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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. Barack Obama: young and in love
David Maraniss tells the story of the US president’s romance as a 22-year-old (Vanity Fair).

The party in the sixth-floor apartment was well under way when Genevieve arrived: lights dim, Ella Fitzgerald playing on the stereo, chattering people, arty types, recent college grads, some in the publishing world, none of whom she knew except the host [...] Standing in the kitchen was a guy named Barack, wearing blue jeans, T-shirt, dark leather jacket.

2. Can a nine-year-old be a psychopath?
Jennifer Kahn on one family’s story – and how some experts believe psychopaths can be identified in nursery school (New York Times).

“Going somewhere, staying somewhere — anything would set him off,” Miguel said. These furies lasted well beyond toddlerhood. At 8, Michael would still fly into a rage when Anne or Miguel tried to get him ready for school, punching the wall and kicking holes in the door.

3. How to end this depression
Paul Krugman gives his recipe for putting an end to the slump (New York Review of Books).

The depression we’re in is essentially gratuitous: we don’t need to be suffering so much pain and destroying so many lives. We could end it both more easily and more quickly than anyone imagines.

4. The stalking of a hip-hop superstar
Joshua Davis on the online war waged against Korean rap phenomenon Daniel Lee (Wired).

In a six-paragraph rant, Cho went on to accuse Lee of inflating his IQ score and falsely claiming to be a top student in high school and college. Lee, he wrote, was even a screwup as a kid and got kicked out of middle school. “For the record, this is not jealousy,” Cho added.

5. How Mark Zuckerberg grew up
Henry Blodget on how the “billionaire boy-man” confounded observers by turning his company into a successful giant (New York Magazine).

MySpace was the last company that had a real shot at stopping Facebook. By 2005, it had more than 5 million users; Facebook hadn’t yet reached 1 million. For a while after News Corp. bought MySpace in 2005 for nearly $600 million, it kept growing.

6. Hacking the Earth to stop global warming
Michael Specter on the ambitious engineers hoping to use advanced technology to halt climate change (New Yorker).

They range from plausible to absurd. There have been proposals to send mirrors, sunshades, and parasols into space. Recently, the scientific entrepreneur Nathan Myhrvold, whose company Intellectual Ventures has invested in several geoengineering ideas, said that we could cool the earth by stirring the seas.


In January 2011, Yudhijit Bhattacharjee wrote for Wired about how a remote Romanian town has become Cybercrime Central.

Boyish, dressed in shorts, a light-blue polo shirt, and flip-flops, he looks more like a college student than a criminal mastermind. Despite the reputation of Râmnicu Vâlcea’s underworld as relatively free of violence, he has brought along some muscle—a young man in dark glasses with a big tattoo on his arm. The bodyguard slams a beer bottle down on the table.

MORE: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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