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Dublin: 1°C Saturday 23 January 2021

Sitdown Sunday: What happened to the crashed Eastern Air Lines Flight 980?

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. Police and body cameras

shutterstock_477478378 Source: Shutterstock/Skyward Kick Productions

Should we see everything that a police officer sees? This looks into the complicated issues around police dashcams and body cameras, and what they mean for police, citizens, and the law. It also examines what happens when a man decides to make police data his ‘hobby’.

(New York Times, approx 41 mins reading time)

For a full year, half of the front-line officers on a given 12-hour shift were randomly assigned to wear their cameras, while the other half served as the control. The data from nearly 1,000 shifts and 50,000 hours of police-public interactions showed that when officers wore bodycams, they were less likely to use batons, Tasers, firearms and pepper spray or to have confrontations that resulted in police-dog bites, and they were far less likely to receive civilian complaints about their conduct.

2. White nationalist no more

Derek Black was supposed to follow in his Stormfront-creating father’s footsteps and become a white nationalist leader. But then he went to college, and started mixing with the very people he was supposed to hate.

(The Washington Post, approx 33 mins reading time)

Matthew decided his best chance to affect Derek’s thinking was not to ignore him or confront him, but simply to include him. “Maybe he’d never spent time with a Jewish person before,” Matthew remembered thinking. It was the only social invitation Derek had received since returning to campus, so he agreed to go. The Shabbat meals had sometimes included eight or 10 students, but this time only a few showed up. “Let’s try to treat him like anyone else,” Matthew remembered instructing them.

3. Hunting for the mammoths

shutterstock_235371946 Source: Shutterstock/AuntSpray

In Russia, a big hunt is on for the bones of the giant mammoths, and it’s bringing people into the Russian wilderness in a new sort of gold rush. It’s also taking a massive toll on the local environment – and the men’s lives – as this fascinating photo essay shows.

(Rferl.org, approx 15 mins reading time)

Permafrost has none of the soft crunch its name suggests. Like a great, dirty iceberg, this sheet of ice lies just beneath the surface across the whole Yakutia region. In warm soil, bones would rot away within a decade. But tusks and bones like this one can survive tens of thousands of years once locked into the permafrost.

4. Hank Scorpio predicted the future 

He may have only appeared on The Simpsons once, but Hank Scorpio is still one of its most recognisable characters. He seemed to predict the rise of Silicon Valley before it even happened.

(The Ringer, approx 15 mins reading time)

He’s the bearded president of the Globex Corporation, a nefarious shell company that hires Homer away from the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant then relocates the Simpsons to a lush planned community, Cypress Creek. Scorpio looks like a young Richard Branson but could be a funhouse mirror image of any eccentric billionaire. He dresses like a crunchy square, adores hammocks, hates the word “boss,” and enjoys flashing his psychopathic streak

5. What happened to Eastern Air Lines Flight 980?

shutterstock_389505136 Source: Shutterstock/Alones

Eastern Air Lines Flight 980 crashed on New Year’s Day 1985 into the side of a mountain in Bolivia. There have been lots of conspiracy theories, but two American men decided to see if they could get to the bottom of the mystery.

(Outside, approx 37 mins reading time)

As time passed, however, details emerged that invited speculation among South American journalists, the fam­ilies of the victims, and anyone else still following the story. The flight crashed because of an equipment malfunction; no, the crew was new to the route and flying in bad weather; no, the Paraguayan mafia blew it up because the country’s richest man was on board; no, Eastern Air Lines was running drugs; no, it was an attempted political assassination—someone took down the flight to get at the U.S. ambassador to Paraguay, Arthur Davis, who was supposed to be aboard but changed his plans at the last minute.

6. We sail around the world with our three kids

Behan and Jamie Gifford had successful lives in Seattle, but decided to leave it all behind for life on a sailboat. Here’s what it has taught them.

(QZ, approx 13 mins reading time)

They didn’t enter into their new life as paupers. They began planning in 2002, after Jamie’s mother died of cancer. Planning meant saving as much money as possible and developing the technical skills to manage living on a boat for long stretches. It also meant waiting until their kids were old enough to understand the responsibilities and dangers of living at sea. Their youngest child, Mairen, was four years old when they set out. She says she has no recollection of life before then.


Source: FilmIsNow Movie Trailers/YouTube

There are two movies due out this year about newsreader Christine Chubbuck, who took her own life live on TV at the age of 29. The story of her death was told in this 1974 Washington Post article.

(Washington Post, approx 28 mins reading time)

“Then, when she went into that blood and guts thing I thought what sick humor. And after she shot herself I was furious and ran over to the anchor desk, fully expecting to se her lying on the floor doubled up with laughter. But I saw her stretched out, blood running out of her nose and mouth and her whole body twitching. I said, ‘My god, she’s done it. She’s shot herself.’”

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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