Recommend ‘Pakistan and the Mumbai Attacks: The Untold Story’ by Sebastian Rotella, ProPublica

This investigative essay in long form journalism (details subject to careful verification) can be bought at a very modest price (US$ 0.99) as a Kindle Edition at the Kindle Store. Sebastian Rotella is a highly credible, excellent journalist.

Know your ProPublica, ‘journalism in the public interest’

‘ProPublica is an independent, non-profit [U.S.] newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Our work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.” We do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

‘Investigative journalism is at risk. Many news organizations have increasingly come to see it as a luxury. Today’s investigative reporters lack resources: Time and budget constraints are curbing the ability of journalists not specifically designated “investigative” to do this kind of reporting in addition to their regular beats. This is therefore a moment when new models are necessary to carry forward some of the great work of journalism in the public interest that is such an integral part of self-government, and thus an important bulwark of our democracy.’

UK training Saudi forces used to crush Arab spring, expose by the Observer

‘Britain is training Saudi Arabia‘s national guard – the elite security force deployed during the recent protests in Bahrain – in public order enforcement measures and the use of sniper rifles…

‘In response to questions made under the Freedom of Information Act [obtained by the Observer], the [UK] Ministry of Defence has confirmed that British personnel regularly run courses for the national guard in “weapons, fieldcraft and general military training, as well as incident handling, bomb disposal, search, public order and sniper training.” The courses are organised through the British Military Mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard…’

‘Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts,” by Jonathan Franzen, NYT Op-Ed

Our infatuation with technology provides an easy alternative to love, writes Jonathan Franzen in this New York Times Op-Ed essay, which is adapted from a commencement speech he delivered on May 21, 2011 at Kenyon College, Gambier, Ohio, United States.

The Catalan Way to Grow Players on Home Soil

La Masia has become an international model for the financial, athletic and social benefits of growing players on home soil.

Workplace Cited as a New Source of Rise in Obesity

Looking beyond poor eating habits and a couch-potato lifestyle, a group of researchers has found a new culprit in the obesity epidemic: the American workplace.

Study Questions Treatment Used in Heart Disease

Lowering bad cholesterol levels reduces heart attack risks, and researchers have long hoped that raising good cholesterol would help, too. Surprising results from a large government study announced on Thursday suggest that this hope may be misplaced.

Edward Tufte – The Information Sage

“Over the last three decades, he has become a kind of oracle in the growing field of data visualization—the practice of taking the sprawling, messy universe of information that makes up the quantitative backbone of everyday life and turning it into an understandable story.”

Kissinger and China by Jonathan D. Spence | The New York Review of Books

Kissinger and China by Jonathan D. Spence | The New York Review of Books.

Free to read on NYRB. At the end one is left with the feeling that Kissinger himself would be more interesting than a review that appears to quibble at best.

US Justice Department, SEC investigations often rely on companies’ internal probes on bribes, Washington Post

‘As the U.S. government steps up investigations of companies suspected of paying bribes overseas,law enforcement officials are leaving much of the detective work to the very corporations under suspicion. The probes are so costly and wide-ranging that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission often let the companies investigate themselves and then share the results.’

Newspaper in Pakistan Publishes WikiLeaks Cables –

The publication of the Pakistan Cables, accessed by Pakistan’s leading English-language newspaper Dawn through WikiLeaks, opens a window on to the US-Pakistan relationship and domestic politics never before seen in Pakistan:

Arnold’s True Love Child: California’s Deficit Problem – Not Moral but Financial

Arnold’s True Love Child: California’s Deficit Problem | Mother Jones.

Nice short piece. Simple point being made – When earlier revelations on Arnold Schwarzeneggers’s sexual misdemeanors  were swept aside at election time the real deficit that the election led to was not moral – but financial, brought on by his policies subsequently in office. If the truth about his behavior had been aired sufficiently and long enough, defeat would have been likely.

Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’

Stephen Hawking: ‘There is no heaven; it’s a fairy story’ | Science | The Guardian

“The physicist’s remarks draw a stark line between the use of God as a metaphor and the belief in an omniscient creator whose hands guide the workings of the cosmos.”

It is never clear in some of his popular writing and speaking whether Stephen Hawking uses God as a metaphor or is merely teasing his lay audience, referring to the metaphor in mock seriousness only to debunk it. Not in this interview though, where he takes to plain speaking.

The Best Street Photographer You’ve Never Heard Of – Vivian Maier

The Best Street Photographer You’ve Never Heard Of | Mother Jones.

“In the winter of 2007, John Maloof, a 26-year-old realtor who was co-writing a book on his Portage Park neighborhood of Chicago, stumbled upon a box of negatives at an auction house. He paid $400, hoping it might hold some vintage photos of his neighborhood. He stuffed the box in a closet. ……

Maloof bought more boxes of photographs from the same auction house.

“In one of the boxes, he eventually found an envelope with the name Vivian Maier scrawled on it. He googled her name and found a Chicago Tribune obituary. She had died a few days earlier. She was 83.”

“She never exhibited her work. Indeed, from what Maloof can gather, she didn’t share her photos with anyone, except some of the children in her care. …. Tony Fitzpatrick — a Chicago artist whose collages, like Maier’s images, capture the contradictions in this city—revels in the fact that she saw no need to show off her work. “It tells you the most important thing about her,” he says. “She made them for all the right reasons. She made them to hold on to her place in the world. She made them because to not make them was impossible. She had no choice.”….”

On R.K. Narayan

Charles Nicholl writing in The Guardian on R.K. Narayanan’s tenth death anniversary describes his visit to the city that inspired R.K. Narayan’s fictional south Indian town, Malgudi.