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Sitdown Sunday: What really brought down the Boeing 737 Max?

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

Hearing attendees hold a sign honoring the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines 302 crash during a House Transportation Subcommittee hearing on the Boeing 737 MAX on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2019.
Hearing attendees hold a sign honoring the victims of the Ethiopian Airlines 302 crash during a House Transportation Subcommittee hearing on the Boeing 737 MAX on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. on June 19, 2019.
Image: UPI/PA Images

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 Fitbit murder

How a Fitbit helped link a woman to her murderer.

(Wired, approx 31 mins reading time)

A judge signed a warrant to extract its data, which seemed to tell the story Karen couldn’t: On Saturday, September 8, five days before she was found, Karen’s heart rate had spiked and then plummeted. By 3:28 in the afternoon, the Fitbit wasn’t registering a heartbeat.

2. ‘It’s like Iran with lipstick’

A German publication takes on the subject of Irish literature in 2019 – and the role women play in it.

(Spex, approx 10 mins reading time)

This new generation of female writers is embracing an artistic freedom that Ireland has not traditionally afforded women. The sentiment is personified in the gnarly character of Maureen Phelan in Lisa McInerney’s darkly comic The Glorious Heresies. Having returned to Ireland after being banished to London for having a baby outside of wedlock, she says: “This country’s done punishing me and I can do whatever I like now.“

3. What really brought down the Boeing 737 Max?

A look at the issues that plagued this plane, and what could have led to it.

(New York Times, approx 63 mins reading time)

Boeing knew it had a problem. A widespread culture of corruption lay at the core, but that was beyond anyone’s ability to reform. Instead, Boeing decided to intervene at its own expense to raise standards at Lion Air and try to reduce its contributions to the accident rate. 

4. The homeless death of Aimee Teese

An exploration of the life of a young woman, who dies aged just 30 and homeless.

(The Guardian, approx 23 mins reading time)

At 17, Aimee was given a council house. In retrospect, Cathy says this was almost as dangerous as providing her with nothing. “It was a proper bloody house, with a dining room and everything. She couldn’t cope with that. The whole street was terrace housing, and it was all bums outside. I remember walking down the street and every house was occupied by young people.” Liverpool’s most vulnerable young people had been provided for, but not supported, given homes to play adults in, doss, get wasted and deal drugs.

5. Unbelievable

The true story of what happened to the women behind the new Netflix series Unbelievable.

(ProPublica, approx mins reading time)

She had reported being raped in her apartment by a man who had bound and gagged her. Then, confronted by police with inconsistencies in her story, she had conceded it might have been a dream. Then she admitted making the story up. One TV newscast announced, “A Western Washington woman has confessed that she cried wolf when it came to her rape she reported earlier this week.” 

6. The rise – and burdens – of Constance Wu

A really interesting and nuanced profile of the actress Constance Wu, who is currently in cinemas in Hustlers.

(The New Yorker, approx 35 mins reading time)

Christianity and political conservatism were integral to the identity of the adults she knew. Although Wu is coy about whether she believes in God, she uses religion as a framing device for understanding certain parts of her life. When she was twelve, she wrote to the local paper to advocate a fervently pro-life position. (Wu, who campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016, is now pro-choice.) “I was proud of being a virgin when I got to college,” she told me. “Because, where I come from, it was cool to wait until marriage.”

…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

David Cameron is doing a lot of press at the moment for his new memoir – but he, of course, has his critics. Here’s a piece from John Harris in 2006 about him.

(New Statesman, approx 12 mins reading time)

In recent months, the divide between the super-rich and very poor has become a newly fashionable political talking point. And yet one small shred of classlessness has materialised – not the removal of the blocks standing in the way of some imagined mass passage from DE to ABC1, but rather the success with which those right at the top are able, long after the demise of deference made their background a cultural burden, to transcend their poshness.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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