Today’s Long Reads

Today felt like it was four days long.

From Parkland to Sunrise: A Year of Extraordinary Youth Activism

I Wish I’d Had A ‘Late-Term Abortion’ Instead Of Having My Daughter

A Family’s Race to Cure a Daughter’s Genetic Disease

One Couple’s Tireless Crusade to Stop a Genetic Killer

People Laughed When This Philly Lawyer Sued Led Zeppelin. Nobody’s Laughing Now.

Is Email Making Professors Stupid? It used to simplify crucial tasks. Now it’s strangling scholars’ ability to think

42 replies
  1. 1
    humboldtblue says:

    That Philly Magazine story is fantastic! The baby story is heartbreaking and the Parkland story is well worth a read as well.

  2. 2
    Mike J says:

    Spirit is a long forgotten band? WTF?

  3. 3
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Just for the record, I’m really grateful that you’ve started sharing these “Long Reads” links. Some I read right away, some I bookmark for later perusal, a few I ignore as the subject matter fails to grab me. But it’s a terrific resource. Anne Laurie is another FP who links to long-form pieces she finds interesting. OzarkHillbilly and a few other commenters provide additional fodder. And Adam Silverman is a wonderful long read in and of himself ;-)

    Anyhow, I just wanted to thank you for doing this and hope you’ll continue to share some of your best finds.

  4. 4
  5. 5
    joel hanes says:

    @Mike J:

    All things must pass.

    It’s Nature’s Way

  6. 6
    randy khan says:

    The Wired article was fascinating, particularly for the perspective on how medical research really works.

  7. 7
    WaterGirl says:

    @Mike J: Where is Spirit referenced? I seem to have missed that.

  8. 8
    WaterGirl says:

    @joel hanes: Whoever said that was deceiving you.

  9. 9
    Sab says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: And let’s not forget rikyrah as resding source.

  10. 10
    BretH says:

    Unless perhaps “inspired by” is equal in stature to “plagiarized” in copyright law then the lawsuit to me is ridiculous. Or they could order .0001% of the profits as a settlement.

  11. 11
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    Yes! Absolutely! Although I tend to rely on her more for Twitter threads than long-form articles/analyses. Also, Rikyrah and Lamh (Queen of the always-perfect.gif) and a handful of other valued commenters really have their fingers on the pulse of the AA online community, and I increasingly find those links and insights both informative and humbling.

  12. 12
    Brachiator says:

    I saw a couple of these earlier. Great choices. I’ve got too much to read now!!

    I would also like to throw in this one:

    She Spoke Up About Sexual Harassment At Ernst & Young And Got Caught In A Web Of Retaliation

  13. 13
    Steeplejack says:


    In the Philadelphia story on the Led Zeppelin lawsuit.

  14. 14
    Ohio Mom says:

    In the autism world there are lots of parents — and because of them — also organizations intent on finding the cause and then, as a result, the cure.

    The articles here listed on genetic diseases are good examples that it is almost always a long way between finding a cause (IF you can find A cause, many conditions have multiple causes) and developing a treatment, let alone a cure.

    Meanwhile the little girl in one of the stories, Grace, sees the quality of her life improved most of all by tireless women with Master’s degrees in allied health professions, particularly speech-language pathologists. As is often the case with autistic children. Spec Ed teachers, OTs, PTs and SLPs, all mostly women.

    But high tech and science make for much sexier stories.

  15. 15
    Raven says:

    My brother sued Zep for Dazed and Confused and they settled. Jake Holmes.

  16. 16
    Dev Null says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Concur.

    Please continue with the links.

  17. 17
    HRA says:

    John, please continue this daily choice of these excellent reading materials. I like to read more so than to comment as you may have noticed.

  18. 18
    smintheus says:

    I wish the story supplied contact info for the Philly lawyer. I recently noticed that the band Foghat stole the riff for their “Chateau Lafitte ’59” from Rory Gallagher’s “When You’ll be Mine”. Gallagher never released it on record, but he was touring in 1972 playing it a lot. Gallagher was the opening act for Foghat at least during one tour in the ’70s.

  19. 19
    Raven says:


    Zep’s elegantly wasted guitarist/producer/central songwriter and leonine, leather-lunged lead singer, respectively — stole the iconic descending acoustic-guitar arpeggios of the first two minutes of “Stairway” from “Taurus,” a song with a strikingly similar chord pattern by a long-forgotten ’60s band called Spirit. At the conclusion of a stormy, headline-grabbing trial in 2016 that peaked with testimony from Page and Plant, the jury decided in Zep’s favor.

  20. 20
    Raven says:

    @smintheus: You wanna reach my brother, he won his suit against zep.

  21. 21
    NotMax says:


    (Not directed at you but at the snippet.)

    60s band?

    The very tail end of the decade; the bulk of their output was during the 70s. Discography



  22. 22
    Raven says:

    @NotMax: Nah, those first three were the real deal.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:


    Having been involved in programming music radio at the time, have clear memory of “The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus” being added to the station’s recommended playlist in ’71 but no memory of that from ’70. Can’t say for sure but it might have been released very late in 1970.

    Wikipedia to the rescue: info there is the album was released November 27, 1970.

  24. 24
    Steeplejack says:


    Most of their ’70s stuff was mediocre at best. As Raven said, their real impact was in the first three albums. Maybe throw in Dr. Sardonicus for “Nature’s Way” and a few other songs.

    For readers going “Huh?”:

    Spirit, “I Got a Line on You.”

    “Nature’s Way.”

  25. 25
    NotMax says:


    We can agree they are not long forgotten. Know I’ve linked here to their stuff at least a half dozen times.

  26. 26

    @Raven: That’s verrrrryy interesting. Not only did they steal the song but it would seem that R. Plant kinda lifted his whole vocal style off this. Wow.

  27. 27
    Steeplejack says:


    Eh, I’m not getting exercised about “forgotten.” It was 50 years ago, and they probably are forgotten by everybody but geezers *cough* and psychedelic-rock completists.

    Another forgotten gem from 1968: People, “I Love You.”

  28. 28
    Steeplejack says:

    @John Revolta:

    The song in question: Spirit, “Taurus.”

  29. 29
    NotMax says:


    ’68 still eminently listenable progressive/psychedelic rock gems? The Moody Blues, Ride My See-Saw.

  30. 30
    Doug Gardner says:

    God, the story of the woman in HuffPost Personal piece was agonizing, but should be read into the Congressional Record and shared as widely as possible with all the fetus fetishists out there. Her bravery in relating her story (and even surviving emotionally and psychologically) is that of a true hero.

  31. 31

    @Steeplejack: Yeah, I’ve heard that before but you can’t claim they stole “Stairway” from that. That’s 20 or 30 seconds out of a much longer song. This business with Plant is a much bigger deal in my eyes…………….it’s like he stole his whole vocal persona and maybe a whole career offa this.

  32. 32
    smintheus says:

    @Raven: Care to share more?

  33. 33
    Steeplejack says:


    I bought that album in Taipei for about 30 cents. They weren’t really into copyright conventions at the time. And the LPs were different colors, usually red, purple or orange.

    One thing the companies did there was to put out LPs containing 10 or 12 current hits—sort of K-Tel before K-Tel. And by “current” I mean “this month or the past couple of months” (in Britain and America). Lots of typos and Chinglish on the jackets. One I particularly liked was Beat Group 68. Stuck in my mind because I thought it would be a cool band name.

  34. 34
    J R in WV says:

    Saw Spirit live a couple of times — they were great live, the albums not so much.

    So many bands were either great live and crummy on recordings or great on their recordings and crappy in a live show. Others were just crappy all over, like the Kinks, which I never liked in any shape, form, or performance, live or recorded…

  35. 35
    NotMax says:

    @J R in WV

    A little later in the year and one could be present for the ceremony renaming the pound to the ounce.


  36. 36
    NotMax says:

    Whoopsie Wrong thread.

    Mea culpa, J R.

  37. 37
    Kaleberg says:

    I’m not sure I’m with Knuth.

    Since when does anyone reply to emails in 20 minutes? The whole point of email is that you can stuff things into saved mailboxes and ignore them until they come back to bite you. I’ve had email since the 1970s, and I’ve found it invaluable for procrastination, passive aggressive people management and, now and then, actual communications. If you read Up The Down Staircase, you know where to file “important” emails even though the book was written before anyone had email.

    The service faculty thing has been a problem since at least the 15th century, at least in what is now Germany. Drawing the short straw and having to serve as department head led many to heretical and suicidal thoughts. For all I know, this is what drove the Protestant Reformation, not that it helped much.

  38. 38
    joel hanes says:

    @J R in WV:

    great live

    J. Geils Band

  39. 39
    joel hanes says:


    Since when does anyone reply to emails in 20 minutes?

    Computer engineers on chip projects.
    Nine hours a day.

  40. 40
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Presently loving the Malofiy piece, John.

  41. 41
    Denali says:

    Please continue the links to long reads. The article in Wired on genetic diseases was fascinating. Brought to mind a family I know with a beautiful daughter with cystic fibrosis, another heartbreaking condition that is having significant improvements in prognosis due to research.

  42. 42
    RSA says:


    I’m not sure I’m with Knuth.

    That made me laugh a little. I couldn’t be Knuth, for a number of reasons: I’m not half as smart; I don’t have the resources to farm out my email; and my work as a professor would have suffered without the connections that email provided. (I’ve recently left academia, after a 20-year career.)

    Despite the interesting points that the author raises, I think he missed a couple of important issues (though maybe they’re discussed in his books).

    First, email is to some extent under one’s control, if one has sufficient self-control. One of my colleagues would answer email in batch mode, so that I’d get a response within a week but no guarantee of anything quicker. It was completely annoying! But he was still productive and, more importantly, it was a practice within his power to choose. No special institutional accommodation was required, so far as I know.

    Second, I’m a little skeptical of arguments based on the practices of people like Knuth (or Steve Jobs, or Bill Gates, etc.) It would be nice to think that if more people followed the same path, we’d see enormous gains, but of course there’s no special reason to believe that.

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