The Weekender, January 12, 2018

1) “Overlooked” (Dallas News, 27 minutes, June 2017). The subhead: “As women go to jail in record numbers, who’s watching out for their kids? No one.”

At age 12, Kylia Booker knew enough to keep her head down and her mouth shut.

Braid your sisters’ pigtails. Get them on the school bus. Walk half a mile to the convenience store to buy groceries with the food-stamp card.

Don’t let anyone know you and the babies are home alone ’cause Mama is in jail again.

For nearly a month, Kylia and her two young sisters lived alone in a rented house in Arlington. No one involved in jailing their mother — not the police, not the courts, not the sheriff’s department — ever checked on them.

It was not the first, the last, or even the most dangerous time that the Booker sisters were overlooked by adults who put their mother in jail.

“We were really thrown to the wolves, if you think about it,” says Kylia, now 21. When her mother got arrested, she says, “it was always worse for us.”

No one in the criminal justice system is responsible for the safety of children whose mothers go to jail, an investigation by The Dallas Morning News has found. Not in North Texas, and not in most communities across the country.

While the moms may have committed crimes, the kids are innocent. Most were born and raised in tough circumstances they didn’t choose. When their mothers get locked up, the children often suffer.

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3) The Now I Know Week in Review:

Monday: When Breaking a Record Really Blows — This one features Kenny G, the guy with the hair who plays the sax.

Tuesday: How Some Places are Beeting the Snow — That’s not a typo.

Wednesday:  When A Penny Saved is Ten-Thousand Pennies Earned: — Like Willy Wonka, but much cooler (well, not really, but at least it really happened).

ThursdayThomas Jefferson’s Silent Armies — How $2 bills can be used to send a message.

And a bonus oneThe Subterranean Bell — Eleven years ago today, a world-renowned violinist played a concert (I guess) in the most unlikely of places — the subway.  And he used a violin he paid $3.5 million for. He did this anonymously. Want to guess how much he made?

4) “A Radical New Scheme to Engineer the World’s Glaciers” (The Atlantic, 13 minutes, January 2018). Well, that was the title when I found it. Now it’s “A Radical New Scheme to Prevent Catastrophic Sea-Level Rise,” but you probably figured out that was why we care about glacial engineering (is that a thing?) already.


5) “Google Thinks I’m Dead. (I Know Otherwise.)” (New York Times, 7 minutes, December 2017).

I’m not dead yet.

But try telling that to Google.

For much of the last week, I have been trying to persuade the world’s most powerful search engine to remove my photo from biographical details that belong to someone else. A search for “Rachel Abrams” revealed that Google had mashed my picture from The New York Times’s website with the Wikipedia entry for a better-known writer with the same name, who died in 2013.

6) “My Joke Cryptocurrency Hit $2 Billion and Something Is Very Wrong” (Motherboard/Vice, 7 minutes, January 2017). Cryptocurrency — Bitcoin and the like — is very buzzy right now, but it’s also enigmatic. This is the story about a guy who created one called “dogecoin” as a joke a few years back — and now, it’s kind of real.

Have a great weekend!