Lion : Finding your home on Google Earth


This is the most interesting and inspiring story that I have come across in a long time.

Separated from his older brother at a train station, five-year-old Saroo Munshi Khan found himself lost in the slums of Calcutta. Nearly 20 years later, living in Australia, he began a painstaking search for his birth home, using ingenuity, hazy memories, and Google Earth.

The story

Vanity Fair — David Kushner

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An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety


Today’s needull looks at overcoming anxiety through the writing of Alan Watts. Watts died in 1973, but what he wrote about the reason for anxiety is more valid than ever in this age of hyper-productivity and connections.

The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.

The article

Brain Pickings — Maria Popova

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The Coddling of the American Mind


As I read through the article about how American university students are becoming overly sensitive to comments which they feel in some way offend them, I realized something of the same nature is probably happening in India too. People are getting more intolerant of the views they don’t agree with. The debate or discussion is not happening. What is happening is protests and counter protests.

Two terms have risen quickly from obscurity into common campus parlance. Microaggressions are small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless. For example, by some campus guidelines, it is a microaggression to ask an Asian American or Latino American “Where were you born?,” because this implies that he or she is not a real American. Trigger warnings are alerts that professors are expected to issue if something in a course might cause a strong emotional response. For example, some students have called for warnings that Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart describes racial violence and that F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby portrays misogyny and physical abuse, so that students who have been previously victimized by racism or domestic violence can choose to avoid these works, which they believe might “trigger” a recurrence of past trauma.

The complete article

The Atlantic — Greg Lukianoff & Jonathan Haidt

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Understanding Britney Spears through her hair


In this age of endless obsession with celebrities, all celebrities go through one change after another. This needull discusses different hair styles of Britney Spears to show that they reflect the phases in her life and career.

Soon enough, though, Britney couldn’t escape the blonde — nor, arguably, did she want to. Though her team kept assigning her a virginal narrative even throughout her high-profile relationship with cocky N’Sync leading man Justin Timberlake, Britney pushed back against that sterile persona, becoming more openly sexual, even a little dangerous.

The article

Caroline Framke — Vox

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The Uber Killer: The Real Story of One Night of Terror


This needull looks at what happened when Jason Dalton, a driver with Uber went on a killing spree. Everyone tries find motive when a mass shooting happens. Till the time a clear reason is identified, it bugs everyone. This is one such shooting where the motivation of the killer is difficult to decipher.

On a Saturday evening in February, a 45-year-old Uber driver and father of two named Jason Dalton got into his car, left his home near Kalamazoo, Michigan, and began shooting people. But the strangest, most unfathomable thing about the night that Dalton killed and killed again is what he did in between.

The complete article

GQ — Chris Heath

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Today’s needull is a longish recommendation. This article was Finalist for the National Magazine Award for Multimedia, 2014. This tells the story of few kids from Coronado, California created a $100 million empire becoming the largest pot selling operation on the West Coast.

At the center of it all was Lou Villar. A former Spanish teacher, Lou had taught some of the guys back at Coronado High. Lance originally brought Lou along for his language abilities; it helped that he was a smooth talker. But when he got a look at all that money, Lou discovered an instinct for business. He organized the Company into a visionary outfit, with himself as the kingpin.

The complete story

the Atavist Magazine — Joshua Bearman

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Gawker shuts down


Gawker has ceased operations effective 22nd August, 2016.  There are both positive and negative views on the shutting down of Gawker. This needull has been written by the editor of Gawker as the last post.

And so Gawker’s demise turns out to be the ultimate Gawker story. It shows how things work.

As our experience has shown, that freedom was illusory. The system is still there. It pushed back. The power structure remains. There are just some new people at the apex, prime among them the techlords flush with monopoly profits. They are as sensitive to criticism as any other ruling class, but with the confidence that they can transform and disrupt anything, from government to the press.

The complete article

Nick Denton — Gawker

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