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Sitdown Sunday: The story of Kobe Bryant's tragic flight

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

Image: Shutterstock/Ovidiu Hrubaru

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. Scam calls

Many people worldwide are caught out by scam calls every year. But who’s behind the calls? 

(The New York Times, approx 25 mins reading time)

“Do you care about your computer?” he asked. He then uploaded a program onto her computer called Lock My PC and locked its screen with a password she couldn’t see. When she complained, he got belligerent. “You can call the police, the F.B.I., the C.I.A.,” he told her. “If you want to use your computer as you were doing, you need to go ahead as I was telling you or else you will lose your computer and your money.” When he finally hung up, after reiterating that he would call the following day, Langer felt shaken. 

2. Kobe Bryant’s tragic flight

The story of the flight that led to the death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. 

(Vanity Fair, approx 26 mins reading time)

Zobayan showed Webb the weather map and told him that he had a plan. The direct route to Camarillo over the coast was awash in red, signifying that conditions were too crummy to fly. But if Zobayan stayed inland and east of downtown L.A., he could duck through a pass in the hills, cut across the San Fernando Valley, scoot over a low pass, and descend into Camarillo from the east. The conditions still wouldn’t be great, and the route would take longer, but he could handle it.

3. Nancy Sinatra

An interview with the musician about her career – and how much she hates Donald Trump.

(The Guardian, approx 10 mins reading time)

Trump blasted out My Way again this month as he boarded Air Force One for the last time. Throughout his presidential term, Sinatra has advocated for progress on climate change, women’s rights and healthcare, and believes that Biden will change the US for the better. “We squeaked by [in the election]. I don’t know what I would have done if Biden had lost. It crossed my mind to move to another country.” The last four years, though, have taken a toll on her mental health. “I couldn’t believe that this great nation had sunk so low,” she says. “I’ll never forgive the people that voted for him, ever. I have an angry place inside of me now. I hope it doesn’t kill me.”

4. Trying to solve the climate crisis

A very interesting piece about a climate scientist who wants to do his best to help fight the climate crisis – but his efforts wreak havoc on his family life.

(ProPublica, approx 15 mins reading time)

Yet while Sharon was preternaturally contained, Peter was a yard sale, whole self out in the open. At 47, he worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab, studying which reefs might survive the longest as the oceans warm. He had more twinkle in his eye that one might expect for a man possessed by planetary demise. But he often held his head in his hands like a 50-pound kettlebell. Every time he heard a plane fly overhead, he muttered, “Fossil fuel noise.”

5. Chile’s stolen children

Thousands of children were stolen from their parents in Chile and adopted out to other countries. Here is Maria Diemar’s story. 

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(The Guardian, approx 23 mins reading time)

Diemar was deeply distressed by this news. She knew that her Swedish parents had acted in good faith when they adopted her, but now it seemed they might have been deceived. In March 2003, Diemar met the head of the Adoption Centre board, who, she said, assured her that mothers often conjure up fantastical stories of abduction to cope with the shame of abandoning their children. At the time, Diemar said, she did not exactly accept the explanation, but she did not press the agency further. “I didn’t know what to think or feel,” she said. “It wasn’t until years later that I dared to start asking questions.”

6. New theories about the Dyatlov Pass incident

Scientists have a new theory about what happened to the young people who died 60 years ago in the Dyatlov Pass incident.

(Wired, approx 10 mins reading time)

Over the decades, what became known as the Dyatlov Pass incident has prompted many a conspiracy theory. It must have been aliens that made the Russians flee to an icy death, as evidenced by the fact that some of the adventurers’ clothes bore traces of radioactivity. Or a Yeti had stumbled upon the camp. Or, more plausibly, the local humans didn’t appreciate the group’s intrusion on their lands. In the end, none of these were particularly convincing to the Russian government, which officially blamed an avalanche as the culprit, all those curious circumstances notwithstanding.

 …AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

A 2001 piece by Michael Lewis about a 15-year-old stock manipulator. 

(The New York Times, approx 35 mins reading time)

On Sept. 20, 2000, the Securities and Exchange Commission settled its case against a 15-year-old high-school student named Jonathan Lebed. The S.E.C.’s news release explained that Jonathan — the first minor ever to face proceedings for stock-market fraud — had used the Internet to promote stocks from his bedroom in the northern New Jersey suburb of Cedar Grove. Armed only with accounts at A.O.L. and E*Trade, the kid had bought stock and then, ”using multiple fictitious names,” posted hundreds of messages on Yahoo Finance message boards recommending that stock to others. He had done this 11 times between September 1999 and February 2000, the S.E.C. said, each time triggering chaos in the stock market.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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