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Survivor No. 3

Last summer, 12-year-old Kali Hardig went swimming in a water park in Arkansas and became infected with the waterborne parasite Naegleria fowleri, a brain-eating amoeba. She became one of the few who has survived the infection.
PUBLISHED: July 17, 2014
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6476 words)

Romance, Relationships and Religion: A Reading List

Emily's picks this weeks includes stories from Jewcy, Cosmopolitan, Buzzfeed, and Religion News Service.
PUBLISHED: July 13, 2014

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring Philadelphia City Paper, Buzzfeed, Edmonton Journal, Grantland and Harper's.
PUBLISHED: June 27, 2014

Even The Most Progressive University In North America Doesn’t Know How To Handle Sexual Consent

When a tiny liberal arts college in Canada is rocked by sexual assault allegations, none of the students involved feel as if their issues and concerns were fairly addressed:

Helfand said the school educates students on consent during orientation (although multiple students said the “workshop” consisted of a brief PowerPoint on Canadian laws) and recently hired a visiting faculty member to consult on related training and education. He reiterated that Quest allows students to switch classes and residence rooms even if complaints are unsubstantiated.

“It’s simply not true” that Quest students don’t feel listened to, he said.

But the students whose claims were proven false say there’s no more evidence they could’ve provided. Worst of all, they said, was that the school treated them like liars. The police couldn’t press charges when Carrie and Sasha called them, but at least they were sympathetic.

“If I was going to make something up, I would have made it worse,” Carrie said.

PUBLISHED: June 22, 2014
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3980 words)

Joe Dorsey’s Big Fight: How An Unknown Boxer Knocked Out Segregation In Louisiana

In 1955, an African-American boxer named Joe Dorsey sued the state of Louisiana for the right to fight white opponents. His legal battles would lead to big changes:

In his dressing room that night, on July 22, 1955, waiting to fight Andy Mayfield, Dorsey was nervous. He dealt with the butterflies in his stomach the usual way: He fell asleep. When he woke up, according to the black newspaper Louisiana Weekly, he strode into the ring and knocked out Mayfield with a left to the midsection in the sixth round.

Then he prepared for his next fight: Six days after beating Mayfield, Joe Dorsey filed suit. He initially intended merely to provide more money for his family. But not only would he wind up avenging more than six decades of wronged African-American athletes, he would also lay the groundwork to integrate musicians and performers in one of the most culturally vibrant — but racially divided — places in America.

PUBLISHED: June 20, 2014
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5147 words)

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Our favorite stories of the week, featuring Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Mosaic Science and Bloomberg Businessweek.
PUBLISHED: May 23, 2014

The Worst Day Of My Life Is Now New York’s Hottest Tourist Attraction

Nearly 13 years after his sister’s death, Kandell visits the 9/11 Memorial Museum:

I am allowed to enter the 9/11 Museum a few days before this week’s grand opening for the general public, but why would I want that? Why would I accept an invitation to a roughly $350 million, 110,000-square-foot refutation of everything we tried to practice, a gleaming monument to What Happened, not What Happened to Us? Something snapped while reading about the gift shop — I didn’t want to duck and hide, I wanted to run straight into the absurdity and horror and feel every bit of the righteous indignation and come out the other side raw. I call my mother to tell her I’m doing this but that she shouldn’t come, and she doesn’t disagree. I find the ticket booth, exhale deeply, and say the magic words.

PUBLISHED: May 20, 2014
LENGTH: 8 minutes (2224 words)

The Secret History Of Britney Spears’ Lost Album

Ten years ago Britney Spears said she was working on an album called Original Doll that she hoped would prove herself as a songwriter. What happened to it?

Over the years, fans have put together mock Original Doll album covers and created their own tracklists culled from B-sides and leaked tracks. Message board threads devoted to the album have stirred speculation and conspiracy theories, and every so often, users claiming to have a friend of a friend who worked at Jive would post an alleged detail.

However, multiple former employees of Jive told BuzzFeed they were unfamiliar with the album, and a source who worked with Spears during the time said Original Doll was never scheduled internally; anything Spears said about it was just her talking about her plans. She didn’t say much, just 22 words in a single interview, but Original Doll has become Spears’ Smile, the infamous abandoned Beach Boys’ album, and a fascinating piece of pop folklore.

PUBLISHED: April 27, 2014
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4125 words)

Looking For Tom Lehrer, Comedy’s Mysterious Genius

On Tom Lehrer, one of the most influential people in comedy who abruptly stepped away from the spotlight:

He began performing internationally in 1959, when the Palace Theatre in London asked him to perform the first two Sundays in May. “In England in 1959, you couldn’t put on a play, [on Sunday] so the theaters were closed,” Robinson recalled. “But you could put on a concert.”

Lehrer filled the 1,400-seat theater both weekends and was a big enough hit that they kept him on through the end of May, after which he booked several more performances throughout England in June and early July.

Yet despite his enormous success, global popularity, and the release of his second album, More Songs by Tom Lehrer that year, it was exactly at this time that Lehrer first told Robinson he wanted to stop performing. Lehrer has told friends and various interviewers that he didn’t enjoy “anonymous affection.” And while his work was widely enjoyed at the time, it was also something of a scandal — the clever songs about math and language were for everyone, but Lehrer’s clear-eyed contemplation of nuclear apocalypse was straightforwardly disturbing.

PUBLISHED: April 9, 2014
LENGTH: 22 minutes (5533 words)