Posts Tagged "compelling read"

The Jungle Prince of Delhi

“There were different versions, depending on whom you spoke to. Some people said the Oudh family had been there since the British had annexed their kingdom, in 1856, and that the forest had grown up around the palace, engulfing it. Some said they were a family of jinns, the supernatural beings of Arabian folklore.”

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The Ransomware Superhero of Normal, Illinois

“If he were chasing money, he would have been living on the East or West Coast by now and doing something for some company that we’d all heard of instead of a little service provider in the Midwest. But he’s one of those guys, he operates very heavily on principle.”

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The Man with the Golden Airline Ticket

“A quarter of a million dollars gave him access to fly first class anywhere in the world on American for the rest of his life. He flew so much it paid for itself. Often he’d leave in the morning for a business trip, fly back, and I hadn’t even known he’d left. Other times, I remember calling his office to find out what country he was in.”

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Debating Leaving Social Media

“A simple way to get started training this ability is to frequently expose yourself to boredom. If you instead always whip out your phone and bathe yourself in novel stimuli at the slightest hint of boredom, your brain will build a Pavlovian connection between boredom and stimuli, which means that when it comes time to think deeply about something (a boring task, at least in the sense that it lacks moment-to-moment novelty), your brain won’t tolerate it.”

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Get Ready for the Cosmic Crisp

The Cosmic Crisp is debuting on grocery stores after this fall’s harvest, and in the nervous lead-up to the launch, everyone from nursery operators to marketers wanted me to understand the crazy scope of the thing: the scale of the plantings, the speed with which mountains of commercially untested fruit would be arriving on the market, the size of the capital risk. People kept saying things like “unprecedented,” “on steroids,” “off the friggin’ charts,” and “the largest launch of a single produce item in American history.”

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Re-Reading Old Articles

For some reason, I’ve been going over old articles I’ve flagged as “compelling reads” on here. They’ve come up either due to current events, or some passing topic of conversation… and thought I’d re-share some of these. Because they’re all worth reading again.

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Why You Feel the Urge to Jump

“The French explain it as L’Appel du Vide, or call of the void. Are they just French, or can the void really beckon you to kill yourself? New science on balance, fear, and cognition shows that the voice of the abyss is both real and powerful.”

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The Professor Who Beat Roulette

With his wife, Carol, he scouted dozens of wheels at casinos around Europe, from Monte Carlo (Monaco), to Divonne-les-Bains (France), to Baden-Baden (Germany). The pair recruited a team of 8 ‘clockers’ who posted up at these venues, sometimes recording as many as 20,000 spins over a month-long period.

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The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief

“By the time the calendar flips to 2000, by Breitwieser’s calculations, he’s nearing 200 separate thefts and 300 stolen objects. For six years, he’s averaged one theft every two weeks. One year, he is responsible for half of all paintings stolen from French museums.”

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How to Avoid Catastrophe

“For the past seven years, we have studied near misses in dozens of companies across industries from telecommunications to automobiles, at NASA, and in lab simulations. Our research reveals a pattern: Multiple near misses preceded (and foreshadowed) every disaster and business crisis we studied, and most of the misses were ignored or misread. Our work also shows that cognitive biases conspire to blind managers to the near misses.”

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Listening to What the Kids are Listening To

“… Pump is out there living his best life, as evidenced in his song ‘Drug Addicts,’ where he raps, ‘I’m a drug addict, I’m richer than my professor (man, fuck school).’

If you are an old person like me — I am a full decade older than Pump so he sort of treats me like a matronly aunt bothering him with questions about his grades — your first question about Pump is likely: Where is your mother?

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A 500 Year Experiment

“Physically, the 500-year experiment consists of 800 simple glass vials containing either Chroococcidiopsis or another bacterium, Bacillus subtilis. The glass vials have been hermetically sealed with a flame. […] Every other year for the first 24 years, and then every quarter century for the next 475, scientists are supposed to come test the dried bacteria for viability and DNA damage.”

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The Phantom Gambler

“On September 24th, 1980, a man wearing cowboy boots and carrying two brown suitcases entered Binion’s Horseshoe Casino in Las Vegas. One suitcase held $777,000 in cash; the other was empty. After converting the money into chips, the man approached a craps table on the casino floor and put everything on the backline. This meant he was betting against the woman rolling the dice. If she lost, he’d double his money. If she won, he’d lose everything.”

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Pac-Man: The Untold Story of How We Really Played The Game

“The impressions of human desire are often left upon objects of their devotion or on the paths leading to where a sense of peace or pleasure can be found; i.e. the worn frets on a favorite guitar; the finger-smoothed ivory keys on an old piano; the ‘secret path’ in the forest blazed by decades of children that’s been ‘a secret path’ to other children for over 100 years.”

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