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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. The last people in a ghost town
Wes Enzinna on the poisonous metals that have destroyed Treece, Kansas – and the two people who still live there (New York Times).

“Local kids used to skinny-dip here all the time,” Dennis said, grinning and pointing at the glassy water. “We’d see kids with sunburns all over their bodies.” But it turns out the kids hadn’t been burned by the sun, he said; they had been chemically burned by all the acids in the water.

2. Justin Bieber: man or boy?
Drew Magary went on a wild night out with the just-turned-18 superstar in LA to find out (GQ).

Aldred greets Bieber and pumps him up for the evening by ripping the sleeves off of his T-shirt while he’s still wearing it. OUTTA MY WAY, SLEEVES. This is clearly not the first time they’ve performed this ritual. It’s Bieber’s patented entrance move, his talcum powder tossed in the air. Being Justin Bieber means having an endless number of T-shirts to destroy.

3. One year after the non-apocalypse
Tom Bartlett tracks down the followers of doomsday preacher Harold Camping to discover what happened after the world didn’t end (Religion Dispatches).

His main concern was how his sons, who were old enough to understand what was going on, would deal with everything: “My wife and I joke that when my kids get older they’re going to say that we’re the crazy parents who believed the world was going to end.”

4. Inside Muammar Gaddafi’s spy machine
Matthieu Aikins on how the Libyan dictator used hackers and Trojan viruses to fight revolutionary activists (Wired).

Could she call him on his phone? she asked. Again, Mokhtar declined, citing the movement’s rules. She asked for his address. Sensing something was up, he gave her an obviously phony reply. The mask dropped, and “Isra” wrote: “You are a traitor. When we catch you we gonna kill you.”

5. Perfecting ourselves
David H Freedman on how people are using new behaviour-modification software to lose weight, gain money and change the way they live life (Atlantic).

The first thing Dan did every morning was step on a scale that wirelessly transmitted his weight to his computer, which automatically Tweeted any loss or gain to the other participants in Cameron’s program. Every time I saw him, he’d pull out his phone to read an encouraging tweet from one of them.

6. Why Toy Story 2 was deleted… twice
Matthew Panzarino on the strange history of Pixar’s iconic animated film, and how it was all lost – once by accident, and once on purpose (TheNextWeb).

“[Larry Cutler] was in that directory and happened to be talking about installing a fix to Woody or Woody’s hat. He looked at the directory and it had like 40 files, and he looked again and it had four files. Then we saw sequences start to vanish as well and we were like, “Oh my god” I grabbed the phone…unplug the machine!”


In February 2011, David Remnick wrote for the New Yorker about Haaretz, the newspaper that is ‘the conscience of Israel’, and asked: does it have a future?

As you walk in the main entrance [of Haaretz], you pass the split corpse of a pig, hanging from a meat hook. The animal is made of multicolored jelly-worm candies. “I’m not sure what it means,” Schocken told me, with his distinctively thin, enigmatic smile. There are slyly disfigured maps of Israel, paintings made of blown-up phone-sex ads.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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