1. The Royal Prank: How a Crank Call Became a Tragedy — BuzzFeed
When a pair of Australian DJs went viral by prank calling the London hospital treating Kate Middleton last December, they were lionized at home and vilified in the U.K. Then the nurse who answered the phone committed suicide amid the outrage, raising questions about mental health, privacy, and the very definition of a joke. Read it at BuzzFeed.
Do not miss read Chris Heath’s horrific, riveting profile of Sture Bergwall, a.k.a. Thomas Quick, whose unspeakable crimes — stabbings, stranglings, rape, incest, cannibalism — he confessed to nearly anyone who would listen for years. He now has something new to confess. Read it at GQ.
3. When the NSA Comes to Town — BuzzFeed
For the people in Bluffdale, Utah, home of the NSA’s massive data center, the agency’s scandals carry special meaning. Justine Sharrock reports on the NSA’s tense, worrying relationship with its small-town hosts. Read it at BuzzFeed.
4. Has Carl June Found a Key to Fighting Cancer? — Philadelphia Magazine
Walter Keller had nearly lost his battle with leukemia. But a group of Penn researchers led by Carl June weren’t about to give up on Keller. Jason Fagone discusses the discovery that might be a huge breakthrough for medicine. Read it at Philadelphia Magazine.
5. Confessions of a Google Glass Explorer — The New Yorker
Gary Shteyngart tests out Google Glass and becomes a “Glasshole.” What’s it like when the future is sitting an inch in front of your face? Read it at The New Yorker.
6. The Trouble with Johnny — ESPN The Magazine
Wright Thompson asks whether Heisman winner Johnny Manziel’s fame — and the scandal that comes with it — will derail his burgeoning career: “Will he grow to understand and manage it? Or will he crumble, becoming a trivia answer or a cautionary tale?” Read it at ESPN The Magazine.
7. The Cost of Becoming a Superhero — BuzzFeed
Adam B. Vary explains why the 5,000-calorie diets and punishing workout routines actors go through to transform into comic book heros could be more harmful than Kryptonite. “The process of getting that body is fraught with real risks to both that actor’s short- and long-term health.” Read it at BuzzFeed.
The story of the man who killed Abraham Lincoln. “A vaunted stage actor, John Wilkes Booth, killed him believing the death would revitalize the Southern cause. It didn’t, and Booth was hunted and himself killed. He died paralyzed and helpless, unable even to lift his hands. Or did he?” Read it at The Verge.
9. ‘Beyond the Tree Line’ — The New York Times
Pulitzer-prize winner John Branch returns to his “Lady Jaguars” series, a portrait of rural life in Tennessee vis-à-vis players for a court-mandated girl’s basketball team with a terrible losing streak. A year later, he looks at their challenging lives after the school. Read it at The New York Times.