakespearean roles and in productions of contemporary plays, before moving into the artistic management side of theatre — then back to acting, and the role that made him most famous: the Well-Manicured Man in The X-Files.

In our Loose Leaf salon:

Science and “the environment” should not be separated. By Manu Saunders (*unlocked)

 Does the natural world have any relevance to modern science? 

In Dispatches:

Military gambit behind Putin’s Arctic oil ambitions. By James Henderson (*unlocked)

It is hardly surprising then that all the countries whose coasts encircle the Arctic region, the US, Canada, Greenland, Norway and Russia, have made claims on territory outside of the clear boundary for each, which stretches 200 nautical miles from their shoreline.

 Science seeks solutions for drug-tainted waterways, by Elizabeth Grossman (*unlocked)

The reports are disturbing: of fish and birds responding with altered behavior and reproductive systems to antidepressants, diabetes medication, and other psychoactive or hormonally active drugs at concentrations found in the environment. Of opiods, amphetamines and other pharmaceuticals found in treated drinking water; antibiotics in groundwater capable of altering naturally occurring bacterial communities; and over-the-counter and prescription drugs found in water leaching from municipal landfills.

Blasts in Chinese port kill 50, injure at least 700. By Sui-Lee Wee and Adam Rose (*unlocked)

Huge explosions tore through an industrial area where toxic chemicals and gas were stored in the northeast Chinese port city of Tianjin, killing at least 50 people. At least 700 people were injured, more than 71 seriously.

Related: Warehouse owner violated safety tests in 2013. By Reuters (*unlocked)

Watch a video of the explosion. (Warning: language may be offensive.)

 

In case you missed it:

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*Facts and Opinions is a boutique journal, of reporting and analysis in words and images, without borders. Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded by you, our readers. We do not carry advertising or “branded content,” or solicit donations from foundations or causes; this is possible because some of our work is behind a paywall. Please support us by purchasing a $1 day pass or subscription (click here), making a donation, and/or spreading the word.

 

 

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Facts and Opinions, and context

Summertime ....

Summertime ….  at play on English Bay, Vancouver © Deborah Jones 2015

Context is everything: facts or opinions rarely stand strong by themselves. Take, for example, F&O columnist Jonathan Manthorpe’s column in May, about Vancouver real estate and corrupt money from mainland China. The Vacuously Vain column went “viral,” boosted by mentions from the Economist to academic urban planning journals to online media in Oz. It’s our best-read story since we launched in 2013; it helped that Manthorpe left the column outside our paywall,* because we’ve found that very few people will pay even a dollar to pass our paywall and support our journalism. But the reason this piece hit a nerve was because Manthorpe provides not sound bites or junk media calories, but authoritative, informed and global context to issues from unaffordable housing to national and international intrigues. His loyal weekly readers are well informed.

At its best, that’s what thoughtful, smart and educated  journalism does: it puts the stuff we care about or need to know in context; it helps us understand our worlds.

DroughtStrong opinion backed by great journalism also gives substance to our debates. For example, drouth is everywhere now changing lives, landscapes and economies. Chris Wood, author of Dry Spring (2008, Raincoast Books), long ago warned of this. In his F&O Natural Security column in early 2014 he proposed — controversially — a market solution to water hogs. (Subscription or $1 day pass required.*) Wood called water and nature “key cogs in the market machine. To induce the many, varied and locally specific changes required to secure safe water in all the places lacking it now—from Sacramento to Sudan—no mechanism is as effective and dynamic as money profit. If that means putting a price on some water and on ‘nature,’ get over it.” 

This week, other than publishing Issei Kato’s photo essay marking the Atomic Age at 70,  Shadows of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (unlocked*), F&O has taken our first annual summer break. We will return to our Bead Shop on Monday. Meantime, may we  recommend these pieces from our archive, from the light to the weighty, sublime to ridiculous, as worthy of your attention? 

Recommended elsewhere:

Death Penalty, The Conversation

The Conversation launched a global project examining  the death penalty. The recent execution in India last week of Yakub Memon for his role in the 2003 Mumbai bombings has sparked arguments about the use of the death penalty around the world. The Conversation has multiple essays and analyses about the moral and ethical arguments; the reliability of legal systems that use the death penalty, and its role as a deterrent.

And for the kind of great writing and long reads that were cherished in the pre-Internet  age (the kind of work that drew me into journalism), set aside some real time for “Hiroshima,” John Hersey’s landmark 1946 report on the bombing and its aftermath, available for the first time in the New Yorker this week.

— Deborah Jones

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*Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded entirely by readers. We do not sell your attention span to advertisers, or accept branded or sponsored “content.” We can do this because some of our work is behind a paywall, available with a $1 site day pass or modestly-priced subscription. Thank you for your interest and support.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope

Paying homage to Hiroshima and Nagasaki’s dead, in images

 

Shadows of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, by Issei

Reuters/Issei Kato

On August 6, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, killing about 140,000 by the end of the year in a city of 350,000 residents in the world’s first nuclear attack. Three days later, a second atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki.  Inspired by shadows which were scorched into streets, walls and bridges by the heat of the blasts 70 years ago, Issei Kato spent time capturing shadows in both cities as a personal project paying homage to victims and residents and to record historic monuments.

 Click here to view Kato’s photo essay, Shadows of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. (Unlocked) 

 

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*Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded entirely by readers. We do not sell your attention span to advertisers, or accept branded or sponsored “content.” We can do this because some of our work is behind a paywall, available with a $1 site day pass or modest subscription. Thank you for your interest and support.

Posted in Current Affairs

Matters of Facts, and Opinions this week

Shepherds direct their herd as they migrate to summer pastures in Serra da Estrela, near Seia, Portugal June 27, 2015. In late June, shepherds young and old in the Seia region of central Portugal start guiding sheep, goats and cattle to the Serra da Estrela, the country’s highest mountains, in search of better pastures. There they stay until the end of September. Modern-day shepherds may have mobile phones to keep in touch with family and friends, but their lifestyle has changed little for centuries. The sound of cowbells and the bark of longhaired mastiffs starts early in the morning as the animals – often decorated with traditional woollen balls on their horns - are herded up steep, narrow paths.  REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

REUTERS/Rafael Marchante

Photo-essay:

Old Traditions, New Pastures: Portugal’s last shepherds (unlocked)*

Photographer Rafael Marchante, of Reuters, accompanied a flock of sheep and goats from the Portuguese region of Seia during the first three days of ascent, living alongside some of the last shepherds who preserve this ancient tradition. Modern-day shepherds may have mobile phones to keep in touch with family and friends, but their lifestyle has changed little for centuries.Transhumance, the ascent in search of better pastures, normally takes place from June to late September. In the area around the Serra da Estrela, the highest mountain range in Portugal, this seasonal ritual has been followed since Roman times.  Click here for more photo-essays.

Dispatches:

No snow, no problem — China wins 2022 Winter Olympics. By Reuters (unlocked)*

The snow will be fake, but the very real financial muscle China boasts proved decisive on Friday when Beijing won the right to host the 2022 Winter Olympics. Human rights activists criticized the award, saying the International Olympic Committee had sent the wrong message at a time of growing government pressure on activists and civil society.

Stop killer robots, researchers warn in open letter. By Toby Walsh (unlocked)*

An open letter by major researchers and thinkers calls for a ban on offensive autonomous weapons, known as “killer robots.” The July 27 letter was signed by SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, physicist Stephen Hawking, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Skype co-founder Jaan Talinn linguist and activist Noam Chomsky, plus some 1,000  leading researchers in artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics.

Ebola vaccine holds hope for end of scourge. By Reuters (unlocked)*

The world is on the verge of being able to protect humans against Ebola, the World Health Organization said, as a trial in Guinea found a vaccine to have been 100 percent effective. Initial results from the trial, which tested Merck and NewLink Genetics’ VSV-ZEBOV vaccine on some 4,000 people who had been in close contact with a confirmed Ebola case, showed complete protection after 10 days.

 The search for sustainable plastics. By Phil McKenna (unlocked)*

3314227532_e338e91363_oThe fate of the world’s oceans may rest inside a stainless steel tank not quite the size of a small beer keg. Inside, genetically modified bacteria turn corn syrup into a churning mass of polymers that can be used to produce a wide variety of common plastics. 

Commentary:

Why it’s right not to vote in Canada, by Tom Regan (unlocked)*

There’s a brouhaha as Canada prepares for the upcoming federal election, over whether Canadians like me who live abroad should have the right to vote after being out of the country for a certain period of time. We should not. Even if I had the right to vote in election Canada I wouldn’t use it. It would be like throwing a dart at a board while blindfolded.

Canada’s pipeline project runs through swamp of Malaysian politics, by Jonathan Manthorpe (paywall)*

British Columbians need to know how closely the fate of their $40 billion natural gas pipeline deal is tied to the survival of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. There are two unsavoury reasons. If Najib loses control of his position, his successor may see  projects associated with him as tainted. Should he survive, does Premier Christie Clark relish the prospect of the northern pipeline project, in which she has invested so much political capital and of which she has such grandiose expectations, resting in the hands of a man, Najib, around whom swirls the smell of bribery, corruption and even murder?

Robert Goddard and The Big Blue Marble, by Jim McNiven (unlocked)*

Robert Goddard was the quintessential Yankee inventor. Born in 1882, he was raised and lived much of his life in Worcester, Massachusetts. Goddard was a sickly boy who fell behind in school and did not graduate until he was twenty-two. Spending lots of time home in bed, he became a voracious reader, and was highly taken with H.G.Wells’s War of the Worlds, which was published when he was sixteen. At seventeen he discovered his life’s work while staring at the sky as he pruned trees around his parents’ house. He would devise a way to escape Earth’s gravity and travel through space.

Living With an Ankle Bracelet in America. By M.M., Loose Leaf salon  (unlocked)*

I cannot sleep. There is a device on my leg. It requires that I wake up an hour early so I can plug it into a charger and stand next to the outlet, like a cell phone charging up for the day. Not the day, actually, but 12 hours. After that, the device runs out of juice. Wherever I am, I have to find an outlet to plug myself into. If I don’t, I’m likely to be thrown back onto Rikers Island. At the age of 22, I landed in prison. Though I had grown up around violence, it was my first time in trouble. I’d taken the law into my own hands during an altercation, because where I come from, we don’t dial 911 for help — we see how badly police officers treat people like us. 

Arts:

Anne Murray. Guy McPherson photo courtesy of the Fraser MacPherson estate

Finding Her Roots in Country Music: Anne Murray, by Brian Brennan (paywall)*

At a press conference I once asked Donny Osmond how many times a day he brushed his teeth to keep them so sparkling white. He answered, in all seriousness, that his teeth were capped. Then his publicist kicked me out of the room. Clearly, I was not showing the proper respect. I was also kicked out of the room when I asked the Bay City Rollers if a singer had to be five foot five or less in order to qualify for membership in the band. In Anne Murray’s case, I didn’t ask any silly questions.

The Man Booker is stacked in favour of big publishers. By Stevie Marsden (unlocked)*

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction has announced its longlist for the 2015 award. Now in its 46th year, the award is among the most prestigious in the literary world. It is also incredibly generous to the big publishing houses.

Expert Witness: 

Cecil the lion’s fate a matter of conservation. By Lochran Traill and Norman Owen-Smith (unlocked)*

Much of the attention generated by the demise of Cecil the lion appears related to the fact that he was a member of a charismatic species, that his species is threatened and the nature of his death. But now that Cecil, a resident of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, is gone how do we ensure that such events are not repeated? It is not as simple as banning hunting.

 

Brent Stapelkamp

Cecil and a lioness. Brent Stapelkamp

 

Recommended elsewhere: 

Life with the lions: revisited, Oxford university science blog, by Pete Wilton

The killing of Cecil the lion was one of the lions fitted with a GPS collar as part of Oxford University research led by Andrew Loveridge. Oxford revisits a 2012 interview with Loveridge about his work with lions. … read more on Oxford’s site.

Last but not least, in memory of Cecil and all other creatures killed by “trophy” hunters:

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*Independent, non-partisan and employee-owned, F&O is funded entirely by readers. We do not sell your attention span to advertisers or with branded or sponsored “content.” We can do this because some of our work is behind a paywall, available with a $1 site day pass or modest subscription. Thank you for your interest and support.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gyroscope Tagged , , , , , , , , |