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7 deadly reads

Sitdown Sunday: Finding gold, fighting Big Tobacco, and what ARE you eating?

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. What are you REALLY eating?

Food Peppery Fruit Salad AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

This extract from Joanna Blythman’s new book is sobering reading – even fruit and veg isn’t safe from being tinkered with.

(The Guardian, approx 22 mins reading time, 4451 words)

The strapline for a product called Butter Buds®, described by its makers as “an enzyme-modified encapsulated butter flavour that has as much as 400 times the flavour intensity of butter”, sums it up in six words: “When technology meets nature, you save.”

2. King of Kombucha

Food Whole Foods Kombucha AP / Press Association Images AP / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

Who’d have thought an essay on the guy who made kombucha a celebrity drink could be so fascinating? Well, it is.

(, approx 25 mins reading time, 5300 words)

In GT’s view, the story of his company is rooted in the Eastern philosophies his parents followed (they frequently took their kids to a famous ashram in India), the family’s various health struggles, and his own altruistic intentions. His parents’ taste for homebrewed kombucha played into all those things, and GT eventually saw himself as a sort of conduit for spreading the love, the missionary of an almost magical elixir.

3. Finding gold

Philippines Typhoon Bullit Marquez Bullit Marquez

If you thought that gold mining was no longer a ‘thing’, well, you’d be wrong. And hand-drawn maps are still the way to go.

(Outside, approx 23 mins reading time, 4761 words)

Gold fever has always been high in Arizona. At the turn of the last century, one in five Arizonan workers was involved in the mining industry. In 2013, the state’s Bureau of Land Management office processed 7,326 new mining claims, bringing the total acreage in the state currently being leased to 923,052. That’s the second largest in the country, behind Nevada’s 3.9 million acres.

4. Michael Jordan’s future

The Oprah Winfrey Show - Chicago Charles Rex Arbogast Charles Rex Arbogast

If you thought he was gone, he’s not. Michael Jordan is about to turn 50, and he’s assessing his whole life.

(ESPN, approx 39 mins reading time, 7902 words)

“I … I always thought I would die young,” he says, leaning up to rap his knuckles on the rich, dark wood of his desk. He has kept this fact a secret from most people. A fatalist obsession didn’t go with his public image and, well, it’s sort of strange.

5. Journalism in the favelas

Soccer - FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group H - Belgium v Russia - Maracana EMPICS Sport EMPICS Sport

Rio’s favelas are huge, but the voices of the people living there are rarely heard in the media. Now a collective has formed to report the news that people need to hear.

(New York Times, approx 28 mins reading time, 5767 words)

Within weeks, Papo Reto had become a kind of signal tower for the community. Members of the collective received videos and photographs of police raids and bullet-riddled vehicles from Alemão’s residents via the smartphone messaging application WhatsApp. Papo Reto disseminated the images through group chats on the same software, or on Facebook and other social media.

6. Unlikely Airbnb hosts

Japan Daily Life Junji Kurokawa Junji Kurokawa

What does it take to be an Airbnb host in Japan? The country is still a bit of an unknown market for the company, and this look at the way things work there is oddly fascinating.

(New York Times, approx mins reading time, words)

 It was hard not to wonder how a company that’s disruptive at its core would be received ultimately in Japan, where harmonious unity — a concept known as wa — is something of a national virtue. How does a storm arrive in a place that’s phobic about storms?


Worst youth smoking areas revealed PA Wire / Press Association Images PA Wire / Press Association Images / Press Association Images

The film The Insider is based on this 1996 Vanity Fair article, The Man Who Knew Too Much, about the guy who blew the whistle on Big Tobacco.

(Vanity Fair, approx 94 mins reading time, 18869 words)

Wigand is under a temporary restraining order from a Kentucky state judge not to speak of his experiences at Brown & Williamson (B&W). He is mired in a swamp of charges and countercharges hurled at him by his former employer, the third-largest tobacco company in the nation, the manufacturer of Kool, Viceroy, and Capri cigarettes.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

The Sports Pages – the best sports writing collected every week by>

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