The Weekender | April 4th - 6th

Read about the private security firm G4S, photos of the Iditarod, watch a film about mountains and listen to the Alabama Shakes.

The Weekender

The Weekender is your guide and open thread for the weekend, presented by the fine folks at Viva The Matadors. Things to quote, read, look, watch, and listen to for the weekend. Let's do this.

Read about the private security firm G4S, photos of the Iditarod, watch a film about mountains and listen to the Alabama Shakes.

Quote

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go! (via GoodReads).

"You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!"

Read

This was so good. So good. This article is about the private security firm, G4S, but it is also a peek into the chaos that can be the continent of Africa. I know that I have thought about private security, but it always seemed to me to be some sort of company that were just mercenaries, and that’s really antiquated. Removing mines and all sorts of things and I guess I just had no idea.

The Chaos Company (via Vanity Fair).

The market is called Souk Sita. It occupies a junction of footpaths and dirt tracks in a neighborhood known as Khor William—a garbage-strewn district of shacks and mud huts inhabited largely by impoverished soldiers and their families, and centered on decrepit military barracks belonging to the S.P.L.A. Some of the children there—maybe homeless, and certainly wild—spend their days collecting scrap metal to sell to Ugandan dealers, who occasionally show up in a truck to buy the material for penny-on-the-dollar cash, or for ganja, a potent form of marijuana, apparently laced with chemicals. Routinely the scavenged metal includes live ordnance. That morning the Ugandan traders had arrived as usual, and—in the likeliest scenario—a boy perhaps 10 years old had accidentally detonated a medium-size device while trying to dismantle it. The explosion had killed him and three other boys of about the same age, along with one of the Ugandan adults.

Look

I have read more longform things about the Iditarod than I can to admit, I don’t know why, there’s just something compelling about it. We get the best photos of the 2014 Iditarod (via Alaska Dispatch).

Superlatives were seldom in short supply during this Iditarod, a race that will be remembered for its lack of snow as much as a pace that may see more than a half-dozen mushers break the record time of 8 days, 18 hours, 46 minutes​ established by Kotzebue's John Baker in 2011. Denali Park's Jeff King, 58, was on his way to a record-tying fifth championship Monday night.

Although the dogs didn't mind the bare ground, a number of mushers suffered on the icy, snowless trail that persisted for hundreds of miles. They pay the true price for hard and fast trails with broken bones and strained muscles. The strength and power of 16 sled dogs is unimaginable to most people. Controlling the dogs is nearly impossible without the braking ability snow pack gives mushers via their sled drags and brakes. Sixteen of the 69 teams that started the race in Willow on March 2 had already been forced to scratch by Monday afternoon, often due to the rough trail and the damage it inflicted on mushers’ bodies and sleds.

Watch

This satisfied the nerd in me and thought it was great. The Weight of Mountains (via Vimeo, hat-tip Kottke).

This is a short film about the processes by which mountains are created and eventually destroyed. It is based upon the work of British geographer L. Dudley Stamp, and was shot in Iceland. Physical geography and geology is an enormous and fascinating subject, and this film only touches upon the surface of the discipline. For those who wish to further advance their knowledge in this field, additional reading and research is recommended.

The Weight of Mountains from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

Listen

The Alabama Shakes all all sorts of awesome. I don’t know what they are, but I love the lead singer’s voice, she’s just great and there’s soul and southern rock and all sorts of different things that are interesting.

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