Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: Phineas Gage, John Green, And Supertyphoons

This week for BuzzReads, Laurel Fantauzzo reports from the most disaster-ready corner of the storm-ravaged Philippines. Read that and these other stories from around BuzzFeed and the web.

1. How to Survive a Super Typhoon — BuzzFeed

Odd Andersen / AFP / Getty Images

In Batanes, the northernmost islands of the Philippines, a small indigenous population routinely survives the most violent storms in the world. But in an era of unprecedented weather disturbances, can centuries-old methods of adaptation survive modernization and economic struggle? Read it at BuzzFeed.

2. Masala Dosa to Die ForNew York Times Magazine

Mahesh Shantaram for The New York Times

Rollo Romig brings the strange story of the man behind one of the world’s largest chain vegetarian restaurants. “His business model is so seemingly foolproof that the company has acquired an air of invincibility, even as its founder became sullied with scandal. As Saravana Bhavan went global, Rajagopal was charged with murder, found guilty and sentenced to life in prison.” Read it at the New York Times Magazine.

3. Women Say They Were Sexually Abused While Seeking Treatment At Recovery Home — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Sam Hodgson for BuzzFeed

A prominent evangelical Rock Church was hit with a lawsuit Thursday, alleging its addiction-recovery ministry leader has harassed and battered women at the treatment homes he operates. Jessica Testa reports from San Diego. Read it at BuzzFeed.

4. Still Paying for the Civil WarWall Street Journal

Michael M. Phillips/The Wall Street Journal (Ms. Triplett), Jerry Orton (certificate)

Michael M. Phillips discusses 84-year-old Irene Triplett, who still receives a Veterans Affairs check each month for her late father’s service in the Civil War. “A declaration of war sets in motion expenditures that can span centuries, whether the veterans themselves were heroes, cowards or something in between.” Read it at the Wall Street Journal.

5. Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous PatientSlate

Sam Kean on Phineas Gage: “His is the most famous name in neuroscience. How ironic, then, that we know so little else about the man — and that much of what we think we know, especially about his life unraveling after his accident, is probably bunk.” Read it at Slate.

6. How A Nerd-Hero Writer Became The Breakout Star Of This Summer’s Most Unlikely Blockbuster — BuzzFeed

Photograph by Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

A romantic drama about young cancer patients doesn’t seem like it would spur the same fanaticism as The Hunger Games. But, Doree Shafrir writes, The Fault in Our Stars — in particular, John Green, who wrote the YA best-seller — is proof that teenage feelings are special effects too. Read it at BuzzFeed.

7. Zac Efron Bros Down To Grow Up — BuzzFeed

Our teen idols are “all heart, no libido,” argues Anne Helen Petersen — so what happens when they grow up? An essay on Ricky Nelson, Rock Hudson, Zac Efron, and the impossible contradictions of masculinity. Read it at BuzzFeed.

8. The Rise Of Sadvertising — Fast Company

It wasn’t that long ago that advertising was built around being funny. Now, many advertisers want to make people cry. Rae Ann Fera explains what changed. Read it at Fast Company.

9. The Day I Started Lying to RuthNew York

Photo: Courtesy of Peter Bach

A beautifully written and unbelievably sad essay by Peter Bach, a cancer physician who lost his own wife to cancer. Read it at New York.

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Our 9 Favorite Feature Stories This Week: Troll Hunters, A Zen Predator And The Border Security Expo

This week for BuzzFeed News, Jose Orduna meets the men and women who sell technology aimed at keeping Mexican immigrants like him out of America. Read that and these other stories from BuzzFeed and around the web.

1. Tasers, Drones, and Cold Chicken: Inside The Multibillion-Dollar Business Of Keeping Me Out Of America — BuzzFeed News

Charles Ommanney/Reportage by Getty Images

My family emigrated from Mexico when I was young. Now an American citizen, I went to the 2014 Border Security Expo in Phoenix, where the newest military technology meant to target people like us is part of a booming industry. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

2. The DisappearedCalifornia Sunday Magazine

Illustrations by Clay Rodery for California Sunday Magazine

A must-read story, available in both English and Spanish, by John Gibler about the 43 students who went missing in Iguala, Mexico this fall. “Although it was neither an isolated event nor the largest massacre in recent years, what occurred in Iguala has struck at the core of Mexican society.” Read it at California Sunday Magazine.

3. Is A Georgia Prison Trying To Cover Up The Rape Of A Transgender Woman? — BuzzFeed News

Photograph by Matt Odom for BuzzFeed News

Zahara Green’s recent lawsuit against prison officials may reveal how the state is failing to protect transgender people — or even recognize them. Jessica Testa reports. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

4. The Zen Predator of the Upper East SideThe Atlantic

Mark Oppenheimer unpacks a sex scandal and its ramifications in the wider American Buddhist scene: “The many Zen Buddhists inclined to side with Eido Shimano will argue that, unlike in Judaism or Christianity, in Buddhism there is no specific sexual prohibition against fornication, or promiscuity, or adultery.” Read it at The Atlantic.

5. The Case of the Missing Wage Thief — BuzzFeed News

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed

David Noriega brings the story of a restaurant company that was ordered to pay millions in back wages to mostly immigrant workers — and then disappeared. Such situations are not uncommon. Read it at BuzzFeed News.

6. The Troll HuntersMIT Technology Review

Photograph by Anders Lindén

Adrien Chen on Sweden’s efforts to find and confront its trolls: “It is generally no longer acceptable in public life to hurl slurs at women or minorities, to rally around the idea that some humans are inherently worth less than others, or to terrorize vulnerable people. But old-school hate is having a sort of renaissance online, and in the countries thought to be furthest beyond it.” Read it at MIT Technology Review.

7. Inside the Buzz-Fueled Media Startups Battling for Your AttentionWired

Dirk Fowler for Wired

Mat Honan writes smart things about the future of publishing: “The question for news publishers is no longer how to draw an audience to their sites, it’s how to implant themselves into their audience’s lives.” Read it at Wired.

8. How I Grew Up on the Internet — BuzzFeed Ideas

Summer Anne Burton

Summer Anne Burton recounts her first 20 years on the internet: “I was 11 when I first logged on in 1993 — I’m 32 now — and I’ve spent the ensuing years invested in online communities at least as much as I’m invested in offline ones.” Read it at BuzzFeed Ideas.

9. Saskia Sassen’s Missing ChapterChronicle of Higher Education

Steve Pyke for the Chronicle of Higher Education

Saskia Sassen is a vaunted professor of sociology at NYU. Her father was a Nazi, an SS volunteer, and spent years after the war meeting with Adolf Eichmann. The story of how she’s reckoned with that — and the turns this story takes — is stunning. Read it at Chronicle of Higher Education.

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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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