Review 1.11.2015

Items old and new that caught my attention in the previous week.

Links in ‘murican

Louisiana is the world’s prison capital The Times-Picayune May 29, 2012
The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world and of ‘the several states’, Louisiana comes out at the top of the pack for the percentage of its population in jail. The Times-Picayune investigates a system in which local sheriffs rely upon prison money to fund their departments, for-profit prisons command rural economies, and a steady stream of low-level criminals convicted under harsh sentencing guidelines maintains the cash flow.

The Quaid Conspiracy Vanity Fair January 2011
Remember when Randy Quaid lost his mind and fled to Canada? In a long-form article from 4 years ago, Vanity Fair‘s Nancy Jo Sales weaves through the gradual disintegration of Quaid’s life and, most likely, sanity.

The McDonald’s Cocaine Spoon Fiasco priceonomics September 18, 2014
The fascinating tale behind how McDonald’s coffee stirrers became unintentional drug paraphernalia and a symbol of the War on Drugs.

Novelist Murakami to pen advice column for personal website The Japan Times January 6, 2015
Postmodern favorite Haruki Murakami (read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle if you haven’t already) will be accepting questions on matters of any kind which he will answer piecemeal in the upcoming months. Here’s to hoping P.M. Shinzō Abe starts his own Dear Abe column in the Tokyo Shimbun.

HEBOCON: The Robot Contest for Dummies YouTube November 26, 2014
Like Battlebots but for the technologically illiterate, HEBOCON is a Japanese celebration of crappy robots and this 8-minute video is well-worth your time. Come for the snarky commentary, stay to see a doodle-bug robot sumo-wrestle a box powered by dildocomotion.

The Ancient History of Grills Vice December 15, 2014
Contrary to what one would believe, the ornamentation of teeth with jewels and precious metals actually precedes human settlement of South Beach by several thousand years.

The Mountains Where Women Live as Men GQ March 2014
Sometimes one forgets that GQ has actual reporting and not just listicles (6 Pro-Level Grooming Tips!) aimed at metrosexuals. The burrnesha are part of a centuries-old Albanian tradition of women taking vows of celibacy and living as men. It’s an excellent examination of the fluidity of gender identity as, in the last few years, American society has confronted previously-ignored or universally-mocked issues raised by Chelsea Manning, Amazon’s Transparent, increasingly-impactful advocacy, et alia. [See also: the fa’afafine of Samoa and the Two-Spirit people of the American Indians in addition to the ‘third genders’ present in many other cultures, past and present.]

Coca-Cola Just Killed Voicemail Business Insider December 23, 2014
To the delight of all its employees born after the Carter presidency, Coca-Cola has eliminated voicemail company-wide in a push for greater efficiency.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE: See The Presidents’ Christmas Cards From Coolidge To Obama Business Insider December 24, 2014
It’s exactly what it says on the tin. One thing that bugs me, though: FDR was very fond of sitting in all his photos. Why did our joyless president never dance?

Links in not-‘murican

Attaque contre Charlie Hebdo Le Monde January 2015 {French}
Le Monde‘s collection of all articles and information on the Charlie Hebdo attacks and their continuing fallout – continually updating.

Sénégal: à l’école dakaroise du surf Jeune Afrique March 12, 2014 {French}
Check out the growing surf scene in Senegal, where perfect conditions have led to a pilgrimage of intrepid foreigners and fired-up local interest in riding planks on top of fast-moving water disruptions.

Das “Satire darf nicht alles”-Bullshit-Bingo Der Spiegel via Twitter January 8, 2015 {German}
Play along on Twitter!


Jan 11, 2015 | Posted by in Sunday Review | Comments Off on Review 1.11.2015
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