The rise and fall of Silk Road

How a 29-year-old idealist built a global drug bazaar and became a murderous kingpin

“Green forwarded one troubling customer service complaint from a woman whose brother overdosed on heroin from Silk Road and noted that under the current system, children could use the site. Perhaps that was a hair too much freedom, Green said. DPR erupted: “THAT’S MY WHOLE IDEA!” Any constraints would destroy the fundamental concept, he said…”

Joshuah Bearman | Wired

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Could we ‘de-extinctify’ the woolly mammoth?

The science and ethics of bringing back extinct animals

“The last mammoths lived on Wrangel Island, off north-east Siberia in the Chukchi sea. These became extinct 4,000 years ago and many bones dating from this period have been recovered. As predicted by the combination of their relatively young age and the cold climate, the bones contain recoverable DNA. Recoverable DNA, however, is not the same as intact DNA or living cells.”

Beth Shapiro | The Observer

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The boxer and the batterer

On Floyd Mayweather and the question of whether we can separate athlete from abuser

“What’s so striking to me isn’t the spectacle of it but the dissonance around it. A sport that is increasingly marginal is dominating SportsCenter. A fight in a stadium that holds only 16,800 and is available only on pay-per-view could generate $300 million. A boxer who wins like a dancer allegedly beats women like a pugilist.What are you supposed to do with this?”

Louisa Thomas | Grantland

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The rage of the jilted crowdfunder

What happens when a Kickstarter project goes belly up?

“Three years on, though, no new blow could surprise him. The update represented exactly what he had long come to expect from the creators. It was evasive and opaque. There was no clear explanation for the company’s insolvency. Woodhouse was especially nettled by that valediction: “love.” What he wanted, he told me later, was not another update “signed ‘love.’”

Gideon Lewis-Kraus | The New York Times Magazine

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Welcome to Pariahville

A visit to the American city where sex offenders live

“That’s when a freshly showered Ted enters, chuckling in his smoky, affable way, to join me at the table. “It’s very much just a regular community here,” he says. There are several married couples and a few with kids. They’ve even got one stay-at-home dad who’s a registered predator. A really sweet guy named Andy.”

Jay Kirk | GQ

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The fruits of government-sponsored segregation

Baltimore, Ferguson and the surprising history of state intervention in housing

“Explaining the policy, Baltimore’s mayor proclaimed, “Blacks should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidence of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.””

Richard Rothstein | Economic Policy Institute

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The forgotten supervillain of antebellum Tennessee

The long forgotten crimes of the worst slave trader in all of cotton country

“Perhaps most chilling, though, is the idle chit-chat about the young women they raped and sold for sex, the “maids” and “fancy girls” — code words for light-skinned slave women. Every “your” in that phrasing — “your girl Minerva,” “your fancy girl Allice,” “your Charlottesville maid” — indicates that Isaac is teasing Ballard about his fondness for “fancy maids.” Not that Franklin saw anything wrong with that.”

Betsy Phillips | Narratively

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Life and death of an al-Qaeda spokesman

Iona Craig on Muhannad Ghallab

“Muhannad first contacted me in 2012 when I was living in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, working as a freelance journalist. I became, as he later joked, his personal “experiment” as AQAP’s initial attempt to reach out to the international media, putting up an English-speaking voice to counter the Washington and Western media narrative.”

Iona Craig | The Intercept

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Want to get out alive? Follow the ants

What can ants show us about about preventing stampedes?

“On an evening in January A.D. 532, pandemonium broke out in the Constantinople Hippodrome, a U-shaped chariot racetrack surrounded by stadium stands. Two factions, the Greens and Blues—the predecessors of today’s soccer hooligans—broke into a fight. When the rest of the spectators dashed to escape, many became trapped by the rushing crowd, couldn’t reach the exits, and were trampled and killed.”

Conor Myhrvold | Nautilus

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Nonviolence as compliance

Powerful argument on why calls for calm ring hollow in the wake of violence in Baltimore

“There was no appeal for calm when Jerriel Lyles was assaulted. (“The blow was so heavy. My eyes swelled up. Blood was dripping down my nose and out my eye.”) There was no claim for nonviolence on behalf of Venus Green. (“Bitch, you ain’t no better than any of the other old black bitches I have locked up.”)”

Ta-Nehisi Coates | The Atlantic

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The rise and fall of the Bombshell Bandit

Meet the prolific bank robber who captivated the US for two months last summer

“A prodigious student, she graduated from nursing college several years early, while still a teenager. She had three jobs, tirelessly caring for elderly cancer sufferers, for patients at a Sacramento hospital, and ironically, for inmates at a jail. But as she walked towards the bank, she prepared to do the unthinkable and join their number as a violent criminal.”

Jeff Maysh | BBC News Magazine

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An alternative-medicine believer’s journey back to science

How Jim and Louise Laidler lost their faith

“He cringed when he heard of parents mortgaging their homes to pay for wildly expensive and unproven treatments. Alarms went off when parents and doctors would advocate dangerous protocols…When he spoke out against them, a prominent conference organizer took him aside and warned him never to criticize anyone’s approach, no matter how crazy or dangerous it seemed.”

Alan Levinovitz | Wired

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