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Lessons From the Freeh Report, Amazon’s Same-Day Delivery, and Debating Sitting Versus Standing

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Jerry Sandusky

Jerry Sandusky

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

The Most Damning Verdict: Louis Freeh’s investigation of Penn State reveals two things: Joe Paterno must have known, and former university president Graham Spanier must be held accountable,” by Emily Bazelon and Josh Levin. The writers review Freeh’s damning report that details how Penn State officials failed to show empathy for Sandusky victims or take steps to stop the abuse. Also see Levin’s piece on why Penn State should cancel its football program for a few seasons.

The Chickens and the Bulls: The rise and incredible fall of a vicious extortion ring that preyed on prominent gay men in the 1960s,” by William McGowan. In 1965, the NYPD and the FBI uncovered a massive and unprecedented gay extortion ring. McGowan unfolds the vicious story, a pivotal moment for gay rights history that marks the first time the law enforcement establishment worked on behalf of victimized gay men.

I Want It Today: How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail,” by Farhad Manjoo. After giving up its battle against sales taxes, Amazon has a new game: same-day delivery. Manjoo explains how Amazon is executing this plan and ponders what it could mean for the future of physical retail.

Wait, Who Gets To Skip Airport Security? Airlines are letting preferred customers skip the lines while the rest of us hold our shoes. How to fix a broken system,” by Randolph Cohen and Raymond Vasvari. Preferential security treatment for “elite” passengers is unfair. The authors propose a better solution for granting access to the faster security lines.

Why Kill Animals That Attack Humans? The alligator that bit off a teenager’s arm deserved to die,” by Jackson Landers. Though Landers defends hunting down the animals that attack humans, it might not be for the reason you think.

Sit Down or Stand Up? Another study says sitting is dangerous, but standing is a pain,” by J. Bryan Lowder. Bad news for fans of television marathons and people with cubicle jobs: A new study says you could add two years to your life if you decreased your sitting to less than three hours a day. But is standing for longer periods the answer? Lowder investigates.  

Why Romney Welcomes the Boos: It doesn’t matter if people jeer. In a tight election, all that matters is that you keep the conversation right where you want it,” by John Dickerson. At the NAACP national convention on Wednesday, Romney was booed by his audience after promising he’d eliminate Obamacare as president. Dickerson explains why the boos have a political upside for the candidate.

Starry Blight: How a bunch of peasants in Mesopotamia ruined the night sky,” by Daniel Engber. In a hilarious takedown of constellations, Engber argues that the “connect-the-dots” are one of the most heinous affronts to nature ever.

Can Oral Sex Cure Morning Sickness? Practical advice from a new hypothesis about pregnancy,” by Jesse Bering. Nausea and vomiting are some of the worst side effects that accompany pregnancy. Bering explores the causes of morning sickness, as well as a new and unusual theory for preventing it. 

Starring Mitt Romney as Gordon Gekko: Can the Obama campaign turn the Republican nominee into a villain of corporate capitalism?” by David Weigel. The Obama campaign has set out to toxify Romney as a greedy executive, not unlike the corrupt Gordon Gekko character from 1987’s Wall Street. Weigel explores the roots and success of the strategy.

Storage Suckers: You’re paying way, way too much to get a little more space on your iPad and iPhone,” by Farhad Manjoo. Tech companies make huge profit margins when consumers opt for the higher-storage models of their products. Manjoo explains why you’re a sucker if you’re ponying up for the extra space.