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Big Stories

Weekend Reads - Feb. 12

Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed UK’s special correspondent James Ball, discussing some of his favorite stories he’s read recently.

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As a Brit — sorry if your weekend reads come with a strange accent this week — Chelsea Manning’s incarceration was the first time I really thought about LGBTQ people in U.S. jails. So this New Yorker article about the second edition of Captive Genders, an essay collection by and largely for LGBTQ prisoners, was a fascinating read, with lots I didn’t expect.

As for (I suspect) a lot of people, the Zika virus epidemic really seemed to come out of nowhere for me. This fascinating New York Times deep-dive into how clinicians discovered the outbreak and its previously unknown connection to birth abnormalities was hugely informative, if not a little disturbing.

Those — or at least most — of us who work in any field that is even closely related to media have had at least a few years working for way less money than they hoped. Or for way less money than a lot of people they know. I’ve read articles about getting by when you’re broke, but this Deadspin piece on what it’s like to suddenly earn a decent wage after that — “I’m not broke anymore, and I’m terrified” — was novel, and way less braggy than you might think.

Finally, we’re used to hearing about automation destroying manufacturing jobs, but now the robots are coming for the professions: In the coming decades, machines will likely be able to take on a share of the grunt work for accounting, law, and more. But what will that mean for the jobs they can’t do? How will anyone learn the hard stuff without a few years of grind? This Financial Times article has a look at this subject. But I, for one, welcome our robot overlords. I’m hoping they’ll keep me around, and I’m making friends with the office printers in the meantime. Enjoy your weekends, all!