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This week, we’re sharing stories from Tressie McMillan Cottom, Kashmir Hill, R.O. Kwon, Jaime Lowe, and Steve Edwards.

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1. I Was Pregnant and in Crisis. All the Doctors and Nurses Saw Was an Incompetent Black Woman

Tressie McMillan Cottom | Time Magazine | January 8, 2019 | 7 minutes (1,775 words)

“It might seem that the culture’s perennial strong woman would also be competent. But incompetent and superhero do not actually conflict in the context of essential notions about gender, race, class, and hierarchy.”

2. How Cartographers for the U.S. Military Inadvertently Created a House of Horrors in South Africa

Kashmir Hill | Gizmodo | January 9, 2019 | 20 minutes (5,156 words)

John and his mother Ann, who live in a house in Pretoria, South Africa, were two victims of faulty IP address mapping — and the U.S. government played a big role in the mess.

3. On Being a Woman in America While Trying to Avoid Being Assaulted

R.O. Kwon | The Paris Review | January 7, 2019 | 4 minutes (1,205 words)

“Sometimes, I’ll read a novel written by a man in which a woman walks home alone, late at night, in America, without having a single thought about her physical safety, and it’s so implausible that I’ll put the book down.”

4. The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees

Jaime Lowe | Topic | January 7, 2019 | 23 minutes (5,763 words)

Baobab trees are as integral a part of the Botswana ecosytem as they are a part of local culture. Unfortunately, the scientists who discovered that ancient baobabs are dying have no clear explanation why.

5. On the Experience of Entering a Bookstore in Your Forties (vs. Your Twenties)

Steve Edwards | LitHub | January 3, 2019 | 6 minutes (1,722 words)

“Are books to us as leaves are to trees, feeding us while we hold them, then decomposing and feeding us again after we’ve let them go?”