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.

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The Virgin Father

The 34-year-old virgin father-of-15 at the forefront of the controversial DIY sperm donation movement.

Sunday, February 5

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The Most Famous Story We Never Told

Sixty-nine years after publication, Fortune revisits “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men” – a story it commissioned but did not run.

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The Moral Equivalent to Football

A former first-string tackle considers the green zone as a war zone:

Just as football has evolved in accordance with the evolving business ethic of American society, so has it evolved in accordance with the changing strategic assumptions about war. The development (or rebirth) of the T-formation in football coincided almost exactly with the development of a new era of mobility and speed in warfare best exemplified in the Blitzkrieg tactics of the German armies in Europe in 1939-40. The T-formation soon overwhelmed the “Maginot Line” mentality of traditional football, based as it was on rigid lines and massive concentrations of defensive and offensive power.