What’s Holding Women Back?

Sheryl Sandberg

The Article: Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg Explains What’s Holding Women Back in NPR.

The Text: Of all the posters plastered around Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters — “Move Fast and Break Things,” “Done Is Better Than Perfect” and “Fail Harder” — Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has a favorite: “What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?”

“[It’s] something that I think is really important and I think very motivating,” Sandberg tells NPR’s Renee Montagne. ” … I wrote in my book, what I would do if I wasn’t afraid is, I would speak out more on behalf of women.”

That book — Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead — is something of a feminist call to arms. In it, Sandberg, a 43-year-old former Google executive with two Harvard degrees, is calling on other women, as she puts it, to “lean in” and embrace success. And it has struck a chord. In the weeks leading up to the book’s publication on Monday, Sandberg, who has not been known to court controversy in the past, has been the subject of critical op-eds and cranky commentaries.

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A Handyman On Male Insecurity

Handyman

The Article: What Being a Handyman Has Taught Me About Male Insecurity by Andy Hinds in The Atlantic.

The Text: When I was five years old, my two sisters, my parents, and I lived in a canvas tent on the side of a mountain in Western Montana for a month and a half. During that time, and with the help of our extended family, we built most of the cabin that would become our family vacation home. One of my jobs, which I took to with great enthusiasm, was to pound every nail that held the plywood flooring to the log beams on the second story. We barely got the cabin roofed-in in time for my dad to report to his new Army post, and, as I like to say, 40 years later we’re still putting the finishing touches on it.

In the course of his career, my dad was an infantry officer, a military attaché, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, and an arms-reduction negotiator. At home, he was a wrench. Dude could fix anything.

Up until the time my parents were approaching retirement age, I can hardly recall a “professional” ever working on any of the houses they owned over the years. Dad built walls and sidewalks, installed woodstoves, laid tile, added electrical circuits and plumbing fixtures, fixed furnaces, and, at the cabin, ten years after it was first built, contrived an indoor plumbing system featuring an elaborate pump rig that sent the waste up the mountain to a septic tank. His only training in construction and mechanical work had been summer jobs on the railroad and growing up in a time and place where men didn’t own things they couldn’t fix. (My mom, a Montana farm kid, is no slouch with a hammer and saw, either.)

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Gabby Giffords Responds To The Senate’s Gun Control Failure

Gabrielle Giffords Gun Control

The Article: A Senate In The Gun Lobby’s Grip by Gabrielle Giffords in The New York Times.

The Text: SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.

On Wednesday, a minority of senators gave into fear and blocked common-sense legislation that would have made it harder for criminals and people with dangerous mental illnesses to get hold of deadly firearms — a bill that could prevent future tragedies like those in Newtown, Conn., Aurora, Colo., Blacksburg, Va., and too many communities to count.

Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown. Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died. These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.

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Oceans On The Brink Of Catastrophic Collapse

Marine Life Under Threat

The Article: Overfished and under-protected: Oceans on the brink of catastrophic collapse by Tom Levitt in CNN.

The Text: As the human footprint has spread, the remaining wildernesses on our planet have retreated. However, dive just a few meters below the ocean surface and you will enter a world where humans very rarely venture.

In many ways, it is the forgotten world on Earth. A ridiculous thought when you consider that oceans make up 90% of the living volume of the planet and are home to more than one million species, ranging from the largest animal on the planet — the blue whale — to one of the weirdest — the blobfish.

Remoteness, however, has not left the oceans and their inhabitants unaffected by humans, with overfishing, climate change and pollution destabilizing marine environments across the world.
Many marine scientists consider overfishing to be the greatest of these threats. The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing.

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The Increasing Costs Of Paying For Our Wars

War In Iraq Cost

The Article: Paying the Costs of Iraq, for Decades to Come by James Fallows in The Atlantic.

The Text: A little over 10 years ago, George W. Bush fired his economic adviser, Lawrence Lindsey, for saying that the total cost of invading Iraq might come to as much as $200 billion. Bush instead stood by such advisers as Paul Wolfowitz, who said that the invasion would be largely “self-financing” via Iraq’s oil, and Andrew Natsios, who told an incredulous Ted Koppel that the war’s total cost to the American taxpayer would be no more than $1.7 billion.

As it turns out, Lawrence Lindsey’s estimate was indeed off — by a factor of 10 or more, on the low side. A new research paper by Linda Bilmes, of the Kennedy School at Harvard, begins this way:

The Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, taken together, will be the most expensive wars in US history — totaling somewhere between $4 to $6 trillion.

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