Friday, May 27

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On the motivations and techniques of a prolific book thief who “built a vast collection of rare works, most of which he will never read and no one will ever see.”

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A commencement address to the graduates of Harvard Medical School on how their chosen profession is changing and what they’ll need to learn now that they’re out of school.

Thursday, May 26

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An attractive, young, pregnant woman disappears, her husband begins to act strangely, and one of the largest media circuses in history descends on the sleepy community of Modesto, CA.

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In 1983, I wrote an article about sex and disabled people. In interviewing sexually active men and women, I felt removed, as though I were an anthropologist interviewing headhunters while endeavoring to maintain the value-neutral stance of a social scientist. Being disabled myself, but also being a virgin, I envied these people ferociously
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On the eve of the release of The Tree of Life, a look back at the turbulent making of Terence Malick’s debut.

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On the life of an American soldier AWOL in Canada:

I asked him what it's like to have the entire U.S. Army after you, and he thought for a moment and said slowly, "It's like I'm carrying a heavy rock in my backpack." This is as close to introspection as McDowell gets.

Wednesday, May 25

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What IARPA's project calls for is the deployment of spy resources against an entire language. Where you or I might parse a sentence, this project wants to parse, say, all the pages in Farsi on the Internet looking for hidden levers into the consciousness of a people.
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The year of the revolution, from behind the camera.

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On being – and playing for - Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt.

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On the shared life of Tatiana and Krista Hogan:

[T]he girls’ doctors believe it is entirely possible that the sensory input that one girl receives could somehow cross that bridge into the brain of the other. One girl drinks, another girl feels it.

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On the soul of the commuter:

A commute is a distillation of a life’s main ingredients, a product of fundamental values and choices. And time is the vital currency: how much of it you spend—and how you spend it—reveals a great deal about how much you think it is worth.

Tuesday, May 24

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Why the world is becoming less free. The cover story from the June 2011 print edition of The New Republic, available on the web specially for readers of Longform.org.