With 20 days to go until Election Day, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in their third and final debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas at 9:00 PM Eastern Time. Print out your Bingo cards and tune in to any major network (BBC News and Sky News in the UK) or listen on NPR. Alternately, watch on one of YouTube's channels in English (NBC, PBS, Fox News, the Washington Post, the New York Times, C-SPAN) and Spanish (Univision, Telemundo.) Twitter will stream Bloomberg. Facebook has ABC and PBS. C-SPAN has its own feed (C-SPAN Radio is also streaming.) You can watch in virtual reality (Gear, Rift, or Vive) via AltspaceVR, although that may not be a good idea. If you hurry, you can even watch for free in your local Regal Cinema. [more inside]
The Police Use of Force Project investigates the ways in which police use of force policies help to enable police violence in our communities. (Proposed policy solutions from Campaign Zero) [more inside]
Who bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal? It's anybody's guess. Nevada's largest circulating daily newspaper has been sold to News+ Media Capital Group, which was incorporated in Delaware on September 21st. The ownership of News + Media Capital Group is a complete mystery. [more inside]
A few days ago, a reddit user posted a thought-experiment about living in Las Vegas and working in San Francisco, commuting four days a week by airplane. Their back-of-the-envelope calculations have them saving about $1100/month. The posting was picked up by CityLab, and is leading to some interesting discussions. [more inside]
Two short videos from last year's RISE Lantern Festival outside Las Vegas. This year's evnt is scheduled for this weekend in the Mojave desert. [more inside]
An 8:44 long timelapse in 4K resolution on Vimeo and YouTube. Includes Yosemite, Yellowstone, Olympic, Banff, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Acadia, Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde, Arches, Mount Rainier, Mount Revelstoke and Zion. Also Seattle, Los Angeles, Vancouver, St. Louis, San Francisco and Las Vegas. Plus Mount Rushmore, New Orleans, Toronto, Boston, Calgary, Springdale, Three Rivers, Pagosa Springs, Swift Current, New York, Niagara Falls, Lake Palourde, Keene Lake, Horseshoe Bend, White Mountains, Hobson and the Mississippi River. [more inside]
"Erik, photojournalist, and I have come here to try and get the measure of this place. Nevada is the uncanny locus of disparate monuments all concerned with charting deep time, leaving messages for future generations of human beings to puzzle over the meaning of: a star map, a nuclear waste repository and a clock able to keep time for 10,000 years—all of them within a few hours drive of Las Vegas through the harsh desert." -- Built For Eternity, Elmo Keep on structures designed to potentially outlast human civilization. (Motherboard)
Pigeon.ly has joined Y-Combinator's 2015 Winter class. While in prison, founder Frederick Hutson was amazed by the cost and difficulty of communicating with those outside. When he was released in 2011, he founded Pigeon.ly (originally Picturegram) to help people send pictures (and, later, make phone calls) to inmates. Additional coverage: The New York Times (2013), Forbes (2014), Planet Money.
"Show me another black man with a missing a penis and maybe we'll have something to talk about," Deputy DA Owens told the court. // Writing for The Intercept, Jordan Smith details the story of a woman, Kirstin Lobato, who was convicted for the brutal murder of a homeless man in Las Vegas. According to those who are working for Lobato's release, it is a "perfect storm of wrongful conviction. Everything that possibly could have been done incorrectly was done incorrectly." [NSFW: graphic descriptions]
A Life On The Line: For four decades, other gamblers have tried to be Billy Walters while investigators have tried to bring him down. And for four decades, the world's most successful sports bettor has outrun them all.
For 38-year-old Rubalcada, being at the M is a pleasing trip down memory lane, a visit to his primary workplace throughout 2010 and 2011. Back then, he had nearly $1 million in his account at the M. Dressed in slacks and a sport coat, he would saunter in and bet six figures a week on NFL and college games. He was, M Resort staffers say, one of the sportsbook's "bigger guys" -- a high roller who could afford to bet very, very big.[more inside]
But he wasn't that at all.
In fact, Rubalcada was a faceless grunt in the most successful gambling enterprise of all time.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson, published in Rolling Stone, November 11, 1971.
It was almost noon, and we still had more than 100 miles to go. They would be tough miles. Very soon, I knew, we would both be completely twisted. But there was no going back, and no time to rest. We would have to ride it out. Press registration for the fabulous Mint 400 was already underway, and we had to get there by four to claim our soundproof suite. A fashionable sporting magazine in New York had taken care of the reservations, along with this huge red Chevy convertible we'd just rented off a lot on the Sunset Strip ... and I was, after all, a professional journalist; so I had an obligation to cover the story, for good or ill. The sporting editors had also given me $300 in cash, most of which was already spent on extremely dangerous drugs. The trunk of the car looked like a mobile police narcotics lab. We had two bags of grass, 75 pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half full of cocaine, and a whole galaxy of multi-colored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers ... and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. All this had been rounded up the night before, in a frenzy of high-speed driving all over Los Angeles County – from Topanga to Watts, we picked up everything we could get our hands on. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can.
Eydie Gormé dies at 84. They met as cast members of the Steve Allen Show in the 1950s, and it was the start of something big. Known ever since as "Steve and Eydie," they became fixtures of Las Vegas and television variety shows. But Eydie had many hits of her own along the way, such as Blame It On the Bossa Nova, and she became famous in Latin America for her Spanish recordings like Amor. [more inside]
“What would happen if some of those ‘priests’ in white robes started chasing you at 60 miles an hour?” Frank asked. “What would you do?” And Sammy answered, “Seventy.” The Moulin Rouge: The Vegas Hotspot That Broke All The Rules. Smithsonian Magazine on the brief life but long-lasting legacy of Las Vegas' first racially integrated casino.
When We Held Kings: The oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker, in which an amateur named Moneymaker turned $39 into $2.5 million and the poker boom was born.
" When I look at Las Vegas, I see a concrete and flashing neon message to the universe that humanity won't settle for caves and foraging. Both the churches and casinos are decadent monuments in the desert saying we are so highly evolved that we can afford to devote large amounts of time to indulging ourselves or morally policing those who do. Our beliefs and the specifics of our rituals may differ, but at the end of the day, the instincts that drive us are very much alike." Stoya (NSFW), the 'Pop Star of Porn', talks about Las Vegas in Vice Magazine.
The trip was fine. I've never seen that part of the country from the highway before. There just were a few incidents on my way home that chipped away at my resistance. I really do try to remember how incredibly fortunate I am. I really do. I just can get worn down.Freddie DeBoer messed up his airline reservation for a conference in Vegas, so ended up taking a bus home to Indiana. He meditates on the people he encountered on his trip in his blog.
Apollo Robbins is a spectacular pickpocket whose work extends to neuroscience, the military and magic.
The Touch-point Collective: Crowd Contouring on the Casino Floor - 'Historically, casinos have been eager adopters of technologies that help them to gather knowledge about their customers. The knowledge-gathering repertoire of the modern casino has shifted from telephone surveys, focus groups, and rudimentary datasets to complex feats of reconnaissance and analysis enabled by player tracking systems, data visualization tools, and behavioral intelligence software suites. Many surveillance techniques first applied in casinos were only later adapted to other domains—airports, financial trading floors, shopping malls, banks, and government agencies.' There are some large, embedded .avi files in the page, be careful. [more inside]
Fallout 3 vs. Reality - A fan of the video game series Fallout 3, which depicts a post-apocalyptic world, travels to Washington, DC and Las Vegas to take photos of the locations as they exist today and compares them to screen captures from within the game. (via Reddit thread)
But THIS – this is different. If this doesn’t work – if this is not a success – it’s there, forever….” I remember thinking to myself “oh my god, this guy does NOT get it….” And he said “I don’t want to be the guy that approved this and then it’s a flop and sitting out there in Vegas forever.”
And with that, Mr. Jaffe in a single moment, destroyed about five months of work by a host of people, and killed one of the greatest ideas of all time.
And with that, Mr. Jaffe in a single moment, destroyed about five months of work by a host of people, and killed one of the greatest ideas of all time.
The files of the God of Gamblers case can be read as a string of accidents, good and bad: Siu’s run at the baccarat table; Wong’s luck to be assigned an assassin with a conscience; Adelson’s misfortune that reporters noticed an obscure murder plot involving his casino. But the tale, viewed another way, depends as little on luck as a casino does. It is, rather, about the fierce collision of self-interests. If Las Vegas is a burlesque of America—the “ethos of our time run amok,” as Hal Rothman, the historian, put it—then Macau is a caricature of China’s boom, its opportunities and rackets, its erratic sorting of winners and losers.Evan Osnos on a real-life "God of Gamblers" and the rise of Macau, The New Yorker
In 1971, Hunter Thompson first published Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in Rolling Stone. Forty years later, The Daily’s Zach Baron revisits the piece and the town in which it was born, chasing Thompson's ghost through crazy desert car races, a dying local economy and a massive and menacing hacker convention known as DEFCON. (previously)
Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
How can you have a university without a philosophy department? In response to a 17% budget cut to higher education by Governor Sandoval, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas is proposing the complete elimination of its Philosophy Department. The Mayor of Las Vegas has called it a sin. Others have said it seems like something out of an episode of The Simpsons. Todd Edwin Jones, chair of the UNLV Philosophy Department, makes his case.
After hearing of a recent heist in which a bandit wearing a motorcycle helmet robbed the Bellagio of $1.5 million in chips (the 10th Vegas casino robbery this year), I remembered the scene from Ocean's 11 where Reuben expounds upon why it is nigh impossible to steal from a Las Vegas casino. But that simply isn't true. Granted, no one has infiltrated a casino for a massive $160 million haul, but sizable losses have occurred over the years: 18 Casino Heists: The Strange, The Surgical, and The Stupid; 5 Most Famous Casino Heists in History, Top 10: Epic Las Vegas Heists; 13 Real Heists from Around the World (there is duplication of mentioned events on these sites, as well as non-casino-related crimes). Casino Security (Wiki) may be high tech (Google .pdf quickview), but it's not unbeatable (Casino insider tells (almost) all about security). Of course, there are other ways to steal from a casino, but you might still get caught. And it's hard to find much lore about successful robberies, mostly because casinos don't want that kind of publicity. [more inside]
Deep beneath Vegas’s glittering lights lies a sinister labyrinth inhabited by poisonous spiders and a man nicknamed The Troll who wields an iron bar.
The tunnel people of Las Vegas: "They lost their home when they became addicted to drugs after the death of their son Brady at four months old." [warning: Daily Mail]
Las Vegas is the final part of the Another Version of the Truth collection, and is exclusively community-created. Filmed entirely by fans and co-ordinated by Alex Gamble, this release saw the community fly in from around the world, donate technology, skill, and even airfare (fans raised money to send chaonatic, a valued taper, to the concert) to document the final performance of Nine Inch Nails' stunning 2008 tour. Over 200GB of footage was collected, which was meticulously edited together by a team comprising of people from all over the world. [more inside]
Tomorrow in Las Vegas, a mixed hotel/condominium called Vdara will open for business on the spot once occupied by the unlamented Boardwalk Hotel and Casino. It is the first stage of the CityCenter complex, the largest privately financed development in the United States, which has already cost $8.5 billion and six lives. Even before the recent debt-restructuring woes of 50% stakeholder Dubai World, there was concern over CityCenter's impact on the struggling local economy. (previously) [more inside]
It sounds like a George Lopez joke. “Times are so bad that I saw an Anglo day laborer standing outside Home Depot the other day.” Except it’s true.
After creating four successive masterpieces in the 1970s, culminating in the tortured production of Apocalypse Now, Francis Ford Coppola began the 1980s by directing "a romantic comedy, a musical fantasy and an erotic love story set amidst the neon glitter of Las Vegas on a Fourth of July weekend." [more inside]
Trump Entertainment is about to run out of the third extension of its debt payments. Station Casinos is offering its investors as little as 10 cents on the dollar in a pre-packaged bankruptcy. Wynn Resorts is cutting staff hours and bonuses to avoid layoffs. MGM Mirage may see a default rate of 30% on its City Center condominiums. Harrah's long-term debt has doubled. There are no more traffic jams on the Strip. Oh... and the Borgata Hotel in Atlantic City had to settle a $70 million sexual harassment lawsuit brought by its beverage servers. In short: times are tough.
Arelia Margarita Taveras “made a name for herself representing the families of victims of American Airlines Flight 587, which crashed in New York City's borough of Queens in November 2001, killing 265 people.#+ Her practice had 400 clients and earned her $500,000 a year.” She claims that she sought to relieve the pressures of her work by gambling in Atlantic City and Las Vegas over the past few years. She lost $1 million and was disbarred as a result of stealing money from clients [PDF] in order to support her gambling addiction. Taveras also lost her own home and that of her parents (who mortgaged it to support her debt). Taveras owes the IRS $58,000. In response she has filed a $20 million racketeering lawsuit in federal court against six Atlantic City casinos and one in Las Vegas, “claiming they had a duty to notice her compulsive gambling problem and cut her off.”
Who's the new darling of the literary world? Charles Bock. Although, some are asking, how the hell did a guy like him get all this high-profile coverage? [Bock previously on MeFi]
Pilot tells of hairy near miss at Las Vegas airport A post on Airliners.net telling, in some detail, of a near miss between an America West Airbus A320 (piloted by the author) and an Air Canada plane at Las Vegas airport. And if that puts you off flying, to calm down, another pilot's account, of a less hair-raising flight.
Beneath the Neon is a book-length account of author Matt O'Brien's exploration of most of the 400+ miles of flood-control tunnels underneath the glitzy lights of Las Vegas. This excerpt contains an interview with one of the hundreds of people who manage to live in these tunnels, despite the lethal floodwaters that sometimes wash through. Here's another excerpt, and there's also a Flickr gallery of images from the book's photographer, including graffiti galleries, enterprising inhabitants, and rarely seen perspectives of the Strip.
The Boneyard at the Neon Museum (Google Map view from above) is where old Vegas casino signs go to die; while the sign graveyard is only open by appointment, a virtual tour courtesy of these Flickr sets is the next best thing to a visit in person for fans of decaying gaudiness & faded glamour.
When Everyone Else's Party is Your Job The 24-Hour Show is a documentary project and exhibit that offers a glimpse of Las Vegas through the eyes of the people who live and work in the city. It's based on interviews with a diverse cadré of casino and entertainment workers who have made Las Vegas home.
Cheapovegas! Including tips and reports: Vegas on 19$ a Day, Porn Convention, Free Crap, Best Swimming (or how to sneak into it), and the new Hooter's Casino, to name just a few. Let Casino Boy show you the way to medium-risk, non-family fun!
Last Man, Las Vegas. Bernard-Henri Lévy and Francis Fukuyama discuss the habits and habitat of the American demos.
A Chip and a Chair: The World Series of Poker's Main Event started today at the Rio in Las Vegas. That's a change from every other year, when Binion's Horseshoe hosted the event. With the rise of online poker and televised tournaments, it's no surprise this is the biggest year ever: 5,661 people registered for the $10,000 no-limit event. That's about $50 million in prize money, once the tournament and casino costs are taken care of. CardPlayer has up-to-the-minute updates on the tournament. Things at the WSOP can get pretty crazy, as you've got thousands of gamblers ready for any sort of action. For instance, poker celeb Phil Gordon put together a Roshambo tournament (paper rock scissors) together with a $10,000 first prize, just to kill time. The main event, by the way, is only one of 45 events, started back in 1970 by a group of hard-core gamblers. Despite the record turnout, however, there's still plenty of people who didn't make it to the main event, including former Harper's reporter James McManus, who placed 5th in the Main Event in 2000 and wrote a fascinating novel on the subject.
Shuffle up and deal--Phil Gordon's Podcasts from WSOP 2005 Featuring between level commentary on hands played and interviews with World Series of Poker players--well-known and not--Phil Gordon's podcasts are entertaining and informative. It's way better than waiting till ESPN broadcasts portions in September.
The Chopper Show commercials are awesome! They're 30 minute (or longer) commercials for a dealership in Las Vegas. They're obnoxious, over the top, and mesmerizingly amusing. It boggles my mind that there are people who purchase cars based on these commercials, but I can understand why The Chopper is so popular in Las Vegas. If you can't speak spanish, I recommend El Chopper en Espanol - it's even funnier if you can't understand the sales pitch.
A Blivet. More nuclear waste than the planned repository at Yucca Mountain can hold will pile up at reactor sites as the government continues to approve license extensions for power plants, an environmental research organization claimed in a study to be released today. If a repository is built by 2010 in the mountain, 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, its 77,000-ton capacity will be filled by existing spent fuel awaiting shipment. That's not counting another 9,900 tons that will have accumulated in the meantime from license extensions, according to the study by the Environmental Working Group.
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