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Feb 17, 2017

What to read this weekend: recommendations from the bunker

What we're reading: the search for Puzder's Oprah tape, meet the woman who humanises murders, hips do lie, how rich people literally see the world differently, and how to sell a bad book.

Crikey long reads

Josh Taylor, journalist

My tale of Puzder’s ‘Oprah’ tape” by Marianne Levine in Politico

“It was a high-profile domestic violence victim from the 1980s going public with the video that eventually led to the first — and possibly only — Trump Cabinet nominee to pull out under pressure.

“My search for Puzder’s “Oprah” tape spanned more than two months, two coasts and hours spent digging through at least 90 episodes buried in an archive for more than 25 years.”

Cass Knowlton, editor

Meet the woman who helps humanise murderers” by Elon Green in Mel

“Wynn, cheerful and salty, is a mitigation specialist. She is engaged by defense attorneys, mostly in capital cases, to investigate and compile the life story of the defendant. The material Wynn gathers, often heartbreaking and brutal, is used to convince the jury to deliver a sentence other than death.”

Charlie Lewis, journalist

Hips do lie” by Daniel Engber in Slate

“The secret of good dancing has just been revealed — get this — by science! In a paper published last week in the journal Scientific Reports, a group of researchers in England has determined exactly which moves make a woman most attractive. It’s in the jiggle of her hips, these experts say, and in the asymmetric swinging of her arms and thighs.”

Sally Whyte, deputy editor

Rich people literally see the world differently” by Drake Baer in Science of Us (New York magazine)

“In something of a dark irony, the respondents of higher socioeconomic status rated themselves as more empathic — a “better-than-average effect” that Varnum followed up on in a separate study — when in reality the opposite was true. The results ‘show that people who are higher in socioeconomic status have diminished neural responses to others’ pain,’ the authors write. ‘These findings suggest that empathy, at least some early component of it, is reduced among those who are higher in status.'”

Dan Wood, subeditor

Want to sell a bad book? Tap into Twitter’s network of ‘influencers’” by Amelia Tait in New Statesman

“‘GIRLS U NEED TO READ THIS,’ wrote Ashton on 25 Jan, followed by a crying and heart emoji … You don’t need to have been on the internet for a long time to realise that Ashton isn’t real. His profile was designed by marketers to promote various products, and the tweets are then retweeted by prominent Twitter accounts in order to appear popular.”

Bernard Keane, politics editor

How do we know her? The secrets of Margaret Pole” by Hilary Mantel in London Review of Books

“Margaret was a great heiress, grand-daughter of the Earl of Warwick who was known as ‘the Kingmaker’. Born in 1473 into a world of bloody dynastic feuds, she survived under the first Tudor and thrived under the second, until she and her family, long suspected of plots against the regime, were destroyed. The French ambassador said she was ‘above eighty years old’ when Henry VIII had her beheaded …”

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