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Dublin: 13 °C Thursday 17 October, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: 'Mental illness is nothing like a broken leg'

Grab 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. Story of the straw

shutterstock_1102083533 Source: Shutterstock/khanbua

There’s a lot of talk these days about not using disposable straws – and though this article is about the history of the straw in America, it’s also about the environment and consumerism over the years.

(The Atlantic, approx 17 mins reading time)

Temperance and public health grew up together in the disease-ridden cities of America, where despite the modern conveniences and excitements, mortality rates were higher than in the countryside. Straws became a key part of maintaining good hygiene and public health. They became, specifically, part of the answer to the scourge of unclean drinking glasses.

2. ‘Mental illness is nothing like a broken leg’

Hannah Jane Parkinson says she’s done with the mental health conversation that likens it to having a broken leg – this powerful essay explains why.

(The Guardian, approx 19 mins reading time)

I want to go home but I am not allowed. I am crying. The police ask me to tip out the contents of my jacket. Tampons fall out, with four sad coffee loyalty cards, each with a single stamp. Then I make a break for it because, seriously now, I just want to go home. The four officers surround me at the building entrance. One officer who has done his Taser training threatens to section me if I do not stop struggling.

3. The water in Flint is not fine

shutterstock_366517343 Source: Shutterstock/Linda Parton

A look at what’s going on in Flint, Michigan, and how it took 18 months for officials to accept there is some seriously wrong with its water.

(The Guardian, approx 26 mins reading time)

But after the switch, many of his neighbours grew alarmed at the water that flowed from their kitchen taps and showerheads. They packed public meetings, wrote questioning letters, and protested at city hall. They filled plastic bottles to show how the water looked brown, or orange, and sometimes had particulates floating in it. Showering seemed to be connected with skin rashes and hair loss. The water smelled foul. A sip of it put the taste of a cold metal coin on your tongue.

4. Photos from the border

This photo essay from the New York Times looks at what undocumented immigrants who have arrived in the US go through.

(New York Times, approx 5 mins reading time)

As they gathered, a bus carrying migrant children left the station. The bus was quickly surrounded, and the children inside waved as protesters pressed their hands against the bus. Some cried as they waved to the children and blew kisses. Someone drew little hearts in the dust on the tinted window.

5. The Disclosures Tribunal 

0158 Maurice McCabe_90547162 Maurice McCabe Source: Leah Farrell

Our own Sean Murray brings you through everything you need to know about the final module of the Disclosures Tribunal. Was it a ‘blackening’ of Maurice McCabe, or the smear campaign that never was?

(, approx 15 mins reading time)

At the time, he said he didn’t think what he was doing was wrong. He respected Martin Callinan. Felt he was doing a good job. And, when Callinan came to him and told him that McCabe was motivated by revenge and that’s what was driving him to make complaints against the gardaí, Taylor said he did not doubt that was the case.

6. Inside the crypto world’s biggest scandal 

Arthur and Kathleen Breitman got into cryptocurrency, it was a form of utopian ambition. But it turned into one of the crypto world’s biggest scandals.

(Wired, approx 62 mins reading time)

Arthur resolved to create a rival, one with formal provisions for genuinely decentralized administration—a community in which the entrenchments of power and control could at last give way to a new order that rewarded competence and merit. Kathleen was alternately skeptical and encouraging, but came around to rally him on. “The early bird might get the worm,” she said, “but the second mouse gets the cheese.”


Tamra Keepness disappeared from her home in Regina, Canada, 12 years ago. What happened to her?

(The Walrus, approx 26 mins reading time)

The last time anyone saw Tamra, she was five years old, with bobbed black hair and soft, round cheeks. In one picture, she wears a T-shirt dotted with flowers, standing against the colourful collage of a classroom wall. Her smile is broad and open, her eyes lively. She was so smart that her mother called her “my little Einstein,” so feisty that when a little boy pushed her once, Tamra shoved him right back, and harder.

Comments are closed as an article on the Disclosures Tribunal is included above.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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