May 1, 2014 / From the Editor, Uncategorized
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from …
May 1, 2015
Each Friday we compile a list of interesting links and articles our editors find from across the web. Here’s what’s catching our eye this week.
Tah-Nehisi Coates reflects on the role of nonviolence in Baltimore
When nonviolence is preached as an attempt to evade the repercussions of political brutality, it betrays itself. When nonviolence begins halfway through the war with the aggressor calling time out, it exposes itself as a ruse. When nonviolence is preached by the representatives of the state, while the state doles out heaps of violence to its citizens, it reveals itself to be a con. And none of this can mean that rioting or violence is “correct” or “wise,” any more than a forest fire can be “correct” or “wise.” Wisdom isn’t the point tonight. Disrespect is. In this case, disrespect for the hollow law and failed order that so regularly disrespects the community.
Baseball, like the rest of the world, is affected by civil unrest
Major League Baseball, the Orioles and local city and county officials made certain a similar scene wasn’t repeated Monday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. As reports of increasing violence from groups protesting the death of Freddie Gray, who died last week while in police custody, reached officials, the scheduled game between the White Sox and Orioles was postponed.
This came after fans were briefly advised not to leave the ballpark while marchers congregated outside during Saturday’s game against the Red Sox.
Outside on Monday, at the time the first pitch would have been thrown, sirens wailed mournfully in the distance. But the streets around the park that would normally have been filled with boisterous fans and street vendors — Eutaw and Pratt and Camden — were eerily quiet and shut down by police barricades.
A new book about the the news media’s role in integrating baseball.
But generally speaking, the ‘fourth estate’ of journalism was, in Kahn’s estimation, the foremost opponent to the breaking of the color line in baseball. Part of this was the harshness of the New York Daily News and its tandem of Jimmy Powers and Dick Young. For both of these writers, the attack on Branch Rickey was predicated on his penury regarding the control of vast numbers of minor leaguers, a system Rickey pioneered with the Cardinals of the 1930s: “Some called the farm systems ‘chain gangs,’ and one columnist, Jimmy Powers of the New York Daily News, almost drove Rickey out of baseball in 1950. Powers was a resolute reactionary and a closet anti-Semite—in short, an unappetizing character—but he championed the salary rights of individual ballplayers with enduring passion
Debra Dean Murphy, a former TOJ contributor, has a new book exploring the links between heath, happiness, beauty, and our relationship with God.
Popular advertising slogans could lead a person to think that happiness is what human beings are made for. Coca-Cola invites us to “open happiness.” At the International House of Pancakes it is “come hungry, leave happy,” while the all-you-can-eat restaurant chain Golden Corral entreats: “help yourself to happiness.” Disneyland, since the mid-1960s, boasts that it is “the happiest place on earth.” We feed children “happy meals,” strive for a “happy medium,” admire the “happy-go-lucky” (who seem to live by the mantra “don’t worry, be happy”)—all while trying to find our own private “happy place.” Even one of our nation’s founding documents, the Declaration of Independence, asserts that human beings have an “unalienable right” to the “pursuit of happiness.” Happiness, it seems, is ever on our minds (and on our stomachs, if the corporate restaurateurs are to be believed). We want desperately to be happy.
The New Yorker explores the life and poetry of W.S. Merwin
In the beginning, not even native plants would grow. The land had been deforested for firewood to fuel the whaling ships that anchored by the island, and then it was used as grazing land by the settlers who stayed behind. Sugarcane fields were planted when the cattle refused to graze, furling their lips to protest the wild grasses, but it was the pineapple growers who really wrecked this valley. Because of the way they planted their pineapples, up and down instead of along the hillsides, all of the topsoil washed away. Decades of abuse, each chronicling a different period in Hawaii’s history, had leeched this land on the northern coast of Maui so much that not even native plants would grow when W. S. Merwin first tried to plant them, in the seventies.
Why aren’t we reading as many books any more?
So, every new email you get gives you a little flood of dopamine. Every little flood of dopamine reinforces your brain’s memory that checking email gives a flood of dopamine. And our brains are programmed to seek out things that will give us little floods of dopamine. Further, these patterns of behaviour start creating neural pathways, so that they become unconscious habits: Work on something important, brain itch, check email, dopamine, refresh,dopamine, check Twitter, dopamine, back to work. Over and over, and each time the habit becomes more ingrained in the actual structures of our brains.
How can books compete?
Where did our current “factory” model of education come from?
Arguments over what public education should look like and what purpose public education should serve – God, country, community, the economy, the self – are not new. These battles have persisted – frequently with handwringing about education’s ongoing failures – and as such, they have shaped and yes changed, what happens in schools.
A transgender perspective on racism and sexism:
Most people know that sexism and racism are problems in America. But transgender people — whose gender identity doesn’t match the sex assigned to them at birth — have the opportunity to experience the full range of these issues firsthand. For some trans people, then, sexism and racism aren’t just abstract issues that are present in the news or studies — they’re issues they can validate with their personal experiences living on both sides.
A community overcomes fear of sexual assault and violence:
Tomorrow, you find out whether you’re to be held in prison until your trial, because you pleaded ‘not guilty’ and pose a threat to the community. Tomorrow, I have my life back. As you sit awaiting trial, I hope that you do not just think about what you have done. I hope you think about community. Your community – even if you can’t see it around you every day. It is there. It is everywhere. You underestimated mine. Or should I say ours? I could say something along the lines of, ‘Imagine if it had been a member of your community,’ but instead let me say this. There are no boundaries to community; there are only exceptions, and you are one of them.
Vice opens the lid on which companies collect and record our data:
It’s 2015—when we feel sick, fear disease, or have questions about our health, we turn first to the internet. According to the Pew Internet Project, 72 percent of US internet users look up health-related information online. But an astonishing number of the pages we visit to learn about private health concerns—confidentially, we assume—are tracking our queries, sending the sensitive data to third party corporations, even shipping the information directly to the same brokers who monitor our credit scores. It’s happening for profit, for an “improved user experience,” and because developers have flocked to “free” plugins and tools provided by data-vacuuming companies.
A legendary figure in online piracy explains how (and why) he did it:
From 2001 on, Glover was the world’s leading leaker of pre-release music. He claims that he never smuggled the CDs himself. Instead, he tapped a network of low-paid temporary employees, offering cash or movies for leaked disks. The handoffs took place at gas stations and convenience stores far from the plant. Before long, Glover earned a promotion, which enabled him to schedule the shifts on the packaging line. If a prized release came through the plant, he had the power to ensure that his man was there.
Mp3 Blogs are still a thing. Here’s a look at the best and brightest:
In the pre-Spotify era, one of the main ways to discover music was through MP3 blogs. In fact, some of us spent a lot of time burrowing through these obscure blogs, hoping to find and obtain rare vinyl rips and mindblowing ’70s Japanese prog. But in the past several years, huge changes have occurred to change that landscape. File sharing services such as MegaUpload and Rapidshare went supernova on their own clientele, leaving many blogs deserted graveyards of links galore. Bloggers ran out of the patience to re-upload huge collections of music for the umpteenth time. Kim Dotcom went broke. Several places proclaimed “R.I.P.” on these blogs, fearing the proliferation of obscure music would have to end up behind closed doors. Yet some of these blogs remain, with people still plugging away at them, not to mention there’s new sites to carry on the never-ending battle of providing a well-curated collection privy to copyright infringement takedown notices.
Alissa Wilkinson, another TOJ contributor, on the hidden sense of worship in David Foster Wallace’s work:
I had a similar experience. In a time of confusion and loss for me, I read a man who wanted desperately to believe even as he was plagued by unbelief and absence. I was adrift in absence, and his questions gave voice to my own. They gave me some CPR when I most needed it, and helped me start to believe it was possible to be “alive and human” in the world. They sent me back to the Word, made flesh.
David A. Garner