Until next time. . .

anigif_enhanced-buzz-11991-1374707081-37I really don’t have anything to say this week. Plenty of other people do though, go check them out. I’ll be back on schedule next week.

“My Grandma the Poisoner” by John Reed at Vice
People were always dying around Grandma—her children, her husbands, her boyfriend—so her lifelong state of grief was understandable. To see her sunken in her high and soft bed, enshrouded in the darkness of the attic, and surrounded by the skin-and-spit smell of old age, was to know that mothers don’t get what they deserve. Today, when I think back on it, I don’t wonder whether Grandma got what she deserved as a mother; I wonder whether she got what she deserved as a murderer.

“The Spy Who Scammed Us?” by Ace Atkins and Michael Fechter at Outside
Jamie Smith says he was recruited into the CIA as an undergraduate at Ole Miss, cofounded Blackwater, and has done clandestine intelligence work all over the world, operating out of a counterterrorism boot camp in the woods of north Mississippi. Plenty of people believed him, including the Air Force (which paid him $7 million to train personnel) and William Morrow, which signed him up to write his memoir. There’s just one little question: How much of it is true?

“My Terrifying Night With Afghanistan’s Only Female Warlord” by Jen Percy at New Republic
I’d been living in Afghanistan three weeks when my guide, a young Afghan named Sharif Sahak, showed me a photograph of the country’s only known female warlord, Bibi Ayisha, nom de guerre: Commander Pigeon. It was late 2013, the Americans were preparing to leave, and Sharif had heard that the commander was training a new militia of female jihadists to fight the Taliban. In the photograph, she looked to be about 200 pounds and 60 years old. A large woman with black eyes made small by folds of skin. A beaked nose protruded from a wide flat face. She held her machine gun against her bosom like a bouquet of roses.

“Living on the Hyphen” by Sarah Menkedick at Oxford American
Our marriage started to look like a seventeenth-century arrangement, whereby I had died and Jorge had married my English-speaking sister. It took maybe six months for our English selves to thaw and warm to one another, for our English communication to settle in. Almost immediately afterwards, catching both of us unaware, came the Spanglish.

What Neuro-revolution? The Public Find Brain Science Irrelevant and Anxiety-provoking by Christian Jarrett at Wired
It feels to me like interest in the brain has exploded. I’ve seen huge investments in brain science by the USA and Europe (the BRAIN Initiative and the Human Brain Project), I’ve read about the rise in media coverage of neuroscience, and above all, I’ve noticed how journalists and bloggers now often frame stories as being about the brain as opposed to the person.

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