Britain’s Secret War With Russia
From the attempted assassination of a double agent in a sleepy English city to the expulsion of scores of Russian diplomats from Western capitals, this fight would grow and morph, drawing in a chemical-weapons attack in Syria and rolling scandals about Russian sports doping.
The Doomsday Invention: Will Artificial Intelligence Bring Us Utopia Or Destruction?
Philosopher Nick Bostrom argues that true artificial intelligence, if it is realized, might pose a danger that exceeds every previous threat from technology—even nuclear weapons—and that if its development is not managed carefully humanity risks engineering its own extinction.
Thirty-Six Thousand Feet Under The Sea
For more than a year, the team trying to reach the deepest point in every ocean faced challenges as timeless as bad weather and as novel as the equipment they invented. This is the story of the explorers who set one of the last meaningful records on earth.
The Empty Houses That Foreign Aid Built
After the devastation of the 2004 tsunami, aid agencies promised to rebuild Indonesia “better.” Fifteen years later, their failures are all too obvious. The disaster hit Aceh the hardest. The evacuation buildings are unmistakably the shiniest features of the city’s newly built landscape.
The Case Against Boeing
In the wake of the 737 MAX disasters, caused by a software feature, Boeing and regulators initially placed blame on the planes’ pilots. Since Samya Stumo’s death in a 737 MAX crash, her parents and her great-uncle, Ralph Nader, have devoted themselves to proving that the company put profit over safety.
How Small Farmers Are Fighting To Keep Vermont’s Identity Alive
Not much says “America” more than the small dairy farm, and Vermont has spent decades selling that image. Increasingly, it’s a relic of a bygone era. As of the third quarter of 2019, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets had accounted for only 675 dairy farms in the state.
The Web We Have To Save
In the past, the web was powerful and serious enough to land me in jail. Today it feels like little more than entertainment. The rich, diverse, free web that I loved — and spent years in an Iranian jail for — is dying. Why is nobody stopping it?
The Remote ‘Democratic’ Oasis Of Soviet Russia
The academic town of Akademgorodok in Siberia was created by Russian mathematician Mikhaïl Alekseïevitch Lavrentiev, who wanted to install a safe haven for scientists in the middle of Siberia. Such isolation from Moscow created a fertile scientific and cultural nest away from the influence of the State and its politics.
How Wikipedia’s Volunteers Became The Web’s Best Weapon Against Misinformation
Twenty years after it sputtered onto the web, it’s now a de facto pillar in our fact-checking infrastructure. Its pages often top Google search and feed the knowledge panels that appear at the top of those results. Big Tech’s own efforts to stop misinformation also rely upon Wikipedia.
How A Good Scam Can Bypass Our Defences
Scammers exploit cognitive errors, like “optimism bias.” Most people think they’re a little bit charmed, a little luckier than average. We harbour a personal fable that things are likely to go well for us.
Sea Level Rise: A Small California Town Embraces Managed Retreat
At a time when Del Mar, Pacifica and other coastal cities are fighting to defend their homes and roads from the rising sea, Marina has embarked on a path less traveled. Here in this Army turned university town, residents are learning how to adjust with the ocean as the water moves inland.
Trump’s Art Of The Steal
How Donald Trump rode to power by parroting other people’s fringe ideas, got himself impeached for it—and might prevail anyway. Trump mines Twitter, plucking what he wants, “very comfortable with half thoughts,” “always looking for tidbits of information that he can use to his advantage.”
My Journey Through Tijuana For The Best Surgery $2,000 Can Buy
We ended up living in northern Baja, joining the millions of people who commute between Tijuana and San Diego at the busiest international border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. Medical tourism is one of the leading industries connecting the two regions.
What It’s Like to Live In A California Ghost Town
To be an off-season caretaker of Bodie, California (winter population: 5), you need a high tolerance for cold, solitude, and two-hour grocery runs.
Killer, Kleptocrat, Genius, Spy: The Many Myths Of Vladimir Putin
Putin’s recent ubiquity has brought great prominence to the practice of Putinology. This enterprise – the production of commentary and analysis about Putin and his motivations, based on necessarily partial, incomplete and sometimes entirely false information – has existed as a distinct intellectual industry for over a decade.
Uncatchable: The Story Of Fugitive George Wright
George Wright, America’s most elusive fugitive, ran for forty years. He ran from the cops after escaping from prison. He ran from the feds after the most brazen hijacking in history. He ran from the authorities on three continents, hiding out and blending in wherever he went.
How The English Language Is Taking Over the Planet
English is everywhere, and everywhere, English dominates. From inauspicious beginnings on the edge of a minor European archipelago, it has grown to vast size and astonishing influence. Almost 400m people speak it as their first language; a billion more know it as a secondary tongue. Is there any point in resisting?
The Economist With A Radical Plan To Solve Wealth Inequality
Thomas Piketty’s 753-page book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century”, published in 2013, sold 2.5 million copies worldwide and helped put inequality on the global agenda. But his latest, the even thicker “Capital and Ideology”, may prove still more influential.
China’s Vanishing Mosques
The BBC has found new evidence of the increasing control and suppression of Islam in China’s far western region of Xinjiang – including the widespread destruction of mosques. Authorities provided rare access to religious sites and senior Islamic officials to support their claim that their policies only target violent religious extremism, not faith itself.
How The Environmental Lawyer Who Won A Massive Judgment Against Chevron Lost Everything
Few news outlets covered the detention of Steven Donziger, who won a multibillion-dollar judgment in Ecuador against Chevron over the massive contamination in the Lago Agrio region and has been fighting on behalf of Indigenous people and farmers there for more than 25 years.