What We’re Following: Help Comes to Besieged Towns

Humanitarian workers will deliver food, medicine, and other supplies this week to Syrian cities where dozens of people have died of starvation and hundreds have been killed in the country’s civil war. The United Nations has dispatched trucks to seven locations, some of which are held by rebels, and others by the Syrian government. Major world powers hope the deliveries will lead to a pause in fighting this week.

A Tech Feud with Feds: Apple says it will fight a court ruling that ordered it to help the FBI unlock an iPhone that belonged to one of the San Bernardino shooters. The company claims the software required to fulfill the request, which does not currently exist, would threaten the cybersecurity of all of its customers. The White House has countered by saying that the order is limited to a single smartphone device.

Explosions in Ankara: At least 28 people were killed and dozens were wounded in Turkey’s capital when a car bomb detonated near military buildings during rush hour. The Turkish government placed a media blackout that would prohibit the publication of photos from the scene, which on social media showed plumes of smoke rising from the site of the attack. Turkish cities have been the targets of several terrorist acts in recent months.


Snapshot

This three-month-old Linnaeus’s two-toed sloth arrived at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, via private jet on February 8, 2016. See more animals in the news here. (Keith Srakocic / AP)

Quoted

“It feels like I'm naked or something without being constantly updated on what’s going on.” —Emma Gingerich, who grew up Amish, on technology

“I always say to myself: ‘That’s a problem for future Jason.’” —Jason Dela Cruz, a college student, on how he avoids worrying

“I happen to have watched a lot of movies in my life and suddenly I think maybe that wasn’t such a waste of my time.” —Sally Warring, who films pond scum through a microscope


Evening Read

Megan Garber on Broad City and the triumph of the platonic rom-com:

Abbi and Ilana share, basically, what a lot of young women—and young men—share in this age of delayed marriage and emergent adulthood and platonic roommates and geographic peripatetism and economic prosperity and economic uncertainty: a friendship that occupies the psychic space that used to be devoted to spouses and children. While the marriage plot may still, dissolved and distended, drive many of Hollywood’s cultural products, Broad City reflects friendship’s age-old, but also new, reality: The show is suggesting that its heroines are already effectively married. To each other.

Abbi and Ilana spend most of their free time together. They are dedicated to each other, wholly. They love each other, passionately—often illogically. (Ilana, playing the part of the Bumbling Husband, gives Abbi many reasons to be upset with her—reasons the patient, nurturing Abbi generally ignores.) They accept each other’s faults, and embrace them. They are soul mates. They are life partners. “We are very upwardly mobile right now,” Ilana informs Abbi. “Seriously: Very Jay and Bey.”


News Quiz

1. Hackers are demanding millions of dollars in ransom from a __________ in Los Angeles, whose computer systems they took over last week.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2. Of the more than 5,000 minerals recognized by geologists, fewer than 100 are thought to constitute 99 percent of __________.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. A __________ made the decision not to order an autopsy for Justice Antonin Scalia.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)


Reader Response

Valbona Bajraktari Schwab describes adulthood as “that moment in time when you stop seeing the world around you as a big playground and you realize that it’s a minefield.” She was 11 when, in communist Albania, she was interviewed about the dictator’s death:

I learned that after my interview had been broadcasted on TV, everyone had seen it, since it was obligatory to follow the ceremony, even while at work. The representative of the communist party in my mother’s work place had seen it and had not been impressed by the fact that I didn’t cry. I didn’t show appropriate emotion for our leader’s death.

So, the natural answer was that my mother was a bad parent who hadn’t taught her daughter the appropriate emotional sentiment for the esteemed members of the party. He had called a political meeting right then and there, where the subject was my mother and her adherence to the communist principles as seen via her parenting skills. The meeting lasted three straight hours.

I thought she would be sent to jail or to a work camp and that I’d never see her again. Luckily, she was the first female surgeon of Albania and a very skilled one at that, so they spared her.

Read her story here.


Verbs

New flower species discovered, chicken and waffles sandwiched, Fuller House filled, 47 million academic papers stolen.


Answers: HOSPITAL, EARTH’S CRUST, JUDGE