Saturday, December 17

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A year in the life of an oxycodone addict.

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How a Texas woman pushed for autopsy reform.

Clinical autopsies, once commonplace in American hospitals, have become an increasing rarity and are conducted in just 5 percent of hospital deaths. Grief-stricken families like the Carswells desperately want the answers that an autopsy can provide. But they often do not know their rights in dealing with either coroners or medical examiners, who investigate unnatural deaths, or health-care providers, who delve into natural ones.

Friday, December 16

The Best Crime Writing of 2011



Our picks for the top 10 tech stories of the year, including work by Ashlee Vance (Businessweek), Alex Blumberg and Laura Sydell (Planet Money), and Maciej Ceglowski (Pinboard).

See the full list.

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After decades of failed revitalization strategies, a town of 10,000 tries another.

Thursday, December 15

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On the recovery of snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who suffered a massive brain injury five days before the 2010 Olympics.

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James Wood on Saul Bellow:

One realizes, with a shock, that Bellow has taught one how to see and how to hear, has opened the senses. Until this moment one had not really thought of the looseness of a lightbulb filament, one had not heard the saliva bubbling in the harmonica, one had not seen well enough the nose pitted with black pores, and the demolition ball’s slow, heavy selection of its victims. A dozen good writers–Updike, DeLillo, others–can render you the window of a fish shop, and do it very well; but it is Bellow’s genius to see the lobsters “crowded to the glass” and their “feelers bent” by that glass–to see the riot of life in the dead peace of things.

Wednesday, December 14

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After the United States demanded the extradition of a drug lord, a bloodletting ensued.

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An attempt to recruit black students at Virginia’s most famous “segregation academy.”

Sunday, December 11

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The story of twin boys who became brother and sister.

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In the fantasy and superhero realm, the most chilling and compelling villain of the year was surely Magneto, who in X-Men: First Class is more of a proto-villain, a victim of human cruelty with a grudge against the nonmutants of the world rooted in bitter and inarguable experience. Magneto is all the more fascinating by virtue of being played by Michael Fassbender, the hawkishly handsome Irish-German actor whose on-screen identity crises dominated no fewer than four movies in 2011. Magneto, more than the others, also evokes a curious kind of self-reproach, because his well-founded vendetta is, after all, directed against us.
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The ascendant breed of grown-ups who are redefining adulthood.

This is an obituary for the generation gap. It is a story about 40-year-old men and women who look, talk, act, and dress like people who are 22 years old. It’s not about a fad but about a phenomenon that looks to be permanent.