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Mar 16, 2018

NYT Magazine | The New York Times Magazine: Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out? Marcgh 16, 2018.

The New York Times
Should Some Species Be Allowed to Die Out?
Jennifer Kahn writes this week's cover story about the dispiriting work of saving endangered animals such as these nine-day old akikiki chicks that were hatched at the egg-rearing house on Kauai.
Jennifer Kahn writes this week's cover story about the dispiriting work of saving endangered animals such as these nine-day old akikiki chicks that were hatched at the egg-rearing house on Kauai. Spencer Lowell for The New York Times
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Hello Friend,
Hope you’ve had a nice week. Mine’s been busier than usual. Last weekend I was in Austin for some New York Times events at SXSW, and on Tuesday we had an exciting afternoon at the National Magazine Awards (more on that below). Meanwhile, I’ve found myself captivated by the student walkouts across the country, the special election in Pennsylvania and yesterday’s episode of Still Processing (about why Wesley and Jenna didn’t like “A Wrinkle in Time”).
I tend to like stories about the complicated relationship between humans and the natural world, so this week’s cover story by Jennifer Kahn grabbed me immediately. It’s about how the number of animals on the endangered species list is increasing, and many are entirely dependent on humans to keep them from going extinct. Basically, they’re on life support, and we — meaning you, me and all the other homo sapiens — are sitting next to the bed, trying to figure out how long to keep the machines running.
It’s a fascinating, alarming piece, and lest you think it’s just a big depression session, note that most of the action takes place in Hawaii, where Kahn follows around an extremely likable crew of heroic conservationists trying to save the akikiki (not a typo), “a small gray-and-white bird that feeds on insects, doesn’t sing and has noticeably large feet.” See a photo of nine-day old akikiki chicks above.
Gail Bichler, our design director, did a wonderful job turning this story into a memorable image for the cover. She commissioned a collage of Hawaiian foliage, with a bird shape cut out in the middle, from the Dutch artist Hagar Vardimon. There’s a lot more in the issue I think you should read. Here are some of the highlights:
WORLD’S LARGEST RANSOM: Robert F. Worth follows the labyrinthine tale of the 24 Qatari falconers — some of them members of Qatar’s ruling family — who were kidnapped in 2015 while hunting in southern Iraq. The negotiations over their release, which involved perhaps the largest cash ransom in world history, provide a revealing map of the sectarian strife, secret alliances, unintended consequences and betrayals that make the Middle East such an intensely tangled web.
I’M SOBER. NOW WHAT? In an excerpt from her new memoir, Leslie Jamison wrestles with a dark fear that haunted her recovery from alcoholism: would her creative energies dissipate once she was clean? It’s a brave and honest piece of introspective writing that’s hard to put down. It’s also full of really interesting literary history, as Leslie explores the ups and downs of famous writer-drunks of the past — John Berryman, Charles Jackson, Denis Johnson and others (mostly men, as Leslie notes).
THE RACISTS NEXT DOOR: This week’s Ethicist is about whether the owner of a rental property has an obligation to tell potential tenants that the next door neighbors are hella racist. The Ethicist thinks the answer is yes.
NEXT-LEVEL COLONIALISM? A Chinese real estate company is building four islands from scratch in the waters of a foreign country, Malaysia, and constructing a futuristic “insta-city” with high-rise condos marketed to buyers from mainland China. The project is expected to cost $100 billion, and is already becoming a flash point for objections to Chinese economic colonialism.
AN UPDATE FROM VENEZUELA: Last week, Wil S. Hylton wrote about Venezuela’s opposition leader, Leopoldo López, who is currently under house arrest and prohibited from speaking to the press. Lopez was taking an enormous risk by talking to The New York Times for our story. Earlier this week, a very moving episode of The Daily delved into his decision to do so.
Shortly after our story was published online, on March 1, officers from the Venezuelan intelligence services raided Lopez’s house. He assumed they were going to take him back to prison, but as of this writing they have not. Instead, they're still stationed on his front sidewalk. Here, Wil updates us on what has been happening since we the story appeared.
And finally, I’m thrilled to announce that the magazine won the 2018 National Magazine Award for Reporting for “The Uncounted,” Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal’s November cover story about the number of civilians killed in the Coalition air war against ISIS in Iraq. They visited the sites of more than 150 airstrikes in northern Iraq for this piece, conducting the only systematic, ground-based survey of civilian deaths since the war began in 2014. It’s hard to imagine two reporters more deserving of an award like this than Anand and Azmat.
That’s it for this week’s newsletter. See you next week.
Jake Silverstein
Editor in Chief
More from the magazine:
Why Was This Teenager Bleeding So Excessively?
Her heart stopped, and blood began pouring out of her nose and mouth. What was going on?
New Sentences: From Emily Wilson’s Translation of the ‘Odyssey’
The British classicist finds a joyful opportunity in Homer’s repeating phrases.
Letter of Recommendation: Candle Hour
You don’t need to unplug entirely — just for an hour or so.
Saving the Salisbury Steak From TV-Dinner Obscurity
A reinvention of the old standby with porcini butter and salsa verde.
The New York Times »

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