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Lottery Codes & Death Rays: The Best Longform.org Stories of the Week

Some critics worry that smartphones and tablet computers will ruin our ability to focus on long form material. To fight this trend, we will have the editors of Longform.org pick an essay for your weekend reading pleasure every week.

This week, editors Aaron Lammer and Max Linsky picked: “Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code” by Jonah Lehrer from the February 2011 issue of Wired Magazine. The editors shared additional long form stories below…

Here’s more about the pick: “I’m not the kind of guy who hears voices. But that night, as I passed the station, I heard a little voice coming from the back of my head…‘If you do it that way, if you use that algorithm, there will be a flaw. The game will be flawed. You will be able to crack the ticket. You will be able to plunder the lottery.’”

HUMANITY’S ENDLESS QUEST TO INVENT A DEATH RAY: A HISTORY” by
BECKY FERREIRA / THE AWL / FEB 2011:  “From the Greeks to George Lucas, 2,200 years of failure.”

“THE CRANKY REDSKINS FAN’S GUIDE TO DAN SNYDER” by DAVE MCKENNA / WASHINGTON CITY PAPER / NOV 2010: “We posted this piece a few months ago, and later named it one of the five best longform sports stories of 2010. But McKenna’s gem is back in the news this week after Snyder, the billionaire Redskins owner, filed a (preposterous) lawsuit against the City Paper for running the story.

WHEN IRISH EYES ARE CRYING by MICHAEL LEWIS / VANITY FAIR / MAR 2011: “How a nation went bankrupt. ‘Ireland’s regress is especially unsettling because of the questions it raises about Ireland’s former progress: even now no one is quite sure why the Irish suddenly did so well for themselves in the first place.’”

MY FATHER’S FASHION TIPS by TOM JUNOD / GQ / DEC 1996: “The writer on his father’s religious devotion to personal style. Among the maxims: ‘the turtleneck is the most flattering thing a man can wear;’ ‘there is nothing like a fresh burn;’ and ‘always wear white to the face.’”

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