Sightline Weekly readers: we accidentally linked to the 9/9 edition of Weekend Reading, when we meant to link to today’s. Read today’s (9/16) Weekend Reading here.


Like many, I watched with acute interest the tar-sands pipeline protests in Washington, DC, which wrapped up last weekend. (Photos here.)

Last week, nearly every major environmental group in the country signed on to a letter demanding President Obama deny the pipeline permit. “There is not an inch of daylight between our policy position on the Keystone XL pipeline, and those of the protesters being arrested daily outside the White House,” wrote the groups in their letter.

What few in the Northwest states realize is that plans are afoot to bring tar-sands oil into Cascadia through a new pipeline proposed for northern British Columbia and also possibly through an existing pipeline that connects the Alberta oil fields with greater Vancouver, BC, and then western Washington.

For simple fascination—mathematical, pecuniary, and psychological—I recommend this Harper’s article by Nathaniel Rich on the winningest lottery winner ever (subscription required). Luck or criminal genius? If there’s a lesson, it’s the same one Freakonomics taught: people will try hard to game any system, especially when money is at stake.

Eric dP:

The prose is occasionally a bit purple, but by far the most important thing I read this week was Mike Lofgren’s cold-eyed examination of the state of American politics. He pays particular attention to the rottenness now evident in the  Republican party, which he argues (rightly, I think) is enabled and abetted by the news media and the Democrats. If you’re alarmed by the last couple of years in American history, make a point of checking it out: “Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult.”

In lighter news, I enjoyed Ken Kurson’s nostalgia-inducing piece on Seattle’s music scene during the ’80s and ’90s. And of course every outdoor enthusiast should be sure to check out Slate, where Brian Palmer answers the age-old question, “if your limb becomes trapped, how long should you wait before cutting it off?”


The mock-German burg of Leavenworth, WA earns the number 4 spot on The Infrastructurist list of “Ripoff Cities” — places that are “carbon copies of…other cities and towns” — edged out by the unrelenting kitsch of Las Vegas, Lyon-Dubai, and Thames-Shanghai.   I actually have a lot of affection for Leavenworth — it works well enough as a walkable town in the high mountains that I’m not sure why more cities haven’t tried something similar. (Maybe they’re afraid of being mocked by The Infrastructurist.)

MIT releases open software for urban design.

A 15,000 page mathematical proof?!

A moving photo essay of the union protest at the Port of Longview.