home Must Reads Must reads: Whale hunting, public housing, music, women in STEM

Must reads: Whale hunting, public housing, music, women in STEM


Good morning, gentle readers! This week we’re exploring a range of stories from the tale of a teenage whaler who found himself in the midst of international controversy to the problems with public housing. Join us!

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The teenage whaler’s tale‘ (Julia O’Malley for High Country News)

In a remote community, Alaska natives survive as they have for thousands of years — including with subsistence hunting, which is carefully regulated. When a young man participates in the hunt and his kill splashes global headlines, though, he finds himself heaped in online abuse, and lack of compassion.

“Neqeniighta,” the Siberian Yupik word for “hunter,” doesn’t have a perfect equivalent in English, said Merle Apassingok, Chris’ uncle, who lives across the road from his grandfather. It means something broader even than the word “provider,” and is tied to a role men have played for generations that ensures survival and adaptation. When a boy is a good hunter, he is poised to be a leader, Merle said.

The real cost of regeneration‘ (Zoe Williams for The Guardian)

Inside the sordid world of developing low-income housing, who profits, and who pays the price when things go very, very wrong.

These details matter – the wrong paint can be the difference between a fire stopping or spreading. After the Grenfell Tower fire, it was alleged that the cladding could have been fireproofed for an extra £2 per square metre, £5,000 in total. A more fundamental problem is a lack of oversight. In Myatts Field North, there was nothing to stop the local authority doing their own checks, but the contractor could – and was expected to – monitor themselves (Rydon was allowed to self-certify their own work, because they’re deemed reputable). With the new reduced specifications, work began in May 2012.

Chester Bennington and the Cathartic Anger of Linkin Park‘ (Amanda Petrusich for The New Yorker)

A brief, and sharp, remembrance of a singer who died in his prime, and the complicated, surprisingly deep tenor of his music.

For me, Bennington’s singing has always felt athletic, determined, wildly urgent—like a long-distance runner just barely hurling his depleted body across a finish line. Sometimes, in the midst of a particularly furious run, it can seem as if we are actually hearing his vocal cords separating, fraying, going up in flames. His manifestations of rage are often so unflinching as to feel threatening. In the past, Bennington has spoken about being the victim of child sexual abuse—he told the rock magazine Kerrang! that, when he was seven, he was routinely tormented by an older friend—and much of his work seems fuelled by a deep and otherwise unarticulated anguish.

How Chicago Learned Privatizing Public Housing Isn’t Enough‘ (Debra Bruno for Politico)

Many communities in the US are experiencing a housing crisis, especially for low-income residents. Politico is delving into the world of public housing, what works, what doesn’t, and why.

Then they built the buildings with the worst possible materials, so that elevator housing was on the top of the buildings, which in Chicago winters is just insane to me, and they were built with cheap concrete so that they were deteriorating; they had pockmarks in them. They didn’t put drywall in most of the units. They didn’t have closet doors; they didn’t have covers on the light bulbs; they didn’t have covers on the radiators.

Salk Institute under fire for ‘smear’ on women suing it for discrimination‘ (Meredith Wadman for Science)

Women in STEM are subject to systemic harassment, and when they push back, it often creates ‘controversy’ — not because they’re parting the curtain on institutional problems, but because they’re challenging the establishment.

In a pair of lawsuits filed 11 July in California Superior Court in San Diego, Lundblad and Jones seek unspecified compensation for an array of harms. Lundblad, 64, is a cell biologist who made her name studying telomeres, the structures that cap chromosomes. She has been at the institute since 2003. In 2015, Lundblad was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. Jones, 62, is an expert in transcription elongation, a process relevant to HIV infection and cancer; she has been at Salk since 1986.

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Photo: Montecruz Photo/Creative Commons