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Thursday, February 9

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Obama, Explained

Taking the measure of the president, with a view to history.

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The Mystery Monk Making Billions With 5-Hour Energy

On Manoj Bhargava, who says he’s “probably the wealthiest Indian in America,” and his ubiquitous product.

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The Making of Gay Marriage’s Top Foe

A profile of Maggie Gallagher, founder of National Organization for Marriage.

Wednesday, February 8

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The World of Charles Dickens, Complete With Pizza Hut

On literary tourism:

Dickens World, in other words, sounded less like a viable business than it did a mockumentary, or a George Saunders short story, or the thought experiment of a radical Marxist seeking to expose the terminal bankruptcy at the heart of consumerism. And yet it was real.

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Tomorrowland

On Astana, the grandiose new capital that Kazakhstan built on the site of a remote Tsarist fort, and its striving young inhabitants.

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Escape From the Holy Shtetl

A young woman’s attempt to flee from the most religiously conservative community in America, and to take her daughter with her:

The critical battleground in the War Between the Grunwalds would prove to be niddah, or “separation,” i.e., when the menstruating female is considered “impure” and kept apart from her husband. “It isn’t just your period,” Gitty says. After a woman stops bleeding, she has to wear white underwear for seven days, checking constantly to see if there’s any discharge. Should spotting occur, the woman takes her underwear to a special rabbi who examines the color, shape, and density of the stain. It is he who divines when it is safe for the woman to immerse herself in the mikvah (ritual bath) and be reunited with her husband.

Tuesday, February 7

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The Vagabond King

When 25-year-old Valentine Strasser seized power in Sierra Leone in 1992, he became the world’s youngest head of state. Today he lives with his mother and spends his days drinking gin by the roadside.

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Upping the Ante

Protests against the Putin regime are already drawing over 100,000 in sub-zero weather; what will they become when spring arrives?

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Turbo-Folk Tycoon

On the Balkan musical genre Turbo-Folk, its ties to Serbian ultranationalism, and the strongman nightclub owner who brought it to Croatia.

Monday, February 6

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Animals

The night when Terry Thompson let his zoo-worthy collection of big animals, including lions and a bear, into the wilds of Zanesville, Ohio before shooting himself in the head.

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Three Trials for Murder

An unexplainable murder, double jeopardy, and military courts: the strange case of Tim Hennis.