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sitdown sunday

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. Inside the hunt for Osama bin Laden
Mark Bowden on the real story behind the decision to kill the al-Qaeda leader. (Vanity Fair)

Efforts were made to gauge the man’s height by measuring his stride and the shadow he cast. The calculations were only precise enough to say this: he was tall and thin. But Brennan, a former CIA officer, had seen Predator imagery of bin Laden back in 2000. He felt he recognized the man, recognized the walk.

2. Yesterday, my daughter emigrated
Carlos M Duarte describes his feelings as his daughter prepares to leave Spain – a situation with many parallels in Ireland. (HuffPo)

Emigration is not new in our country, but we thought we’d left it behind in the 20th century, trading it in for international mobility. We thought that our young people would grow up and be educated in a modern, advanced country, a standout member of the European Union.

3. Unmasking the biggest troll on the web
Adrian Chen on the culture of  ’creepshots’ of women – many underage – on internet juggernaut Reddit, and the man who helped bring it to life. (Gawker)

On the phone, Michael Brutsch insisted he is not a paedophile, but was unapologetic about Jailbait. He compared the photos of underage girls he posted to Britney Spears’ sultry “Hit Me Baby One More Time” video. She was 16 at the time, he said—how was that different?

4. The scariest little corner of the world
Luke Mogelson goes to the place where Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan meet. (New York Times)

As I rounded the corner a man cried out: “Watch this guy! Get away from him! Watch out!” It was the second time in less than a week I was mistaken for a suicide attacker — a uniquely unpleasant sensation that I had not experienced anywhere else in Afghanistan.

5. Inside Google’s top-secret data centre
Steven Levy pays a visit to “the beating heart of the digital age”. (Wired)

A sign outside the floor dictates that no one can enter without hearing protection, either salmon-colored earplugs that dispensers spit out like trail mix or panda-bear earmuffs like the ones worn by airline ground crews. (The noise is a high-pitched thrum from fans that control airflow.) We grab the plugs. Kava holds his hand up to a security scanner and opens the heavy door.

6. A high-speed rail disaster in China
Evan Osnos on a horrific accident on China’s flagship train, and the perils of one of its proudest achievements. (New Yorker)

The collision impaled Pan on the brake handle, and it hurled Henry Cao into the air. His body tensed for impact. None came. Instead, he was falling—for how long he couldn’t tell. “I heard my mother’s voice shouting,” he told me later. “And then everything went black.”


In 2004, Guy Martin set out to travel around Europe – and find out what everyone he met knew about him, and how. He wrote about it for Condé Nast Traveler.

The ticket agent and I have a complicated little security dance to go through. Not all of it is digital. In her eyes, the threat I pose to this planeload of people is significantly lowered by the fact that I am traveling with my flaxen-haired thirteen-year-old daughter (of the same last name) and with my wife, of a different last name but still clearly the mother of this girl.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday >

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

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