1. How Selling Out Saved Indie Rock — BuzzReads
Not long ago, the idea of selling a song for a commercial would have been seen as career suicide. Now, thanks to the music industry’s implosion and the rise of a new generation of artist-friendly ad execs, bands (like Tegan and Sara) can barely survive without doing so. But has the bubble already burst? Read it at BuzzReads.
A riveting piece by Jeanne Marie Laskas about a hit man who’s really working for the government. “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employs an army of guys like him whom nobody’s ever heard of and nobody is supposed to know about.” Read it at GQ.
3. Lead or Die — Fast Company
The story of one Marine Lieutenant Colonel who’s taken a regiment of Afghani fighters under his wing in an unorthodox fashion. “Treglia’s bold approach is now changing the course of events on the ground in Afghanistan. Indeed, it may be one of the best hopes we have for enabling the Afghan Army to protect its country effectively when U.S. troops withdraw in 2014.” Read it at Fast Company.
4. Should This Inmate Get a State-Financed Sex Change Operation? — The New Republic
An in-depth look at Michelle Kosilek, a gender-dysphoric convicted murderer who was allowed to undergo state-paid sex-change surgery — to much uproar. Nathaniel Penn argues that “much of the reaction seemed to question whether gender dysphoria is really a severe mental illness.” Read it at The New Republic.
5. The Amazing Origin Story of a Hollywood Wonder Boy Learning to Use His Powers for Good, Not Evil — BuzzFeed
The once-troubled son of a Hollywood legend, Max Landis has become one of the hottest writers in the movie business — despite his background, not because of it. How he got here is a wild narrative unto itself. Read it at BuzzFeed.
6. The Nazi Anatomists — Slate
In this somewhat disturbing article, Emily Bazelon reports on an unlikely historical lineage. The rumor that reared its ugly head during the last presidential election — that rapes cannot result in pregnancy — has its origins in the minds of sick Nazi scientists. Read it at Slate.
7. From Here to Paternity — Grantland
Bryan Curtis goes behind the scenes as Maury enters its 16th season. “Maury Povich is 74 years old. These are his savvy-veteran years. Back in the 1990s, a bunch of us watched Maury — and Jerry and Montel and Sally Jessy — because we were told they were bringing Western civilization to its knees. We wanted tickets to the apocalypse. These days, nobody much complains about Maury.” Read it at Grantland.
8. How to Spend Your Entire Income Building a Car that Must Travel 100 Miles on a Single Gallon of Gas — Longreads
An excerpt from Jason Fagone’s new book, Ingenious, about an eccentric and speed-loving Illinois couple. “I first became aware of Kevin and Jen during a phone call with an X Prize staffer in February 2010. A guy [at the foundation] suggested I look into Illuminati Motor Works, which is what Kevin was calling his project. ‘Battery-powered dreamboat,’ I wrote down. ‘Illinois cornfield. White guys.’” Read it at Longreads.
9. Over the Edge — SB Nation
Jeremy Markovich reports from an annual gathering of thousands on the highest and longest arch span in the Western Hemisphere, a bridge outside of Fayetteville, W. Va.: “it is, in effect, one of the only places in America where you can easily watch a BASE jump happen live, in person, and on schedule, every 20 seconds.” Read it at SB Nation.