Each week, the Sunday Post highlights a few articles good for slow consumption over a cup of coffee (or tea, if that's your pleasure). Settle in for a while; we saved you a seat. You can also look through the archives.
Isabella Rotman’s short comic about what it’s like to faint at the sight of blood is a stellar mix of styles — existential, autobiographical, and educational all at once.
Hat tip to Jason Kottke, whose personal take on a similar phobia is equally worth reading.
The New York Times’ “Insider” series is shamelessly geeky about how reporting happens. Here’s the behind-the-scenes on David Sanger and William Broad’s investigation of how the US is using electronc tools to sabotage North Korea’s missile program. A flash of insight based on two journalists’ unique expertise, hours in the stacks and stacks of drafts, and the thorniest possible negotiation.
Then came the sensitive part of these investigations: telling the government what we had, trying to get official comment (there has been none) and assessing whether any of our revelations could affect continuing operations. In the last weeks of the Obama administration, we traveled out to the director of national intelligence’s offices: a huge complex in an unmarked office park a few miles beyond the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Fairfax County, Va.
Another inside peek, this one into the colorful and sprawling sketchbooks where Oliver Sacks recorded, created, and refined. Maria Popova won privileged access to Sacks’s papers, not yet available in a public archive, and highlights a selection that’s delightful both for its variety and for its reflection of the constant, frenetic effort required to track Sacks’s agile and demanding mind.
Using whatever paper and writing instrument he had on hand, Dr. Sacks jotted down ideas as they occurred to him — unedited, un-self-censored flights of fancy, captured before they flew away and later domesticated into the thoughtful, exquisitely structured, immensely insightful formal writings for which he is so beloved.
To kill or not to kill — and how much to care along the way? The question is driving dissent through what you’d think (if you thought of it at all) would be the most quiet of professions: traditional mole-catching.
For a mole-catcher to be successful today, he or she must engage the client with the most romantic notions of his profession. This, at least, is the theory of Duncan Emmett, a mole-catcher in his 60s who has the long beard of a wizard. “If you take that magic away, if you take that showmanship away, then all you are left with is the killing,” Emmett told me at a dimly lit pub near his home in Biggleswade, Bedfordshire. “Because you have to kill the mole, haven’t you? That isn’t an easy thing for a lot of people to bear.”
Donald Trump is definitely a Big Bad. So where’s our Buffy?
It’s probably no coincidence that most of the super-villains that succeed the Master don’t look like super-villains at all. After all, fangs and demony-red eyes aren’t nearly as terrifying as the qualities that define the Big Bads, who embody the ugliest of human traits—cruelty, obsession with loyalty, vengefulness, blazing conviction in their own superiority, an out-of-control temper. They want to remake reality to suit these whims.