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Weekly Reading: Best longreads on the web

Saturday 16th September 2017

Our weekly recap highlighting the best feature stories from around the internet.

 

Screenshot: Youtube/St Vincent

St. Vincent Is Telling You Everything, by Laura Snapes, Buzzfeed

“And then there’s the heartbreaking “Happy Birthday Johnny,” which sounds like a snowflake but crushes like an anvil. It calls back to the title track of her 2007 debut Marry Me, about “John” who’s “a rock with a heart like a socket I can plug into at will”; and to “Prince Johnny,” the decadent downtown royal from St. Vincent. She said she feels compassion and hopelessness for his self-destruction, but can’t judge because she’s just like him. Maybe he’s also a cipher for the way humans use each other — Clark flatly refused to talk about him. “One thing I have learned in six records and 10 years is that I’m not obliged to answer any questions — a lesson I more or less only recently learned.” She stared into the bar, fixing a grim expression through her orange aviators. “Next question.”’

This Māori Language Week We Deserve More Than Token Gestures, by Miriama Aoke, Vice

“To settle for performative gestures is to accept that they will bring little material benefit for Māori. To change the outcomes for Māori, decolonisation is a necessity. Decolonisation is dismantling the colonial state and its institutions, and fighting to build a society founded on inclusion of all. It is a difficult, but necessary, conversation which forces us all to confront the ugly truth in our collective history. Painting a Māori face on a colonial body isn't dynamic. It is only more of the same.”

Seven Days of Heroin: This is What an Epidemic Looks Like, by Enquirer and Media Network of Central Ohio staff, Cincinnati.com

“She races to the car and drives to Tommy’s apartment in Newport, where he’s been living on his own for a few months. There are cops on the sidewalk. Someone from the coroner’s office is standing nearby. This can’t be happening, she thinks. Her baby boy, the son she still calls “Tom Tom” even though he’s now 34, can’t be dead. She watches the paramedics carry a body bag out the front door and down the concrete steps to the sidewalk. The body is heavy. One of the paramedics loses his grip. Kim can tell the body inside is hunched over and stiff, as if he’d been dead for hours before anyone found him. As if he were still face down on his bed, alone for God knows how long, a needle in his arm.”

Summer in the Heartsick Mountains, by Ellie Shechet, Jezebel

“I was looking for something else in the Smokies, too, some way of making concrete a sad, slow pull of alienation I’d been feeling nearly every time I walked outside. Watching disasters unfold from behind a laptop every day, as my profession requires, seems to have that effect. What will this be like in 30 years? I would think to myself, relentlessly, as the guilt mounted over the main choices in my adult life: of occupation (too much computer time), of city (too few trees), and of the fact that I haven’t really been around the part of the country where I grew up to say goodbye.”

Killer Chemicals Part One: Inside NZ’s Synthetic Cannabis Crisis, by Tony Wall and Helen King, Stuff

“Synthetics offer oblivion, a way of numbing out the hopelessness of living on the street. "I just want something for my anxiety, a pill or something. I'm not calm and I want to be," Anika says. She and Michael have noticed that synnies have become stronger and stronger. A police sergeant working with Anika warned her she was unlikely to live much longer if she stayed in the same environment. Michael was introduced to synthetic cannabis by a friend in this first year of high school. At first he wasn't convinced, skeptical a product bought at the dairy would have any impact. But it gave him an intense high, far stronger than any cannabis he'd smoked before. Synthetics were cheaper and one bag produced more joints than a tinnie of weed. Michael quickly calculated he'd be able to make a bigger profit by selling synthetics.”

What Could We Lose if a NASA Climate Mission Goes Dark?, by Jon Gertner, The New York Times

“In the early 1990s, NASA began putting a succession of Earth satellites into orbit, the most recent being NOAA’s Jason-3, that use a tool called a radar altimeter to measure the ocean’s surface, which has been rising by an eighth of an inch per year since 1993. But in a warming world, sea levels increase for two distinct reasons. The first is that the ocean expands as it gains heat: It just gets bigger. The second is that ice sheets and glaciers melt and break into the ocean. “With an altimetric measure like Jason,” Felix Landerer, a J.P.L. Earth scientist, told me, “you know the height change of the ocean, but you don’t know really what’s causing it.” How much is from heat expansion, in other words, and how much is because of the displacement caused by more ice? Grace, however, constantly weighs the oceans, which makes it possible to determine how much water is pouring into them from melting ice and other sources.”

Harrison Ford on Star Wars, Blade Runner, and Punching Ryan Gosling in the Face, by Chris Heath, GQ

“When I interviewed Ryan Gosling for GQ last November, he was in Budapest to film Blade Runner 2049, and he explained how Ford had inadvertently punched him in the face during a fight scene. I wanted to give Ford the opportunity to present his own account of the same incident. “I punched Ryan Gosling in the face,” Ford confirms. Then he adds, by way of clarification, that “Ryan Gosling's face was where it should not have been.” Explain further, if you will. “His job was to be out of the range of the punch. My job was also to make sure that I pulled the punch. But we were moving, and the camera was moving, so I had to be aware of the angle to the camera to make the punch look good. You know, I threw about a hundred punches in the shooting of it, and I only hit him once.” So he should be grateful? “I have pointed that out.”’



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