Posts Tagged "compelling read"

Politics and the Stuxnet Worm: A Declaration of Cyber-War

Just read over a pretty eyebrow-raising article about the Stuxnet worm. Entitled A Declaration of Cyber-War, Michael Joseph Gross lays out what researchers have found about this virus in the past year… and speculates on the hand(s) that may have coded it. In computer security parlance, a vulnerability in a computer application that has not been detected before is considered…

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Old Media, Recent Events

Doc Searls has a very interesting post regarding the role of the Internet, during the early moments of the earthquake in Japan. Though this was written on March 11th, it’s still a pretty insightful glimpse into how, more and more, we are turning online to find updated, of-the-moment information on world events. Here’s the take-away: emergencies such as wars and…

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Secrets of a Mind-Gamer: The Story of an Unlikely Mnemonist

Secrets of a Mind-Gamer is the story of an unlikely mnemonist: someone capable of remembering and recalling large amounts of data. The article has a fantastic opening, providing an example of how one would go about memorizing a random sequence of playing cards: Dom DeLuise, the comedian, was implicated in the following unseemly acts in my mind’s eye: He hocked…

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The One-Man Drug Company

I’m not sure what it is with stories about drugs and drug-dealers. I have a dark fascination with the trade, the business of it, the illicitness of it all. I’m positive I would never be cut out for that world, but I enjoy getting glimpses of it from afar. The One-Man Drug Company is a compelling article by David Amsden,…

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Custom Ice Cubes and Bottom-Up Beer

I’ve got two stories for you to read about, both of which involve the sauce: one beer, one liquor. First off, let’s go with the strong stuff: Michael Dozois has an idea that’s as ingenious as selling bottled water: he wants to sell custom ice cubes to bars. A veteran bartender, Dozois strongly feels that the quality and shape of…

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In Nuclear Silos, Death Wears a Snuggie

John Noonan writes an incredibly interesting, first person account of what it means to man a nuclear missile silo. His article, In Nuclear Silos, Death Wears a Snuggie, is at once light-hearted and sobering. For decades, missileers (as we’re known in the military) have quietly performed their duties, custodians of a dying breed of weapon. But American citizens have no…

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The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist

Man enters bank. Man robs bank. Man leaves bank with money… and with a bomb still locked around his neck. When captured by police a short while later, Brian Wells claimed he was assaulted, fixed with the bomb, and forced to rob the bank. Was this pizza deliveryman an innocent, caught in the wrong place at the wrong time? Or…

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The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High

Jay Caspian Kang writes an incredibly open and stark account of the gambling life in his essay entitled The High Is Always the Pain and the Pain Is Always the High. He talks about his gambling friends, poker celebrities like Mike Matusow and Phil Hellmuth, and what it feels like to lose $18,000 in 36 hours. Playing poker, after all,…

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The Convicts and Cats Inside the Indiana State Prison

Located in Michigan City, IN, the Indiana State prison is a maximum security detention facility, where approximate 70% of the inmates are there for murder. What started as a chance encounter with a litter of kittens has since transformed into an officially sponsored program. I have never once seen an offender kill his own cat. We screen them to be…

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The Mystery of the Tainted Cocaine

There is something strange going on with the cocaine coming in to the United States. Typically, additional ingredients like sugar, baking powder or laxatives are added to pure cocaine, to dilute the potency and increase quantity. Known as “cutting agents,” it’s filler – stuff to make it appear as though there’s more drug than is actually there. Recently, amounts of…

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GQ Interviews the Cast of Goodfellas, 20 Years Later

GQ has a fascinating article about the classic gangster movie Goodfellas. Looking back on the film, it’s hard to believe it was made 20 years ago. The article features a mind-boggling number of brief interviews, with many (many) of the actors and folks behind the scenes. In addition to commentary from Scorsese, De Niro, Pesci and Liotta… there are brief…

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Writing the Right Stuff: NASA’s Elite Coders

Near the Johnson Space Center in Clear Lake, Texas, a group of programmers enter line after line of near-perfect code for NASA. Known as the “on-board shuttle group,” these coders make the software that handles over $4 billion in equipment – where a miscalculation that’s 2/3 of a second off can put the space shuttle 3 miles off course. Charles…

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Ant Invasion

In his Esquire article Invasion, Tom Junod writers a harrowing account of how Argentine ants invaded (and infested) his home. I’m a fan of ants, and am really awed at how they work as a collective. That said, there were still some cringe-worthy moments that had me shaking my head in disbelief. The sheer number of ants in general, compared…

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Japan’s Hikikomori: Teens Who Have Withdrawn From the World

The Japanese term hikikomori roughly translates to “withdrawal,” and refers to a person who has shut themselves in their rooms for six months or longer, with little to no social contact. More than just a phase or typical teenage brooding, the length and depth of withdrawal is incredibly alarming, particularly for those young men who feel there is no place…

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The Turn: Elegant, Mysterious and Deceptive

The Turn is an incredibly compelling article about a procedure that seems routine to anyone who’s traveled by plane. But there is a great deal more that happens when plane executes a banked turn. Pilot and writer William Langewiesche tackles a complex topic, but does so in a way that makes it easily understandable by the layman. There’s a mixture…

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