Saving the Afghan who saved my life


IT’S A DAY off and you might just want a quiet corner and a comfortable chair.

We have selected the best readings of the week for you.

1. The spine collector

A mysterious person tries to get his hands on evidence from unpublished books by famous authors. Who is it?

(Vulture, about 32 minutes to read)

Translators working on one of Dan Brown’s follow-ups at The “Da Vinci Code, for example, had to work in a basement with security guards pointing back and forth to the toilet. Norstedts decided to try to share the new “Millennium” book via Hushmail, an encrypted email service, with passwords provided separately over the phone. Everyone should sign an NDA. The unusual email came from Francesca Varotto, the editor-in-chief of the Italian edition of the book, and arrived shortly after Norstedts sent the manuscript.

2. Hot planet

In a week of grappling with the consequences of the IPCC report on global warming, here is a rather disturbing article on global warming.

(New York magazine, about 33 minutes to read)

Earth has experienced five massive extinctions before the one we are now experiencing, each of which is a complete erasure of the evolutionary record that it has functioned as a reset of the planetary clock, and many climatologists will tell you that they are. the best analogue for the ecological future in which we dive headlong. Unless you’re a teenager, you’ve probably read in your high school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change produced by greenhouse gases.

3. Life without tourists

A visit to Cook Island, where people were really enjoying life without tourists during the Covid era.

(The Guardian, about 10 minutes to read)

“Wait a minute, we locals marveled at how wonderful it was to find our island again, despite the loss of income for many of us from tourist activities, such as the weddings I have performed. as a celebrant, ”she said. “We talk to each other about how tourism is back to what it was, out of control and this constant push for more and more. I really fear for our island as it is suffering critical environmental damage from which it may never heal again. “

4. Escape from Kabul

David Rohde was helped by Tahir Luddin when they were kidnapped by the Taliban. Now David is trying to help Tahir and his family escape Kabul.

(The New Yorker, about 11 minutes to read)

Twelve years ago Tahir, an Afghan driver named Asad Mangal, and I were kidnapped by the Taliban after one of their commanders invited me for an interview outside of Kabul. Our captors moved us from house to house and eventually took us to the remote tribal areas of Pakistan, where the Taliban enjoyed a safe haven. Our guards told Tahir how eager they were to execute him and the many ways they would mutilate his body. They treated me much better and demanded that the Times, my employer at the time, paid millions of dollars in ransom and secured the release of the prisoners at Guantanamo. We were all held together, in the same room, and Tahir and I spent hours chatting, regretting the anguish we caused to our families.

5. Back from extinction

Can we bring animals back from extinction by freezing their cells to preserve their genes?

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(Wired, about 20 minutes to read)

By transferring his skills from horses to endangered species, Matson plans to build the largest animal cell biobank in Europe. Nature’s SAFE, a charity he founded in December 2020, aims to collect 50 million genetic samples and “freeze them in time”, storing cells from critically endangered species, including the leopard Amur, black rhino and mountain chicken frog in cryogenic tanks. Together with partners such as Chester Zoo, the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums and researchers at the University of Oxford, his idea is to collect and store samples of sperm – as well as eggs and d ‘other tissues – which could one day be used for regeneration. decrease in animal populations and prevent their extinction.

6. Spelling

English spellings can be tricky – weird and unpredictable. Here’s why.

(Infinite time, about 15 minutes to read)

The English spelling is ridiculous. To sew and New does not rhyme. Core and colonel to do. When you see a Yeah, you may need to read it as “aw” (thought), “ow” (drought), “uff” (hard), “off” (cough), “oo” (through) or “oh” (although ). The ch the vowel is usually pronounced ‘ee’ (weak, please, joint, shine) but can also be ‘eh’ (bread, to manage, richness, feather). These two options cover most of it – except for a handful of cases, where it’s “ay” (Pause, steak, Great). Oh wait, one more … there is Earth. No wait, there is also heart.


From 2015: Julie Sedivy’s father died. This brought her to where she was born, the Czech Republic, and to learn more about her “mother tongue”.

(Nautilus, about 17 minutes to read)

While my father was still alive, I was, like most young people, more determined to embark on my future than to heal my ancestral roots, and that involved speaking the language of my new country rather than my old one. . The incentives to adopt the culturally dominant language are undeniable. Skill offers clear financial rewards, according to economist Barry Chiswick, leading to 15 percent wage increases for immigrants who achieve it compared to those who don’t. A child, who rarely calculates the return on investment of his language efforts, feels the motto of the dominant language in other ways: teacher approval and peer acceptance. I was mortally offended when my first grade teacher asked me on the first day of school if I knew “a little English” – “I don’t know a little English” was my indignant retort and strongly accentuated. “I know a parcel from English.

More: The best reads from each previous sitting Sunday>

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