Load up your Instapapers and your Kindles with these slabs of textural glory.
Białowieża Forest – Detaild account of a walk into one of Europe’s few remaining primeval forests on the border of Poland and Belarus.
There hasn’t been a motor vehicle in the forest since World War II, and that’s only because a couple of Nazis (of course) needed to unload bodies in a hurry and violated the driving ban. But even the Nazis only did it once. Before them, the last vehicle to enter the forest did so in 1922.
One town’s war on gay teens – Rolling Stone feature on Michele Bachmann’s backyard and the effect the ideological fight over “family values” is having on school kids.
The silence of adults was deafening. At Blaine High School, says alum Justin Anderson, “I would hear people calling people ‘fags’ all the time without it being addressed. Teachers just didn’t respond.” In Andover High School, when 10th-grader Sam Pinilla was pushed to the ground by three kids calling him a “faggot,” he saw a teacher nearby who did nothing to stop the assault. At Anoka High School, a 10th-grade girl became so upset at being mocked as a “lesbo” and a “sinner” – in earshot of teachers – that she complained to an associate principal, who counseled her to “lay low”; the girl would later attempt suicide. At Anoka Middle School for the Arts, after Kyle Rooker was urinated upon from above in a boys’ bathroom stall, an associate principal told him, “It was probably water.” Jackson Middle School seventh-grader Dylon Frei was passed notes saying, “Get out of this town, fag”; when a teacher intercepted one such note, she simply threw it away.
Twenty-One Not Exactly Original Notes On More Watchmen, Written At A Slight Remove – The last words on the DC Comics / Alan Moore / Watchmen prequels situation from wise and honest Tom Spurgeon.
16. That More Watchmen represents the triumph of brand over literary content, I think is more true than overly facile. Watchmen the work doesn’t require a sequel and never did. Watchmen the collection of cool characters and isolated story moments and licensing opportunities demands one. It may really be that simple.
How Your Cat Is Making You Crazy – Under the guise of a bonkers story about people’s brains being infected by their cats, thus proving the “crazy cat lady” thesis, this is a fascinating look at parasites and how their affect the behaviour of their hosts to their benefit, and often the fatal disadvantage of the host.
The parasite, which is excreted by cats in their feces, is called Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii or Toxo for short) and is the microbe that causes toxoplasmosis—the reason pregnant women are told to avoid cats’ litter boxes. [...] But if Flegr is right, the “latent” parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents. And that’s not all. He also believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia. When you add up all the different ways it can harm us, says Flegr, “Toxoplasma might even kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year.”
Checking Out. “Porn books and librarians have always had a passionate, mutually defining relationship.”