11th of October: The News is Merging a Bit

Gonna get a lot harder to order these articles if stories keep mixing together – I’ve already had to condense the “Russia” and “Syria” bits of the list. Anyway. Lots of interesting stuff up ahead, and like two funny bits at the end to compensate.

Song of the week is off this bizarre series of tossy house compilation albums my Dad used to love. Swear he had three or four but this is the only good song. tbf it’s very good. Think it might be a Joan Baez cover.

As ever, alternative formats are available. Blog. Newsletter. Please tell your pals, I live for the clicks.

  • Been a while since I’ve shared one of these slightly superficial considerations of great power politics – on China, the USA, and the Thucydides Trap
  • Another thing I haven’t shared for at least eight minutes: a lengthy analysis of the motives and backgrounds of ISIS fighters. But it’s by Martin Chulov, who is good, so it’s OK.
  • This is an odd one. This analysis of what the Taliban’s seizure of Kunduz can tell us about their current condition (good, tbh) was published quite soon after the city fell, and obviously, before the Afghan National Army moved in, and the horrific events of the next two articles  occurred.
  • Because a few days later, the USAF bombed a MSF hospital. This probably reflects badly on me, but I’ve mostly just got articles from within the sort of military/security community on it. Both are interesting, and obviously highly critical of the attack. Feel like it’s more interesting than reading Glenn Greenwald’s ranting anyway. First, this from the NYT, outlines what the proper procedure for this sort of airstrike would be, and how high-level military officials think this wasn’t followed. Then this is more on the weapons involved and how they facilitated the lapse. Finally, despite what I said about Greenwald, this from the Intercept is very understated and good.
  • Under-reported as ever, the Yemeni civil war is carrying on in a miserably horrible way. Good analysis from Brian Whitaker of its future.
  • The main takeaway from this roundtable of Russia/Putin ‘experts’ on what he’s up to in Syria is that pundits don’t really know how to explain Putin, really. But there’s lots of interesting possibilities raised.
  • If you’ve got a couple of quid going spare, and are looking to help with the refugee crisis, this Paris-based organization is just getting off the ground, but is doing good work – friends of the reading list are involved, so you know, stamp of approval and all.
  • Pretty compelling critique of visions of colonizing Mars – the headline (“Who picks up the trash on Mars?” says it all)
  • Coincidental double-bill from the excellent Bridget Minamore. First, on how the allegations that a London club deliberately turned away black women fit into a lifetime of micro-aggressions, and a thoughtful, personal take on gentrification (honestly it’s actually good and not just ‘hipsters bad imo’ (which tbf they are))
  • Part of me wonders if sharing this will just be met with eye-rolls from all my female readers (so like, four people) because “duh we know” but anyway! Using hormonal birth control to minimise or suppress periods – it’s a thing, and I didn’t know!
  • Fascinating and bizarre, on a gigantic mid-century hydro-engineering plan that sort of borders on sci-fi terraforming
  • Really nice essay on digital books and the possibilities they should offer (but don’t)
  • I haven’t seen Titanic for years and don’t want to, but this Case Against Rose from Titanic is absolutely fantastic, and very funny
  • Loved Mallory Ortberg’s queer re-watching of Bend It Like Beckham (little alteration required)
  • EVE: Online – always looks extremely boring, but always extremely fascinating to read about – this one was about the in-game propagandists

And there we are for another fortnight. Enjoy, and do pass it on! x

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