Welcome to The Verge: Weekender edition. Each week, we'll bring you important articles from the previous weeks' original reports, features and reviews on The Verge. Think of it as a collection of a few (very few!) of our favorite pieces from the week gone by, which you may have missed, or which you might want to read again.

Facebook Freakonomics: a new tool to map the world's friendships

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A little infographic porn for your weekend brunch reading. Facebook maps out the friendships between nations with some helpful interactive graphics by the Stamen design studio. Bonus quick read on colonization.

Mars is the new moon: why space explorers will never be the same

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As we march into the future it becomes increasingly clear that our primary struggles will be linked to a lack of global resources, and the easiest preventative solution to this problem — while still acknowledging the primal human instinct to do more — is to do more with less. An intergalactic examination of space exploration, past and future.

Amazon Kindle Fire HD review (7-inch)

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Amazon brings the fight to Apple's iPad and the Nexus 7, but is its beauty more than skin deep? With a great price tag and ecosystem the Amazon Kindle Fire HD means business. Read the full Verge review and see what our verdict is.

Quora, Silicon Valley's favorite Q&A site, updates design to take on Wikipedia

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Co-founded by former Facebookers, Quora was the It Startup when it launched in mid-2009 with the goal of putting all the information in our heads onto the web. But the Q&A product is still searching for traction beyond Silicon Valley with a new design.

I want my DNC: three days of hashtags and pseudo-events

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After a week on the ground in Tampa at the RNC, Matt Stroud takes a load off and watches the DNC from the comfort of his own living room. Just how different are those two media experiences?

Warrantless wiretap bill passes in US House, authorizes 5 more years of domestic spying

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With a fresh 5-year extension on the line, privacy groups and members of Congress fight to get answers on the NSA's shadowy electronic surveillance activities. Watch what you say.

The iPhone 5 forecast: a predictable 73 degrees and sunny

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The iPhone 5 is the best iPhone ever: everybody knows that. Why then, are there some persistent voices out there crying, "boring"? Are we just spoiled, or does this malaise speak to something deeper?

Jennifer Aniston, your sweater is here: Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and the future of shopping

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What does Amazon's new X-Ray for Movies feature mean for the future of product placement and interactive shopping? Sean Hollister looks at how it's only a matter of time before you can buy anything you see on your Amazon tablet.