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Good Reads: From teens and Facebook to the culinary tastes of ‘Dear Leader’ to a new 5G cellphone

This week's round-up of Good Reads includes Facebook losing favor among teens, the first menial jobs of the rich and famous, reminiscences by Kim Jong-il's sushi chef, new campuses for the headquarters of tech giants, and the world's fastest cellphone.

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In 1982, Fujimoto signed a one-year contract, agreeing to move from Japan to North Korea and to teach chefs there how to make sushi. One night, he served dinner to a group of generals, party officials, and high-level bureaucrats. Everyone wore military uniforms except a curious fellow in a tracksuit. The mysterious man, whom he did not recognize as Kim Jong-il (“no one ever called him by his real name,” Fujimoto said, “never”), took a liking to him and insisted that the sushi chef join the entourage.

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Innovation Editor

Chris Gaylord is the Monitor's Innovation Editor. He loves gadgets, history, design, and curious readers like you.

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Soon, Fujimoto was tasked with flying around the world, procuring odd ingredients to satisfy his new boss’s culinary whims. Caviar from Iran. Fish from Tokyo. Beer from Denmark. And sometimes fresh Big Macs from the McDonald’s in Beijing.

Palaces for the kingdoms of tech

Amazon, Facebook, and Apple battle one another across more than just the tech market. These industry titans seem locked in a new fight over which has the most innovative, striking, and wild-looking corporate headquarters, report Bill Rigby and Alistair Barr for Reuters. In May, Amazon unveiled plans to bring a taste of the Amazon forest to Seattle. The blueprints show a shining tower standing over three bubble-like terrariums, each large enough to house “mature trees.”

Apple’s upcoming HQ pulls in the company’s favorite adjectives: sleek and smooth. The 2.8-million-square-foot ring looks like a mix between the Pentagon and an iPod click wheel. From the air, the upcoming Facebook expansion resembles a geometric golf course, thanks to its sprawling green roof. Computer-chip maker Nvidia will build two sci-fi-style triangular buildings, each apparently reminiscent of components in its graphics chips.

Fastest cellphone on the planet

While many Americans are still on their first 4G cellphone, Korean tech giant Samsung recently showed off early trials for its lightning-fast 5G mobile service, reports David Talbot for MIT Technology Review. To recap, 3G (or third generation) service ratcheted up mobile-data speeds to a point at which people could feasibly stream video to their phones. Over the past few years, phone companies raced to cover the country in 4G service, which is many times faster than 3G. Now, Samsung tells Technology Review that it can beam information to phones at 512 megabits per second. (Comcast’s fastest cable package advertises just 105 megabits per second.)


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Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

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