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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.

1. The rise of the killer drones: how America goes to war in secret

Michael Hastings looks into America’s use of drones and the implications of that use on war, politics and public opinion (Rolling Stone).

Drones have also radically altered the CIA, turning a civilian intelligence-gathering agency into a full-fledged paramilitary operation – one that routinely racks up nearly as many scalps as any branch of the military.

2. Can you make yourself smarter?

Dan Hurley outlines a new project to succeed in what was previously thought impossible – the improvement of intelligence through training (New York Times)

How, then, could watching black cats in a haunted house possibly increase something as profound as fluid intelligence? Because the deceptively simple game, it turns out, targets the most elemental of cognitive skills: “working” memory.

3.Getting plowed

Selena Ross investigates the violence and sabotage behind Montreal’s snow-removal turf war (Maisonneuve).

The adjacent snowbanks were filled with concealed cinder blocks, which had smashed against the blower’s internal blades and sent chunks of cement flying all over the sidewalk.

4. Six degrees of aggregation: How the Huffington Post ate the internet

The Huffington Post won its first Pulitzer this week; Michael Shapiro has been looking into how the site embraced the possibility of failure to blossom online and how success was built on the ‘six degrees’ principle (Columbia Journalism Review).

In the years to come, much would be made—not all of it kindly—of HuffPost’s success in search engine optimization, or, as its critics insisted, figuring out how to stay a step ahead of the Google search algorithm.

5. The paralysis of stuttering

Francine du Plessix Gray reviews the centuries-long search for a treatment to alleviate stuttering (New York Review of Books).

Some decades later speech theorists came closer to modern findings, suggesting that stuttering was not traceable to physical flaws such as misshapen or underheated tongues, but instead was caused by faulty breathing and inadequate use of the speech organs.

6. How digital detectives deciphered Stuxnet, the most menacing malware in history

Remember the computer worm which struck Iran’s nuclear development programme? Kim Zetter explains how tech ‘detectives’ identified (Wired)

O Murchu began noticing weird clicking noises on his phone, and one Friday told Chien and Falliere, “If I turn up dead and I committed suicide on Monday, I just want to tell you guys, I’m not suicidal.”


The bravest woman in Seattle

Eli Sanders has been awarded a Pulitzer for this June 2011 article about the resilience of one woman who survived brutal rape and murder in her own home to testify against the attacker [note: contains court evidence some may find distressing] (The Stranger)

The reason for her sitting on the witness stand of a packed and sweltering eighth-floor courtroom at the King County Courthouse on June 8, in jeans and a short-sleeved black blouse, hands clasped over knees, a jury of strangers taking notes, a crowd of family and friends and strangers observing, a bunch of media recording, was to say: This happened to me. You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did.

MORE: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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