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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019
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Sitdown Sunday: Why did a man travel 200 miles to die on a hillside near Manchester?

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. The Body on the Moor

Remains found on Saddleworth Moor Source: Dave Thompson/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Why did a man travel 200 miles to die in the Peak District National Park in Manchester, England? There was no wallet, keys or any clues to his identity when his body was discovered. BBC News examines the investigation.

(BBC News, approx 18 mins reading time)

“I told him there’s not enough daylight for him to get there and back today. He just thanked me and asked me again for the directions, which I repeated to him. And he just set off.”

2. The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife

shutterstock_178468880 Source: Shutterstock/Renata Sedmakova

A controversial 1,300-year-old manuscript has suggested that Jesus Christ was married. The revelation could shake up the world of Christian tradition – Jesus’s single life helps justify celibacy for Catholic priests and women’s limited religious leadership. Journalist Ariel Sabar brings us a blow-by-blow account of his intensive, occasionally bizarre, investigation.

(The Atlantic, approx 56 mins reading time)

My GPS was homing in on the house of a man I thought might hold the master key to one of the strangest scholarly mysteries in recent decades: a 1,300-year-old scrap of papyrus that bore the phrase “Jesus said to them, My wife.” The fragment, written in the ancient language of Coptic, had set off shock waves when an eminent Harvard historian of early Christianity, Karen L. King, presented it in September 2012 at a conference in Rome.

3. The Spanish Story of a Russian ‘Illegal’

shutterstock_246706546 Source: Shutterstock/Andrey_Popov

The story of an undercover spy from Moscow who worked in Europe for two decades, using the front of running a business consultancy company.

(Politico, approx 19 mins reading time)

“I think it’s very important that you do,” the agent continued. “I have here in my hand your life.… And we must talk … because you are in a very difficult situation. If we do not talk now then I’m afraid there’s going to be a big problem for you here in Spain…. I work for Western special services, and you work for the Russian special services. I know this is a shock and I’m sorry that I have to do this on the street but it was the only way I could get to talk to you securely.”

4. Can Netflix Survive in the New World it Created?

shutterstock_275054123 Source: Shutterstock/Twin Design

When Netflix started buying the rights for TV programmes, traditional media had no idea how powerful the company would become. But emerging rivals like Hulu, Vimeo and Amazon show that there’s no certainty that Netflix will continue to be the main player in the world it created.

(The New York Times, approx 34 mins reading time)

“When the folks at Sony said we were going to be on Netflix, I didn’t really know what that meant,” Vince Gilligan, the creator of “Breaking Bad,” told me. “I knew Netflix was a company that sent you DVDs in the mail. I didn’t even know what streaming was.” Gilligan quickly found out. “It really kicked our viewership into high gear,” he says. As Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson, put it to me: “‘Breaking Bad’ was 10 times more popular once it started streaming on Netflix.”

5. Becoming Zoey Tur

Zoey_Tur_Inside_Edition Source: Wikipedia.org

Bob Tur, the famous LA news reporter who operated from a helicopter, was recognised as the ultimate alpha male. He frequently saved people during his work and received numerous awards for his bravery and journalistic professionalism – and he knew deep down that he was a woman.

(Los Angeles Magazine, approx 30 mins reading time)

At this, the height of his career, when men would stop him on the street to shake his hand and when women would proposition him, Bob was careful not to get too close to anybody. Zoey explains why: “Because then they might find out about you, that you’re a fraud. I always felt like a fraud.” The macho helicopter newsman? He was a fictional construct, Zoey says now, conceived by a man who at his core was a woman, whose male body had been in conflict with his female consciousness for as long as he could remember.

6. The Invisible Forces Behind All of Our Decision-Making

shutterstock_357891440 Source: Shutterstock/Kikovic

From the rise of Ugg boots to mimicking your partner’s facial expressions, author Jonah Berger explains why we follow the crowd – often without even realising.

(Longreads, approx 20 mins reading time)

I’m from the D.C. area originally, and have a friend who’s a lawyer there. I was talking to him, and he was complaining that all D.C. lawyers drive BMWs—when they make it, they go out and buy a BMW. He said, “Look at how D.C. lawyers are all conformists.” I pointed out that he had actually himself just bought a BMW. And he said, “No, no, but I bought a blue one. Everyone else buys gray ones.”

…A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…

shutterstock_340795763 Source: Shutterstock/JPL Designs

Hamilton is a Broadway phenomenon and Lin-Manuel, who scripted and composed it, currently stars in it eight times a week. The musical uses hip-hop music to tell the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton. The face value of a premium ticket is just under €700, and resale prices are often triple that. But how did Hamilton come to capture the imagination of so many people?

(Fast Company, approx 19 minutes reading time)

So he decided to try out this approach—in front of the president and First Lady. At first, Miranda had been thinking of Hamilton as a concept album, a rap symphony about the founding fathers and their dreams of rebellion, freedom, and moguldom. When he told the crowd at the White House that he was working on this project, everyone giggled, including the Obamas—it seemed like a lark. But then he launched into verse: “How does a bastard, orphan, son of a whore and a / Scotsman, dropped in the middle of a forgotten / Spot in the Caribbean by Providence, impoverished, in squalor / Grow up to be a hero and a scholar?”

With additional reporting by Aoife Barry

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday

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About the author:

Roisin Nestor

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