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Sunday, July 24, 2016

At A Funeral Home In Brooklyn, The Hard Business Of Goodbye, by Noah Remnick, New York Times

After death, black bodies in America have often been displayed in grotesque and dehumanizing ways — from public lynchings to Michael Brown left lying for hours on hot pavement in Ferguson, Mo. The Thompsons seek to reverse that painful legacy: commemorating, honoring and restoring dignity to members of their community upon dying in a way that can elude them in life.

“Our society has become immune to death in the black community,” Ms. Thompson-Simmons said. “We want people to understand we have history and our lives matter.”

Your Air Conditioner Is Making The Heat Wave Worse, by Stan Cox, Washington Post

Air conditioning has become a necessity but not a solution. It’s like an ice bath for a patient suffering an extreme fever, treating the symptom while leaving untouched the underlying cause — in this case, the one-two punch of climate change and the distorted physical and social structure of our cities. And by making our world temporarily cooler, air conditioning is making it permanently hotter, thanks to the increases in greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, vehicle fuel consumption and refrigerant production that keep the cool air flowing.

The Water Kingdom: A Secret History Of China By Philip Ball – Review, by Isabel Hilton, The Guardian

In 2007, the Yellow river dried up: for 277 days it failed to reach the sea, its lower reaches reduced to a broad highway of cracked mud. The Yellow river begins its 3,000-mile journey on the high Qinghai Tibet plateau and meanders across north China until it reaches the Bohai Gulf. It is celebrated as China’s mother river because of the state-sponsored claim that Chinese civilisation began in the fertile soils of its middle reaches. That it should have dried up for most of a year, therefore, carried a significance far beyond the immediate environmental catastrophe.

As Philip Ball describes in The Water Kingdom, managing China’s huge and troublesome rivers has been the job of the ruler since earliest times. The mythical Emperor Yu auditioned for the top post by taming the floods 4,000 years ago. Successive empires and countless officials have risen and fallen on the quality and effectiveness of their hydrology and ambitious engineering has drained the coffers of many dynasties in a culture in which competence in water management is seen as a proxy for fitness to rule.

Book Review: ‘Monterey Bay’ Reimagines ‘Cannery Row,’ With The Passion Of A Teenage Girl, by Michael Berry, Portland Press Herald

Writer Lindsay Hatton takes a big gamble with her debut novel, drawing on both history and invention to explore a setting made famous by a Nobel laureate.

You Don’t Need A Restaurant Empire To Be A Successful Chef, by Melissa McCart, Eater

So what makes a chef/owner decide to keep things small? Their success depends on serving a community, having a clear vision, and offering perceived value in their genre — be it fine dining, bistro fare, or something else. Sometimes, operators run a single restaurant because attempts to open more than one have failed. Other times, having one restaurant allows owners to more definitively pursue their original goals. As chef/owners calibrate this balance, one thing becomes clear: building a career on a single restaurant can be precarious. Meet three who are holding steady against the fast-casual current — and one team that's finally taking the plunge.