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Free to click
Another Friday roundup of 7 bigger things worth knowing today.
This worked pretty well last week, so let's try it again: In keeping with our theme of brevity, let's do an expanded "7 things" section for Friday. I feel like it needs a name:
Free Links Friday?
Free to Click Friday?
If you have a better idea—or another link to share—let us know in the comments. Also, just to highlight upfront: If you’d like to submit a link for me to check out for another edition like this (or for the daily "7 other things"), you can do so here:
Reminder: These should all be paywall-free—or else, there is a paywall, but I’m using “gift links” from my subscriptions to let you bypass them. Also, these excerpts and summaries are just on the "fair" side of fair use, so click through to read the rest!
My Surreal Years Tutoring the Children of the Super-Rich
There’s a long tradition of people taking jobs (or roles) they don’t love and writing about them later, fictionally or not. Off the top of my head: Maid, by Stephanie Land (maid, obviously); The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger (personal assistant); and just to bend the genre a bit: Pat Conroy’s The Lords of Discipline (military cadet); and Ted Conover’s Newjack (prison guard).
To that list, perhaps we will be able to add Queen K, by Sarah Thomas, about teaching the world’s wealthiest kids.
I wanted a job that allowed me free time, so I registered with a tutoring agency. A few weeks later, I found myself in a speedboat cutting across the Indian Ocean towards a superyacht the size of a ferry.
I’d told myself that compared with other staff—those who had to wear electronic bracelets that buzzed when they were summoned—I had it pretty good. But that started to change. I remember one mother telling me, “Please, Sarah, when you aren’t teaching, either stay in your bedroom or leave the property. This is a family holiday.”
I began to think: Maybe I should be writing about this. (Vogue)
He Survived the Trade Center Bombing: ‘I Always Knew They’d Be Back.’
This week marked the 30th anniversary of the first bombing of the World Trade Center. The New York Times tracked down a now 69-year-old man who was in the parking garage that morning, and had his world turned upside down.
Mr. Lang is ... an everyman through-line between two remarkable events: the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, which upended world politics, and the bombing of Feb. 26, 1993, which is less indelibly burned into collective memory but stands as ominous prelude.
Thoughts ... jumbled in his mind. Had the car beside him exploded? Was this mob-related? What about that page from a calendar of biblical sayings he had stuck in his wallet that morning? Genesis: Do not be afraid.
Coughing and too dizzy to stand, Mr. Lang crawled through the jagged debris to a distant light—hallways he could see!—coming from what turned out to be his Toyota. He climbed inside to drive away, only to realize it was crumpled.
It goes on to describe what the ensuing eight years were like, and how he happened to be back in Lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001, and what's happened in the 21 years since. (NYT)
Who Owns Einstein? The Battle for the World’s Most Famous Face
Thanks to a savvy California lawyer, Albert Einstein has earned far more posthumously than he ever did in his lifetime. But is that what the great scientist would have wanted? (The Guardian)
The 20-Somethings Fueling a Stick-Shift Renaissance
There are some decidedly old school things about me, I admit. For example, the Honda CR-V I drive is the first new car I’ve ever owned with an automatic transmission. There’s just something about a stick shift.
Manuals accounted for 1.7% of total new vehicle sales in 2023, according to data analytics company J.D. Power, up from 1.2% last year and a low of 0.9% in 2021. The Autotrader marketplace reports a 13% rise in page views for new manual cars in 2023 compared with this time last year.
Drivers who are sticking with sticks say that taking control of their clutches not only makes driving more fun but also provides a counter to an increasingly automated world—especially as more buyers shift to mostly single-gear electric vehicles.
“It’s not a statement against electric cars so much as I’m going to try to enjoy the type of driving that’s the most fun to me until I can’t anymore,” says 26-year-old Lucas Marcouiller, an engineering salesman in Warwick, R.I. (WSJ)
High-Profile Art Couple Offers Worst Job Ever
Come to think of it, this is thematically similar to the story about the tutor, but it's just so "of our time."
Emily Colucci, a freelance art writer, “constantly, mindlessly” browses the online job listings hosted by the nonprofit New York Foundation for the Arts—and recently she found a doozy.
The point that really stayed with Colucci was the ad’s one-sentence synopsis of the job requirements:
Young Women are Criticized for This Vocal Tic — But it Helps Whales Survive
Vocal fry: you know what it is, right? If not, listen to how Kim Kardashian, Scarlett Johansson and Katy Perry talk.
It turns out many whales also use “vocal fry.”
Except the group of animals, which includes sperm whales, orcas, dolphins and porpoises, use “vocal fry” to help find their prey, according to the paper published Thursday. The study in the journal Science found the whales, like people, have at least three vocal registers:
A normal voice, a falsetto and that creaky fry.
Many who speak with a creak view criticism of vocal fry as sexist social policing of women’s voices. Among whales, the creaky voice is critical to the massive mammals’ survival. (WashPost)
‘I Inherited Millions From My Mother, and Everyone Knows’
A lot of people seem to think money would solve their problems. Actually, I guess my limited experience on the subject is that yes, it does solve some problems but it often brings other ones.
Anyway, this is a sort of agony aunt column but the question asked sucked me in, so perhaps it will for you, too.
My mother recently passed away and left me a lot of money. ... I know this is a lucky problem to have, but it’s also a very lonely one.
My question is, how do I wrap my head around this, emotionally?
How do I deal with the fact that everyone knows I have a lot of money now? Her obituary was widely circulated and mentioned her philanthropy and family background, so I’m pretty sure that even my boss and co-workers know. I feel like I have this “rich girl” tattoo on my face.
What I really want is just a hug and my regular life back. (The Cut)
Again, feel free to submit links I should share, or post one in the comments. Also, these links should all be paywall-free or at least paywall-overcome; let me know if that’s not the case for anyone!