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Dublin: 8 °C Monday 24 October, 2016

Sitdown Sunday: Just how racist is Hollywood? Actors speak out

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour. 1. Creating a new world

shutterstock_258738323 Source: Shutterstock/AstroStar

In a room near London, a group of programmers are making a program that allows a universe to create itself. It’s an antidote to games that are about conflict, instead allowing players to journey through new planets and places. One for the gamers.

(The Atlantic, approx 21 mins reading time)

In No Man’s Sky, there is also no sickness, no excrement, and no birth. There is death, but always with the assurance of reincarnation. “When you die, you regenerate in the same location,” Murray explained, “but you do lose a great deal of things. We wanted the loss to be meaningful—for you to know that if you make a decision, it has significance.”

2. What causes autism?

shutterstock_360990788 Source: Shutterstock/Nazarova Mariia

This wide-ranging piece looks at the latest information that’s out there about autism, from genetics to environmental factors.

(The Conversation, approx 15 mins reading time)

It is also unlikely that autism affects just one area of the brain alone. The complex behaviours of individuals with autism, which include cognitive, language and sensory difficulties, make it difficult to pinpoint just one brain region that may be affected. Nevertheless, some promising leads have shown how different brain pathways may lead to autistic behaviours.

3. All the single ladies

single ladies

The number of single women in the USA is rising – and that means this group of people could have significant power when it comes to politics. So how will their single status affect how they vote in the presidential election?

(New York Magazine, approx 31 mins reading time)

It is a radical upheaval, a national reckoning with massive social and political implications. Across classes, and races, we are seeing a wholesale revision of what female life might entail. We are living through the invention of independent female adulthood as a norm, not an aberration, and the creation of an entirely new population: adult women who are no longer economically, socially, sexually, or reproductively dependent on or defined by the men they marry.

4. The boy reincarnation

shutterstock_294686081 Source: Shutterstock/panton439

12 years ago, Sonam Wangdu was recognised as the reincarnation of a Buddhist lama, and was sent from Seattle to Tibet. He’d be cut off from his family and sent to study the dharma for 20 years. Here’s his story, told by his mother.

(Seattle Met, approx 22 mins reading time)

Massey was living at the monastery and just barely pregnant when she received the first sign that she interpreted as an indication that her child might be special. The vision of Tibetan Buddhism’s most highly regarded teacher studying at the feet of her son still makes her giddy. “It was like, oh my gosh, His Holiness is going to receive teachings from my son!” Massey remembers thinking. On its own, the vision meant very little. It needed verification. “I could have had a dream that he was the King of England, and it’s not going to make a crown come to his head,” she says. “It’s what they dream that matters.”

5. Diversity and Hollywood

ny times Source: New York Times

A group of 27 members from the film industry talk about how race has affected their work, and how they have been treated based on their race. It’s an eye-opening must-read.

(The New York Times, approx 25 mins reading time)

In 1985, I’m sitting in the casting office of a major studio. The head of casting said, “I couldn’t put you in a Shakespeare movie, because they didn’t have black people then.” He literally said that. I told that casting director: “You ever heard of Othello? Shakespeare couldn’t just make up black people. He saw them.”

6. We head back to our hometowns

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A number of reporters – myself included – headed back to our hometowns in the lead up to the general election. We chatted to business owners, people on the street, and politicians about the main issues on the ground.

Here’s what they told us. (

“Sinn Féin have done nothing, the other crowd are a disgrace, and as for Fine Gael, they’re in fuckin’ dreamland.” – Tony Coughlan, Cork Penny Dinners user


When she was a kid, Anya Groner and her siblings spied on their next-door neighbours, convinced they were criminals. And it turned out they were right.

(Oxford American, approx 15 mins reading time)

Like ghosts, our neighbours were felt rather than seen, and their invisibility was a happy convenience—grim accusations lose their fun when you can picture the person you’re insulting. Though our sleuthing was richly imagined, we were caught off guard when a real police officer knocked on our door and asked if anyone at our address had been making harassing phone calls to a bed-ridden retiree. Actual crime, we quickly learned, was far less intoxicating than our speculative version. To prove we weren’t responsible, my father proposed that the cop tap our phone.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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