What we’re reading


February is Black History Month. The New York Times is commemorating lesser known aspects of American Black history through their column “Unpublished Black History.” It is to be updated daily until March and will feature never before seen photos from the Times archives.

It’s a busy week in politics as the Iowa caucus takes place tonight, followed by the New Hampshire primary a week from today. Politico looked at the political consequences of America’s electoral process placing so much emphasis on early primary states in “How Iowa Hijacked Our Democracy,” while the New York Times editorial board outlined the importance of Iowa’s results in “The Cornfield Crucible.”

Meanwhile, Slate tried to uncover why math whiz Nate Silver, who started the statistics-driven FiveThirtyEight, was so wrong when he predicted Trump didn’t have a shot in the GOP primary. On a lighter note, check out Bernie Sanders singing “This Land Is Your Land” with Vampire Weekend at an Iowa rally.

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What we’re reading

In the ongoing coverage of the NFL’s mishandling of domestic violence cases, the women affected have been eerily silent (or silenced). But The New York Times‘ “N.F.L. Left Women Feeling Trapped in Domestic Abuse, Ex-Wives Say,” attempts to both explain how they were silenced and to give them a voice.


Mercedes Sands, wife of former Bengals player Robert Sands.

After Taylor Swift removed 1989, her new horrible album, from Spotify, discussions regarding Spotify’s role in the music world were amplified (aha!). This discussion is expertly captured in the New Yorker‘s “Revenue Streams,” which asks the question: is Spotify the music industry’s friend or foe?

The New York Times‘ “Mishandling Rape” is a nuanced discussion of how rape allegations should be processed at universities. It’s an important read, especially leading up to tomorrow’s Janus Forum event and President Paxson’s alternate event.

The Atlantic‘s “What 200 Calories of Every Food Looks Like” is surely the most depressing read on the Internet this week. Spoiler alert: 200 calories = actually two bites of a bagel.

By far the most important internet content of the week is the Huffington Post‘s interview with Kel Mitchell, of Keenan and Kel fame. No, he’s not dead!

A conversation captured by Complex, on video and in text, between rapper Wale and Jerry Seinfeld about their friendship, the state of the music world, and the relationship between comedy and music is a must-see/read.

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To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall on Sunday, The New Republic republished “This Is What It was Like to Witness the Fall of the Berlin Wall,” a piece that originally ran on December 18, 1989. It is a personal, historical and cultural account of one of the most momentous occasions in modern history.

For stunning photos from across the world, look no further than the 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest, Part II, featured on The Atlantic‘s website.

A photograph from the series.

A photograph from the series.

The Life of a Pot Critic: Clean, With Citrus Notes,” from The New York Times, features Jake Browne, the world’s first ever marijuana critic, who writes about his high from different strains of weed for the Denver Post. 

The award for the most useful infographic of the week goes to David McCandless, a data journalist and information designer who created “Common MythConceptions: World’s most contagious falsehoods,” a chart debunking 52 of the world’s most widespread myths and misconceptions ranging from what happens when you swallow gum to Napoleon’s height.

Representation in STEM fields has been an ongoing discussion at Brown–and is beginning to catch on worldwide. National Geographic‘s “Why It’s Crucial to Get More Women Into Science” uses history, graphs and charts and personal testimony to answer that question.

In this week’s collegiate news, there’s the New Republic‘s “How Is the Most Insecure Ivy League University Also the #1 Party School in America? An Investigation,” which looks at Penn’s odd positioning as a prep, party and prestigious university through the lens of one (in)famous weekend: Halloween.

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The New York Times‘ “Where College Graduates Are Choosing to Live” looks at the flipside of the normal post-Brown narrative: move to New York or San Fran, instead focusing on unexpected cities drawing a high percentage of college graduates.

The Blood Harvest” from The Atlantic is the fascinating account of exactly what it sounds like–the harvesting of horseshoe crabs for their blue blood that, due to ameobocytes, can detect even extremely low bacterial contamination. Horseshoe crab blood is used in the LAL test, which every drug certified by the FDA must pass.


The Stradivarius Affair,” from Vanity Fair, explores a low-level street criminal’s bizarre theft of a rare $6 million violin known as the Lipinski from the Milwaukee Symphony.

Is the Affordable Care Act Working?” from The New York Times is a refreshingly apolitical and statistical look at one of the most politically charged debate of the 21st century–Obamacare.

Christian Bale vs. Michael Keaton isn’t the only Batman debate to be had. “The Evolution of The Batman Logo, From 1940 To Today” is an infographic that brings up another important Batman talking point: which iteration of the logo is the best?

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Paul Krugman’s “In Defense of Obama,” published in, of all places, Rolling Stone, has been generating considerable buzz due to Krugman’s claim that, despite incessant media bashing and low approval rates, Obama is actually one of the best presidents in modern American history.

The cutest web content of the week award goes to the New York Times for their short video “What Happens When Second Graders Are Treated to a Seven-Course, $220 Tasting Meal,” which captures six New York City public school students’ reactions to a dinner at one of New York most highly acclaimed (and expensive!) restaurants, Daniel.

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In slightly more serious culinary news, the Times’ How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground” looks at how milk cartons and cafeteria pizza are fraught with questions of corporate interest, paternalism, healthcare and polarization in the wake of Obama’s support for the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and a re-conceptualization of school lunch menus.

Two pieces this week took an unflinching look at the reality of life in Cuba and its relationship with the United States: Vice‘s “Red Gold: A Quixotic Quest To Find Beef In Cuba,” which looks at low quality (and even, at times, dangerous) meat coming to Cuba from the United States and the New York Times‘ Editorial Board’s “End the U.S. Embargo on Cuba.”

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We’ll call this the New York Times edition. I guess it really is all the news fit to print.

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Gotta start with some Rhode Island pride. The, you guessed it, New York Times feature, “A Couple Gaining Independence, and Finding a Bond,” follows two people with intellectual disabilities on their wedding day but gets at deeper themes of unconditional love, how we treat those with disabilities in the workplace and what it means to be a full member of society.

What Kind of Town Bans Books,” from the New Yorker (I know, I know) questions conventional wisdom regarding the types of people advocating for banning books through a case study of the writer’s hometown.

In stark opposition to the BlogDH Pumpkin Spice Challenge and in typical snarky fashion, Vice‘s “Fuck Pumpkin Spice” is one of the more entertaining reads circulating the interwebs this week.

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