Black Holes, Racist Cops, and Wal-Mart Takes on India

A summary of the best reads found behind the paywall of The New York Times.

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Now that The New York Times pay wall is live, you only get 20 free clicks a month. For those worried about hitting their limit, we're taking a look through the paper each morning to find the stories that can make your clicks count.

Top Stories: Astronomers have measured the biggest black holes in the known universe, including one that weighs as much as 21 billion of our suns. How Newt Gingrich's tendency to speak in "big ideas" often gets him in trouble, as he spends more time explaining his ad libbed remarks than he does thinking them through. As pensions and pay shrink, public sector workers are retiring earlier than ever, saving states money, but leaving governments understaffed and an older generation with nowhere to work.

U.S.: Primary campaigns have been holding off on TV ad spending, in part because free TV appearances are so easy to come by, but that's all changing as we speed toward voting days. Several NYPD officers have been caught making racist and derogatory comments on Facebook, while using their real names. Southern museums continue to grapple with the right way to remember the Civil War and the "Lost Cause" of the Confederacy.

Business: Wal-Mart wants to make its move into India, but as with every place that Wal-Mart goes, there is resistence to the superstore retailer.

Sports: Several former NFL players are suing the league saying that team doctors routinely gave out pain killing injections that masked the effects of concussions, without telling them how the drugs worked or what the side effects were.

Books: An interview with Neal Stephenson whose "fantasy" books about the cyberspace and interactive culture have an unusual knack for actually predicting the futureRolling Stone critic Will Hermes takes an in-depth look at very particular time in New York rock music: 1973-77, a "Silver Age" that led to a new era of entertainment.

Science: The next stage of artificial intelligence means building computers that mimic the architecture of the human brain. Before that can become reality though, other scientists may need to find a replacement for silicon, which has reached the limits of what it can do as the basis for computer circuitry.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.