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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 19 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Who really does the housework at home?

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

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. How to hand out free money

The idea of a universal basic income is controversial – but some countries already have one (or something like it) in place. Here is a look at how Alaska’s Permanent Fund Dividend programme works.

(Mother Jones, approx 30 mins reading time)

Inadvertently, red-leaning and fiercely independent Alaska has become a global model for advocates of doling out “free money.” After visiting the state in July 2017, Mark Zuckerberg, a vocal basic-income booster, wrote in a Facebook post that the dividend provides “good lessons for the rest of our country.” The dividend has been a third rail in Alaskan politics for nearly four decades. But just as the hype around basic income is growing, the program is facing an existential threat. 

2. The vanishing glaciers

Glaciers are melting due to higher global temperatures – here’s a deep dive (excuse the pun) into why it’s bad for the planet. 

(The Guardian, approx 20 mins reading time)

Seven years of climbing in Alaska had provided me with a front-row seat from where I could witness the dramatic impact of human-caused climate disruption. Each year, we found that the toe of the glacier had shrivelled further. Each year, for the annual early season ice-climbing festival on this glacier, we found ourselves hiking further up the crusty frozen mud left behind by its rapidly retreating terminus. 

3. The life, death and legacy of Richard Swift

You might not know the name Richard Swift, but aside from his solo career his fingerprints were all over albums by bands like The Shins and the Black Keys. He died unexpectedly last year, and this article delves into the sad story behind his passing.

(Rolling Stone, approx 20 mins reading time)

“The thing about Rich is that he wasn’t just great at drums or piano — he was better at everything than everybody,” says Dan Auerbach, who started his side band the Arcs with Swift in 2015. “He was better at synthesizers. He was better at singing harmonies. He was a great guitar player. He was an incredible bass player. He could build a track from nothing to completely finished in an hour. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

4. Nags and martyrs

Surveys consistently say that women do more housework than men at home – but what’s the story behind any unequal distribution of labour? Gemma Hartley writes about it in her new book – here’s an extract.

(Longreads, approx 24 mins reading time)

If the dishwasher is loaded wrong, I take it back on instead of trying to show my husband how to load it. If the laundry isn’t folded correctly, I’ll decide to simply do it myself. On occasion I have found myself venting with friends that it is almost as if our male partners are purposefully doing things wrong so they won’t have to take on more work at home.

5. What I learned travelling the world solo

Jada Yuan spent an entire year travelling the globe for the New York Times – here’s what she learned.

(New York Times, approx 22 mins reading time)

The words “dream job” come up whenever I tell people about the 52 Places project. Like the thousands of others who answered that fateful job listing — travel the world for The New York Times! — I had a vision of winning a journalism lottery, of getting to leave behind my routine to swim in waterfalls in Australia, paraglide off mountaintops in Switzerland and eat at Michelin-starred restaurants in France. And I got to do all of those things, for which I am incredibly grateful.

6. TV sex scenes

In the #MeToo era, there is more scrutiny on sex scenes on TV and film. Here’s how some shows are dealing with it.

(Vanity Fair, approx 10 mins reading time)

Glen Mazzara, a veteran show-runner of The Walking Dead, and co-chair of the Writers Guild of America West board’s sexual harassment subcommittee, had stronger words for this problem. “Here’s why Hollywood is bullshit: when it’s time to talk about [sex] stuff up front, people get uncomfortable and don’t want to talk about it,” he told me, adding that show-runners should be having advance, detailed conversations about scenes involving nudity and intimacy—but that rarely happens.


This 2003 article is about Jeremy Gross, who robbed a convenience store and murdered a clerk. Should he be given the death penalty? A look at how his trial went, from the jury box.

(New York Times Magazine, approx 50 mins reading time)

Gross stood outside the glass doors, behind his accomplice, Joshua Spears. He held a small, black semiautomatic pistol at his side, out of sight. Gross was jumpy, turning his head from side to side to make sure no one was in the parking lot. Beers buzzed them in. Gross took long, hurried strides into the store, raised his right arm and started shooting. 

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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