first_imgIT’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. Mean girls?John Tierney asks: How aggressive is the human female? He looks at new research which examines what provokes the ‘mean girl’ effect from women towards other women – and the results may be dispiriting.(New York Times – approx 5 minutes reading time, 1191 words)Now that researchers have been looking more closely, they say that this “intrasexual competition” is the most important factor explaining the pressures that young women feel to meet standards of sexual conduct and physical appearance2. Roller Derby queensB David Zarley meets the Roller Derby queens the Gotham Girls, the world’s number one team who consistently slam their opponents. Not sure what Roller Derby is? Prepare to get informed.(Sports on Earth – approx 16 minutes reading time, 3320 words)People of every size, shape and color wandered about the arena, some shattering the conventional notions of derby girls, some personifying it. Really, the one overarching theme that bound them all together was friendly, affable confidence. Roller derby is wonderfully inclusive, accepting skaters of nearly every body and personality type, something which extends to the fan base as well. The Cerro Rico in Bolivia. Pic: Adam Jones/Flickr/Creative Commons 3. Children in the minesWes Enzinna journeys down to the mines where Bolivia’s child labourers – yes, children – work in unimaginable conditions in Cerro Rico. Their tiny bodies fit into the three-foot high tunnels, and outside their workplaces are signs of sacrifice.(Vice – approx 17 minutes reading time, 3592 words)Jackson and I were on a mission to find child miners, 3,000 of whom are rumored to work in the Cerro Rico illegally. Their work is officially forbidden by the Bolivian government, so they tend to stay out of sight when foreigners come around… according to the most recent available statistics, 60 children died from cave-ins and other accidents in the Cerro Rico in 2008 alone.4. Failing hardDavid Raether once was a comedy writer for the sitcom Roseanne, but within years found himself homeless. In an excerpt from his book, he writes about what the experience taught him.(Priceonomics – approx 26 minutes reading time, 5215  words)Our family faced the same economic forces that hurt many families, but I don’t blame the banks or politicians or anyone else for what happened to us. I made a thousand decisions, large and small, that seemed reasonable at the time but cumulatively led to our situation. It is tempting to blame external forces for the disasters that befall us, but as Shakespeare wrote in “Julius Ceasar,” the fault for what happens to us “is not in our stars but in ourselves.” Pic: Shutterstock5. Freezing to deathPeter Stark (aptly named, given his article’s subject) examines what happens when you contract hypothermia, the terrifying experience of being overtaken by the cold.(Outside– approx 20 minutes reading time, 4008 words)But for all scientists and statisticians now know of freezing and its physiology, no one can yet predict exactly how quickly and in whom hypothermia will strike–and whether it will kill when it does. The cold remains a mystery, more prone to fell men than women, more lethal to the thin and well muscled than to those with avoirdupois, and least forgiving to the arrogant and the unaware.6. How the Beatles succeeded Andrew Romano argues that, contrary to what experts like Malcolm Gladwell have said, the Beatles didn’t succeed because of putting in 10k hours of work. He says their stratospheric success came through talent, ambition… and “a lot of arrogance”.(Daily Beast – approx minutes reading time, words)But this isn’t even the real problem with Gladwell’s theory. The real problem is that while the Beatles’ marathon stints in Hamburg did transform them as a band—they were so vibrant, so tight, and so unrecognizable when they returned from their first campaign that the crowds in Liverpool mistook them for a blistering new German combo—the “complex task” they had now “mastered” was not the same task that would eventually earn them world domination.…AND ONE FROM THE ARCHIVES…Pic: AP/Press Association ImagesIn 2005, Uncut magazine looked at the inside story of Bob Dylan’s classic album Blood on the Tracks. From the singer’s infidelity to his artistic rebirth, this story is as juicy as they come.(Uncut – approx minutes reading time, words)February 13, 1977. Bob and Sara Dylan are screaming themselves hoarse. Sara has just walked down to breakfast in their Malibu mansion to find Bob and their children sat down to eat – with another woman. She’s one of countless girlfriends Bob has been seeing over the previous year. This one has even moved into a house on their estate. But seeing her sitting with their children makes something in Dylan’s wife finally snap.Interested in longreads during the week? Look out for Catch-Up Wednesday every Wednesday evening.More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by >last_img

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