Friday, March 23

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Native Tongues

The making of the “five-thousand-page, five-volume book, known formally as the Dictionary of American Regional English and colloquially just as DARE”:

What joking names do you have for an alarm clock? For a toothpick? For a container for kitchen scraps? Or an indoor toilet? Or women’s underwear? When a woman divides her hair into three strands and twists them together, you say she is_____her hair? What words do you have to describe people’s legs if they’re noticeably bent, or uneven, or not right? What do you call the mark on the skin where somebody has sucked it hard and brought blood to the surface?

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BuzzFeed, the Ad Model for the Facebook Era?

How the website mastered “Social Publishing”:

To understand some of the principles underlying BuzzFeed’s strategy, he recommends reading The Individual in a Social World, a 1977 book by Stanley Milgram, who is known, among other things, for his experiments leading to the six degrees of separation theory. “When some cute kitten video goes viral,” says [Jonah] Peretti, “you know a Stanley Milgram experiment is happening thousands of times a day.”

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Under the Desert Sun

Ed Rosenthal recounts the six days he got lost in Joshua Tree National Park.

Thursday, March 22

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Toxic

An investigation into Erin Brockovich and the lawsuits that made her famous.

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Beyond The Battlefield: Afghanistan's Wounded Struggle With Genital Injuries

"I remember lying on my side, dust everywhere, and I looked down and saw my arms were split open and squirting blood and I had just two bloody stumps above my knees," said Marine 1st Lt. James Byler, 26, who was blown up a few weeks before Mark Litynski. "My first coherent words to my Marines were, 'Hey! check my nuts!'
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Legacy of a Lonesome Death

In 1963, William Zantzinger was convicted of manslaughter in the death of Hattie Carroll and then immortalized – and somewhat defamed – by Bob Dylan. What’s he been up to since then?

Wednesday, March 21

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The Right Not to Know

One woman’s ordeal with Texas’ new sonogram law.

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Travels in London's Sewers

Joining the water company’s “flushermen” to tour London’s sewers.

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Jungleland

The changing landscape of the Lower Ninth Ward in post-Katrina New Orleans:

There have been sightings of armadillos, coyotes, owls, hawks, falcons and even a four-foot alligator, drinking from a leaky fire hydrant. Rats have been less of a problem lately because of the stray cats and the birds of prey. But it’s not just animals that emerge from the weeds.

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The Family Hour

An oral history of The Sopranos.

Tuesday, March 20

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How One Response to a Reddit Query Became a Big Budget Flick

An Iowa dad’s surprisingly short path from commentor to screenwriter.

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Slavery's Last Stronghold

An investigation into slavery in Mauritania:

An estimated 10% to 20% of Mauritania’s 3.4 million people are enslaved — in “real slavery,” according to the United Nations’ special rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, Gulnara Shahinian. If that’s not unbelievable enough, consider that Mauritania was the last country in the world to abolish slavery. That happened in 1981, nearly 120 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in the United States. It wasn’t until five years ago, in 2007, that Mauritania passed a law that criminalized the act of owning another person. So far, only one case has been successfully prosecuted.