The Week’s Best Longreads for November 2, 2013

From the girl putting her life back together after being shut in a closet to Wikipedia’s brewing editor crisis, The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week.

11.02.13 9:45 AM ET

The Girl in the Closet
Scott Farrell, The Dallas Morning News

The story of Lauren Kavanaugh, who was locked up, starved and tortured for six years by her birth mother and stepfather when she was barely two years old. Kavanaugh, now 20, is still figuring out how to live on. A harrowing eight-part account with dynamic web design.

The Decline of Wikipedia
Tom Simonite, MIT Technology Review

The volunteer workforce that built the project’s flagship, the English-language Wikipedia, has shrunk by more than a third since 2007 and is still shrinking. And those who are left are unable to fix the problems that keeps Wikipedia from becoming a world-class encyclopedia—even by its own standards.

Should This Inmate Get a State-Financed Sex Change?
Nathaniel Penn, The New Republic

Michelle Kosilek, formerly Robert Kosilek—serving a sentence for first-degree murder charges—has lobbied for over 20 years for female hormones and sexual-reassignment surgery. Do society owe it to her?

Why is America Turning to Shit?
Yasmin Nair, The Awl

In this shitty economy, shit is implicated in a dense network of social, political, and economic relations between people. Whether you shit or whether you clean up shit, and how those functions are marked in material realities by the instruments in which you shit or with which you clean, defines your relationship to a fragile order. Some of us eat, shit, and die. Some of us eat shit and die.

Closer than That
Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

The assassination of JFK, fifty years later.

The Chinatown Bus Shakedown
Jim Epstein, The Daily Beast

The forced shutdown of two wildly popular budget bus companies was largely based on fabricated charges, to the benefit of politically-connected corporate carriers.

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