Links

----- 3 stars -----

How I Accidentally Wound Up Running an Outlaw Biker Gang in Ohio / Medium
Really entertaining:

How exactly did I become the co-leader of a motorcycle gang sanctioned by the Aryan Brotherhood? To be honest, it kind of happened by accident. The agency never said, “Hey, Frank, go out and befriend a bunch of Aryan Brotherhood members and help start their motorcycle gang.” I was never told I’d be palling around with some of the Ohio Aryan Brotherhood’s most notorious members. But things never go as expected when you work undercover. By that point in my career, I’d spent the better part of 18 years working undercover for the ATF. My specialty was outlaw biker-gang infiltrations. I should mention here that they call themselves “motorcycle clubs.” But these aren’t groups of Sunday cruisers. They have track records as criminal enterprises, which is why law enforcement (and respectable humans) refer to them them as gangs. By 2004, I’d infiltrated the Brothers Motorcycle Club in Columbus, Ohio, and the Vagos club out in Las Vegas. I’d been in a couple armed standoffs and heard a major gang leader order a hit on another undercover ATF agent who happened to be my best friend, Darrin Kozlowski. I’d also played undercover support roles in cases targeting the Outlaws, the Mongols, and the Warlocks. All told, a handful of guys and I, who collectively dedicated hundreds of years on these cases, put hundreds of seriously bad people behind bars for armed violent crimes, attempted murder, weapons sales, and countless other charges. And I picked up a lot of tattoos along the way.

http://bit.ly/2qdFVcX


What the Hell Happened to Darius Miles? / The Players' Tribune
This piece got a lot of buzz this week, and for good reason:

Picture this. I’m 18 years old. I just got drafted by the Clippers. Just got drafted by the Clippers with my boy Q ― that’s Quentin Richardson, my O.G. from way back ― who as a matter of fact is gonna be riding with me on this joint as my special guest editor.
Editor Q’s note: What’s going on, y’all? Lemme keep this man honest.
We did everything together back in the day, so we might as well do this together, too, right? Anyway, they messed around and gave us millions of dollars and put us in Los Angeles, of all places. Only Donald Sterling could’ve been wild enough to sign off on that. Right after the draft, I’m on a private plane to L.A. with Q, and we’re just lookin’ at one another like, Bruh. Bruh. We on a PJ. They messed around and gave us millions of dollars and put us in Los Angeles, of all places. I mean, I’m from East St Louis. Q is from the Wild Hunneds. My momma drove a school bus. Q’s daddy drove the L Train. Now we’re sitting on the PJ, bro? We made it. So we land and it’s like straight outta the movies ― dude is standing next to the black town car holding up a sign with our names on it.
Editor’s note: Like he’s about pass the Grey Poupon.
It was surreal. I’m coming straight outta high school to this. At least Q had a year of college, you know?

http://bit.ly/2qdgicm


The harrowing, step-by-step story of a migrant’s journey to Europe / Quartz

Andrew’s tortuous journey started three months earlier in Edo, a state in southern Nigeria. But in reality, it was many years in the making. His father left for Germany in 1990, just before he was born, to seek greener pastures. His mother followed just after Andrew became a teenager. With strong family ties on the other side of the Mediterranean, Andrew needed little prompting to dream of a life there. [...] Edo, Andrew’s home state, has gained a longstanding reputation as a hub for people trafficking in Nigeria. Traffickers often prey on the potent mix of ignorance, desperation and poverty of young people to trick them into the trip by promising lucrative jobs in Europe. It’s an offer that’s too good to refuse for many. But the dreams of a better life in Europe usually fade away quickly. Rather than provide lucrative jobs as promised, traffickers often exploit female migrants through sex trafficking rings for prostitution once in Europe. The business model for trafficking male migrants is different, even though they’re also sold similar tales of jobs in Europe. Traffickers’ profits are made by charging male migrants high fees to smuggle them into Europe but then leaving them stranded along the way in Libya or in Europe.

http://bit.ly/2qhICdL


----- 2 stars -----

The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture / New Yorker

Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction.

http://bit.ly/2qfgckH


Should a self-driving car kill the baby or the grandma? Depends on where you’re from / Technology Review

The infamous “trolley problem” was put to millions of people in a global study, revealing how much ethics diverge across cultures.

http://bit.ly/2qeODYx


This Bartender Is Secretly the Greatest Tetris Player in the World / Vice

Most days, Jonas Neubauer wakes up a little before noon and either goes to work as a taproom manager in southern California or to his other job where he helps run a recreational marijuana startup. But today the 37-year-old Los Angeles native rolled out of bed a little earlier, still groggy, to talk on the phone about his other life—his most prominent and public one—as the greatest Tetris player in the world. It’s a title that grows more inarguable as Neubauer racks up championship after championship. Eight Classic Tetris World Championship (CTWC) tournaments have been held since the competition’s inception in 2010. Neubauer has won seven of them.

http://bit.ly/2qcSyVP


Why do some people hurt more than others? / The Conversation

If we can better understand what makes individuals more or less sensitive to pain in all kinds of situations, then we are that much closer to reducing human suffering by developing targeted personalized pain treatments with lower risks of misuse, tolerance and abuse than the current treatments. Ultimately, this would mean knowing who is going to have more pain or need more pain-killing drugs, and then being able to effectively manage that pain so the patient is more comfortable and has a quicker recovery.

http://bit.ly/2qd9KKG


When Trump Phones Friends, the Chinese and the Russians Listen and Learn / New York Times

When President Trump calls old friends on one of his iPhones to gossip, gripe or solicit their latest take on how he is doing, American intelligence reports indicate that Chinese spies are often listening — and putting to use invaluable insights into how to best work the president and affect administration policy, current and former American officials said. Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them. [...] They said they had further confidence he was not spilling secrets because he rarely digs into the details of the intelligence he is shown and is not well versed in the operational specifics of military or covert activities.

https://nyti.ms/2qd9QSy


----- 1 star -----

Why Are Hotel Sheets And Towels White? / Your Mileage May Vary

For those of you who remember that far back, before the 1990s, hotels’ bed sheets tended to be pretty colorful. In fact, hoteliers particularly liked darker colors because they hid stains better. And then, as time went on, they…weren’t colorful or dark anymore. Nearly all hotels, especially chains, had switched over to white. So what happened?

http://bit.ly/2qfbpQd


Do Nootropics Actually Work? I Took a Bunch of Magic Brain Pills to Find Out / GQ

The infinite promise of stacking is why, whatever weight you attribute to the evidence of their efficacy, nootropics will never go away: With millions of potential iterations of brain-enhancing regimens out there, there is always the tantalizing possibility that seekers haven’t found the elusive optimal combination of pills and powders for them—yet. Each “failure” is but another step in the process-of-elimination journey to biological self-actualization, which may be just a few hundred dollars and a few more weeks of amateur alchemy away.

http://bit.ly/2qfgF6r


Trump voters say men are discriminated against more than gays, minorities / NBC News

Nearly half of Trump voters said men face either “a great deal” or “a fair amount” of discrimination in America today.

https://nbcnews.to/2qfh8pd


Archaeopteryx: The day the fossil feathers flew / BBC

There is no greater insult you can hurl at a museum than to suggest its prize fossil is a fake. But that's what the esteemed astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle did in 1985 when he doubted the authenticity of arguably the most priceless possession in the collections of what is now London's Natural History Museum (NHM). All hell broke loose as the claim made headlines around the world.

https://bbc.in/2qhJ9MN


'Liquid gold': students make world's first brick out of human urine / The Guardian

Students in South Africa have created the world’s first brick made from human urine. The bio-brick was produced by students from Cape Town, who collected urine from specially designed male urinals at the university’s engineering building and mixed it with sand and bacteria. Bio-bricks are made in moulds at room temperature, removing the need for high temperature kilns. Nitrogen and potassium, which are crucial for commercial fertilisers, are created as by-products during the process.

http://bit.ly/2qmQ9Ip

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