Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: The Doodler Murders, Boogie Nights, And #YODO

This week for BuzzFeed News, Katie Heaney shadows a group of mortuary science students and contemplates the uncertain future of the death industry. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. Can the Next Generation of Morticians Breathe Life Into the Death Industry? — BuzzFeed News

Photograph by Andrew Renneisen for BuzzFeed

The young, close-knit, predominantly female students in SUNY Canton’s mortuary school are fascinated with our most difficult, yet unavoidable, subject. But when it comes to changing attitudes about death and grieving, are educational programs like the one they’re in part of the problem? Read it at BuzzFeed News.

2. The Untold Story of the Doodler MurdersThe Awl

Elon Green investigates a series of gay men who were brutally murdered in San Francisco — crimes that have never been solved. “From January 1974 to September 1975, The Doodler—or, as he was sometimes known, the Black Doodler, on account of his skin color—caught the eye of the Castro’s bar patrons by drawing caricatures and cartoons of them.” Read it at The Awl.

3. Who Killed Eddie Snowshoe?The Globe and Mail

Photograph by Fred Lum for the Globe and Mail

An investigation by Patrick White into the death of a man kept in solitary confinement, and the impact of solitary on inmates: “Solitary confinement is a counterproductive kind of harm prevention. Humans are social animals. We subsist on stimulus and response… It’s no wonder the suicide rate in federal prisons is seven times that in the public at large, with nearly half taking place in segregation.” Read it at The Globe and Mail.

4. Livin’ Thing: An Oral History of Boogie NightsGrantland

Illustration by Alexander Wells for Grantland

Alex French and Howie Kahn unpack the Paul Thomas Anderson classic. Includes interviews with Anderson, Mark Wahlberg, William H. Macy, Alfred Molina, the late Philip Seymour Hoffman and more. Read it at Grantland.

5. The Echo Chamber — Reuters

REUTERS/Molly Riley

A Reuters investigation finds that out of the thousands of lawyers who petition the Supreme Court, a group of 66 lawyers are significantly more likely to have their cases heard: “None of these lawyers is a household name. But many are familiar to the nine justices. That’s because about half worked for justices past or present, and some socialize with them.” Read it at Reuters.

6. Roy Choi’s Master PlanThe California Sunday Magazine

Photograph by Brian Finke for The California Sunday Magazine

Jay Caspian Kang profiles chef Roy Choi of food truck and Korean taco fame who’s now set his sites higher. “He wanted Kogi, the Korean taco brand that has turned him into one of the most well-known chefs in the country, and 3 Worlds Cafe, a health-food restaurant he helped open in the heart of South Central, to kick off a “revolution” in the ways Americans think about poverty, race, and food access.” Read it at The California Sunday Magazine.

7. How the NYPD Is Using Social Media to Put Harlem Teens Behind BarsThe Verge

Photograph by Bryan Derballa for The Verge

Ben Popper brings a disturbing report about how authorities can use social media to indict large groups of men as being in gangs — in this case to incarcerate a younger brother of one such member. “Social media evidence was at the center of the older brother’s case, and the the family says online activity figured into the arrest of the younger brother as well.” Read it at The Verge.

8. The Ice BreakerThe New Yorker

Illustration by Owen Freeman for the New Yorker

Ben McGrath profiles P.K. Subban, the polarizing Montreal Canadiens star defenseman: “There are thirty teams in the N.H.L., and eighteen black players. Yet only Subban, among them, is regularly booed by opposing fans when he touches the puck—a shaming honor reserved for a handful of villains in any given hockey season.” Read it at The New Yorker.

9. The Day My Estranged Father Taught Me to Ride a Motorcycle — BuzzFeed News

Photograph by Randy Harris

David Amsden’s life and career had been defined by his father’s absence. Now in his mid thirties, he went to complete a bit of unfinished business, and ended up confronting not his father but himself. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

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Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: Anonymous, Revenge Porn, And A Farewell To Joan

This week for BuzzReads, Ryan Broderick introduces the women who are fighting to criminalize revenge pornography. Read that and these other great stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. The Revenge Porn Fixers — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

This week’s hack of celebrity nudes may be the most high-profile example of “revenge porn” — humiliating women by spreading private photos. A dedicated group of activists, led by the mother of a victim, has been pushing for more aggressive laws, but can this really be stopped? Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. How Municipalities in St. Louis County, Mo., Profit from PovertyThe Washington Post

Courtesy of Missouri Department of Transportation

Ferguson exposed racial tensions in St. Louis to the rest of the world. But discrimination in Missouri goes much deeper: “St. Louis County’s unique political geography, heightened class-consciousness, and the regrettable history that created both have made the St. Louis suburbs especially prone to a Ferguson-like eruption.” Read it at The Washington Post.

3. The Masked AvengersThe New Yorker

Paper sculpture by Jeff Nishinaka / Photograph by Scott Dunbar

David Kushner with an inside look at Anonymous: “Anonymous might be the most powerful nongovernmental hacking collective in the world. Even so, it has never demonstrated an ability or desire to damage any key elements of public infrastructure.” Read it at the New Yorker.

4. The ForsakenRolling Stone

Redux / Via rollingstone.com

Many gay teens from religious families are excommunicated and cut off when they come out. Alex Morris reports on this horrifying, growing crisis. Read it at Rolling Stone.

5. Kristin Beck Is A Different Kind Of Transgender Pioneer — BuzzFeed


Lady Valor, the documentary that follows the former Navy SEAL’s life after coming out as a trans woman, pushes the envelope of trans representation. In this interview with Adam B. Vary, Beck reveals she wouldn’t have it any other way. Read it at BuzzFeed.

6. The End of Neighborhood Schools — NPR

Photography by Edmund D. Fountain for NPR

After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans turned to charter schools to fix its school system. Then a strange thing happened: “Amid all of this, in the past five years, the city has posted the largest, fastest improvement in test scores ever produced in an urban public school system.” Read it at NPR.

7. How to Get Into an Ivy League College–GuaranteedBloomberg Businessweek

Photograph by Damien Maloney for Bloomberg Businessweek

Can an algorithm tell high school students exactly what they need — what GPA, what SAT score, what extracurriculars — to get into any college? One San Francisco business is betting on it. Read it at Bloomberg Businessweek.

8. How “Empire Records” Became The Unlikely Film Of A Generation — BuzzFeed

Regency Entertainment / Warner Brothers / Justine Zwiebel / BuzzFeed

Engineered to be the teen-movie equivalent of the mid-’90s alt-rock zeitgeist, Empire Records flopped in the theaters, only to become a cult classic a generation later. For the first time, the people who made the movie talk about how it came together, why it bombed, and how it found its second life. Read it at BuzzFeed.

9. Joan Rivers Always Knew She Was FunnyNew York

Photo: Dan Gross / AP / Via nymag.com

The comedian died this week at 81. In this fantastic 2010 profile, Jonathan Van Meter pinpoints what made her so very great: “Expect nothing and you won’t be disappointed. This is the mantra of the pessimist and the persecuted alike, the preemptive strike of those who tend to paint the picture a little blacker than it is. And then there is Joan Rivers, the orneriest creature ever to darken Hollywood’s door.” Read it at New York.

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