This Week On The Web

By Josh Cowls

Welcome to our round-up of the best bits of the web this week, starting with ten articles you may have missed:

1. While the world of print media was rocked this week, its younger sibling, online journalism, took another step forward with the launch of the Huffington Post in the UK. An Economist correspondent reported from the star-studded launch event:

By the evening’s end, Huffington seemed to be defending her website more than promoting it. Indeed, journalists are largely angry at—and a bit scared of—people like Arianna Huffington.

2. South Sudan became an independent country this weekend, and historian of Africa Richard Dowden explored the past, present and future of the new nation:

Northerners were not allowed to spread Islam in the south but Christian missionaries were encouraged. Only in the north did the British instigate any development. The south was ruled but left to rot.

3.  To mark ten years since the first broadcast of genre-redefining sitcom The Office, Joe Moran in the Guardian argued that little has changed inside Britain’s real-life workplace culture since:

Although the computers look a bit ancient, that office in Slough still looks eerily familiar.

4. An article in Foreign Policy suggested that the Yemeni government’s near-collapse creates a new headache for northerly neighbour Saudi Arabia:

Critics for decades have accused Saudi Arabia of purposefully fostering a Yemeni government too immature to ever pose a state threat to Saudis. “Keep Yemen weak,” King Abdul Aziz is supposed to have told his sons on his deathbed.

5. In the Independent, Philip Hensher defends the capacity of the novelist, rather than the psychologist, to describe and explain the mysteries of life and death:

You will read any number of academic studies of the processes of death without coming near the novelist’s instinctive understanding.

6. In the Boston Review, John R Bowen examines the inaccurate and unsustainable attacks that western European leaders have launched against multiculturalism:

Blaming multiculturalism may be politically useful because of its populist appeal, but it is also politically dangerous because it attacks “an enemy within”: Islam and Muslims.

7. Andrew Marantz spent a summer in an Indian call centre, and reported back on the experience:

Every month, thousands of Indians leave their Himalayan tribes and coastal fishing towns to seek work in business process outsourcing, which includes customer service, sales, and anything else foreign corporations hire Indians to do.

8. In The Atlantic, Christopher Hitchens runs counter to received wisdom and questions the morality and belief system of Indian legend Mahatma Ghandi:

[Ghandi’s] rather sinister concept of “unlearning,” explicitly tied to the more ethereal notion of “salvation,” has more in common with Wahhabism than with the figures of Mandela, King, or the other moral heroes with whom Gandhi’s name is linked.

9. For those who find writing the first words of news stories tricky, the Guardian presents the most common sentence starters:

Searching through the Guardian Weekly archive, I can identify a top 20 of three-word sentence beginnings that, when taken with the words which follow them, constitute a sort of journalist’s toolkit.

10. Finally, a therapist’s suggestion that parents’ obsession with their children’s happiness may be more psychologically harmful than helpful in the long-run:

Back in graduate school, the clinical focus had always been on how the lack of parental attunement affects the child. It never occurred to any of us to ask, what if the parents are too attuned?

Photos of the week: from the BBC, a slideshow exhibiting the rediscovery of the mystical Peruvian settlement Machu Pichu.

Map of the week: useless national stereotypes.

Video of the week: food enthusiast  Nathan Myhrvold showcases his new visually innovative cookbook.

Chart of the week: the surprising number of female relatives of male politicians now wielding power of their own around the world.

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