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Dublin: 18 °C Friday 19 July, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: Why people in Silicon Valley don't want their kids using phones

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.

shutterstock_70234309 Source: Shutterstock/AlohaHawaii

1. No screens in Silicon Valley

Though Silicon Valley is the home of tech, many parents there don’t want their children interacting with tech. Here’s why.

(New York Times, approx 9 mins reading time)

Ms. Stecher, 37, and her husband, Rushabh Doshi, researched screen time and came to a simple conclusion: they wanted almost none of it in their house. Their daughters, ages 5 and 3, have no screen time “budget,” no regular hours they are allowed to be on screens. The only time a screen can be used is during the travel portion of a long car ride (the four-hour drive to Tahoe counts) or during a plane trip.

2. Life on a shrinking planet

Another article to add to the list of very depressing articles about the state of the planet. Sorry.

(The New Yorker, approx 38 mins reading time)

Scientists have warned for decades that climate change would lead to extreme weather. Shortly before the I.P.C.C. report was published, Hurricane Michael, the strongest hurricane ever to hit the Florida Panhandle, inflicted thirty billion dollars’ worth of material damage and killed forty-five people. President Trump, who has argued that global warming is “a total, and very expensive, hoax,” visited Florida to survey the wreckage, but told reporters that the storm had not caused him to rethink his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate accords.

3. The World Ploughing Championships

We have our own Ploughing Championships in Ireland, but the world event was most recently held in Germany. 

(The Guardian, approx 29 mins reading time)

Back in the Fortuna bar, Chappell finished his pint and surveyed the competition. “Ireland and Northern Ireland,” he said, in his curt Yorkshire accent. The Irish always seem to win. “And the Swiss.” He nodded at a young man with vibrantly rosy cheeks sitting on a bar stool surrounded by his countrymen. “That one.” Chappell felt he was in with a good chance, though, the way a sportsman does before a competition actually begins. This was his moment.

shutterstock_785560924 (1) Source: Shutterstock/Pormezz

4. How we got into so much debt

Kate and Tom earn a combined $160k a year, but are stuck in an epic cycle of debt. They explain how they got to this point.

(Wealth Simple, approx 13 mins reading time)

It all dates back 20 years. Tom and I were living together in Boston, where I was in college and he was in grad school. We started to get into a little bit of credit card debt at that point. We got married in 1997. Initially we put my loans in forbearance thinking that we would buy a house and then earn more money. But we just keep putting off the loan. 

5. My review killed the best burger place in America

Kevin Alexander wrote a piece about Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon, saying that their cheeseburger is the best burger in America. He thought he’d done a great job… but things didn’t go how he planned.

(Thrillist, approx 22 mins reading time)

Five months later, in a story in The Oregonian, restaurant critic Michael Russell detailed how Stanich’s had been forced to shut down. In the article, Steve Stanich called my burger award a curse, “the worst thing that’s ever happened to us.” He told a story about the country music singer Tim McGraw showing up one day, and not being able to serve him because there was a five hour wait for a burger. On January 2, 2018, Stanich shut down the restaurant for what he called a “two week deep cleaning.” Ten months later, Stanich’s is still closed.

6. How lies became truth in online America

There are people out there who make up stories online, people whose lives are about what fake news they can create. Here’s a look at how and why they do it.

(Washington Post, approx 20 mins reading time)

“BREAKING,” he wrote, pecking out each letter with his index fingers as he considered the possibilities. Maybe he would announce that Hillary Clinton had died during a secret overseas mission to smuggle more refugees into America. Maybe he would award President Trump the Nobel Peace Prize for his courage in denying climate change.


It was Thanksgiving this week, so here’s the true story of the very first Thanksgiving.

(Smithsonian, approx 40 mins reading time)

Europeans had been visiting New England for at least a century. Shorter than the Natives, oddly dressed and often unbearably dirty, the pallid foreigners had peculiar blue eyes that peeped out of bristly, animal-like hair that encased their faces. They were irritatingly garrulous, prone to fits of chicanery and often surprisingly incompetent at what seemed to Indians like basic tasks. But they also made useful and beautiful goods—copper kettles, glittering colored glass and steel knives and hatchets—unlike anything else in New England. Moreover, they would exchange these valuable items for the cheap furs that the Indians used as blankets.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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