Cassidy Knowlton, editor
“Then there is the rule about likes and comments. According to Lara and Sofia, when your friend posts a selfie on Instagram, there’s a tacit social obligation to like it, and depending on how close you are, you may need to comment. The safest option, especially on a friend’s selfie, is the emoji with the heart eyes. Or a simple ‘so cute’ or ‘so pretty.’ It’s too much work to do anything else. If there’s any deviation, ‘you have to interpret the comment,’ Sofia says. ‘If it’s nice, you’re like, is this really nice or are you …’ ‘… I don’t know,’ finishes Lara. Is the comment sincere? Or slyly sarcastic? Formulaic responses breed zero confusion. Instagram is not a place for tone or irony.”
“The girls do use Facebook, but it’s their most public-facing social account and their most impersonal, relegated to dance-related posts from school and extracurricular updates like participation in charitable events. With their friends, they’re most active on Instagram and Snapchat. They don’t bother with Twitter, WeChat, Yik Yak, or Kik.”
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Myriam Robin, media reporter
“I bombed miserably. O’Reilly didn’t like my answers, and I struggled to explain myself when he pressed me for more details. I didn’t look good and I didn’t sound good. I had all the charisma of a wet dishrag. The first phone call after the show was from my best friend from college. He was laughing at me. ‘Dude, you were terrible.’
“And yet, in the long run, that first appearance may well have been the best career move I’d made since getting a law degree. From that moment forward, I could claim the most important résumé bullet point in the conservative movement: ‘David French has appeared on Fox News.’
“It’s hard to overstate the power of Fox News for those seeking a career in the conservative movement. I’ve seen the most accomplished of lawyers suddenly become “somebody” only after they regularly appear on Fox. I’ve seen young activists leave senators or representatives languishing alone in rooms as they flood over to Fox personalities, seeking selfies. Fox has become the prime gatekeeper of conservative fame, the source of conservative book deals, and the ticket into the true pantheon of conservative influence. It’s killing the conservative movement.”
Bernard Keane, politics editor
We know gravity is a warping of space-time and that it’s a weak force, but can gravitational waves actually be detected and how can you tell them apart from the normal vibrations inside atoms? Melvyn Bragg and friends looks at gravitational waves, how they’re caused and how you detect something that alters reality itself as it passes through it.
Sophie Benjamin, engagement editor
“Skilled workers at the Carlton and United Breweries Melbourne plant are refusing to work under an inferior wages deal struck with 3 casuals in Perth two years ago.
“The ACTU says bosses are gaming the Fair Work Act.”
“Sometimes, listening, Amy Pinegar found herself overwhelmed. ‘I wondered,’ Pinegar told me over the phone last fall, ‘keeping this child alive… Is she that happy?’ All she could do was be a good neighbor and pitch in when she could. She’d drive Dee Dee and Gypsy to the airport for their medical trips to Kansas City, bring them things from Sam’s Club. Ultimately, they did seem happy. They went on charity trips to Disney World, met Miranda Lambert through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Looking back on it, Pinegar was sometimes even jealous of them.
“It was a perfect story for a human interest segment on the evening news: a family living through tragedy and disaster, managing to build a life for themselves in spite of so many obstacles. But the story wasn’t over. One day last June, Dee Dee’s Facebook account posted an update.
“’That bitch is dead,’ it read.”
Josh Taylor, journalist
“The weapon that Newcrest and other powerful foreign mining companies wielded was a threat. A highly specialized legal threat: They warned they might haul Indonesia before a sort of private global super court. Though most people have never heard of it, this justice system has the power to make entire nations fork over hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars to companies that say their business was unfairly hampered.
“Known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS, this legal system is written into a vast network of treaties that set the rules for international trade and investment. It is as striking for its power as for its secrecy, with its proceedings — and in many cases its decisions — kept from public view. Of all the ways in which ISDS is used, the most deeply hidden are the threats, uttered in private meetings or ominous letters, that invoke those courts. The threats are so powerful they often eliminate the need to actually bring a lawsuit. Just the knowledge that it could happen is enough.”
Sally Whyte, journalist
The Australian Story formula is old hat, but this week’s episode was a special insight into the women that have made the AFL’s women’s league possible, and just what it will mean to them. Moana Hope isn’t a household name just yet, but she will be soon.
Before watching the Women’s AFL match between the Western Bulldogs and Melbourne on Saturday night, watch this week’s episode of Australian Story, which shows how we got here.
Dan Wood, subeditor
“Amok, or running amok, is derived from the Malay word mengamok, which means to make a furious and desperate charge. Captain Cook is credited with making the first outside observations and recordings of amok in the Malay tribesmen in 1770 during his around-the-world voyage. He described the affected individuals as behaving violently without apparent cause and indiscriminately killing or maiming villagers and animals in a frenzied attack. Amok attacks involved an average of 10 victims and ended when the individual was subdued or “put down” by his fellow tribesmen, and frequently killed in the process. According to Malay mythology, running amok was an involuntary behavior caused by the “hantu belian,” or evil tiger spirit entering a person’s body and compelling him or her to behave violently without conscious awareness. Because of their spiritual beliefs, those in the Malay culture tolerated running amok despite its devastating effects on the tribe.
“Shortly after Captain Cook’s report, anthropologic and psychiatric researchers observed amok in primitive tribes located in the Philippines, Laos, Papua New Guinea, and Puerto Rico. These observers reinforced the belief that cultural factors unique to the primitive tribes caused amok, making culture the accepted explanation for its pathogenesis in these geographically isolated and culturally diverse people. Over the next 2 centuries, occurrences of amok and interest in it as a psychiatric condition waned. The decreasing incidence of amok was attributed to Western civilization’s influence on the primitive tribes, thereby eliminating the cultural factors thought to cause the violent behavior. Modern occurrences of amok in the remaining tribes are almost unheard of, and reports in the psychiatric literature ceased around the mid-20th century. Inexplicably, while the frequency of and interest in amok among primitive tribes were decreasing, similar occurrences of violence in industrial societies were increasing. However, since the belief that amok is culturally induced had become deeply entrenched, its connection with modern day episodes of mass violence went unnoticed.”