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Dublin: 16°C Monday 14 June 2021

Sitdown Sunday: Online sleuths can't crack the case of an unidentified hiker

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

Image: Shutterstock/videokvadrat

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. Should Spotify Be Responsible for What Joe Rogan Does?

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was de-platformed by several major tech companies — including Spotify — in 2018. Last Tuesday, the Joe Rogan Experience podcast dropped a three-hour-long episode with him. 

(Vulture, approx 16 mins read time) 

I think platforms would do well to approach these problems with humility, especially at this early stage. It should be okay for them to say: “We’re relatively early in our journey as a publisher that is acquiring and promoting podcasts under our own name, we understand that there are valid questions about the kinds of podcasts are being distributed on our platform, and we want to think about what the rules should be for that so we can adequately communicate them.

2. A Nameless Hiker and the Case the Internet Can’t Crack

Amateur sleuths online have been trying to crack this case since 2018. 

(Wired, approx 21 mins read time) 

The story pulled people in. Everyone, at some point, has wanted to put their phone in a garbage can and head off with a fake name and a wad of cash. Here was someone who had done it and who seemed to have so much going for him: He was kind, charming, educated. He knew how to code. And yet he had died alone in a yellow tent. Maybe he had been chased by demons and had sought an ending like this. Or maybe he had just been outmatched by the wilderness and the Florida heat.

3.Life during wartime: how west Belfast became the frontline of the Troubles

Acts of state violence, and repeated official denials, drove some Northern Irish Catholics to armed resistance. But not everyone in west Belfast supported the IRA’s methods.

(Guardian, approx 23 mins read time) 

When the devices exploded, a fireball rolled through the crowded building. Those caught in the flames were burned alive. Others fled and staggered from the building with their clothes, hair and flesh alight.

4. Meet the Kim Kardashian of the 1890s

The story of an unexceptional vaudeville performer who turned a lurid tabloid scandal into national fame and a lucrative personal brand.

(Narratively, approx 14 mins read time) 

In her obituary, The Sun claimed she had been “arrested in nearly every city in the country.” Her five-room flat was not fancy, but it was thought that she had made quite a lot of money. There was talk that she had invested in Long Island real estate, and she seemed to own a lot of jewellery.

5. Can America Heal? 

From discussions with the man who killed Osama bin Laden to Nixon’s White House counsel John Dean, Gene Weingarten goes on a soul-searching exploration of the delicate path forward no matter who wins.

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(The Washington Post, approx 18 mins read time)

We’ve been here before, sort of. This country has endured shattering public divides, often coinciding with an upcoming presidential election. Which year you cite will depend on which historian you speak to. 

6. How a CIA cover-up targeted a whistleblower. 

After a US justice department lawyer discovered a “criminal conspiracy”,  leadership in the intelligence community weren’t happy. 

(The New Yorker, approx 33 mins read time)

He realised that C.I.A. officers and F.B.I. agents, in violation of federal law and Department of Justice guidelines, had concealed the information’s origins from federal prosecutors, leaving judges and defence lawyers in the dark. Critics call such concealment “intelligence laundering.”


Have you ever wondered what happens to an oil rig at the end of its life?

(The Guardian, approx 40 mins read time) 

When a drilling platform is scheduled for destruction, it must go on a thousand-mile final journey to the breaker’s yard. As one rig proved when it crashed on to the rocks of a remote Scottish island, this is always a risky business

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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Adam Daly

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