9 Feature Stories We’re Reading This Week: Religious Feminists And The Most Expensive Scientific Instrument Ever

This week, we profile four women who are fighting for feminist change within their conservative religions: Orthodox Judaism, Mormonism, Catholicism, and Islam. Read that series and these other great stories from around BuzzFeed and the web.

1. Feminism in Faith: Four Women Who Are Revolutionizing Organized Religion — BuzzFeed

“Why bother? Why fight? If you’re an educated feminist who was born into such a religion, why not convert to another that doesn’t relegate women to a second-class status? For each of these women, the answer relates to not only her devotion to her own faith, but to her community.” Read it at BuzzFeed.

2.The Murders Before the MarathonBoston Magazine

A collaboration with This American Life, this stunning piece by Susan Zalkind examines a gristly triple homicide in Waltham, Mass. Two years later, two suspects were dead: Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and a friend the FBI say was about to confess — when agents shot him in the head. Zalkind asks the big question: Could the Boston Marathon bombing have been stopped? Read it at Boston Magazine.

3. A Star in a BottleNew Yorker

An ambitious piece by Raffi Khatchadourian about an extremely ambitious project: The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which is being built with investment from 35 countries and is the most expensive scientific instrument ever. “But if it is truly possible to bottle up a star, and to do so economically, the technology could solve the world’s energy problems for the next thirty million years, and help save the planet from environmental catastrophe.” Read it at the New Yorker.

4. The Story Behind the SAT OverhaulThe New York Times Magazine

Photograph by Brian Finke for The New York Times

Todd Balf examines new College Board president David Coleman, who saw a clear need for change: “Teachers, students, parents, university presidents, college-admissions officers, high-school counselors. They all were unhappy with the test, and they all had valid reasons.” Read it at The New York Times Magazine.

5. Where the Wild Things Go ViralGQ

Via gq.com

Zach Baron delivers a funny and surprisingly introspective profile of our colleagues, the Beastmasters. “They are the sommeliers of endearing animals. Ask them the difference between a household pet and an Internet star and they can tell you, precisely, the characteristics that make the latter.” Read it at GQ.

6. The Top of AmericaTime


Josh Sanburn discusses the Freedom Tower’s laborious construction, and its significance: “While 1 WTC may not be all things to all people, its completion signals that America’s brawny, soaring ambition — the drive that sent pioneers west, launched rockets to the moon and led us to build steel-and-glass towers that pierced the clouds — is intact. Reaching 1,776 ft. has ensured it.” Read it at Time.

7. Precious MemoriesESPN The Magazine

Illustration by Alexander Wells for ESPN The Magazine

A moving reflection about the beloved, longtime North Carolina coach Dean Smith, who’s now succumbing to dementia. If sports, at their heart, connect us, Tommy Tomlinson writes, “Here is the special cruelty of it: The connector has become disconnected.” Read it at ESPN The Magazine.

8. A Nun’s Secret Ministry Brings Hope to the Transgender CommunityAl Jazeera America

Photograph by William Widmer for Al Jazeera America

Nathan Schneider explores the grave challenges that transgendered Catholics face, and one woman who’s determined to do something about it. “Call this nun Sister Monica, though that’s not her real name. At the request of her congregation, her name can’t be used here.” Read it at Al Jazeera America.

9. Showtime, SynergyThe Awl

A witty literary essay by Matt Siegel about the performance that is courtship “It was an acquaintance and former editor of one of those gay lifestyle magazines who advised twenty-year-old me to tone it down if I ever wanted to find a boyfriend.” Read it at The Awl.

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Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: A Leprechaun, Jerry Jones, And Rowdy Retirees

This week for BuzzReads, Alex French spends a week at one of the fastest growing cities in America: an 100,000 person retirement community in Florida called The Villages. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. Seven Days And Nights In The World’s Largest, Rowdiest Retirement Community — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Edward Linsmier for BuzzFeed

Boasting 100,000 residents over the age of 55, The Villages may be the fastest growing city in America. It’s a notorious boomtown for boomers who want to spend their golden years with access to 11 a.m. happy hours, thousands of activities, and no-strings-attached sex, all lorded over by one elusive billionaire. Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. The Right Thing to Do vs. The State of FloridaSB Nation

Photo courtesy of the Darling family / Via sbnation.com

Thirteen years ago, 18-year-old Devaughn Darling died after a workout in a hot Florida State University gym. Michael Kruse asks why the school has refused to pay the $1.8 million courts say his family is owed. Read it at SB Nation.

3. The Rise of the Post-Clinic AbortionNew York Times Magazine

Photograph by Sarah Wong for the New York Times

Emily Bazelon profiles an activist named Rebecca Gomperts who is fighting to deliver abortion pills to women in countries where it is illegal. The crisis she’s combating is real and largely unreported: “The World Health Organization estimated in 2008 that 21.6 million unsafe abortions took place that year worldwide, leading to about 47,000 deaths.” Read it at the New York Times Magazine.

4. Eighty Years of Fergusons — BuzzFeed

AP Photo

The story of violent black protest in the U.S. is an old one, Adam Serwer writes — it’s self-destructive but it sometimes gets results. Read it at BuzzFeed.

5. Jerry FootballESPN The Magazine

AP Photo / Via espn.go.com

Don Van Natta Jr. on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: “After the 2010 death of New York Yankees boss George Steinbrenner, Jones assumed the mantle of America’s mercurial team owner, hell-bent on doing it his way and constrained only by a salary cap.” Read it at ESPN The Magazine.

6. The GlueGrantland

Illustration by Linsey Fields for Grantland

Phil Hartman is one of the most beloved actors in Saturday Night Live history. Bryan Curtis takes a look at his life and legacy as revealed by an upcoming biography. Read it at Grantland.

7. Schlocky CharmsEntertainment Weekly

Everett Collection / Via insidemovies.ew.com

Clark Collis traces the unlikely story of how Leprechuan spawned five sequels, a new reboot, and launched Jennifer Aniston’s career. Read it at Entertainment Weekly.

8. I Grew Up in a John Hughes Movie — BuzzFeed

Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Five years after the beloved — and perhaps underrated — teen-movie maestro’s death, a look by Jason Diamond at what it was like to come of age in the suburbs that inspired his fictional Shermer, Ill., but never quite seeing yourself on the screen. Read it at BuzzFeed.

9. Notes On An Eating Disorder — BuzzFeed

Justine Zwiebel/BuzzFeed

Larissa Pham with a beautiful, powerful essay: “I still tell my friends I am in recovery so they will hold me accountable.” Read it at BuzzFeed.

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Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: The Question Of Guilt, And A Pop Princess’ Next Chapter

This week for BuzzReads, Victoria Beale reports on two children who conspired to kill — and asks whether their punishments were fair. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and the web.

1. Should Two Children Be Imprisoned For Plotting To Kill Their Classmates? — BuzzFeed

Illustration by Adam Setala for BuzzFeed

In Washington state, a 10- and 11-year-old were sentenced to years in a detention facility after being caught with weapons and claiming they were going to murder other kids at their school. Where is the line between a childish game and a real threat? Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. Richard LaFuente Is Finally Free!Texas Monthly

Photograph by Alyssa Banta

Michael Hall first met Richard LaFuente in 2006, when he was twenty years into a sentence for a murder he did not commit. After nearly three decades of refusing to feign remorse before parole boards, he has finally left prison. Here’s why it took so long. Read it at Texas Monthly.

3. While the World WatchedESPN

Photograph by Imago / Actionplus / Via espn.go.com

Wright Thompson reports from Argentina, which hosted the 1978 World Cup, even as the regime imprisoned, tortured, and murdered tens of thousands of its own citizens. As another Cup begins, memories return. Read it at ESPN.

4. On the Edge of Civil War in Ukraine — BuzzFeed

Baz Ratner / Reuters

In the eastern city of Donetsk, friends and neighbors have transformed into enemies, and people on both sides of the conflict worry that there’s no way out from a slide to civil war. Mike Giglio reports. Read it at BuzzFeed.

5. Quack Quack Quack: An Oral History of the Mighty Ducks TrilogyTime

Jordan Kerner

“Like the fictional team, The Mighty Ducks film franchise was always an underdog, one that forced its way to three movies and a fiercely devoted following through dedication, passion and, as often as not, good fortune. Few would declare it the greatest trilogy in movie history. Many more would call it their favorite.” Read it at Time.

6. Why Nicholas Sparks Matters Now — BuzzFeed

The Notebook and the other movies based on his books are all variations on the same theme. But, Anne Helen Petersen writes, the reason you can’t stop watching them is more complex than you think. Read it at BuzzFeed.

7. Miss American DreamMatter

Illustration by Geoff J. Kim for Matter

Taffy Brodesser-Akner heads to Vegas and explains how Britney Spears has become a feminist idol. No, really. Read it at Matter.

8. Sitting is Bad for You. So I Stopped. For a Whole Month.New York

Photo by Chris Buck for New York Magazine

A witty essay by Dan Kois about a month he spent on foot: “If you sit down more than 11 hours a day, one study suggests, you’re 40 percent more likely to die in the next three years than I am.” Read it at New York.

9. A Party At The Last Magazine: An Exclusive Excerpt From Michael Hastings’ New Novel — BuzzFeed


Next week marks the publication of The Last Magazine, the late BuzzFeed reporter’s first novel — as well as the first anniversary of his death. We’re celebrating his work and his life with these chapters, chronicling a book party that totally in no way took place in the offices of Newsweek. Read it at BuzzFeed.

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