Happy Friday and well done on making it to the weekend. Maybe you're planning to binge-watch Chernobyl this weekend so you can finally understand what all your colleagues have been talking about all week. Maybe you're planning on staying in and watching the Cricket World Cup (British weather permitting). Maybe you're looking forward to a coffee in the winter sunshine.

Whatever your plans are we've got an array of content from our premium international syndicators for you to delve into this weekend. So settle in and enjoy 11 of the best pieces from the week.

Making of a radical: How YouTube videos brainwashed me

Caleb Cain was a college dropout looking for direction. He turned to YouTube.

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Soon, he was pulled into a far-right universe, watching thousands of videos filled with conspiracy theories, misogyny and racism.

"I was brainwashed," he told The New York Times.

• Also read: On YouTube's digital playground, a gate left wide open for paedophiles
Meet the money whisperer to the super-rich NBA elite

Who's the guy Klay Thompson and other NBA stars trust to manage their wealth? One who knows how to rebound with $8000 stuffed into his underwear.

Every day, premier wealth manager of the NBA elite Joe McLean makes the kind of purchases most make only once or twice in a lifetime. He bought 25 cars on behalf of his clients last year, and he probably sold nearly as many. He closed on four houses in February alone.

Devin Gordon of the New York Times reports McLean doesn't negotiate his clients' deals — he's not an agent. His job is to grow every dollar that comes in and track every dollar that goes out. He's part investor, part butler, a CFO and a golf buddy, a sports therapist and, when necessary, the disapproving dad.

• Also read: Stephen Curry's evolution astounds even those who saw its origin

Joe McLean came within an eyelash of making an NBA. roster. He left sports for a decade - and then discovered a way back. Photo / Winni Wintermeyer, The New York Times
Joe McLean came within an eyelash of making an NBA. roster. He left sports for a decade - and then discovered a way back. Photo / Winni Wintermeyer, The New York Times

The real story of the fake story of one of Europe's most charismatic CEOs

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Laboratoires Berden had quite a run. Founded in 1996 by Eric Dumonpierre, who also served as CEO, Berden successfully commercialised Mutorex, a drug to treat obesity.

Dumonpierre was celebrated at industry conferences and political forums, and was cited in the media. But in the mid-2000s his impeccable reputation took some hits.

Still, by 2009 Berden and Dumonpierre had weathered the storms — and profits skyrocketed.

The only problem? The CEO wasn't real. Neither was his company. So why then was he cited in media for years?

CEO Eric Dumonpierre isn't real. Neither is his company. So why was he celebrated at industry conferences and cited in the media for a decade? Photo / 123RF
CEO Eric Dumonpierre isn't real. Neither is his company. So why was he celebrated at industry conferences and cited in the media for a decade? Photo / 123RF

Elton John and Bernie Taupin open up about addiction and friendship

Elton John is not a nostalgist. Neither is his songwriting partner of more than 50 years, Bernie Taupin, who supplies the lyrics that inspire John's melodies.

But now the world can witness their history, thanks to Rocketman, the musical fantasy that traces John's transformation from the piano prodigy Reginald Dwight, to the over-the-top showman with a slew of global hits.

Melena Ryzik of The New York Times chats to the pair.

• Also read: Taron Egerton and Elton John on the rock star's 'warts and all' life story

Pop singer Elton John and Bernie Taupin in 1969. The duo's long partnership began by chance - after both answered an ad in a British music magazine. Photo / Getty Images
Pop singer Elton John and Bernie Taupin in 1969. The duo's long partnership began by chance - after both answered an ad in a British music magazine. Photo / Getty Images

Meet the woman who made millions eating giant crabs for YouTube

Most of us can probably agree that eating food is more enjoyable than watching someone else eat food. For one, it's a basic human need. It also tastes good a lot of the time. Not to mention, people can be pretty gross when they eat, especially when they do so in over-the-top, finger-licking fashion.

Still, hundreds of thousands of people tune in each week to watch Bethany Gaskin binge-eat shellfish on YouTube, turning her into a star and a millionaire.

On her two YouTube channels, Bethany Gaskin chats up her audience while downing huge meals, often seafood, like king crab. Photo / Maddie McGarvey, The New York Times
On her two YouTube channels, Bethany Gaskin chats up her audience while downing huge meals, often seafood, like king crab. Photo / Maddie McGarvey, The New York Times

Bill Nighy interview: The Love Actually star on why he's still confused about who he is

Bill Nighy gets mistaken for all sorts of people. "Adam Faith, Dennis Waterman, Alan Howard, Gary Oldman several times," the 69-year-old actor says.

Many people seem confused as to who Nighy is, not least himself. Or, rather, he doesn't care.

"I don't know how you arrange to be self-aware," he says. "I don't know how that's done. People say, 'Who I am...' How would that information ever be made available to you?"

Louis Wise of The Times talks to Nighy about love, loss and his new film.

"I don't know how you arrange to be self-aware," Bill Nighy says. Photo / Getty Images

The murderer was full of hate. But did he commit a hate crime?

He hated religion. He hated rule breakers. He hated people who parked in his spot.

The man at the centre of a case that caused a worldwide furore four years ago over anti-Muslim violence was filled with so much hate that he shot and killed three of his neighbours, all students of Middle Eastern descent.

He's expected to receive three consecutive life sentences for murder after pleading guilty. Even so, the case has tested the limitations of the US legal system on the question of when a hateful crime becomes a hate crime.

Craig Hicks pleaded guilty to killing three Muslim American students in 2015. Photo / Emily Kassie, The Marshall Project via The New York Times
Craig Hicks pleaded guilty to killing three Muslim American students in 2015. Photo / Emily Kassie, The Marshall Project via The New York Times

If you want to use your phone less, first figure out why

We live in a busy world. We use our smartphones to answer emails, calls, and instant messages at all times of the day.

On the one hand, these devices give us greater discretion over when and where to work and how we stay connected with others. On the other, this constant connection extends our workdays and reduces our ability to detach.

So, do we really seek to control the amount of time we spend on our smartphones? If so, what strategies do we use, and with what specific goals in mind?

Do people really want to change addictive habits of smartphones? Photo / 123RF
Do people really want to change addictive habits of smartphones? Photo / 123RF

Inside the school where addiction sets the curriculum

Inside a classroom decorated with colourful floor mats, art supplies and building blocks, a little boy named Riley talked quietly with a teacher about how he had watched his mother take "knockout pills" and had seen his father shoot up "a thousand times."

Riley, who is 9-years-old, described how he had often been left alone to care for his baby brother while his parents were somewhere else getting high.

Riley's story unfortunately isn't unique. About half of the student body at one Ohio elementary school has witnessed drug use at home. Educators spend time every day teaching the children how to cope.

• Also read: 'I found a needle in your purse': What it's like to grow up amid the opioid crisis

Kendra Rase Cram doing calming techniques with a kindergarten student. Educators are learning to deal with students who live around drug use. Photo / Alyssa Schukar, The New York Times
Kendra Rase Cram doing calming techniques with a kindergarten student. Educators are learning to deal with students who live around drug use. Photo / Alyssa Schukar, The New York Times

A Canadian store tried to bag-shame its customers. Nice try

When a Canadian store tried to help the environment and gently shame its customers into avoiding plastic bags by printing embarrassing messages on them, it did not go quite as planned.

Far from spurring customers to bring their own reusables, the plastic bags — variously emblazoned with "Dr. Toews' Wart Ointment Wholesale," "Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium" or "The Colon Care Co-op" — have become hot items.

Anna Schaverien of The New York Times reports the Vancouver grocery store now intends to keep sharing the messages on more bags - canvas bags.

A Vancouver store introduced novelty plastic bags to persuade customers to bring reusable alternatives. Some people started demanding the plastic ones instead. Photo / East West Market Instagram
A Vancouver store introduced novelty plastic bags to persuade customers to bring reusable alternatives. Some people started demanding the plastic ones instead. Photo / East West Market Instagram

The dressing rooms of Broadway: 27 photos over nearly a century

For decades, photographers from The New York Times have gotten intimate access backstage. Peek in as they capture stars, before the show and before the mirror.

What performers take off (and put on), as told in 27 photographs and the words of Jesse Green, co-chief theatre critic for The New York Times. "Some dressing rooms are shrines to self-love," he writes. "More pertinently, they are assembly lines for reinvention."

Idina Menzel spent more than a year playing the original (and green-skinned) Elphaba in Wicked, still running at the Gershwin Theatre. Photo / Sara Krulwich, The New York Times
Idina Menzel spent more than a year playing the original (and green-skinned) Elphaba in Wicked, still running at the Gershwin Theatre. Photo / Sara Krulwich, The New York Times