Friday, July 8

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As China’s growing upper class has pushed the price of ivory above $700/pound, a look at both the supply and demand side of the global trade in (mostly) illicitly acquired elephant tusks.

Thursday, July 7

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The last days of Spalding Gray.

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An investigation into The End.

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How the mall was born.

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The story of a Marine who saved innumerable lives, then got fired.

Wednesday, July 6

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On the oeuvre of Glenn Beck:

"The undisputed high point of Beck’s tenure in Baltimore was an elaborate prank built around a nonexistent theme park. The idea was to run a promotional campaign for the fictional grand opening of the world’s first air-conditioned underground amusement park, called Magicland. According to Beck and Gray, it was being completed just outside Baltimore. During the build-up, the two created an intricate and convincing radio world of theme-park jingles and promotions, which were rolled out in a slow buildup to the nonexistent park’s grand opening… On the day Magicland was supposed to throw open its air-conditioned doors, Beck and Gray took calls from enraged listeners who tried to find the park and failed. Among the disappointed and enraged was a woman who had canceled a no-refund cruise to attend the event." — from Alexander Zaitchik’s Common Nonsense: Glenn Beck and the Triumph of Ignorance

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Inside Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World phone-hacking scandal.

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The disappearance of a legendary scavenger could have dire consequences for a swelling human population.

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The jury room was a gray-green, institutional rectangle: coat hooks on the wall, two small bathrooms off to one side, a long, scarred table surrounded by wooden armchairs, wastebaskets, and a floor superficially clean, deeply filthy. We entered this room on a Friday at noon, most of us expecting to be gone from it by four or five that same day. We did not see the last of it until a full twelve hours had elapsed, by which time the grimy oppressiveness of the place had become, for me at least, inextricably bound up with psychological defeat.

Tuesday, July 5

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Before the viewing ends at 4 p.m., 975 people pass through the evidence rooms, many of them former students, survivors, and friends and relatives of the dead. Absent, as they have consistently been in the five years since the massacre, are Wayne and Kathy Harris, Eric's parents, and Tom and Sue Klebold, who raised Dylan. Although they live in the same Littleton-area homes they occupied on April 20, 1999, they have contributed virtually nothing to the public's understanding of who their sons were and why they killed.
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Next is "culture training," in which trainees memorize colloquialisms and state capitals, study clips of Seinfeld and photos of Walmarts, and eat in cafeterias serving paneer burgers and pizza topped with lamb pepperoni. Trainers aim to impart something they call "international culture"—which is, of course, no culture at all, but a garbled hybrid of Indian and Western signifiers designed to be recognizable to everyone and familiar to no one. The result is a comically botched translation—a multibillion dollar game of telephone. "The most marketable skill in India today," the Guardian wrote in 2003, "is the ability to abandon your identity and slip into someone else's."
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A Denver businessman’s revolutionary green energy company turned out to be nothing but a Ponzi scheme built to fund a lifestyle of booze-soaked hotel orgies with flown-in prostitutes.