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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 4 April, 2020

Sitdown Sunday: 7 deadly reads

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

Michael Freeman

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.

1. My horrible aunt was murdered and stuffed in a food freezer…
… and then they made a film about it. Joe Rhodes on his family’s bizarre story (New York Times).

They really did find my Aunt Marge on top of the flounder and under the Marie Callender’s chicken pot pies, wrapped in a Land’s End sheet. They had to wait two days to do the autopsy. It took her that long to thaw.

2. Is Facebook making us lonely?
Stephen Marche on how new research suggests we’ve never been lonelier, and the ways it may be making us sick (Atlantic).

We know intuitively that loneliness and being alone are not the same thing. Solitude can be lovely. Crowded parties can be agony. We also know, thanks to a growing body of research on the topic, that loneliness is not a matter of external conditions; it is a psychological state.

3. My so-called ex-gay life
Gabriel Arana on being “cured” of homosexuality by a US therapist as a teenager, and what has happened since (American Prospect).

Late into my last year of high school, Nicolosi had a final conversation with my parents and told them that the treatment had been a success. “Your son will never enter the gay lifestyle,” he assured them.

4. Why do we love the Titanic?
Daniel Mendelsohn on our cultural obsession with the liner that hit an iceberg (New Yorker).

A teenage passenger later recalled that the sound made by the many hundreds of people flailing in the twenty-eight-degree water, drowning or freezing to death, was like the noise of locusts buzzing in the Pennsylvania countryside on a summer night.

5. Where did Noah Pippin go?
Mark Sundeen on the search for a Marine who did three brutal tours in Iraq, then disappeared into the woods (Outside).

“It was pretty weird,” said Lange, who has worked 29 years in the Bob. “I’ve never seen anyone sleep in the trail.” Still, Lange felt no reason to be concerned. “He seemed to be very fit,” Lange said.

6. How education could be on the brink of changing forever
Steven Leckart on the university professor who set up an online course in artificial intelligence – and found thousands of people enrolling (Wired).

There are students in 190 countries—from India and South Korea to New Zealand and the Republic of Azerbaijan. In Iran, where YouTube is blocked, one student cloned the CS221 class website and began reposting the video files for 1,000 students.


In September 2009, David Kushner wrote for Rolling Stone about a 15-year-old blind boy with acute hearing who found he could hack the telephone system – and ended up wanted by the FBI.

The knowledge enabled him to hack into cellphones, order phone lines disconnected and even tap home phones. “Man, it felt pretty powerful for a little kid,” he says. “Anyone said something bad about me, and I’d press a button, and I’d get them.”

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Michael Freeman

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