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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 16 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: The twin brothers swapped at birth

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.The really big one

SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE 1989 Rescue dogs are brought into position to begin searches of destroyed houses in the Marine District of San Francisco, Ca., Wednesday morning after a strong earthquake caused widespread damage, Oct. 18, 1989. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg) Source: Associated Press

There’s been a lot of talk this week about this New Yorker article on how a disastrous epic earthquake could strike America very soon. The chilling thing is, this is all based on what’s happening beneath the ocean right now…

(New Yorker, approx 31 mins)

When the next very big earthquake hits, the northwest edge of the continent, from California to Canada and the continental shelf to the Cascades, will drop by as much as six feet and rebound thirty to a hundred feet to the west—losing, within minutes, all the elevation and compression it has gained over centuries.

2. Something changed 

Homeless teenagers 'lack support' Source: Brian Lawless

Alfred Postell has had a very tough life- he’s homeless and schizophrenic. Years ago, he graduated from Harvard Law School: this is his story.

(Washington Post, approx 12 mins)

In a city with thousands of homeless people, Postell may be the District’s most academically distinguished. Diplomas, awards and certificates clutter a closet at his mother’s apartment, buried artifacts of a lost life. He holds three degrees: one in accounting, one in economics, and one in law.

3. Brothers swapped at birth

shutterstock_259726010 Source: Shutterstock/Julie Campbell

Two pairs of twin brothers were born in a Colombian hospital. One from each pair was swapped at birth. So how did they eventually find the right twins?

(New York Times, approx mins)

At that moment, Jorge had before him sufficient evidence to suggest that his life was not what he thought it was, that his family was not what he thought it was. But there is a saying that Carlos, a man of many sayings, sometimes applied to Jorge: ‘‘The blindest man is the one who does not want to see.’’

4. The myth of the ethical shopper

CENTRAL AMERICA MAQUILAS An unidentified woman works at a maquila, or sweatshop. Source: Associated Press

Think you’re an ethical shopper? This article looks at whether that is actually possible given how much we rely on cheap labour.

(Huffington Post, approx 25 mins)

This year, I spoke with more than 30 company reps, factory auditors and researchers and read dozens of studies describing what has happened in those sweatshops since they became a cultural fixation three decades ago. All these sources led me to the same conclusion: Boycotts have failed. Our clothes are being made in ways that advocacy campaigns can’t affect and in places they can’t reach. So how are we going to stop sweatshops now?

5. The Nazi concentration camp for women

PA-8693462 People pass by Ravensbruck crematory in Germany where 92,000 women camp inmates were burned. This photo is dated September 12, 1949. Source: Associated Press

The history of Ravensbruck is dark and shameful. But it has also been partly obscured, perhaps because of the fact it was just for women. Here is its secret history.

(Longreads, approx 7  mins)

Women arriving in the night sometimes thought they were near the coast because they tasted salt on the wind; they also felt sand underfoot. When daylight came they saw that the camp was built on the edge of a lake and surrounded by forest. Himmler liked his camps to be in areas of natural beauty, and preferably hidden from view. Today the camp is still hidden from view; the horrific crimes enacted there and the courage of the victims are largely unknown.

6. Held hostage

Somalia Reporter Released A masked Somali pirate Source: Associated Press

This audio longread is journalist Michael Scott Moore’s story about how he was held hostage by Somali pirates for 977 days. He was sent there to write a story about pirates, but ended up being captured by them.

(The Guardian, 52 minutes listening time)


Octopus' new toy Source: PA WIRE

The octopus is a pretty amazing creature. This 2011 article goes into exactly why. It’s a fascinating glimpse into the species’ underwater world

(Orion, approx 70 mins reading time)

When I stroked her soft head with my fingertips, she changed color beneath my touch, her ruby-flecked skin going white and smooth. This, I learned, is a sign of a relaxed octopus. An agitated giant Pacific octopus turns red, its skin gets pimply, and it erects two papillae over the eyes, which some divers say look like horns.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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