The new republic

Phantom of the orchestra

For many years, Mamoru Samuragochi was considered the "Japanese Beethoven," if for no other reason than he was a deaf composer. Samuragochi's autobiography that detailed the story of losing his hearing and coming into his own as a composer was a best-seller and his albums rang up enormous sales for the classical world. But in February, 2014 he admitted that it was all a lie. The compositions were ghost written by Takashi Niigaki and he was not entirely deaf. The New Republic investigates the possibly true story that was previously untold in this profile. 



The Plot to free North Korea with smuggled episodes of 'Friends'

Marshall McLuhan once said, “It is perhaps not generally realized that a refrigerator can be a revolutionary symbol – to a people who have no refrigerators.” For a team of smugglers in North Korea, the 90's sitcom, Friends, is the symbol of revolution for a people who have no light entertainment about beautiful people with too much time on their hands. Using Flash drives the smugglers are bringing American media to the North Korean population and they believe it could have a profound effect on combating state propaganda.


the guardian

How Yarmouk refugee camp became the worst place in Syria

According to the Global Peace Index, Syria is the most dangerous country in the world right now. So when the Guardian tells you that the Yarmouk refugee camp is the worst place in Syria, it's going to be pretty horrible all around. This is not the story of life thriving despite a devastating situation, it's the story of life just existing in a bad place. 



The bomb in the bag

America's first suicide attack was perpetrated on Wall Street in 1891 and the subsequent repercussions caused a massive redistribution of wealth amongst the robber barons of the time. This is the story of the bombings aftermath which is a good enough read unto itself but if nothing else it's always great to read old New York Times clippings and bask in the strangeness of the language they used. 


al jazeera

Star Wars Desert Rave

The shortest of this week's long reads but this story is also a visual treat. Al Jazeera goes to Tunisia to check out the tourist industry that thrives around the sets from the original Star Wars. What better place to throw a rave could there possibly be? Plus your cursor turns into a lightsaber when you scroll over the photos.