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The “Honor Killing” of Pakistani Social-Media Star Qandeel Baloch

The “Honor Killing” of  Pakistani Social-Media Star Qandeel Baloch


Last August, a twenty-two-second video posted on Facebook went viral in Pakistan. A young woman(Qandeel Baloch), her face obscured by large sunglasses, had recorded herself standing in front of a middle-aged man. “How I’m looking? Tell me how I’m looking,” she says to the man, her gaze never wavering from the camera’s lens. “Marvellous,” he says. “Just marvellous?” she responds, incredulously. “Extraordinary,” he says. The woman’s name was Qandeel Baloch, and her video received nearly a quarter of a million views. For Baloch, it was a breakthrough. In the months that followed, she would post hundreds of videos, racking up millions of views. Just like that, she was famous.

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Pakistan’s Troll Problem
An Assassination That Could Bring War Or Peace
A Crisis for Minorities in Pakistan

Why Brexit Might Not Happen at All

Why Brexit Might Not Happen at All

As I noted on Friday, Britain won’t be exiting the E.U. anytime soon. If and when the U.K. government invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty of 2007, which grants member states the right to leave, there will be at least two years of negotiations about the terms of Britain’s future relationship with Europe. And that invocation of Article 50 is likely to be delayed for quite a while.

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On Brexit, the 2016 Euro Championship, and Trump
Daily Cartoon: Monday, June 27th
The Day After Brexit

Tales of Three Cities, Urban Architecture in New York, London and Paris

Tales of Three Cities, Urban Architecture in New York, London and ParisA new paperback edition of Christopher Rauschenberg’s Paris Changing: Revisiting Eugène Atget’s Paris shows how many of the sites Atget captured looked nearly a century later, most virtually untouched by major change. A larger question raised by images of city architecture across long periods of time is how the occupants of urban centers themselves have changed, as demonstrated by “Unseen London, Paris, New York, 1930s-60s: Photographs by Wolfgang Suschitzky, Dorothy Bohm and Neil Libbert,” at London’s Ben Uri Gallery.

Read more about Urban Architecture in New York, London and Paris

We Buried the Disgraceful Truth About the Afghan and Iraq Wars and PTSD

We Buried the Disgraceful Truth About the Afghan and Iraq Wars and PTSD

What is the real story about the toll of PTSD amongst Veterans of the Afghan and Iraq war?

Since 2001, at least 2.5 million members of the American armed services have deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. Among returnees, between 11 and 20 percent are estimated to suffer in any given year from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to the Department of Veteran Affairs. The PTSD label is loosely used, but under the clinical definition of the National Institute of Mental Health, an afflicted person may experience for at least one month a combination of symptoms including flashbacks, bad dreams, guilt, numbness, depression, sleeplessness, angry outbursts, and partial amnesia. The sheer size and diversity of this injured population are astounding.

Read more about PTSD and the truth about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan by Steve Coll for NYRB

The Case for Free Money or Universal Basic Income

Universal Basic Income


What is Universal Basic Income?

In the mid-nineteen-seventies, the Canadian province of Manitoba ran an unusual experiment: it started just handing out money to some of its citizens. The town of Dauphin, for instance, sent checks to thousands of residents every month, in order to guarantee that all of them received a basic income. The goal of the project, called Mincome, was to see what happened. Did people stop working? Did poor people spend foolishly and stay in poverty? But, after a Conservative government ended the project, in 1979, Mincome was buried. ecades later, Evelyn Forget, an economist at the University of Manitoba, dug up the numbers. nd what she found was that life in Dauphin improved markedly. Hospitalization rates fell. ore teen-agers stayed in school. And researchers who looked at Mincome’s impact on work rates discovered that they had barely dropped at all. The program had worked about as well as anyone could have hoped.

See the rest of the story about Universal Basic Income at


In the Depths of the Digital Age

In the Depths of the Digital AgeVirginia Woolf’s serious joke that “on or about December 1910 human character changed” was a hundred years premature. Human character changed on or about December 2010, when everyone, it seemed, started carrying a smartphone. For the first time, practically anyone could be found and intruded upon, not only at some fixed address at home or at work, but everywhere and at all times. Before this, everyone could expect, in the ordinary course of the day, some time at least in which to be left alone, unobserved, unsustained and unburdened by public or familial roles. That era now came to an end.

Read more from Edward Mendelson’s wonderful essay In the Depths of the Digital Age here

The Outsized Life of Muhammad Ali




What a loss to suffer, even if for years you knew it was coming. Muhammad Ali, who died Friday, in Phoenix, at the age of seventy-four, was the most fantastical American figure of his era, a self-invented character of such physical wit, political defiance, global fame, and sheer originality that no novelist you might name would dare conceive him. Born Cassius Clay in Jim Crow-era Louisville, Kentucky, he was a skinny, quick-witted kid, the son of a sign painter and a house cleaner, who learned to box at the age of twelve to avenge the indignity of a stolen bicycle, a sixty-dollar red Schwinn that he could not bear to lose. Eventually, Ali became arguably the most famous person on the planet, known as a supreme athlete, an uncanny blend of power, improvisation, and velocity; a master of rhyming prediction and derision; an exemplar and symbol of racial pride; a fighter, a draft resister, an acolyte, a preacher, a separatist, an integrationist, a comedian, an actor, a dancer, a butterfly, a bee, a figure of immense courage.

See the rest of the story at about Muhammad Ali


All the Songs Are Now Yours: Every Song Ever

All the Songs Are Now Yours: Every Song EverBen Ratliff’s Every Song Ever is a music appreciation guide for our era of free or very cheap music, instantaneously available everywhere and to nearly everyone, delivered from the cloud to tiny, relatively inexpensive devices that deliver loud, clear, and accurate sound.

Seventeen Words That Spelled Trouble for Hillary Clinton

Seventeen Words That Spelled Trouble for Hillary Clinton


I’d just posted a lengthy piece on Hillary Clinton’s general-election prospects when a long-awaited report from the State Department’s inspector general, a watchdog appointed by President Obama, was leaked, a day in advance of its release on Thursday. The report concluded that, as Secretary of State, Clinton violated the department’s rules by conducting official business via a private e-mail account and setting up a private e-mail server to handle and store her correspondence.

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The Surreal Presidential Debate You Didn’t See: Libertarians in Las Vegas
The Challenges Facing Hillary Clinton
Daily Cartoon: Tuesday, May 24th

Wittgenstein’s Handles

Wittgenstein’s HandlesWhen Wittgenstein returned to philosophy, the idea that drove him beyond all others was that the nature of language had been misunderstood by philosophers. They were better conceived of as a part of the activity of life. As such, they were more like tools. It is the utility of handles that Wittgenstein insists on here: “The functions of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects.” The pump don’t work ’cause the vandals took the handles.

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