Eep. A month off from these. Not that I haven’t been reading, but I’ve just not made time on Saturdays to write these. That’s my one trick with these; the other is that I power this with Instapaper.
- The Torture Colony covers a Germanic colony inside of Chile that Pinochet used for torturing folks. This is just a crazy read.
- Todd Marinovich: The Man Who Never Was covers the title subject’s entire arc, from crib to crisis.
- Jonathan Lebed: Stock Manipulator, S.E.C. Nemesis — and 15 covers a teen who openly manipulated the stock market. Sure, this is from 2001, but you can look forward from this to see folks like Jim Cramer, et al, who manipulate the market themselves.
- How Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me Is Crowdsourcing Done Right is a fun piece by Derek Powazek, who knows a thing or two about Internet community and crowdsourcing, talking about the NPR program and how it brings in a variety of voices.
- Lincoln’s Great Depression covers Lincoln’s melancholy and how it drove him—and arguing that it made him the great that he was.
- Mother Earth, Mother Board is a fantastic trip into the laying of the Fiberoptic Link Around the Globe, from Lord Kelvin’s inventions to what it took around the turn of the past century to lay subsea cabling.
- Brain Gain: The underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs covers what I think of as mental steroids. I want to say that I’d never take these, but I (ab)use caffeine, so …
Here’s your Sunday reading for today, May 16th:
- Better Off Deadbeat: Craig Cunningham Has a Simple Solution for Getting Bill Collectors Off His Back. He Sues Them. [dallasobserver.com] Now, I don’t think that suing fraudulent and/or abusive debt collectors isn’t altogether a bad thing. That said, it appears that Craig Cunningham and his cohorts have no intention of paying back all that they owe. If Cunningham was using the proceeds from the lawsuits to settle his outstanding debts, that would be one thing. But it doesn’t appear that’s what he’s doing. For more on this phenomenon, Rogers Cadenhead’s Workbench has similar coverage, with more links.
- The Fifty-Nine-Story Crisis [duke.edu]. This is a great story of engineers blowing the whistle on themselves, fixing the mess they made, and doing right by the customer and accepting the consequences. Own your failures.
- The Devil at 37,000 Feet [vanityfair.com]. This is the story of Gol Transportes Aereos Flight 1907 and its collision with an ExcelAir-owned Legacy 600 private jet. In combination with the previous link, it’s important to note: in complex systems, one mistake is rarely fatal. Rather, it is a series of small mistakes, concentrated in a terrible cascade, that is deadly.
- The little pill that could cure alcoholism [guardian.co.uk]. God forbid that we should try anything off-label with long-generic drugs. I’m not saying that Dr. Olivier Ameisen has cured alcoholism: complex diseases rarely have simple cures. This is, to me, more a story of how modern medicine is just as much about profits as it is improving lives.
- The Oracle of Silicon Valley [inc.com]. Tim O’Reilly is the man, in my opinion. I am a huge fan of private businesses, because they are not driven by “returning value to the shareholders”. Sometimes, I think that venture capital and public offerings are the things that suck the very lifeblood out of companies with a distinct vision for their marketplace and customers. It’s obvious that people are in business to make money; money is not, however, everything. As anyone who’s spent five minutes looking at the stock market will tell you, this chase for the short-term valuation, the bump, is just chasing fleeting things. Let us build lasting things, things with value.
Here’s your Sunday reading for today: