We humans

Fire! and other stories worth reading now

May 16, 2014 /

The entire state of California is now suffering from severe drought. Read a veteran firefighter’s experience of what this means on the ground — and other stories you need to know about today.

California burning
The sunshine state is suffering — yesterday it was reported that the entire state is in a state of severe droughtTime looks at the problem from the point of view of a longtime firefighter, who lyrically describes the surreal scenes he too often sees and also made a point about the role of technology in firefighting. “Technology will always try to keep up, but there’s a tremendous human element,” writes San Mateo fire captain Matt Turturici. “Ultimately, technology can help, but it can’t think for the guys on the ground.”

The NSA fires back
After “United States of Secrets,” a pretty devastating Frontline report that unpacks what happened to the American national security movement after 9/11 (part two airs next week), here’s a timely riposte from General Keith B. Alexander, who retired in March after 8 years at the helm of the NSA. Interesting timing; interesting reading.

The place of race and gender in art
“Using race and gender to avoid talking about race and gender.” The Whitney Museum of American Art has a problem, after an artist collective chosen for its Biennial publicly withdrew from the exhibition in protest of another Biennial artist’s piece — one created by a white man that features black female artists playing a fictional artist. Complicated, interesting and worth discussing.