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Wednesday, August 3

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The String Theory

A footnoted inquiry into the physics and metaphysics of tennis.

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Enter the Cyber-Dragon

On a decade-long war:

Hackers from many countries have been exfiltrating—that is, stealing—intellectual property from American corporations and the U.S. government on a massive scale, and Chinese hackers are among the main culprits.

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The Bell Jar at 40

Sylvia Plath’s YA novel reaches middle age.

Tuesday, August 2

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Two CIA Prisoners in China, 1952–73

The CIA’s declassified account of the two decades two young officers spent as captives after being shot down over China during the Korean War.

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How Google Dominates Us

On how search and advertising became indistinguishable, the finer points of not being evil, and why privacy is by nature immeasurable. How Google made us the product:

“Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics,” wrote Chris Anderson, the editor of Wired. “It didn’t pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising—it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.”

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Death in a Box

The truth and consequences of reporting from a war zone.

Monday, August 1

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When Reality-TV Fame Runs Dry

Less than half a decade after The Hills brought them massive celebrity, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt are broke and his living in his parent’s vacation house. Their onscreen relationship was mostly fake, but the reality, as their current situation attests, was far worse:

By the end of 2009 (and the show’s fifth season), their lives seemed insane. Instead of riding bikes, Spencer was holding guns. Heidi’s plastic surgeries gave her a distorted quality, but she vowed to have more. Spencer grew a thick beard, became obsessed with crystals, and was eventually told to leave the series. There were daily updates on gossip sites about them “living in squalor,” publicly feuding with their families, and attacking The Hills producers (or claiming The Hills producers attacked them). By the time they announced they were (fake) splitting, followed by Spencer threatening to release various sex tapes, and Heidi (fake) filing for divorce, it seemed like they had ventured into, at best,Joaquin Phoenix-like, life-as-performance-art notoriety and, at worst, truly bleakStar 80 territory that could end with one or both of them dead.

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The Womanizer's Wife

How Anne Sinclair stuck by Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

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Getting bin Laden

The story of the Abbottabad raid, in detail.

Sunday, July 31

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The Madoff of the Midwest

How Tim Durham funded a libertine lifestyle—dozens of luxury cars, Playboy-themed parties, a plethora of failed businesses—on the backs of unwitting Ohioans, many of them Amish.

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Stumbling into Space

On why routinizing space travel has failed.