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sitdown sunday

Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

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. Searching your online life
Steven Levy went behind the scenes as Facebook worked on their latest addition – Graph Search. So what else do they plan on using it for, and should you be worried? (Wired)

One more thing absent from the current iteration of Graph Search: ads. But they probably won’t be missing for long; search advertising, after all, is the web’s ultimate profit generator. Stocky says that Facebook’s search effort is currently focused on users but acknowledges that advertisers will likely follow. “Right now our user experience on Facebook is a little passive,” he says. “Graph Search is a way to ask a specific question, to express an intent in some way. And of course an advertiser would want to target that intent. That’s what search ads are for.”

2. A world divided
Marek Kohn wonders why society, and the world, consists of ‘us and them’, and whether this is something that we can ever hope to change. (aeon magazine)

When white babies in a Sheffield hospital were shown photos of students from visibly different ethnic backgrounds – white European, Middle Eastern, African, and Chinese – those aged three months showed that they could distinguish individuals in all the ethnic groups. Six months later, that ability would be gone. White babies aged nine months could differentiate only white individuals. Apparently the others all looked alike to them.

3. Hiring Lindsay
Stephen Rodrick looks at the trials and tribulations of making a movie on a shoestring budget, and what happens when you hire Lindsay Lohan to star in it. (The New York Times)

Lohan oozed adrenaline and chattered on with a self-lacerating sense of humor. (She owns coasters that say, “I used to worry, but now I have a pill for that.”) She talked of a recent photo shoot where she was asked to wear stripes. She shifted into her best Joan Rivers imitation. “I said, ‘Hello, stripes after jail, so not a good idea!’” A few minutes later, she said goodbye and hobbled in heels toward her rented Porsche. Then she disappeared for a few days.

4. A family at war
Mac McClelland writes about PTSD, and wonders whether the families of sufferers can end up suffering from it too. (Mother Jones)

That’s when her symptoms got worse, precipitating another meltdown, this time at a steak house where she took him to celebrate his newfound calm. They’d “assumed the normal positions,” she with her back to the restaurant, he facing it so he could monitor everyone, and suddenly, a server dropped a tray out of her periphery, setting her circulatory system off at a million miles a minute. “He just ate his steak like nothing,” she says.

5. The man on the moon
Kevin Perry talks to Buzz Aldrin about space, Sinatra and how a pen saved his life. (GQ)

Walking around on the moon was significantly easier than we’d thought it would be. There weren’t any balance problems so you weren’t tumbling over. I think in general, looking back on it, you could make sense of it: if you put one foot down and then another, the first foot down would have a little error that you could fix with the second one and then push off. Then you’d coast. Do-doo. Do-doo. Do-doo. Sort of like a horse when it’s going around a circle. That seemed to be the natural rhythm, rather than bouncinglike a kangaroo. Bom. Bom. Bom.

6. Force-feeding life
Anne Neumann looks at the case of William Coleman, and why Connecticut won’t let him die. (Guernica)

They came for him on October 23, 2008. Eight medical staff, corrections officers, and guards took William Coleman out of his solitary cell, down a bright hall, and into a medical examination room. The officers stood guard outside while a medical internist told Coleman to get on the vinyl-covered examination table. They were going to feed him. Coleman told them he did not want to be fed. But they weren’t asking for his consent; he had no choice. It had been more than a year since Coleman had chewed anything.


In 1973, Cameron Crowe wrote in Rolling Stone about the Allman Brothers Band, their various incarnations and the tragedy that came with success.

The group signed with Liberty Records under the name of Hour Glass. “The record company’s line,” Gregg says, “was, ‘We’ll make you the next Rolling Stones.’ All we wanted to do was play, but they wouldn’t let us do live dates. We would have done small clubs in the valley, but they told us we’d blow the whole image if we did that. What did we know? They’d dress us up in these funny fucking duds and we just felt silly.”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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