Long-form Articles

The Untold Story of Silk Road

The Rise & Fall of Silk Road ◇ part I➚ ~9,730 words ◇ part II➚ ~11,110 words

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

Joshuah Bearman ※ ※ May 2015 issue

‘I Forgot My PIN’: An Epic Tale of Losing $30,000 in Bitcoin

‘I Forgot My PIN’: An Epic Tale of Losing $30,000 in Bitcoin ◇ ~6,300 words ◇ A veteran tech journalist tries everything, including hypnosis, to recover a small fortune from a locked bitcoin device.

Mark Frauenfelder ※ Wired ※ ※ October 19, 2017

How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet

How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet ◇ ~5,800 words ◇ The most dramatic cybersecurity story of 2016 came to a quiet conclusion Friday in an Anchorage courtroom, as three young American computer savants pleaded guilty to masterminding an unprecedented botnet—powered by unsecured internet-of-things devices like security cameras and wireless routers—that unleashed sweeping attacks on key internet services around the globe last fall. What drove them wasn’t anarchist politics or shadowy ties to a nation-state. It was Minecraft.

Garrett M. Graff ※ Wired ※ ※ December 13, 2017

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance

Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance ◇ ~4,100 words ◇ Andrew Therrien wanted payback. He got it—and uncovered a conspiracy.

On the morning a debt collector threatened to rape his wife, Andrew Therrien was working from home, in a house with green shutters on a cul-de-sac in a small Rhode Island town.

Somewhere—at the top of a ladder of dirty debt collectors that Therrien would spend the next two years relentlessly climbing—a man named Joel Tucker had no idea what was coming.


Zeke Faux ※ Bloomberg Businessweek ※ ※ December 6, 2017

I Threw Away $7.6 Million In Bitcoin – Campbell Simpson

I Threw Away $7.6 Million In Bitcoin ◇ ~1500 words ◇ Five years ago, I threw away a hard drive. An utterly generic 250GB portable hard drive, already a few years old… It had a data file containing 1400 Bitcoin on it. No big deal, at the time. Today, those few kilobytes are worth more than four million seven million dollars.

AU Editor’s Note, 2017-Aug-15: So, the price of Bitcoin smashed through the $US4000 barrier yesterday. I just did the maths, and instead of $4.2 million, my 1400BTC would now be worth $7.6 million. It seemed like the right time to share this with you all again. C’est la vie, I guess. — Cam

Campbell Simpson ※ Gizmodo Australia ※ ※ May 28, 2017

The High Price of a Free College Education in Sweden

The High Price of a Free College Education in Sweden ◇ ~1,300 words ◇ Here’s why Swedish college students still graduate with a ton of debt.

Matt Phillips  ※ The Atlantic  ※  ※  May 31, 2013

How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds ($🔒)

How Smartphones Hijack Our Minds $🔒 ◇ ~3,000 words ◇ Research suggests that as the brain grows dependent on phone technology, the intellect weakens.

Interesting points:

  • Students who took classes and never carried phones to their classes scored one full grade higher than students who did take their phones to class, even if it was off and put away in their backpack.
  • Similarly, people taking intelligence tests did better the farther away their phone was located.
  • People think they are smarter because they can quickly look things up on their phone, but they miss out on all the connections between known material the brain can store, link, and process.

Nicholas Carr  ※ The Wall Street Journal  ※  ※  October 6, 2017

Should the US Put Power Lines Underground?

Should the US Put Power Lines Underground? ◇ ~1,050 words ◇ UF’s director of energy studies observes that installing power lines underground to prevent outages during hurricanes may not be the magic bullet many are seeking.

Theodore J. Kury, Director of Energy Studies, University of Florida  ※  The Conversation  ※  ※  September 12, 2017

Seven Days of Heroin

Seven Days of Heroin: This is What an Epidemic Looks Like ◇ ~9,100 words ◇ The Enquirer sent more than 60 reporters, photographers and videographers into their communities to chronicle an ordinary week in this extraordinary time.

Dan Horn and Terry DeMio  ※  ※  September 10, 2017

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