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Web Reads: How is lightning like a radical feminist?


Reverse discrimination? Men are more likely than women to die from lightning strikes. This year, seven people have died from lightning—all of them men. Since 2006, 81 percent of lightning-strike fatalities in the United States have been men. The reasons aren’t clear, though this article includes many possible causes offered by laymen and an expert who studied the question.

English speakers. An increasing number of people throughout the world speak English as a second or third language. George Mason University has compiled a Speech Accent Archive—recordings of people from all over reading the same paragraph—that is searchable by native language and region as well as some linguistic terms.

Language learning. Open Culture also offers links to free online language instruction. A quick look shows links to a variety of websites teaching an alphabet-soup of languages: Arabic, Amharic, Cambodian, Chinese …

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Survivors. Eight years ago, British photographer Jo Farrell began photographing elderly Chinese women with bound feet. Footbinding has been illegal for 100 years. Most of the women she’s photographed have been poor villagers, whose parents thought the tiny feet would give their daughters better prospects for marriage. Farrell’s “Living History” project documents the practice and the women who underwent it.

VG Day. This fascinating podcast about the NYC subway of the 1970s and 1980s describes how mayors and transit officials tried vainly to rid the trains of graffiti. Finally, new transit-boss David Gunn realized the graffiti was more about bad maintenance than aesthetics, and he began pouring resources into repairing and maintaining the trains. On May 12, 1989 the transit authority declared VG (Victory over Graffiti) Day.

Susan Olasky
Susan Olasky

Susan pens book reviews and other articles for WORLD as a senior writer and has authored eight historical novels for children. Susan and her husband Marvin live in Asheville, N.C. Follow Susan on Twitter @susanolasky.


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