Sunday, February 12

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Inside Instagram: How Slowing Its Roll Put the Little Startup in the Fast Lane

On the popular iPhone app.

Just the day before, President Barack Obama had signed on and begun sending out photos. This seemed like a real sign that Instagram had arrived. Obama already has accounts on Flickr and Facebook. He (or his people) must have seen something unique and wonderful in Instagram's audience, some way to reach people via that channel that it couldn't through others. When the President joins your network, it's news. And while it's great news, it can be the kind of thing a company isn't prepared for. But as it turns out, Obama is a fractional compared to Justin Bieber.

Saturday, February 11

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Whitney Houston: Down and Dirty

An interview with a young star.

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Earth Station: The Afterlife of Technology at the End of the World

A visit to the newly on-the-market Jamesburg Earth Station, a massive satellite receiver that played a key role in communications with space, and its neighbors in an adjacent trailer park.

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The Me Who Knew It

On Alison Winter’s Memory: Fragments of a Modern History, and issues of memory in the 20th century.

Underlying the compelling feeling that we are our memories is a further common-sense assumption that our entire lives are accurately retained somewhere in the brain ‘bank’ as laid-down memories of our experience, and that we retrieve our lives and selves from an ever expanding stockpile of recollections. Or we can’t, and then that feeling that it’s on the tip of our tongue, or there but just out of range, still encourages us to think that everything we have known or done is in us somewhere, if only our digging equipment were sharper.

Friday, February 10

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My Debt to Ireland

An essay on heritage, history and literature.

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How Your Cat is Making You Crazy

Jaroslav Flegr and his theory about Toxoplasma gondii, a parasite found in cat feces:

If Flegr is right, the "latent" parasite may be quietly tweaking the connections between our neurons, changing our response to frightening situations, our trust in others, how outgoing we are, and even our preference for certain scents. And that’s not all. He also believes that the organism contributes to car crashes, suicides, and mental disorders such as schizophrenia. When you add up all the different ways it can harm us, says Flegr, "Toxoplasma might even kill as many people as malaria, or at least a million people a year."

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Much Ado About Nothing

The legacy of Barry Levinson’s 1982 movie Diner.

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Welcome to Sealand. Now Bugger Off.

Inside the attempt to turn a World War II-era antiaircraft deck (that its owner claims is an independent nation) into “the world’s first truly offshore, almost-anything-goes electronic data haven.”

Thursday, February 9

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Where's Earl?

As the hip-hop group Odd Future rose to fame, their sixteen-year-old breakout star Earl Sweatshirt mysteriously disappeared.

(After a stretch at a school in Samoa, he seems to have reappeared yesterday.)

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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.