1. Join Readup to read with @Jessica.

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    • The New YorkerAnn Patchett7/23/2133 min
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      5 days ago

      They are living women with interior lives so rich, we would weep if we knew them. Moreover, they are young women, still years away from the greatest adventures of their lives. If stepping away from the stage—and our ever-encroaching spotlight—is what they need to do to live another day, how can we possibly argue for anything else?

    • ELLEMelissa Febos7/10/2110 min
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      1 week ago

      Beautiful.

      It had been a kind of safety, always knowing a little more than my partners about the limits of our love. Now that sounds lonely to me.

    • The New York Times CompanyTiffany May7/23/215 min
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      Jessica
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      1 week ago

      “I understood from when I was young that sport is a luxury,” she said. “To be able to pursue your dream is a luxury. And therefore, if you can, then you must.”

    • Jessica
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      1 week ago

      Watching the Olympics from a screen at home helped me forget about the chaos in the world for a bit. Something I enjoy about the Olympics is learning more about the complexity of cultures and geographies. 1964 was a couple decades before I was born. Interesting to see the themes of rebirth and resilience, then and now.

    • The AtlanticMarion Renault7/12/217 min
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      Jessica
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      1 week ago

      Ultimately, even in the most clear-cut of cases, if a patient dies in the ambulance, an emergency medic may not learn the cause of death, or whether there was anything they could have done differently to change the outcome.

      What if a chef never tasted a final dish? What if a teacher wasn’t allowed to grade tests? Would a lawyer be okay with never hearing a verdict? “If you don’t know if you’re bettering patients,” Kaczmarek said, “how do you keep coming to work?”

      This is very saddening but also important to understand. It is somewhat bizarre to me that the Department of Transportation designated the EMS system. These roots must deeply contribute to how undervalued EMS work is in the healthcare industry.

    • Jessica
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      1 week ago

      “The urban impact of such an on-land solution is huge,” Coenen says. “Imagine seven-metre-high sea walls on the coastline. It’s like a reversed aquarium. The water’s outside, the people are inside. It’s a scary thought.”

      The image of a reversed aquarium is frightening. And I have to pinch myself and remember that this was actually a potential solution which was considered and cost-estimated.

    • Jessica
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      1 week ago

      Reading this gave me the chills. I appreciate the author closing with something more uplifting about the kindness and respect for different cultures that transcend country borders… it does exist!

      Years after that, when I started working in journalism, I met some wonderful American men who came to Ukraine for the country, not for the women, and ended up finding true love. Unlike Tom, they fell in love with our nation first. They studied the culture, learned the language. I am rooting for men like my foreign friends, who see their Ukrainian spouses as partners worthy of their own careers and lives, not young sex dolls.

    • Jessica
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      1 week ago

      One day as I unsuccessfully tried to keep a production day “on schedule,” I finally realized that my best bet was simply to turn the cameras off and go see whether anyone needed help in the camp kitchen. Those hours of carrot-peeling and potato-chopping with the community helped me get into a much more fruitful rhythm of friendship-building and did more for “allyship” than any filmmaking skill I could have offered that day.

      Really love this snippet on how community and relationships are formed through the [small] choices we make in each moment, perhaps stepping outside of our usual habit or role.

      This article strongly reminds me of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass. That book is a gem, and I think you would enjoy it if you resonate with this article.

    • Jessica
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      1 week ago

      My heart sinks. It’s been nearly six hours and she still hasn’t given up on her cub. I can just imagine how many times she darted back and forth on that road in attempts to wake it. It's extremely lucky that she wasn't hit as well. The calls to the cub continue, sounding more pained each time. I glance back finding myself hoping it would respond to her call too, but of course, nothing. Now here I am, standing between a grieving mother and her child. I feel like a monster.

      A painful story and it breaks my heart. National Parks have been flooded with visitors recently. I'm not sure if I will ever come to peace with the "humans versus the rest of nature" debacles... this is one of the things that keeps me awake at night.

    • The AtlanticArthur C. Brooks7/22/218 min
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      1 week ago

      I appreciated this article! Great advice here. There are so many reasons to prioritize our emotional health. Happiness and unhappiness are both contagious.

      In a 2019 study, researchers found that anger spreading around a workplace was correlated with more mistakes and accidents on the job.

    • The Daily BeastMatthew Lackner7/19/214 min
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      1 week ago

      Fascinating! The first thing I thought of was the high cost, which the article touches on at the end. I also wonder what materials would be used to support the platform… those which could be environmentally friendly yet not easily degradable while submerged in water 100% of the time. Those two characteristics tend to clash.

    • bookbear expressAva7/22/214 min
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      1 week ago

      Ava expresses this from the perspective of writing, though I feel that she’s describing a similar feeling that comes up when verbally sharing thoughts to others (especially those I don’t know that well). Of course the scale of the audience is completely different; yet, they both are forms of sharing, which in and of itself can make the sharer feel very exposed.

      And yet: sharing is sometimes the only way to illustrate your point.

    • nautil.usKelly Clancy7/14/2112 min
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      2 weeks ago

      I find the brain-body relationship fascinating. Whether or not the electrotherapy techniques described here become implemented widely, studying their effectiveness certainly advances our understanding of the brain's complexity regarding stimulus and response, especially those that can be life-threatening or disruptive to someone's ability to go about their day-to-day activities.

      This kind of electrotherapy will be reserved for the most intractable patients, for whom traditional interventions have failed. But what will be its limits? What if we could wipe atrocities from our collective remembrance? Or scrub guilt from a soldier’s conscience? Like any medicine, forgetting is both a poison and a cure.

    • Jessica
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      2 weeks ago

      I've been feeling very morbid about the climate crisis lately. There's the depressing climate-drought relationship near where I live, and then these climate-related disasters.

      “If you issue a weather warning which says there’s going to be 200 millimeters of rain tomorrow, that doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean a lot to me — and that’s my area of specialism, so I doubt it means very much to the general public,” Speight said. “We need to change how we communicate warnings. For example, instead of saying, ‘There will be 200 millimeters of rain,’ we need to say, ‘There will be rapidly rising water levels, damage to properties, a risk to life.’”

      Science communication is just as important as the science itself. I think we often do ourselves a disservice when we fail to communicate the real-time effect of situations such as this one (200 mm of rain) or the alarmingly high temperatures in my geographic area (fire danger associated with certain activities, power shutdowns).

    • Jessica
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      2 weeks ago

      Interesting read on Emre's experience at the certification program. I've been skeptical of putting labels on people, especially defining them into four-letter categories. It can be illuminating in some ways, but also limiting in that MBTI can serve as an excuse for our actions rather than us trying to make room for improvement.

      I've recently realized that I'm probably much more extroverted than I think I am. (I always typed as introverted.)

      This article reminded me of a job application process several years ago where I was asked to take a "Predictive Index Assessment" prior to my interview. The assessment included a section on level of extroversion. I have no doubt that my assessment results influenced the way that they steered my interview and perceived me before they met me. Either way, I don't work there ...

    • Jessica
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      2 weeks ago
    • SonimaAnne Koller6/11/1511 min
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      2 weeks ago

      This article reminds me of Bonnie Tsui's Why We Swim. Tsui explores the human relationship with water from anthropological, scientific, and community-based points of view which certainly bring to light many themes in this article!

      In this study, Emoto played music, displayed words, and prayed to water while it was freezing, and when the water was frozen it created crystal shapes distinct to each stimuli. When the words and music were positive and loving, intricate crystal shapes appeared, and on the contrary, when sounds and words were negative and harsh, chaotic, incoherent shapes formed.

      Wow, I have to look into this study more. This is so fascinating. I have Emoto's The Hidden Messages in Water on my list of books to mull over.

      Research shows that floating helps lower cortisol levels, which relaxes the nervous system, alleviates pain, and reduces negative effects of stress in the body.

      I haven't swam much since I was a teenager, mostly due to lack of pool access. But I distinctly remember that my favorite moments in the pool were when I was floating. There's something about the weightlessness that just quieted down all the noise around me, and I loved how floating allowed me to only look in one direction: up, and often at the sky.

      Aquacycling is a relatively new type of group cycling done in a pool with bikes that uses water as resistance.

      Aquacycling sounds like a great challenge for me to ease back into the water again. I've heard that water aerobics in general are enjoyable and challenging. I'm curious to see if aquacycling classes are near me!

    • Jessica
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      2 weeks ago

      The victims' families must have been in so much pain over the decades and feel a strong need for closure. And to think that Evertsson is being charged for "disturbing" the site after the documentary footage showed another story... feels wonky to me.

    • theweek.comDamon Linker6/30/216 min
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      Jessica
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      2 weeks ago

      I often think about the study on loneliness being as lethal as smoking cigarettes. I appreciate reading about another aspect of loneliness, and how it can so painfully damage communities and sow extremism. Moments of exceptional loneliness tend to be paired with a desire for intense belonging.

    • Jessica
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      2 weeks ago

      Not sure how I feel about digital nomads in the context of this specific article. However, this is certainly a worthy read and provides lots to think about. It seems to me like there is unnecessary problem-creation, and amplifies challenges we are already battling every day as a society.

      As with many digital nomads, they stress how much they care about the environment. In Tulum, they promote their values by sharing Instagrams of themselves picking up trash on the beach. "We take our eco-conscious ideals with us wherever we go," Mackley says.

      I’m glad they pick up trash on the beach. But read down a few paragraphs, and trash pick-up efforts are far outweighed by more devastating, large-scale effects that aren’t immediately recognizable:

      But many nomads don't stay around long enough to reckon with the long-term effects of their lifestyle. Along the main road in Tulum, construction crews are tearing down row after row of mangroves to make way for hotels and restaurants. Without mangroves, which act as a natural filtration system, all the contamination created by visitors — sewage, bacteria, chemicals — flows right into the waterways.

      Additionally, this is very strange for me to picture in the Himalayas of all places, and made me rather uncomfortable:

      For digital nomads, there's already a new coworking, co-living space dedicated to Musk in one of the most remote locales, the Himalayas. The destination, WorkationX, overlooks the mountains of the Kangra District at Rajgundha and can be reached only by a four-hour hike. It features six suites, yoga classes, and a large mural of Musk and Iron Man, with Musk's hands clasped in prayer.

    • The New YorkerOliver Sacks2/4/198 min
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      3 weeks ago

      I’ve been wanting to read Oliver Sack’s books! Feels great to begin reading his writing in essay form.

      While some see art as a bulwark of our collective memory, I see science, with its depth of thought, its palpable achievements and potentials, as equally important; and science, good science, is flourishing as never before, though it moves cautiously and slowly, its insights checked by continual self-testing and experimentation. I revere good writing and art and music, but it seems to me that only science, aided by human decency, common sense, farsightedness, and concern for the unfortunate and the poor, offers the world any hope in its present morass.

      Interesting perspective I’d like to read more about. I think the answer is that some fusion of both art and science will be preventative medicine for “Humean casualties.”

    • The AtlanticShannon Stirone7/7/214 min
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      3 weeks ago

      The quotes around “space” got a giggle out of me amid the sharp tone surrounding the broader, more heated discussion of wealth inequality.

      To their credit, the two billionaires aren’t totally oblivious. In recent years, Branson has proposed a climate dividend, while Bezos has pledged to spend $10 billion on climate efforts, though we still don’t know where most of that money will go.

      However, even after their trip past the atmosphere, the space billionaires still have to come back here and face the world. When they are pushed upward into the sky, they will live-stream their experience, their bodies briefly floating, staring out at the curvature of our delicate and beautiful planet, all of us invisible. Will leaving Earth change them?

      This is one of the universal sentiments that astronauts express once setting foot back on the ground: Looking at Earth, from up above, gives you a different perspective, enough to shift something inside. “The thing that really surprised me was that [Earth] projected an air of fragility,” the Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins said. “And why, I don’t know. I don’t know to this day. I had a feeling it’s tiny, it’s shiny, it’s beautiful, it’s home, and it’s fragile.” Maybe this quick trip really will change the billionaires, but I’m not counting on it. After all, they’re only going to “space.”

      Related: the petition to keep Bezos in “space”

    • The New YorkerPaul Bloom21 min
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      Jessica
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      3 weeks ago

      We curate our presents to furnish our futures with the right kinds of pasts.

      This line reads lyrically. It’s very accurate for me… it’s how I find myself furnishing my future, even though the results from this approach don’t always bring me a lot of joy.

      In a classic series of studies, Daniel Kahneman and his colleagues exposed volunteers to two different experiences—sixty seconds of moderate pain, and sixty seconds of moderate pain followed by thirty seconds of mild pain. When they asked people which experience they would rather repeat, most chose the second experience, just because it ended better. There is little good to be said about choosing more over-all pain just because the experience ends on the right note.

      Oh this is rather daunting. I suppose it’s evidence for why endings tend to affect our overall evaluation of something… whether it’s how a book ended, a tv series, a relationship… the ending skews our view of the entire experience.

    • The AtlanticLane Wallace11/10/098 min
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      3 weeks ago

      I scratched my reading itch about language, prompted by this article on the world’s disappearing languages.

      Language, he believes, is not inherently linked to culture. And that as a matter of practicality in an increasingly global world, the use and existence of fewer languages is not only less work, in terms of learning and maintenance, but actually an advantage.

      I disagree with McWhorter on this. The slight nuances in how language is spoken are one of many indicators of cultural variation and flux. McWhorter’s view of fewer languages as an advantage feels so utilitarian and doesn’t acknowledge the complexity that exists in what it basically means to be a human. Pamela Serena Cote’s words following this section reinforced my thoughts.

      But in cases where the language wanes not because of physical extinction, but because of cultural subsumption, the loss of a language is a far more personal tragedy ... at least to those within that culture. For someone inside a lost or dying culture, a language can be like the memories of our grandparents--not required, or even convenient, for efficiency of operation in a modern, globalized world, but essential for our sense of roots, security, identity, pride, continuity and wholeness.

    • nationalgeographic.comNina Strochlic4/16/186 min
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      Jessica
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      3 weeks ago

      I enjoyed reading this article! My grandparents spoke 4 languages and were fluent in 3 of them. My parents speak 3 and are fluent in all of them. I speak two and am fluent in one; I used to be fluent in the other (which was actually my first language before I knew any English) but then lost it in my coming-of-age years. It does feel like a tragedy to me that I'm not preserving some aspect of my culture, especially since I remember it being very difficult to keep up with my grandparents just due to the language barrier and different communication styles.

      “This form of language loss is a cancer, not a gunshot.”

      This was a painful line for me to read!

    • Jessica
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      3 weeks ago

      Everybody I talked to in the course of reporting this story said some variation on “I hope Isabel is okay.” And she is. Sort of. In the months I’ve spent emailing Isabel Fall, she’s revealed herself to be witty and thoughtful and sardonic and wounded and angry and maybe a little paranoid. But who wouldn’t be all of those things? Yet I’m emailing with a ghost who exists only in this one email chain. The person who might have been Isabel has given up on actually building a life and career as Isabel Fall. And that is a kind of death.

      At the end of the article, I also was wondering how Isabel is doing, and hoping she is doing okay. Wow, this is incredibly nuanced reporting. This is both a though-provoking and heartwrenching read.

    • Jessica
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      3 weeks ago

      The intention was never to inspire revolt, but rather to look critically at our workplace and ask if we can do better.

      Wise words from Naomi Osaka. Pairs well with this piece.

    • Jessica
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      3 weeks ago

      Part of being a true individualist is fighting for the right of others to not conform to conventional ideas.

      Is this possibly a mishmash? “Collective individualism” or “individual collectiveness”? Either way, I think this sentence underlines one aspect of what people in community can do for one another and I find it beautiful.

    • The New YorkerRACHEL SYME16 min
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      3 weeks ago

      This article makes me feel a lot less lonely in my ever-enduring feeling that time is so scarce, and that everything around me is an urgent matter. My brain often sees a deadline and then somehow translates that into “you have to finish everything right now” rather than “how can you budget your time to meet the deadline and stay sane?”

      I appreciate this perspective:

      Her goal is to bring back patience, which she sees as our most neglected and underappreciated virtue. Still, she has a surprisingly fresh rationale: being patient isn’t just about changing how we do things, it’s also, more fundamentally, about changing how we see things. Breaking the “cycle of reactions” we’re usually beholden to, she explains, opens a “gap through which you can see other perspectives, temporalities, and value systems.”

    • bookbear expressAva7/5/214 min
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      Jessica
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      3 weeks ago

      Ava writes beautifully. This reminds me of this article on unlived lives.

      It’s really something to contemplate that the change I crave but don’t actively work towards may be because I actually prefer current circumstances over something else. And that it’s just not reflected in my conscious thought.

      I could spend years searching for you in every hidden corner and never find you again. And yet: we were born to give up what we love. To respect the sanctity of autonomy is to make your choice and let other people make theirs. The only way for us to consolidate our fractured selves—to become whole—is by fully inhabiting our choices.

    • Jessica
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      4 weeks ago

      Really enjoyed reading these experiences of first and second gen immigrants. I don’t often hear these voices in the media, and would love to read each of their stories in greater depth.

      This resonates:

      I see myself constantly fighting a battle between Enough and More.

    • Jessica
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      4 weeks ago

      Braiding Sweetgrass is one of those books that took my breath away. I have Gathering Moss on my to-read list now as well. Kimmerer writes with so much wisdom and respect about our relationship with other living things. Here are some lines from Braiding Sweetgrass that have stuck with me:

      Just about everything we use is the result of another’s life, but that simple reality is rarely acknowledged in our society.

      The taking of another life to support your own is far more significant when you recognize the beings who are harvested as persons, nonhuman persons vested with awareness, intelligence, spirit—and who have families waiting for them at home. Killing a who demands something different than killing an it.

      I didn’t know that moss was so adaptable. The photos in this article are also stunning, especially the aerial view of Goblin’s gold.

      It is moss, she tells me, that keeps up her spirits when it comes to global heating. “It’s going to be 100 degrees upstate today,” she says. “That’s wrong, though these extremes are no longer out of the ordinary. We expect them. Of course I worry that people are not going to do what needs to be done; that we’re already too late. But I have faith in photosynthesis. The plants know what to do. They know how to sequester carbon. They know how to cool the air. They know how to build capacity for ecosystem services and biodiversity. Will the world be different? It will. Will there be tremendous losses? There will. Heartbreaking losses. But the evolutionary creativity of the plant world will renew itself. Plants will figure out how to come back to a homeostatic relationship with the planet.”

      Even as she notices the alarming fact that bloom times are arriving ever earlier, she is also increasingly aware of the natural movement of plants: “We’ve fragmented the planet in such a way that their natural migration routes are broken up. So it’s our responsibility now to assist that migration, to essentially help forests to ‘walk’. We have to help them get to where they need to go.” Will we be here to witness a new world, the one that she believes will be regenerated for us by the plants? She hesitates. “I have less faith in that.”

      There is so much wisdom here. It is saddening that, as Kimmerer also implied, humanity may not be around long enough see the new world regenerated by plants.

    • The CutMATTHEW SCHNEIER6/7/2114 min
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      Jessica
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      4 weeks ago

      FOMO must be related to the speed at which we operate nowadays. Some days I feel like I’m just not fast or efficient enough at whatever I’m doing, whether it be at work, responding to texts/emails, not watching the same viral videos that everyone else is, not trying that new flavor of ice cream at Trader Joe’s that’s flying off the shelves… and then the FOMO can creep in. But the reality is that we can only do one thing at a time. Missing out is a part of living… we only have so many hours in a day and so many days in our lives. We choose what to participate in, and the peace comes with believing that we made a good choice for ourselves.

      “People are asking me, ‘Do you think I should make a plan for every single weekend?’ There’s so much hedging of bets over July and August people are struggling to commit. The options feel limitless even though they’re just what they were before — which is mediocre.”

      I used to think I was a boring person, especially for my age, for not having elaborate, imaginative weekend plans. I get the sense that there’s an urgency to go out and “make up” for all the weekends we “lost” to partake in activities that we never quite enjoyed. I feel like just taking the time we have for ourselves to ourselves is the kindest thing we can do. If that means getting out there and planning an incredible gathering, go for it! For me, it’s usually a quiet day inside or savoring the feeling of my feet hitting the dirt in the mountains nearby.

    • The New York Times CompanyEmily Bazelon6/30/2148 min
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      Jessica
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      4 weeks ago

      The very ordinariness of his case was the story. Everyone can deflect responsibility, and someone like Briley can spend the rest of his life in prison.

      I thought about how Briley pulled me in, through force of will, and how much it was taking to right this one wrong. Then I listened to my sister represent her client.

      The next day, while I waited for Briley outside the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in rural Louisiana, I thought about all the people I couldn’t see who were inside those walls. Some would write more letters to journalists. But how many would have pen pals dedicated enough to make sure those letters were read, or Briley’s ability to build relationships with people who might be able to help? And how many journalists had the time to explore an unlikely story or a sister who was exactly the right lawyer to call? What if the D.A. or the judge had little interest in breathing new life into an old case? Briley got his chance because I opened a letter I almost ignored. I was stung by the capriciousness of all of it. “There are so many other Yuticos sitting in jail,” Jason Williams said in his office that day.

      This story began with a letter that Bazelon decided to open after reading an email from a retired librarian. I am still struck by how tackling what first seemed ordinary in the author’s mind turned into so much more.

      Williams is a former prosecutor, and when he worked in the district attorney’s office in New Orleans in the 1980s, he was known for keeping a miniature replica of an electric chair on his desk, battery-powered so it jolted at a touch. Fixed to the chair were photos of five men, all Black, whom Williams prosecuted and who were sentenced to death.

      This image is making me shiver. A replica of an electric chair with the details described…I don’t think I could ever bear to enter that office if that was the choice of desk decor. It is absolutely haunting.

    • bookbear expressAva2/21/2113 min
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      Jessica
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      1 month ago

      Oh, Ava. I feel like she organized all the thoughts that have been swarming in my brain on this topic.

      Maybe that’s my real cultural inheritance: self-control, a kind of simmering disdain.

      Wow, self-control, a kind of simmering disdain – I appreciate that perspective. I grew up internalizing this "self-control" as respecting others and their opinions, but exerting “self-control” can be very emotionally damaging. It’s like feeding myself poison while others live in oblivion, not knowing that what they said is deeply hurtful.

      I should’ve tried to explain, I know—how something you don’t even really understand can affect so much of your lived experience, how when anyone sees me now and forever the first thing they’ll recognize is that I’m an Asian woman—but I just turned away. I didn’t want to say anything to him at all.

      I feel so seen. This is my exact experience.

      1. Update (7/3/2021):

        I just thought of this line from Minari:

        Sometimes I wonder if the Asian-American experience is what it's like when you're thinking about everyone else, but nobody else is thinking about you.

    • Jessica
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      1 month ago

      This article reminded me of the California High Speed Rail, which I haven't heard much about in a long time. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to browse through the rock cores from some early ground investigations for a section of the proposed route... I don't think I'll ever get tired of seeing rock from hundreds of feet beneath the ground surface up close.

      The section about environmental regulations had me frowning, though. The article's tone seems to imply that the environmental regulations are a hindrance.

      Instead, she says, judicial, statutory, and administrative changes — in particular the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in 1970 — have led to increased power for citizens.

      This isn’t inherently an issue — while it raises costs to engage with lawsuits, if it stops the government from taking harmful action, that could be a good thing! Sometimes costs are rising because we’re paying for something valuable, for instance higher safety standards and accessibility infrastructure like elevators.

      The elevator example feels like a strange insertion and out of place. Safety considerations for elevators are not the same as those for trenching.

      Today the average EIS runs more than 600 pages, plus appendices that typically exceed 1,000 pages. The average EIS now takes 4.5 years to complete; between 2010 and 2017, four such statements were completed after delays of 17 years or more. And remember, no ground can be broken on a project until the EIS has made it through the legal gauntlet – and this includes both federal projects and private projects that require a federal permit.

      As the author points out, I'm sure there are people who use these regulations to curb their inconveniences. However, I feel that there is a slightly dismissive tone on environmental impact investigations. It doesn't surprise me that those can take years, especially for ambitious transportation projects. The EIS can cover topics such as wildlife habitat disruption and hazardous contaminants in soil and groundwater that may be brought to the surface (and potentially exposed to the public... nobody wants that!). Rushing through environmental investigations can lead to really terrible consequences.