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Dublin: 0°C Friday 23 April 2021

Sitdown Sunday: The housemates who found a lost plane wreck

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

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 housemates who found a lost plane wreck

In 2015, an article about a plane crash in Bolivia led Dan Futrel and his friend Isaac Stoner to decide to go look for the remains on top of a remote mountain. 

(BBC, approx 11 mins reading time)

Unlike most of the missing black boxes, this one wasn’t at the bottom of the sea, it was on land. It hadn’t been found, Wikipedia said, due to “extreme high altitude and inaccessibility of the accident location”. But to Futrell it just seemed like “a typical Andean peak”. “We were on the couch drinking beer,” Stoner recalls, “and Dan said, ‘Look, this black box is just sitting on the top of a mountain in Bolivia. Let’s go get it.’”

2. Quarantining with a ghost

Some people have been discovering that while stuck at home, they’re more aware of things that go bump in the night… what it’s like quarantining with a ghost.

(New York Times, approx 10 mins reading time)

In mid-April, Mr. Gomez was in bed when a nearby window shade began shaking against the window frame so intensely — despite the fact that the window was closed, an adjacent window shade remained perfectly still, the cats were all accounted for, and no bug nor bird nor any other small creature had gotten stuck there — that Mr. Gomez thought it was an earthquake. “I very seriously hid myself under the comforter, like you see in horror movies, because it really did freak me out,” he said.

3. How Normal People shows such good sex

A deep-dive into how Normal People makes its sex scenes so realistic and tender. (If you’ve already read three Vulture articles already this month, you’ll need to log in, or wait till 1 June.)

(Vulture, approx 15 mins reading time)

As they move toward Connell’s bed, their mood and rhythms change on a second-by-second level: Marianne’s bra gets stuck over her head, and both giggle. She stops mid-kiss to ask Connell if he “does this a lot,” and why he’s chosen her over the “plenty of prettier girls in school who like you.” He demurs, telling her, “If anything, you seduced me.” They laugh as they separately pull off their underwear, pause to stare in joyful disbelief at each others’ naked bodies. As they start to touch each other, they both stop to ask, “Is that okay? Is that good?”

4. Is Ronan Farrow too good to be true?

This opinion piece caused a lot of discussion and debate this week. [This might require a login]

(New York Times, approx 17 mins reading time)

Mr. Farrow may now be the most famous investigative reporter in America, a rare celebrity-journalist who followed the opposite path of most in the profession: He began as a boy-wonder talk show host and worked his way downward to the coal face of hard investigative reporting. The child of the actress Mia Farrow and the director Woody Allen, he has delivered stories of stunning and lasting impact, especially his revelations about powerful men who preyed on young women in the worlds of Hollywood, television and politics, which won him a Pulitzer Prize.

5. Patchwork pandemic

Another fascinating story from the Atlantic about how the pandemic is affecting different parts of the US in different ways.

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(The Atlantic, approx 24 mins reading time)

This pattern exists because different states have experienced the coronavirus pandemic in very different ways. In the most severely pummeled places, like New York and New Jersey, COVID-19 is waning. In Texas and North Carolina, it is still taking off. In Oregon and South Carolina, it is holding steady. These trends average into a national plateau, but each state’s pattern is distinct. Currently, Hawaii’s looks like a child’s drawing of a mountain. Minnesota’s looks like the tip of a hockey stick. Maine’s looks like a (two-humped) camel. The U.S. is dealing with a patchwork pandemic.

6. Can we escape from information overload?

That’s a question you might be asking yourself a lot lately.

(1843, approx 5 mins reading time)

Yet the spill of information and distraction that comes at us by eye has grown and grown ceaselessly for two decades, without any sign of a halt or plateau. DM! Breaking-news! Inbox (1)! This is a time of the scrolling, bottomless visual, when bus stops and the curved walls of Tube platforms play video adverts and grandma’s face swims onto a smartphone to say hi. People watch Oscar-nominated movies while standing in queues, their devices held at waist height. 


This week, news broke that Joe Rogan – the podcast host – was to get a very hefty fee for moving his podcast to Spotify. From 2019, here’s a look at how and why Joe Rogan is so popular.

(The Atlantic, approx mins reading time)

Few men in America are as popular among American men as Joe Rogan. It’s a massive group congregating in plain sight, and it’s made up of people you know from high school, guys who work three cubicles down, who are still paying off student loans, who forward jealous-girlfriend memes, who spot you at the gym. Single guys. Married guys. White guys, black guys, Dominican guys. Two South Asian friends of mine swear by him. My college roommate. My little brother.

More: The best reads from every preious Sitdown Sunday>

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