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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 14 November, 2019

Sitdown Sunday: 'They say my son's Sandy Hook death was a hoax'

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. Why Apple killed the headphone jack

Apple iPhone 7 goes on sale Source: Yui Mok

Is it the most annoying thing ever to happen to smartphones – or a genius innovation? This article looks at the reasons behind Apple getting rid of the headphone jack.

(Buzzfeed, approx 20 mins reading time)

For Dan Riccio, Apple’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, the iPhone’s 3.5-millimeter audio jack has felt something like the last months of an ill-fated if amicable relationship: familiar and comfortable, but ultimately an impediment to a better life ahead. “We’ve got this 50-year-old connector — just a hole filled with air — and it’s just sitting there taking up space, really valuable space,” he says.

2. The only plane in the sky

On 11 September 2001, Air Force One was in the sky as news broke about the World Trade Center attacks. Here’s the oral history of what that harrowing day was like for those on board.

(Politico, approx 83 mins reading time)

Karl Rovesenior adviser, White House: We were standing outside the elementary school. My phone rang. It was my assistant Susan Ralston, saying that a plane had hit the World Trade Center—it wasn’t clear whether it was private, commercial, prop, or jet. That’s all she had. The boss was about two feet away. He was shaking hands. I told him the same thing. He arched his eyebrows like, “Get more.”

3. The Sandy Hook hoax

Connecticut School Shooting Source: AP/Press Association Images

Lenny Pozner’s son died in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings – the same shootings that are considered by some conspiracy theorists to have been an elaborate hoax. Here’s what it’s like to have your son’s death called a lie.

(New York Magazine, approx 33 mins reading time)

The internet also made it easier to reach victims, and the Pozners became an early target for hoaxers. Veronique, who is a nurse, joined several parents in channeling her grief into vocal gun-control advocacy. One early conspiracy theory held that she was actually a Swiss diplomat named Veronique Haller, who once attended a United Nations arms-control summit. (Veronique is Swiss, and her maiden name is Haller.) Hoaxers quickly scoured family photos on Veronique’s online accounts and began dissecting them for odd shadows or strange poses, suggesting that she had been inserted into the family via Photoshop.

4. The allegations

Christopher Schraufnagel was a much-loved drama teacher at a Chappaqua high school. Then the allegations of sexual activity with students emerged.

(New York Magazine, approx 32 mins reading time)

By the time the curtain went up, Schraufnagel was clearly out of sorts: He was acting in two of the student productions, including the play about Chappaqua moms, but he didn’t know his lines and kept missing his cues. Backstage, shocked and teary students tried to hold it together to get through the plays. Matthew had told them earlier that he’d been sexually involved with Schraufnagel while underage, students say, and that he was going to the police.

5. Multiple sclerosis and diet

Dietary Guidlines Source: AP/Press Association Images

A woman writes about her daughter’s multiple sclerosis diagnosis, and the journey they went on to get her the best treatment possible. Could dietary treatment give them some help? She looks at the scientific evidence – and counts the emotional cost.

(Longreads, approx 52 mins reading time)

It had by then become evident that certain populations were far more prone to developing MS than others. Swank traveled to Europe, where the war had created long, well-documented periods of extreme lifestyle changes that might yield more clues. And in Norway, he learned that the incidence of MS in remote, mountainous dairy-farming regions, where there was a high consumption of beef and dairy products, was eight times higher than on the coast, where the predominant diet was based on fish.

6. The sext that nearly destroyed her

A very young student sends a sext to a guy she wants to impress – he promises not to show it to anyone, but does. The aftermath is incredibly difficult to deal with.

(Washington Post, approx 15 mins reading time)

The story hardly ends when punishment is handed out. For every “sexting scandal” reported, an unknown multitude of parents and teens — mostly girls — are just beginning to grasp what it means to live in a world where nothing digital ever truly disappears. What do you do when your 13-year-old takes photos of her body to impress a boy, and now she’s crying, stomping up the stairs, slamming her bedroom door screaming, “You don’t understand!”


Sept 11 Anniversary Source: Mary Altaffer

The anniversary of 9/11 took place last weekend, and this story from 2002 has been doing the rounds since. It’s an incredible piece about love, heroes, and putting yourself before other people.

(The New Yorker, approx 53 mins reading time)

According to Hill, Rescorla concluded that because the World Trade Center was the tallest building in New York, situated at the heart of Wall Street, and a symbol of American economic might, it was likely to remain a target of anti-American militants. At Hill’s urging, he told his superiors that, while the bombing of the Trade Center and numerous other recent acts of Islamic terrorism had been technologically unsophisticated, Muslim terrorists were showing increasing technological and tactical awareness, and were getting better.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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