Big Stories

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

gphoto28/gphoto28

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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