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Friday, November 11

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Mercenary

The story of a professional assassin.

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Echoes from a Distant Battlefield

The battle of Wanat—the most scrutinized engagement in the Afghanistan War—seen from three perspectives: a dead soldier, his father, and his commander.

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The Social Graph is Neither

Relying on programmers to map real world social connections is like “hiring a Mormon bartender” and other observations on why our strange urge to document the nodes of friendship is doomed.

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After the Rapture

A profile of Harold Camping, a Christian radio host who (falsely) predicted the end of the world.

Thursday, November 10

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Interview: Eddie Murphy

It's a glorious thing, hearing Eddie Murphy say "fuck" again. Few people ever said it better – and down here in the basement of the stone-and-marble mansion he built on a Beverly Hills cliff, it's coming from his lips often enough to make Shrek blush. "Come on, motherfucker," Murphy shouts, over the throb of James Brown's "Hot Pants" on a formidable sound system.
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Newt Gingrich: Shining Knight of the Post-Reagan Right

Nearly three decades ago, Mother Jones profiled a rising star in the Republican Party:

The divorce turned much of Carrollton against Gingrich. Jackie was well loved by the townspeople, who knew how hard she had worked to get him elected-as she had worked before to put him through college and raise his children. To make matters worse, Jackie had undergone surgery for cancer of the uterus during the 1978 campaign, a fact Gingrich was not loath to use in conversations or speeches that year. After the separation in 1980, she had to be operated on again, to remove another tumor While she was still in the hospital, according to Howell, "Newt came up there with his yellow legal pad, and he had a list of things on how the divorce was going to be handled. He wanted her to sign it. She was still recovering from surgery, still sort of out of it, and he comes in with a yellow sheet of paper, handwritten, and wants her to sign it.
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My Hard-Core Obsession

Years of guilt and shame over an obsession with hardcore porn drives the Orthodox Jewish-raised author to meet the the personalities behind the darkest and most distrurbing X-rated subgenres and ask, “Do you ever feel guilty?”

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John D. Rockefeller: A Character Study

Ida Tarbell’s classic write-around of the world’s only billionaire:

He was a silent boy — a silent young man. With years the habit of silence became the habit of concealment. It was not long after the Standard Oil Company was founded, before it was said in Cleveland that its offices were the most difficult in the town to enter, Mr. Rockefeller the most difficult man to see. If a stranger got in to see any one he was anxious. "Who is that man?" he asked an associate nervously one day, calling him away when the latter was chatting with a stranger. "An old friend, Mr. Rockefeller." "What does he want here? Be careful. Don't let him find out anything." "But he is my friend, Mr. Rockefeller. He does not want to know anything. He has come to see me." "You never can tell. Be very careful, very careful." This caution gradually developed into a Chinese wall of seclusion. This suspicion extended, not only to all outsiders but most insiders. Nobody in the Standard Oil Company was allowed to know any more than was necessary for him to know to do his business. Men who have been officers in the Standard Oil Company say that they have been told, when asking for information about the condition of the business, "You'd better not know. If you know nothing you can tell nothing."
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SNL's Darrell Hammond Reveals Cutting, Abuse

GROSS: Let me stop there. You're talking about cutting yourself ... HAMMOND: Yeah. GROSS: ..with a razor. HAMMOND: Mm-hmm. GROSS: So I interrupted you. You're saying it does what? HAMMOND: Well, it creates a smaller, more manageable crisis than the one that has you gripping the carpet.

Wednesday, November 9

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Icon

A profile of Joe Paterno.

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Unfrozen

On the autopsy of a 5,000-year-old murder victim.

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What I Lost in Libya

How an academic found herself imprisoned by Qaddafi.