Photo: sashko

Below, our favorite stories of the week.

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1. The Great A.I. Awakening

Gideon Lewis-Kraus | New York Times | Dec. 14, 2016 | 60 minutes (15,174 words)

The story of how Google developed artificial intelligence to vastly improve its translation service, Google Translate, and what machine learning might be able to do in the near future.

See also from the New York Times: “Tragedy Made Steve Kerr See the World Beyond the Court,” by John Branch

2. The Man Who Cleans Up After Plane Crashes

Lauren Larson | GQ | Dec. 20, 2016 | 18 minutes (4,683 words)

A look at the work of Robert Jensen, who has built an unusual (and successful) career cleaning up after mass fatalities, from identifying bodies to returning personal belongings to families of the dead.

3. Off-Time: Becoming a Widow at Age 36

Christina Frangou | The Globe and Mail | Dec. 20, 2016 | 32 minutes (8,122 words)

Christina Frangou writes on becoming a widow at age 36, after her husband Spencer died of kidney cancer, 42 days after diagnosis.

4. How ‘A Christmas Story’ Went from Low-Budget Fluke to an American Tradition

Sam Kashner | Vanity Fair | December 2016 | 20 minutes (4,905 words)

The history of a Christmas movie classic.

5. My Thoughts Are Murder

Pete Coviello | Los Angeles Review of Books | Dec. 9, 2016 | 12 minutes (3,232 words)

Still looking for some post-election inspiration? Try watching Heathers, and/or standing in front of a classroom. Pete Coviello pens an essay on “loving your students, hating your enemies, and Winona.”