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Sitdown Sunday 7 deadly reads

The very best of the week’s writing from around the web.

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair. We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour this Sunday.

1. Pre-Occupied
Mattathias Schwarz on the haphazard beginnings of Occupy Wall Street, and what might lie ahead for the movement (New Yorker).

Lasn is sixty-nine years old and lives with his wife on a five-acre farm outside Vancouver. He has thinning white hair and the small eyes of a bulldog. In a lilting voice, he speaks of “a dark age coming for humanity” and of “killing capitalism,” alternating gusts of passion with gentle laughter.

2. Is it possible to teach good sex?
Laurie Abraham on the pioneering teacher introducing pleasure to the perils of sex education (New York Times)

“Now, ‘grand slam’ has a bunch of different meanings,” replied Vernacchio, who has a master’s degree in human sexuality. “Some people say it’s an orgy, some people say grand slam is a one-night stand. Other stuff?”

3. The rise and fall of Bitcoin
Benjamin Wallace on the mysterious emergence of a universal online currency, and the search for the man who created it (Wired).

Someone started selling I AM SATOSHI NAKAMOTO T-shirts. Disciples lobbied to name the smallest fractional denomination of a bitcoin a “satoshi.” There was Satoshi-themed fan fiction and manga art. And bitcoiners continued to ponder his mystery. Some speculated that he had died.

4. How to be a New Yorker
Jen Doll writes a love letter to her adopted home city, and all its faults (Village Voice).

In that first New York City apartment, not once but twice, cops came to bust brothels operating on our floor. When they attempted to batter down our door instead of our neighbors’, we opened up, pointed them in the right direction, and explained cheerily, “Oh, we’re not hookers!”

5. My childhood with a guru
Elizabeth Kadetsky on growing up with a mother under the sway of a self-help teacher  (Guernica).

“It’s true there’s no food in the cupboard,” I said, after a while. “Yes there is,” said my mother. “You just think there’s no food.”
“But there isn’t.” I showed her an open cupboard in the kitchen.

6. The war on terror’s secret weapon
Ashlee Vance and Brad Stone on the Silicon Valley firm that collects terrorist threats – and makes movie spy computers a reality (Business Week).

Karp acknowledges that to outsiders, Palantir’s Middle-earth-meets-National Security Agency culture can seem a bit much. “One of my investors asked me, ‘Is this a company or a cult?’ ” he says. “Well, I don’t seem to be living like a cult leader.”


In January 1979, Tim Cahill pieced together the aftermath of the Jonestown Massacre – the notorious Kool-Aid deaths – for Rolling Stone.

From the helicopter it looked as if there were a lot of brightly colored specks around the main building. At 300 feet the smell hit. The chopper landed on a rise, out of sight of the bodies. Other reporters tied handkerchiefs over their faces. Chapman didn’t have one, so he used a chamois rag. It turned out to be a good idea.

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