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One flushes and bucks

Rodeo bulls, like the boys who dream of riding them, are unpredictable creatures. They can start out shy and skittish, then suddenly turn ornery. They’ll lie down in the chute one day and try to gore you the next. The most dangerous bull ever ridden, by some accounts, began as a scrawny yellow calf in 1988.
The Ride of Their Lives: Children prepare for the world’s most dangerous organized sport.
– A longform article from The New Yorker
posted by Joe in Australia on Dec 8, 2014 - 7 comments

Longreads Best of 2014

A list of every story that was chosen as No. 1 in Longreads's weekly Top 5 email. [more inside]
posted by AceRock on Dec 8, 2014 - 16 comments

"Today, both families hope to do what’s best for Karen."

The Limits of Jurisdiction: in Guernica, Erin Siegal McIntyre writes about her six-year investigation into corruption and crime in international adoptions from Guatemala, as exposed through the story of one little girl. "For the past six years, the child known as Karen has lived in Missouri with her adoptive parents, Timothy and Jennifer Monahan. But Loyda Rodríguez and Dayner Hernández, a young Guatemalan couple, are convinced the child is their daughter, Anyelí, who was kidnapped in November 2006. Although a Guatemalan judge ruled that Karen should be returned to Guatemala in 2011, the Monahans have kept her." [more inside]
posted by nicebookrack on Dec 2, 2014 - 46 comments

The Quiet German

The New Yorker on 'the astonishing rise of Angela Merkel, the most powerful woman in the world.'
posted by Quilford on Nov 27, 2014 - 49 comments

All the feels.

A long-form essay from The Toast (of which you may have read) about life and grieving and gentleness and joy and ... look, just read it: No Matter How Your Heart Is Grieving: Disney for the Sad
posted by Joe in Australia on Nov 26, 2014 - 26 comments

Where the rubber meets the road

Firestone operates one of the largest rubber plants in the world in Liberia. Firestone Liberia received a lot of positive press in the past few months after "stopping Ebola in its tracks" on its plantation in the country. But 22 years ago, Firestone Liberia played a different role in shaping Liberia's trajectory.
posted by ChuraChura on Nov 22, 2014 - 5 comments

"What I want to talk shit on is the paradigm of the Big Idea."

"I have worked at international development NGOs almost my entire career ... I’ve been frustrated by the same inefficiencies and assumptions of my sector that are now getting picked apart in public. Like the authors, donors, and governments attacking international development, I’m sometimes disillusioned with what my job requires me to do, what it requires that I demand of others. Over the last year, I read every book, essay, and roman à clef about my field I could find. I came out convinced that the problems with international development are real, they are fundamental, and I might, in fact, be one of them. But I also found that it’s too easy to blame the PlayPumps of the world. Donors, governments, the public, the media, aid recipients themselves—they all contribute to the dysfunction. Maybe the problem isn’t that international development doesn’t work. It’s that it can’t."
posted by ChuraChura on Nov 20, 2014 - 42 comments

Filing down a plastic razor blade to create a sewing needle, not a shank

The Los Angeles Men's Central Jail’s gay wing was set up in response to a 1985 ACLU lawsuit, which aimed to protect homosexual inmates from a higher threat of physical violence than heterosexuals faced. But something unexpected has happened. The inmates are safer now, yes. But they’ve surprised everyone, perhaps even themselves, by setting up a small and flourishing society behind bars. Once released, some re-offend in order to be with an inmate they love. There are hatreds and occasionally even severe violence, but there is also friendship, community, love — and, especially, harmless rule-bending to dress up like models or decorate their bunks, often via devious means. LA Weekly looks inside MCJ, with an exclusive video the unique situation, from Voice Media Group. For further reading on the unique K6G unit, see Two Models of the Prison: Accidental Humanity and Hypermasculinity in the L.A. County Jail (PDF), and Governmental 'Gaydar': Race, Sexual Identity and Incarceration (PDF), both scholarly articles that study this part of MCJ.
posted by filthy light thief on Nov 18, 2014 - 7 comments

Around the clock

The Green Monster: How the Border Patrol became America’s most out-of-control law enforcement agency.
A long-form report from Politico.
posted by Joe in Australia on Nov 16, 2014 - 15 comments

Pour yourself a heaping glass of white wine...

On The Cult of Connie Britton: "But loving the Britton of today is tantamount to ignoring much of what Hollywood has tried to impute as ideal. She’s still thin, white, beautiful, and straight, but she’s the thing that the vast majority of mainstream media pretends doesn’t exist: a woman over 40. More specifically, a woman over 40 whose image combines the sexual and the maternal, the ambitious and the empathetic. " Connie Britton is a late bloomer (NYTimes, 2013). Things I could have said to Connie Britton when she came into my coffee shop the other day.
posted by ChuraChura on Nov 10, 2014 - 42 comments

I will make poor decisions, beyond any I have already made, of course.

A Horseshoe Up My Ass: 24 hours at Baltimore's shiny new casino [more inside]
posted by Faint of Butt on Nov 9, 2014 - 27 comments

I don’t think I was born white. I think white children are manufactured.

Quinn Norton: The White Problem & How White People Got Made [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 5, 2014 - 24 comments

On Kindness

Cord Jefferson writes about the struggle to be kind, and the woman who taught him the value of that struggle. [more inside]
posted by Diablevert on Nov 4, 2014 - 19 comments

Woof.

A review of the uncomfortable, colonialist-islander RPG, Dog Eat Dog
posted by michaelh on Oct 22, 2014 - 32 comments

The answer: TB

While volunteering for the Peace Corps in Ukraine in 2010, I contracted a severe version of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Two years of painful, isolating treatment taught me the vital role social media may play in finally eradicating this disease.

Inconspicuous Consumption, a longform autobiographical essay.
posted by Joe in Australia on Oct 22, 2014 - 4 comments

"When you hold a weapon, you don't cry, you just shoot."

Commander Pigeon is a collector of lost and exiled men. The quietest soldier once belonged to the Taliban. He had been captured by local police, escaped, and having heard about Commander Pigeon, walked miles to reach her home. He fell to his knees and begged for protection. She made him swear loyalty. I asked how she knew he wouldn't rebel. "I'm watching him closely," she said. "I'm converting Taliban to normal people."

Jen Percy for TNR: My Night With Afghanistan's Only Female Warlord, Commander Pigeon.
[more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 15, 2014 - 6 comments

Linux for Lettuce

Linux for Lettuce - Myers contends that, when applied to plants, patents are stifling. They discourage sharing, and sharing is the foundation of successful breeding. That’s because his work is essentially just assisting natural evolution: He mates one plant with another, which in turn makes new combinations of genes from which better plants are selected. The more plants there are to mix, the more combinations are made, and the more opportunities there are to create better plants. Even some breeders who work for the companies that are doing the patenting still believe in—indeed, long for—the ability to exchange seed.
posted by CrystalDave on Oct 11, 2014 - 31 comments

If a process yields discrimination, then we need to examine the process.

Bias in the Box. "This is where Bryan Stevenson’s 'undeveloped understanding' comes into focus. A prosecutor may say with the utmost sincerity that he doesn’t exclude blacks [from a jury] because of their race, but because they or someone in their family has been a victim of discrimination, which leads them to distrust the system. Because of their experiences, they are believed to be less motivated to sentence someone to die and are therefore less desirable on a jury." (slVQR) [more inside]
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Oct 11, 2014 - 7 comments

behind-the-scenes of nonfiction longform pieces

annotating Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah's profile of Dave Chappelle, "If He Hollers Let Him Go" [more inside]
posted by flex on Oct 10, 2014 - 8 comments

Sex is sex, but money is money.

A $5,000-a-night escort tells her story. Photography is by Pascal Perich (portfolio link).
posted by michaelh on Oct 9, 2014 - 122 comments

The Price of Black Ambition

2014 might well be "the year of Roxane Gay," but even as Ms. Gay experiences unprecedented personal success, the price of black ambition is never far from her mind.
I am thinking about success, ambition, and blackness and how breaking through while black is tempered by so much burden. Nothing exemplifies black success and ambition like Black History Month, a celebratory month I've come to dread as a time when people take an uncanny interest in sharing black-history facts with me to show how they are not racist. It's the month where we segregate some of history's most significant contributors into black history instead of fully integrating them into American history. Each February, we hold up civil-rights heroes and the black innovators and writers and artists who have made so much possible for this generation. We say, look at what the best of us have achieved. We conjure W. E. B. Du Bois, who once wrote, "The Negro race, like all races, is going to be saved by its exceptional men." We ask much of our exceptional men and women. We must be exceptional if we are to be anything at all.
[more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Oct 9, 2014 - 4 comments

The Empire Reboots

Can Satya Nadella Save Microsoft? (Longform) Great Vanity Fair article that spends a lot of time examining the Gates/Ballmer dynamic.
posted by Nevin on Oct 9, 2014 - 45 comments

The zeal these young men have for killing surprises me.

"Many Marines I talk to are skeptical of the aims used to justify the war - fighting terrorism, getting weapons of mass destruction (which they never see). Quite a few accept that this war was probably fought for oil." 'The Killer Elite', Evan Wright's coverage of a US Marine Corps Battalion in the 2003 Iraq War (later developed into the book and TV series Generation Kill). [more inside]
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 25, 2014 - 69 comments

Life in Timbuktu

Life in Timbuktu: how the ancient city of gold is slowly turning to dust
(a long-form article from the Guardian with an accompanying photo gallery)

posted by tykky on Sep 25, 2014 - 14 comments

Dumpster thriving

A heavily-illiustrated article on Jeff Wilson ("Professor Dumpster") and the evolution of his thirty-six square feet of open-air accommodation: Living Simply in a Dumpster
(previously)
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 17, 2014 - 43 comments

the sea is a cup of death and the land is a stained altar stone

I don't know what it is about fecundity that so appalls. I suppose it is the teeming evidence that birth and growth, which we value, are ubiquitous and blind, that life itself is so astonishingly cheap, that nature is as careless as it is bountiful, and that with extravagance goes a crushing waste that will one day include our own cheap lives. Every glistening egg is a memento mori.
Annie Dillard ponders the disquieting thrall of the circle of life in her November 1973 essay for The Atlantic: The Force That Drives the Flower. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Sep 11, 2014 - 15 comments

Reconciling the Second Amendment with Public Safety Concerns

Gun Wars: the struggle over gun rights and regulation in America, in the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings and the ongoing congressional stalemate over federal gun legislation. An investigative report from "29 students from 16 journalism schools, as well as an experienced staff of editors" for Carnegie-Knight News21. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 11, 2014 - 62 comments

One of the most important fights in the history of boxing

On December 10, 1810, in a muddy field around 25 miles from London, a fight took place that was so dramatic, controversial, and ferocious that it continues to haunt the imagination of boxing more than 200 years later.
A long-form article in Grantland tells the story of freed American slave and boxer Tom Molineaux in England of the early 19th century.
posted by tykky on Sep 9, 2014 - 5 comments

A once peaceful nation

Close Your Heart
A long-form article from Slate about the Central African Republic’s sectarian civil war.
posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 2, 2014 - 7 comments

“...every angel has a past and every sinner has a future.”

Staten Island’s Pill Problem: [The New Yorker] "New York City is the heroin capital of the country, and the epidemic has hit its most tranquil borough the hardest."
posted by Fizz on Sep 1, 2014 - 18 comments

Master of the Macabre

A self-taught special effects guru, A.S. Hamilton has crafted [simulated injuries] with chilling perfection. But his greatest big-screen challenge was bringing one of human history’s most gruesome chapters back to life.
CONTENT WARNING: descriptions of violence, graphic movie set photos and stills [more inside]
posted by tykky on Sep 1, 2014 - 3 comments

Carefree Black Girl

Buzzfeed reports: The Life and Death of 22 year old Karyn Washington, creator of the "For Brown Girls" blog and the #darkskinredlip project.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 24, 2014 - 42 comments

Vulnerable to coercion or undue influence

A two-part series on problems in the clinical trials industry, from Medium.com:
The Best-Selling, Billion-Dollar Pills Tested on Homeless People
How the destitute and the mentally ill are being used as human lab rats
and
Why Are Dope-Addicted, Disgraced Doctors Running Our Drug Trials?
posted by Joe in Australia on Aug 5, 2014 - 28 comments

Mack

"No one knew who killed (13 year-old) Mackenzie Howard that cold February night last year — and people were terrified that the killer was still in their midst. But in the remote community of Kake, only accessible by air or boat, there was no law enforcement officer."
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Aug 3, 2014 - 19 comments

A raccoon of my own

Only a handful of all the animal species on earth can be tamed, but that doesn’t stop a homesick girl of 15 from trying
posted by Joe in Australia on Jul 30, 2014 - 31 comments

The many crimes of baseball's Mel Hall

"What was his weapon? Trust. Over and over again, he shook the hand of a parent and said, 'It's OK. I'll take care of them. I'll make her a better person.' Instead what he did was rob them of their innocence and change the scope of their lives."

SB Nation on Mel Hall - "a flamboyant baseball player, a charismatic coach, and a sexual predator."
posted by porn in the woods on Jul 18, 2014 - 15 comments

"Dance the Slurp"

July 11th (7/11!) is the perfect day to read this Priceonomics piece on the invention of the Slurpee.
Did you miss Free Slurpee Day today? This year 7-Eleven's Free Slurpee Day has been supersized into a freebie week. (previously: 2005 & 2008)
(And bonus CanCon from the Wall Street Journal - This Isn't a Brain Freeze—Manitoba Wins 'Slurpee Capital' Once Again: Chilly Canadian Province Is Hottest Market for the Ice-Cold Beverage from 7-Eleven for 15th Year)
posted by flex on Jul 11, 2014 - 10 comments

Yes, yes, hadouken, but why hadouken, and when?

"How to play Street Fighter: a fighting game primer for everyone" explains the dynamics of how 2D fighting games work and why.
posted by Pope Guilty on Jul 8, 2014 - 29 comments

"why Frozen left me cold"

The problem with false feminism: "My friends have asked for it and I feel like the internet needs it, so I’m going to go through, point-by-point and in no particular order, the top handful of reasons people have given for thinking Frozen is a feminist triumph, and I’m going to debunk them all." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jun 29, 2014 - 201 comments

egg donation: a journalist's personal story

Justine Griffin, a reporter for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, decided to become an egg donor. She documents her journey in a three-part feature, The Cost of Life: "This began as a way for me to honor a childhood friend who passed away and a hopeful account of my experience with the fertility industry. But it devolved into a tangle of broken promises, scary science and questionable experiences — ending with a ruptured cyst on my ovary and a fear that my future reproductive health may be in jeopardy." [more inside]
posted by flex on Jun 28, 2014 - 11 comments

Baptism by fire

A 36 year old FDNY "probie" fights his first fire (SLNYTimes interactive)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 22, 2014 - 10 comments

The Faded Smile: The Life and Death of Eddie Griffin

Grantland's longform piece on former Philadelphia high school basketball superstar Eddie Griffin, whose brief career and life ended in 2007 when he crashed his SUV into a train. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 21, 2014 - 3 comments

The air was humid with a microclimate of marijuana

The Believer takes a longform look at Humboldt County's marijuana cultivation culture. Since the early ’70s, when growing began to replace a foundering timber industry in Humboldt, reliance on the marijuana economy has only increased. By 2012, it was thought that marijuana accounted for one billion of the county’s four-billion-dollar economy. During my stay, I don’t remember seeing a clothing store, bookstore, supermarket, bar, restaurant, supply shop, gas station, repair shop, pharmacy, or burrito shack that wasn’t patronized by someone with direct ties to a pot farm. You could smell the skunk, see the twenties. In parkivng lots, souped-up grower trucks growled by—mostly Toyotas, a status symbol in Humboldt. Somewhere along the way, that back-to-the-land exodus begun in San Francisco some forty years ago, when poor hippies left the city and went north, into the woods, in search of a simpler, cheaper life, their own piece of Arcadia on which food and intoxicants alike could be grown, to offer a thumbnail history—somewhere along the way, that movement morphed into a thriving industry.
posted by porn in the woods on Jun 10, 2014 - 18 comments

.

"Elephants are obviously amazing, or rather, they are obvious receptacles for our amazement, because they seem to be a lot like us. They live about as long as we do. They understand it when we point at things, which our nearest living evolutionary relative, the chimpanzee, doesn’t really. They can unlock locks with their trunks. They recognize themselves in mirrors. They are socially sophisticated. They stay with the same herds for life, or the cows do, anyway. They mourn their dead. They like getting drunk. When an elephant keels over, its friends sometimes break their tusks trying to get it to stand up again. They bury their dead. They bear grudges against people who’ve hurt them, and sometimes go on revenge campaigns. They cry. So why would you want to put a bullet in one?" ... Journalist Wells Tower accompanied one of Botswana's final elephant hunts. This article contains graphic content of an elephant hunt which some may find disturbing.
posted by zarq on Jun 5, 2014 - 36 comments

The Dennis Miller Ratio

Frank Rich takes a look at conservative comedians and the late-night comedy landscape.
posted by Room 641-A on May 27, 2014 - 189 comments

Maybe not.

Studies show that abused or neglected children placed in foster care face lifelong challenges greater than children who remain with their families.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 13, 2014 - 57 comments

Travelers

The Dead Zoo Gang "Over the last several years, millions of dollars worth of antique rhino horns have been stolen from natural history museum collections around the world. The only thing more unusual than the crimes is the theory about who is responsible: A handful of families from rural Ireland known as the Rathkeale Rovers." (Via)
posted by zarq on Apr 2, 2014 - 22 comments

What really happened at the lake that night?

The Murders at The Lake. "In the summer of 1982 the city of Waco was confronted with the most vicious crime it had ever seen: three teenagers were savagely stabbed to death, for no apparent reason, at a park by a lake on the edge of town. Justice was eventually served when four men were found guilty of the crime, and two were sent to death row. In 1991, though, when one of the convicts got a new trial and was then found not guilty, some people wondered, Were these four actually the killers? Several years after that, one of the men was put to death, and the stakes were raised: Had Texas executed an innocent man?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 19, 2014 - 18 comments

Chain of Life

Chain of Life is a three part article done by The Star Ledger of New Jersey, following a rare instance where six patients in New Jersey and New York received kidney transplants in March from six living donors, all unrelated and previously unknown to them. Over 36 hours.
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 12, 2014 - 4 comments

Trusting God

Patrick Henry College has been called "God's Harvard." The tiny, elite school is considered a safe haven for fundamentalist evangelical Christians. It teaches a dominionist "Biblical Worldview" and has a uniquely religious campus culture (pdf) that emphasizes evangelical moral values. Which leaves female students in a particular bind: How do you report sexual assault at a place where authorities seem skeptical that such a thing even exists?
posted by zarq on Feb 18, 2014 - 154 comments

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