Perhaps because we’re bombarded on all sides by animal cuteness, there’s something appealing about a book called “Animal Madness.” Enough with all the cuddling, you might think; it’s time for the real story, which Laurel Braitman, a historian of science with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., aims to tell. 

Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own. 

Despite the winsome book design (there’s an adorably sad dog on the cover, and drawings of a glum raccoon and gorilla on the inside), there’s nothing remotely cute about this goal. “Animal Madness” is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through. 

It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on. 

Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes—to see animal “depression” or “anxiety” as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents. Braitman pushes back against that tendency. She has an absolute, not a comparative, sense of the animal soul. 

What matters isn’t how much an animal’s mental life is “worth,” compared to a person’s, but how wholly and powerfully it is illuminated by happiness or darkened by anguish. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time,” she writes. An animal’s life can be changed utterly by mental illness, just like a person’s. 

A gorilla that sees her family killed, and that is kidnapped and brought to a zoo to live out her life on display, may have her whole existence reshaped by trauma, loneliness, and fear. Why argue about how intelligent she is? The point is that her life has been knocked off course and that she is suffering; she is no longer the animal she was. 

Laurel Braitman’s “Animal Madness”

Perhaps because we’re bombarded on all sides by animal cuteness, there’s something appealing about a book called “Animal Madness.” Enough with all the cuddling, you might think; it’s time for the real story, which Laurel Braitman, a historian of science with a Ph.D. from M.I.T., aims to tell.

Where the BuzzFeed Animals page, for example, urges us to see animals as an undifferentiated mass of squee-worthy fluff, Braitman wants us to take animals seriously—to see them as individuals with life histories and psychologies as dramatic and intense as our own.

Despite the winsome book design (there’s an adorably sad dog on the cover, and drawings of a glum raccoon and gorilla on the inside), there’s nothing remotely cute about this goal. “Animal Madness” is so upsetting, in fact, that I wanted to stop reading it about halfway through.

It’s obvious, of course, that animals of all sorts suffer from physical pain. It’s also obvious that many animals can be tense, unhappy, anxious, enraged, compulsive, impulsive, sad, depressed, and so on.

Still, it’s tempting for many people, even sympathetic ones, to put those words in scare quotes—to see animal “depression” or “anxiety” as a less intense or consequential version of their human equivalents. Braitman pushes back against that tendency. She has an absolute, not a comparative, sense of the animal soul.

What matters isn’t how much an animal’s mental life is “worth,” compared to a person’s, but how wholly and powerfully it is illuminated by happiness or darkened by anguish. “Every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time,” she writes. An animal’s life can be changed utterly by mental illness, just like a person’s.

A gorilla that sees her family killed, and that is kidnapped and brought to a zoo to live out her life on display, may have her whole existence reshaped by trauma, loneliness, and fear. Why argue about how intelligent she is? The point is that her life has been knocked off course and that she is suffering; she is no longer the animal she was.

Laurel Braitman’s “Animal Madness”


More than 60 years ago, a woman exploring the home she’d just bought found more than 600 love letters in the attic, hidden in a gold-trimmed hatbox. The couple involved met only a few times before the man, a soldier, shipped off to Europe during WWII. Their romance carried through the war to a wedding two weeks after his return to the United States, and a short, happy marriage. 

Two generations later, the romance of Sally Ann and Charlie lives on, thanks to a happenstance meeting in a New York restaurant and Sally Ann’s granddaughter, Newsweek writer Abigail Jones. 

Their story. 
ZoomInfo

More than 60 years ago, a woman exploring the home she’d just bought found more than 600 love letters in the attic, hidden in a gold-trimmed hatbox. The couple involved met only a few times before the man, a soldier, shipped off to Europe during WWII. Their romance carried through the war to a wedding two weeks after his return to the United States, and a short, happy marriage. 

Two generations later, the romance of Sally Ann and Charlie lives on, thanks to a happenstance meeting in a New York restaurant and Sally Ann’s granddaughter, Newsweek writer Abigail Jones. 

Their story. 
ZoomInfo

More than 60 years ago, a woman exploring the home she’d just bought found more than 600 love letters in the attic, hidden in a gold-trimmed hatbox. The couple involved met only a few times before the man, a soldier, shipped off to Europe during WWII. Their romance carried through the war to a wedding two weeks after his return to the United States, and a short, happy marriage. 

Two generations later, the romance of Sally Ann and Charlie lives on, thanks to a happenstance meeting in a New York restaurant and Sally Ann’s granddaughter, Newsweek writer Abigail Jones. 

Their story. 
ZoomInfo
More than 60 years ago, a woman exploring the home she’d just bought found more than 600 love letters in the attic, hidden in a gold-trimmed hatbox. The couple involved met only a few times before the man, a soldier, shipped off to Europe during WWII. Their romance carried through the war to a wedding two weeks after his return to the United States, and a short, happy marriage. 
Two generations later, the romance of Sally Ann and Charlie lives on, thanks to a happenstance meeting in a New York restaurant and Sally Ann’s granddaughter, Newsweek writer Abigail Jones. 
Their story
Sierra Leone’s Leading Ebola Doctor Contracts Ebola
The doctor at the forefront of Sierra Leone’s fight against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in the region has contracted Ebola himself, Reuters reported Wednesday.
As of this week, Ebola has claimed 632 lives in three West African countries, according to the World Health Organization. Virologist Sheik Umar Khan, 39, has treated more than 100 victims of the disease. Sierra Leone Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called him a “national hero” and said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives,” according to Reuters.
Last month, Khan told Reuters that he was aware of the risk of himself contracting the disease, which kills up to 90 percent of those infected. “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life,” he said. “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk.”

Sierra Leone’s Leading Ebola Doctor Contracts Ebola

The doctor at the forefront of Sierra Leone’s fight against the unprecedented Ebola outbreak in the region has contracted Ebola himself, Reuters reported Wednesday.

As of this week, Ebola has claimed 632 lives in three West African countries, according to the World Health Organization. Virologist Sheik Umar Khan, 39, has treated more than 100 victims of the disease. Sierra Leone Health Minister Miatta Kargbo called him a “national hero” and said she would “do anything and everything in my power to ensure he survives,” according to Reuters.

Last month, Khan told Reuters that he was aware of the risk of himself contracting the disease, which kills up to 90 percent of those infected. “I am afraid for my life, I must say, because I cherish my life,” he said. “Health workers are prone to the disease because we are the first port of call for somebody who is sickened by disease. Even with the full protective clothing you put on, you are at risk.”

The state of women in technology: 15 data points you should know - TechRepublic

Here are 15 important data points you should know, including a few rays of sunlight.

1. Women made up 26% of the computing workforce in 2013
That’s according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s most recent statistics. They also broke down the numbers even more:

3% of computing workforce were black women
5% were Asian women
2% were Hispanic women
2. Professional women earn 73 cents to the dollar vs. men
According to Narrow the Gapp, that’s $333 of a weekly paycheck, which adds up to $17,316 per year. The site also says that women who work in computer and mathematical occupations make 84 cents to every dollar a man earns. That’s $214 out of her weekly paycheck. Compare that to the overall national average of women earning 80 cents to every dollar a man earns.

3. In the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women; in 2012, 18%
In a study Google released last month, the company surveyed about 1,600 men and women. It showed that girls aren’t really taught what computer science actually means, and are half as likely to be encouraged to study it. The words females unassociated with computer science used to describe it were “boring,” “technology,” and “difficult.”

4. 57% of bachelor’s degrees earned by women, 12% of computer science degrees
Much of this has to do with exposure to computer science before college and during college. According to Code.org, nine out of ten schools don’t even offer computer science classes, and in 28 out of 50 states, computer science doesn’t count towards a math or science credit.

5. Google’s workforce is only 30% female
The company released this information back in May, along with its leadership stats: 79% male. And this isn’t just a Google problem — the same goes for Yahoo, who employs 37% women, Facebook, which is 31%, and LinkedIn, which employs 39%.

But, Google has since made strides to tackle the issue. It announced it will invest $50 million in programs to get girls more interested in STEM education and coding with a “Made With Code” campaign. Some of the money will go to Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code, The company is also working with Girl Scouts of America and female celebrities to spark girls’ interests in computer science.

The state of women in technology: 15 data points you should know - TechRepublic

Here are 15 important data points you should know, including a few rays of sunlight.

1. Women made up 26% of the computing workforce in 2013
That’s according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology’s most recent statistics. They also broke down the numbers even more:

3% of computing workforce were black women
5% were Asian women
2% were Hispanic women
2. Professional women earn 73 cents to the dollar vs. men
According to Narrow the Gapp, that’s $333 of a weekly paycheck, which adds up to $17,316 per year. The site also says that women who work in computer and mathematical occupations make 84 cents to every dollar a man earns. That’s $214 out of her weekly paycheck. Compare that to the overall national average of women earning 80 cents to every dollar a man earns.

3. In the mid-1980s, 37% of computer science majors were women; in 2012, 18%
In a study Google released last month, the company surveyed about 1,600 men and women. It showed that girls aren’t really taught what computer science actually means, and are half as likely to be encouraged to study it. The words females unassociated with computer science used to describe it were “boring,” “technology,” and “difficult.”

4. 57% of bachelor’s degrees earned by women, 12% of computer science degrees
Much of this has to do with exposure to computer science before college and during college. According to Code.org, nine out of ten schools don’t even offer computer science classes, and in 28 out of 50 states, computer science doesn’t count towards a math or science credit.

5. Google’s workforce is only 30% female
The company released this information back in May, along with its leadership stats: 79% male. And this isn’t just a Google problem — the same goes for Yahoo, who employs 37% women, Facebook, which is 31%, and LinkedIn, which employs 39%.

But, Google has since made strides to tackle the issue. It announced it will invest $50 million in programs to get girls more interested in STEM education and coding with a “Made With Code” campaign. Some of the money will go to Girls Who Code and Black Girls Code, The company is also working with Girl Scouts of America and female celebrities to spark girls’ interests in computer science.

Behind the Scenes in Putin’s Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator

The President wakes late and eats shortly after noon. He begins with the simplest of breakfasts. There is always cottage cheese. His cooked portion is always substantial; omelette or occasionally porridge. He likes quails’ eggs. He drinks fruit juice. The food is forever fresh: baskets of his favourites dispatched regularly from the farmland estates of the Patriarch Kirill, Russia’s religious leader.

He is then served coffee. His courtiers have been summoned but these first two hours are taken up with swimming. The President enjoys this solitary time in the water. He wears goggles and throws himself into a vigorous front crawl. This is where the political assistants suggest he gets much of Russia’s thinking done.

Behind the Scenes in Putin’s Court: The Private Habits of a Latter-Day Dictator

The President wakes late and eats shortly after noon. He begins with the simplest of breakfasts. There is always cottage cheese. His cooked portion is always substantial; omelette or occasionally porridge. He likes quails’ eggs. He drinks fruit juice. The food is forever fresh: baskets of his favourites dispatched regularly from the farmland estates of the Patriarch Kirill, Russia’s religious leader.

He is then served coffee. His courtiers have been summoned but these first two hours are taken up with swimming. The President enjoys this solitary time in the water. He wears goggles and throws himself into a vigorous front crawl. This is where the political assistants suggest he gets much of Russia’s thinking done.

Invoke the word autocorrect and most people will think immediately of its hiccups—the sort of hysterical, impossible errors one finds collected on sites like Damn You Autocorrect. But despite the inadvertent hilarity, the real marvel of our mobile text-correction systems is how astoundingly good they are. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to call autocorrect the overlooked underwriter of our era of mobile prolixity. 

Without it, we wouldn’t be able to compose windy love letters from stadium bleachers, write novels on subway commutes, or dash off breakup texts while in line at the post office. Without it, we probably couldn’t even have phones that look anything like the ingots we tickle—the whole notion of touchscreen typing, where our podgy physical fingers are expected to land with precision on tiny virtual keys, is viable only when we have some serious software to tidy up after us. Because we know autocorrect is there as brace and cushion, we’re free to write with increased abandon, at times and in places where writing would otherwise be impossible. Thanks to autocorrect, the gap between whim and word is narrower than it’s ever been, and our world is awash in easily rendered thought. 

The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect | Gadget Lab | WIRED

Invoke the word autocorrect and most people will think immediately of its hiccups—the sort of hysterical, impossible errors one finds collected on sites like Damn You Autocorrect. But despite the inadvertent hilarity, the real marvel of our mobile text-correction systems is how astoundingly good they are. It’s not too much of an exaggeration to call autocorrect the overlooked underwriter of our era of mobile prolixity.

Without it, we wouldn’t be able to compose windy love letters from stadium bleachers, write novels on subway commutes, or dash off breakup texts while in line at the post office. Without it, we probably couldn’t even have phones that look anything like the ingots we tickle—the whole notion of touchscreen typing, where our podgy physical fingers are expected to land with precision on tiny virtual keys, is viable only when we have some serious software to tidy up after us. Because we know autocorrect is there as brace and cushion, we’re free to write with increased abandon, at times and in places where writing would otherwise be impossible. Thanks to autocorrect, the gap between whim and word is narrower than it’s ever been, and our world is awash in easily rendered thought.

The Fasinatng … Frustrating … Fascinating History of Autocorrect | Gadget Lab | WIRED

World’s Biggest Water Bugs Found in Sichuan, China

Insects the size of human faces have been found in Sichuan province, China, CNN reported. The Insect Museum of West China (which is a real thing, apparently) acquired the insects, which turned out to be dobsonflies, from villagers on the outskirts of Chengdu, CNN said. The largest insect had a wingspan of 8.27 inches and pincers roughly the size of a human pinkie finger.

World’s Biggest Water Bugs Found in Sichuan, China

Insects the size of human faces have been found in Sichuan province, China, CNN reported. The Insect Museum of West China (which is a real thing, apparently) acquired the insects, which turned out to be dobsonflies, from villagers on the outskirts of Chengdu, CNN said. The largest insect had a wingspan of 8.27 inches and pincers roughly the size of a human pinkie finger.

THE final battle of “The International”, a tournament for the video game Defense of the Ancient 2 (Dota 2), will be fought on July 21st. With a prize pool of $10.9m, the sum is a record for such competitions, known as electronic sports or e-sports. Strikingly, the bounty was largely raised by fans. As in previous years, the organiser and developer of the game, Valve, only put up $1.6m. 

Sales from “The Compendium”, an interactive programme with match details and in-game rewards, make up the rest. Around 4m programmes have been sold, which means that roughly half of Dota 2’s active monthly users have bought one. Last year, around a million people watched the final. (In South Korea, for example, e-sports are akin to a national sport and there is a television channel dedicated to them.) 

The International’s success is impressive considering that Dota, and the genre of games to which it belongs, have only existed for a decade (while the Tour de France dates from 1903). But another tournament is bigger still: the League of Legends Championship final last October brought in 8.5m concurrent viewers and 32m viewers in total, a 400% increase from 2012. That, in turn, could be surpassed this year—for The International’s final will be streamed on ESPN 3. 

Daily chart: Zap! Bang! Ka-ching! | The Economist

THE final battle of “The International”, a tournament for the video game Defense of the Ancient 2 (Dota 2), will be fought on July 21st. With a prize pool of $10.9m, the sum is a record for such competitions, known as electronic sports or e-sports. Strikingly, the bounty was largely raised by fans. As in previous years, the organiser and developer of the game, Valve, only put up $1.6m.

Sales from “The Compendium”, an interactive programme with match details and in-game rewards, make up the rest. Around 4m programmes have been sold, which means that roughly half of Dota 2’s active monthly users have bought one. Last year, around a million people watched the final. (In South Korea, for example, e-sports are akin to a national sport and there is a television channel dedicated to them.)

The International’s success is impressive considering that Dota, and the genre of games to which it belongs, have only existed for a decade (while the Tour de France dates from 1903). But another tournament is bigger still: the League of Legends Championship final last October brought in 8.5m concurrent viewers and 32m viewers in total, a 400% increase from 2012. That, in turn, could be surpassed this year—for The International’s final will be streamed on ESPN 3.

Daily chart: Zap! Bang! Ka-ching! | The Economist

As American, Russian, Ukrainian, and Malaysian politicians grapple over who is responsible for the tragic loss of the 295 lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, the first high-resolution satellite images of the crash site have begun to filter in.
The images, in both color and black and white, show the aftermath of the downing, both immediately and some time after. Immediately after the plane went down, the wreckage was obscured by smoke that blanketed the area around the crash-site.
Some time later, the smoke cleared, revealing the crater where the plane came to rest. A stain of blackened earth radiated out from the wreckage.
ZoomInfo
As American, Russian, Ukrainian, and Malaysian politicians grapple over who is responsible for the tragic loss of the 295 lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, the first high-resolution satellite images of the crash site have begun to filter in.
The images, in both color and black and white, show the aftermath of the downing, both immediately and some time after. Immediately after the plane went down, the wreckage was obscured by smoke that blanketed the area around the crash-site.
Some time later, the smoke cleared, revealing the crater where the plane came to rest. A stain of blackened earth radiated out from the wreckage.
ZoomInfo
As American, Russian, Ukrainian, and Malaysian politicians grapple over who is responsible for the tragic loss of the 295 lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, the first high-resolution satellite images of the crash site have begun to filter in.
The images, in both color and black and white, show the aftermath of the downing, both immediately and some time after. Immediately after the plane went down, the wreckage was obscured by smoke that blanketed the area around the crash-site.
Some time later, the smoke cleared, revealing the crater where the plane came to rest. A stain of blackened earth radiated out from the wreckage.
ZoomInfo
As American, Russian, Ukrainian, and Malaysian politicians grapple over who is responsible for the tragic loss of the 295 lives aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH-17, the first high-resolution satellite images of the crash site have begun to filter in.
The images, in both color and black and white, show the aftermath of the downing, both immediately and some time after. Immediately after the plane went down, the wreckage was obscured by smoke that blanketed the area around the crash-site.
Some time later, the smoke cleared, revealing the crater where the plane came to rest. A stain of blackened earth radiated out from the wreckage.
ZoomInfo
Aviation history is littered with civilian planes that were shot from the sky, intentionally or not, by military weapons. Malaysia Flight 17 was cruising at 33,000 feet, more than half a mile higher than Mt. Everest, when a missile hit it July 17. And the missile’s range is believed to be more than twice that high. 

How high can a missile reach? - The Washington Post

Aviation history is littered with civilian planes that were shot from the sky, intentionally or not, by military weapons. Malaysia Flight 17 was cruising at 33,000 feet, more than half a mile higher than Mt. Everest, when a missile hit it July 17. And the missile’s range is believed to be more than twice that high.

How high can a missile reach? - The Washington Post