Black Fathers Talk About Losing Sons to Police Brutality


Each of these men, like all Black father figures, fights against the still pervasive stereotype of the absent Black father. It’s a notion that gained currency in the 1960s as the political advancements of the civil rights movement failed to translate into economic and social progress for everyday Black Americans, and social science research turned away from structural explanations for inequality toward a search for behavioral causes. In 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, then an assistant secretary of labor, delivered a report to the Johnson White House, The Negro Family: The Case for National Action, arguing that the plight of Black American communities was in decline due to a simple factor: the crumbling of the family unit and, in particular, children being raised in fatherless homes.

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Mosi Secret — GQ

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John le Carré, Dead at 89, Defined the Modern Spy Novel


Another obituary.

In 1947, a 16-year-old David Cornwell left the British boarding school system where he’d spent many unhappy years and ended up in Switzerland, where he studied German at the University of Bern—and caught the attention of British intelligence. As the restless child of an estranged mother and a con-man father, and a precocious student of modern languages to boot, the young wayfarer was a natural recruitment target for the security services, which scooped him up in the late 1940s to be “a teenaged errand boy of British Intelligence,” as he put it in his 2016 memoir, The Pigeon Tunnel. Over the next 15 years, those little errands would continue and grow, furnishing Cornwell with the material that would fill the whopping 25 spy novels he wrote under the pen name John le Carré.

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Ted Scheinman — Smithsonian

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Remembering legendary travel writer Jan Morris


I discovered Morris 20 years ago while working at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge. With a newly minted degree in literature, it was pretty much the only job I was qualified for. The used-book department in the basement had that musty scent of dust and other people’s houses. After work one quiet Sunday night I spotted “The World” on the shelf in the “Essays” section, equidistant from volumes by James Baldwin and Virginia Woolf. Small images of global landmarks adorned the spine and caught my eye. The minimal title — solemn, seductive and assured — snapped me to attention. The essays — impressionistic but set in tangible and at times familiar places — were like nothing I’d read before.

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Liza Weisstuch — The Washington Post

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How John Wilson Made the Quirkiest, Most Transcendent Show on Television


That’s probably because Wilson’s face has yet to appear on his own show. Viewers merely hear his narration — voice nasal, tone deadly dry — and catch glimpses of him in mirrors as he wanders around New York City with a camera, interacting with everyday people. Episodes like How to Put Up ScaffoldingHow to Cover Your Furniture, and How to Make the Perfect Risotto begin with Wilson attempting to learn something practical. But each time the effort spirals into hilarious, sometimes poignant, and impossible-to-predict chaos, taking him everywhere from the home of a nude foreskin enthusiast to a beach resort in Cancun packed with college students on spring break.

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Andy Greene — Rolling Stone

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This person does not exist


I was just visiting this website called thispersondoesnotexist.com

This website shows you an AI generated image every time you open the site or refresh it. The images are so real. Things are moving so fast that it is becoming scary exciting.

This will cause a major disruption in the pop culture. There will be celebrities who won’t exist. Their lives would be broadcast to us which will again be AI generated. Celebrities tailored to your taste. They will look like how you want them to look. They will do things that you want them to do.

There will be many other changes as well, most of which my mind can’t even fathom now.

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Not watched Netflix in last 6 months


It was a snap decision. One day I decided to stop watching Netflix or any other streaming platform. I thought I will try this for few days and see how it goes. Weeks turned to months and now it is almost six months since I sat in front of my TV to watch anything.

Suddenly, I had too much time after work. I learnt cooking and now I am a full-stack cook. I listened to tons of podcast and audio books while cooking. Somehow listening to podcast and cooking go very well together for me. I am about to earn the Master badge on Audible.

My eyes hurt less. Somedays, I would feel a burning sensation in my eyes after a binge session. Now, I could avoid this. I was also standing and walking more leading to better health.

My thoughts are in much more control. For lack of better word, they feel sanitized. It is like my mind is off the junk food. I feel calmer.

Sometimes, I do think about watching Netflix on a cheat day. But, now I feel no real urge to do so and so I let the feeling pass.

Why is writing therapeutic?


Some ten years ago I used to write very frequently on my blog. These were mostly small articles related to things happening to and around me. It felt good to create something from scratch. Once in a while, there were messages of appreciation from readers. These messages made the effort worthwhile. They pushed me and motivated me to write better.

But then, the frequency of my writing started dropping. Lack of time and motivation were the main reasons. But, I also knew deep within me that these reasons were false. Once the rhythm of writing breaks, it is difficult to get back on track. I never got back on track and a decade passed.

There are many thoughts inside the mind. One thought leads to another and it goes on and on. Writing forces you to catch hold of one thought and express it clearly on a sheet of paper. It goes through a distillation process when it flows through your pen on the paper. Being a social animal, we need to communicate our thoughts to others. Thoughts are abstract. Making someone feel the same emotions we are feeling through some black smudges on a white background is magical.

At the end of a good day of writing, you feel lighter in your head and heart. This week an old friend reached out. We spoke of old times when both of us wrote blogs. We missed those times. Those restless times, when the urge to find expression dominated our decisions. Things have changed for both of us now.

Or is it just another excuse?

The Best Audiobooks of 2020


Recommended by Robin Whitten

I wouldn’t say The Sandman is a comfort read! The Sandman is an audio adaption of Neil Gaiman’s comic book series. The graphic novels are not new—they’ve been ongoing for many years—but the series has been adapted by Dirk Maggs and performed with this incredible cast that’s led by James McAvoy. Neil is in it—who is of course a wonderful storyteller himself—Michael Sheen, Taron Egerton, Bebe Neuwirth, Andy Serkis. It’s a great cast and the adaption that Dirk Maggs did is brilliant. If you’re not familiar with him, he was a collaborator with Douglas Adams on all The Hitchhiker’s Guides. So he has done many different adaptions and productions of audio drama and this is quite something. It’s dark, it’s very mysterious, but it’s very engrossing as a listening experience. It was too scary for me, but I loved the audio experience of it.

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Sophie Roell — Five Books

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Who wins on the ephemeral internet?


What Snapchat unlocked was a desperate desire for users to not have their digital actions follow them around. Whether it was shitposts or thirst traps, the idea was that it didn’t need to live in your, or anyone’s, feed forever. That ephemerality, combined with the lack of gratification that typically comes with a main feed post, gave users the opportunity to have more fun and enjoy the internet without any of its traditional consequences. Why should we have to cling on to the minutiae of what we were posting? It treated the internet like a tool, not a catalogue. And through this it unlocked a new era: the Snapchat-cum-Stories framework of disappearing content that now exists on most mainstream platforms. 

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Sarah Manavis — New Statesman

The History of Poop Is Really the History of Technology


Highly unpleasant and negative are the raw, uncomposted, intense smells that emanate from concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, which confine and raise large numbers of animals—hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands—in a small area, and have come to dominate modern meat and dairy production over the last few decades. They accumulate huge quantities of excrement that can be smelled from miles away. I live in central California and pass by the Harris cattle ranch on Interstate 5 near Coalinga whenever I drive between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Even with the car windows closed, I can smell it long before I see it. Tens of thousands of beef cattle are confined there, each animal generating some 65 pounds of urine and excrement a day. Today’s formulated feeds usually supply more nitrogen than the animals would obtain from their natural diet of plants, so their excrement is especially rich in the most offensive volatiles, the branched acids, cresol, skatole, ammonia, and amines.

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Harold McGee — Backchannel