GQ: The Strange and Curious Tale of the Last True Hermit
. "For nearly thirty years, a phantom haunted the woods of Central Maine. Unseen and unknown, he lived in secret, creeping into homes in the dead of night and surviving on what he could steal. To the spooked locals, he became a legend - or maybe a myth. They wondered how he could possibly be real. Until one day last year, the hermit came out of the forest." [more inside]
posted by Wordshore
on Aug 20, 2014 -
DA Hamilton Burger may be the best-known loser of early TV, but his portrayer William Talman's life
(content excerpted from the Perry Mason TV show book) was far more interesting. At the height of his fame in 1960, Talman arrested
at a nude pot party, and was fired and blacklisted as a result. It took Raymond Burr, the cast, and the fans to eventually get him his job back. At the end of his life, on the verge of dying, he made a powerful anti-smoking PSA
(the PSA itself
posted by julen
on Aug 3, 2014 -
In 1985, the Mystery Writers of Japan
(plus "508 people who love mystery novels") assembled two separate lists of the 100 best mystery novels
: one each for the books of the East and West. A revised list came out in 2012. Both Western lists are remarkable for their comparative lack of overlap with the "100 best" lists produced by the American
mystery writers associations. The Eastern lists are remarkable for the fact that fewer than a quarter of their entries have been translated into English. [more inside]
posted by Iridic
on Jul 18, 2014 -
A federal judge declared California's death penalty unconstitutional Wednesday, saying delays of 25 years or more in deciding appeals and carrying out occasional executions have created an arbitrary and irrational system that serves no legitimate purpose.
Executions in California have already been on hold since 2006, due to problems with the procedures associated with lethal injection. If the ruling is upheld, California will join 18 other states (plus D.C.) that have abolished capital punishment. (Read the court's opinion here
posted by scody
on Jul 16, 2014 -
"Winnipeg is the capital of Manitoba, Canada — and for 16 of the past 33 years, it has also been the country's murder capital. The prairie city is home to just under 800,000 people, about 10 percent of whom are Aboriginal, meaning Winnipeg boasts the largest urban Aboriginal population in Canada. Largely impoverished and facing continual discrimination, the community has given rise to violent Aboriginal street gangs." Vice reports
posted by stbalbach
on Jul 11, 2014 -
I bought my first home, only to become a victim of predatory remodeling.
This is the story of how I got tricked by malicious criminals into buying a house that had been illegally remodeled to cover up multiple building code violations. 50% of the house is unusable, and will require as much as $100,000 in repairs to undo the faulty work. [more inside]
posted by Lexica
on Jul 9, 2014 -
Yes, the home was inspected before it was purchased, and the inspector did find some problems as expected. But most of the problems described below were cleverly hidden behind finished drywall, carpeting, and concrete where the inspector couldn't see them. All of this was done intentionally by the house "flipper" and remodeler to turn a profit on a house that is riddled with code violations.
Simpson is in Lovelock because he was convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery in Nevada in 2008; he's serving a sentence of up to 33 years, with the possibility of parole in 2017. He will turn 67 next month, but the O.J. personage who remains a cultural touchstone is much younger. That one was born 20 years ago this week, on June 17, 1994, a day that spawned a series of events that are as ingrained in Americana as anything that happened at Valley Forge or in Dealey Plaza. Sports Illustrated tackles Orenthal James Simpson.
posted by porn in the woods
on Jun 13, 2014 -
Bloodletters and Bad Actors
Mefi's Own Max Sparber looks at the early days of Omaha theater, back when it was a frontier town, its amusements were questionable, and vice was rampant, with occasional forays into more recent performing arts misbehavior. [via mefi projects
posted by The Whelk
on Jun 11, 2014 -
is a fantastic anime written by Gen Urobuchi, the man who brought us 2011's brilliant Puella Magi Madoka Magica
. Even if you are not an anime fan (I'm iffy on it myself), Psycho-Pass
is worth checking out. Set in a "utopian" society where psychological profiles can be analyzed remotely, police carry guns that can only fire at would-be criminals, and aptitude tests determine how to provide "the greatest number of people with the greatest amount of happiness", Psycho-Pass
asks intriguing, provocative questions about the relationships between humans and computers, criminals and society, and the responsibilities we owe society, versus the responsibilities said societies owe us in turn. There is also a good deal of people shooting each other, if you're into that sort of thing.
can be watched for free, either subbed or dubbed, at Hulu
(as can Madoka
if "lighthearted" "fantasy" is more your cup of tea).
posted by Rory Marinich
on May 26, 2014 -
Shrinking Majority of Americans Support Death Penalty
"According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, 55% of U.S. adults say they favor the death penalty for persons convicted of murder. A significant minority (37%) oppose the practice.
While a majority of U.S. adults still support the death penalty, public opinion in favor of capital punishment has seen a modest decline..."
Jamelle Bouie at Slate notes
that , "Nearly twice as many whites as blacks favor the death penalty. There is a simple, and disturbing, reason why" and blames racism. [more inside]
posted by MisantropicPainforest
on Mar 31, 2014 -
The inside story of MIT and Aaron Swartz.
The Boston Globe reviews over 7,000 pages of discovery documents in the Aaron Swartz case (previously
): Most vividly, the e-mails underscore the dissonant instincts the university grappled with. There was the eagerness of some MIT employees to help investigators and prosecutors with the case, and then there was, by contrast, the glacial pace of the institution’s early reaction to the intruder’s provocation.... MIT never encouraged Swartz’s prosecution, and once told his prosecutor they had no interest in jail time. However, e-mails illustrate how MIT energetically assisted authorities in capturing him and gathering evidence — even prodding JSTOR to get answers for prosecutors more quickly — before a subpoena had been issued.... Yet if MIT eventually adopted a relatively hard line on Swartz, the university had also helped to make his misdeeds possible, the Globe review found. Numerous e-mails make it clear that the unusually easy access to the campus computer network, which Swartz took advantage of, had long been a concern to some of the university’s information technology staff.
posted by Cash4Lead
on Mar 31, 2014 -
In August 1989, 23-year-old professional ice-hockey player Duncan MacPherson
travelled from New York to Europe, to enjoy a holiday before starting a new job in Scotland. He hired snowboarding gear and took a lesson on the Stubai Glacier
. Then, according to the Austrian authorities and the owners of the ski resort, he simply disappeared. In Cold a Long Time: An Alpine Mystery
, John Leake details the coverup and corruption that started then and continued for years after MacPherson's body melted out of the ice in 2003. Warning:
the website contains close-up pictures of MacPherson's damaged body. [more inside]
posted by daisyk
on Mar 16, 2014 -
Earlier this year Tracy Halvorsen wrote an article called Baltimore City, You're Breaking my Hear
It was received
with...uh, mixed results
Now Andy, from the blog B'more Connected has looked at the article from the point of view of statistics.
"I think nearly everybody can agree with the basic premise suggested by Halvorsen’s article. I will paraphrase that premise as:
It is tragic and frustrating when our neighbors, friends, or coworkers are the victims of violent crimes. Violent crime is too frequent in Baltimore. Something needs to be done to decrease that crime.
Beyond that, I think we see Baltimore differently.
posted by josher71
on Mar 4, 2014 -
Freddie Lee Hall, as a child, had been classified as "mentally retarded"; he is illiterate, cannot cook for himself, bathe independently, clean his clothes, and is unable to handle his own finances. Halll
was sentenced to death for murdering Karol Hurst, a 21-year-old pregnant woman who was abducted leaving a Leesburg, Fla., grocery store in 1978. His guilt is not at issue; what is at issue, before the Supreme Court this morning
, is whether the Florida Supreme Court's definition of mental retardation (having an IQ of 70 or less) was correctly applied to Hall, who has tested at an IQ of 71. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen
on Mar 3, 2014 -
The final confessions of a Silk Road kingpin
Patrick O'Neill recently undertook an astonishingly open set of interviews with Nod, a major black-tar heroin and cocaine dealer who traded on Silk Road.
By our third phone call, Steven Lloyd Sadler was a fugitive.
Facing federal charges for drug trafficking and distribution, Sadler decided he'd rather skip the trial and jail sentence altogether. He was pulling away from Seattle, where he was charged, and we talked for hours. He began that particular conversation on speakerphone, attempting to circumvent the state’s law prohibiting the use of cellphones while driving, but noisy interference forced him to pick up the call.
"They'll be pretty pissed off at me," he said, referring to his federal public defenders.
posted by jaduncan
on Jan 24, 2014 -
MSNBC's Up with Steve Kornacki
has been collaborating with NJ journalist Brian Murphy
on some investigative journalism about the Chris Christie administration's alleged withholding of Sandy Relief funds until the Mayor of Hoboken agrees to fast-track a real-estate development. Hoboken was one of the hardest-hit communities and has so far received $6 per resident. Christie became governor after leading a US Attorney investigation which convicted NJ politicians of crooked real-estate deals.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94
on Jan 18, 2014 -
Men receive longer sentences for equivalent crimes.
This paper assesses gender disparities in federal criminal cases. It finds large gender gaps favoring women throughout the sentence length distribution (averaging over 60%), conditional on arrest offense, criminal history, and other pre-charge observables. Female arrestees are also significantly likelier to avoid charges and convictions entirely, and twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted. Prior studies have reported much smaller sentence gaps because they have ignored the role of charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing fact-finding in producing sentences. Most studies control for endogenous severity measures that result from these earlier discretionary processes and use samples that have been winnowed by them. I avoid these problems by using a linked dataset tracing cases from arrest through sentencing. Using decomposition methods, I show that most sentence disparity arises from decisions at the earlier stages, and use the rich data to investigate causal theories for these gender gaps. [more inside]
posted by vapidave
on Dec 9, 2013 -
"My friend Nick and I planned another prank. We thought it would be funny to scare a couple of friends while they were hanging out with some girls. We drove over to their house and crept up to the living room window with ski masks pulled down over our faces and realistic-looking water guns in our hands...
Participants in We Are All Criminals
tell stories of crimes they got away with
. via [more inside]
posted by postcommunism
on Dec 5, 2013 -