Saturday, December 31

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Let’s Start Paying College Athletes

A step-by-step proposal for fixing the broken economics of big-time college sports.

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Mirrorings

The writer contemplates beauty and identity following reconstructive surgery.

There was a long period of time, almost a year, during which I never looked in a mirror. It wasn’t easy, for I’d never suspected just how omnipresent are our own images. I began by merely avoiding mirrors, but by the end of the year I found myself with an acute knowledge of the reflected image, its numerous tricks and wiles, how it can spring up at any moment: a glass tabletop, a well-polished door handle, a darkened window, a pair of sunglasses, a restaurant’s otherwise magnificent brass-plated coffee machine sitting innocently by the cash register.

Friday, December 30

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What Went Wrong?

How an up-and-coming Boston surgeon became best known for leaving a patient on the operating table while he skipped out to cash a check.

Longform's Favorite Finds of 2011

Longform's Favorite Finds of 2011



Over at Readability, our editors highlight the best classic stories that resurfaced on Longform this year. See their picks.

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Presumed Guilty

Tim Masters becomes the main suspect in a gruesome Colorado murder; he’s eventually convicted thanks the work of a revered detective. Then the case unravels: DNA proves another man committed the crime.

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A World on Fire

The story of eight young people who died in a New Orleans squat fire.

Thursday, December 29

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Drone-Ethics Briefing

The transcript from an lecture presented by In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture-capital arm, on the ethics of drones, military robots, and cyborg soldiers.

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#Riot

On the intersection of technology and revolt.

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Between the Lines

On the science of parking spaces.

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Little Boy Lost

On a child diagnosed with autism:

The worst part was that I knew he sensed it, too. In the same way that I know when he wants vegetable puffs or puréed fruit by the subtle pitch of his cries, I could tell that he also perceived the change—and feared it. At night he was terrified to go to bed, needing to hold my fingers with one hand and touch my face with the other in order to get the few hours of sleep he managed. Every morning he was different. Another word was gone, another moment of eye contact was lost. He began to cry in a way that was untranslatable. The wails were not meant as messages to be decoded; they were terrified expressions of being beyond expression itself.

Wednesday, December 28

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The Good Seed

A 21-year-old falls into a coma from which he’ll never emerge. His mother, desperate to grant his wish of becoming a father, has his sperm preserved. Two years later, after a fruitless search for other alternatives, she finds a willing doctor and tries one last option: carrying her son’s child herself.

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The Recruiters' War

Military recruiters reveal just how corrupted—and sometimes deadly—their job has become.