The Hacker-Artist Underground →
by Jon Lackman Thirty years ago, in the dead of night, a group of six Parisian teenagers pulled off what would prove to be a fateful theft from the French ministry of telecommunications. They combed the building for hours, encountering no one, until they found what they were looking for at the bottom of a desk drawer — maps of the ministry’s citywide network of tunnels.
by Tony Judt Night I suffer from a motor neuron disorder, which constitutes progressive imprisonment without parole. First you lose the use of a digit or two; then a limb; then and almost inevitably, all four. Girls! Girls! Girls! In 1992 I was chairman of the History Department at New York University - where I was also the only unmarried straight male under sixty. A combustible blend:...
Five Weird and Wonderful Tales →
A Tetw reading list Inhaling the Spore by Lawrence Wechsler - A classic article about an obscure and idiosyncratic private museum in LA’s Culver City. Later developed into a book, the original story is a rare feast of words and ideas. Violence of the Lambs by John Jeremiah Sullivan - “Elephants on the African savanna have been raping rhinoceroses, something that evidently is just as...
A Tetw reading list Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson - This drug-fuelled trip ‘to the heart of the American Dream’ needs little introduction. Me & My Monkey by Anonymous - A breathtaking memoir that lays out the highs and lows of heroin addiction with brutal realism. The Electric Cough-Syrup Acid Test by Jim Hogshire - How high can you get on a bottle of...
Upon This Rock →
by John Jeremiah Sullivan Rock music used to be a safe haven for degenerates and rebels. Until it found Jesus.
After Life →
by Joan Didion Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
Undercover Anarchist →
by David Kushner Mark Stone watched in alarm as his girlfriend snapped a black bicycle lock around her throat, securing herself to a giant yellow dump truck. “I don’t think this is a good idea,” Stone told her.
The Wave-Maker →
by William Langewiesche When Ken Bradshaw caught the largest wave ever surfed, in 1998, he was riding on pure, single-minded passion. On Oahu’s famed North Shore, the author learns about the 58-year-old maverick’s record-breaking encounter with 85 feet of “Condition Black” water.
Alan Greenspan Takes a Bath →
by Wil S. Hylton A look at the career and legacy of the legendary Fed chairman.
Climbing the Redwoods →
by Richard Preston The main trunk of a coast redwood can be up to twenty-five feet in diameter near its base, and in some cases it can extend upward from the ground for more than two hundred and fifty feet before the first strong branches emerge and the crown of the tree begins to flare. The crown of a tall coast redwood is typically an irregular spire that can look like the plume of a rocket...
by Elizabeth Gumport For an insomniac, there is no such thing as a good night. Every evening – even if it eventually, mercifully comes to an end – is shredded by anxiety. To reach sleep the insomniac must first pass through terror.
Power Trip →
by Emily Maloney Grab your 3-D glasses, pin that name tag to your jacket and get on the bus for a class excursion to a nuclear power plant.
We Blew It →
by P. J. O’Rourke The sludge and dreck of political muck-funds flowing to prosperous businesses and individuals got deeper and more slippery and stank worse than ever with conservatives minding the sewage works of legislation.
Boomtown Girl →
by Peter Hessler Over the past twenty years, Shenzhen has become home to a social experiment that is as impressive as its economic adventure. Its population has exploded from three hundred thousand to more than four million.
Empire of Ice →
by Jeanne Marie Laskas On a $500 million man-made island in the frozen Arctic Ocean, in temperatures that hover around forty-five degrees below zero, in perpetual darkness, a tight-knit band of roughnecks spends twelve hours a day, seven days a week, drilling down, down into the earth and pulling up precious crude. If you want to know how badly we need oil, here is your answer.
The Curse of Lono →
by Hunter S. Thompson We were about 40 minutes out of San Francisco when the crew finally decided to take action on the problem in lavatory 1B. The door had been locked since take-off, and now the chief stewardess had summoned the copilot down from the flight deck. He appeared in the aisle right beside me, carrying a strange-looking black tool, like a flashlight with blades or some kind of...
The Science of the Sleeper →
by Malcolm Gladwell How the Information Age could blow away the blockbuster.
You Can't Kill the Rooster →
by David Sedaris Use the word y’all and, before you knew it, you’d find yourself in a haystack French-kissing an underage goat. Along with grits and hush puppies, the abbreviated form of “you all” is a dangerous step on the path leading straight to the doors of the Baptist church.
Growing Up →
A Tetw reading list The Unbearable Awkwardness of Being by Devin Friedman - Sixteen years after he graduated from high school, a journalist returns to his alma mater. Tennis, Trigonometry, Tornadoes by David Foster Wallace - On childhood in the Midwest. The Terrible Boy by Tom Junod - A brilliant reflection on what happens when bullying gets out of hand. My Mom Couldn’t Cook by Tom...
Can Europe Be Saved? →
by Paul Krugman The advantages of a single European currency were obvious. No need to change money when you arrived in another country, and the shared currency would strengthen the sense of European unity. What could go wrong?
Ticket to the Fair →
by David Foster Wallace Wherein our reporter gorges himself on corn dogs, gapes at terrifying rides, savors the odor of pigs, trades unpleasantries with tattooed carnies, and admires the loveliness of cows.
The Louse is in the House →
by P. J. O’Rourke “How could my daughter get lice?” I shouted (out of daughter’s earshot, of course, for propriety’s sake). “It’s a private school!”
Israel: The Alternative →
by Tony Judt The Middle East peace process is finished. It did not die: it was killed. On the corpse-strewn landscape of the Fertile Crescent, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, and a handful of terrorists can all claim victory, and they do. Have we reached the end of the road? What is to be done?
Here, There and Everywhere →
by Walter Kirn I am an American consumer, and the battle to catch the corner of my eye is growing more desperate by the hour. Desperate and counterproductive, it now seems clear….
The Million Dollar Nose →
by William Langewiesche The most influential critic in the world today is not a snob or an obvious aesthete, as one might imagine, but an ordinary American, a burly, awkward, hardworking guy from the backcountry of northern Maryland. His name is Robert Parker Jr., Bob for short, and he has no formal training in wine.
The Secret Life of Bees →
by Carl Zimmer When you consider a swarm one bee at a time this way, it starts to look like a heap of chaos. Each insect wanders around, using its tiny brain to perceive nothing more than its immediate surroundings. Yet, somehow, thousands of honeybees can pool their knowledge and make a collective decision about where they will make a new home, even if that home may be miles away.
The Last Ace →
by Mark Bowden Over Cesar Rodriguez’s desk hangs a macabre souvenir of his decades as a fighter pilot. It is a large framed picture, a panoramic cockpit view of open sky and desert. A small F‑15 Eagle is visible in the distance, but larger and more immediate, filling the center of the shot, staring right at the viewer, is an incoming missile.
The Creativity Crisis →
by Po Bronson For the first time, research shows that American creativity is declining. What went wrong — and how we can fix it.
Hail the Returning Dragon, Clothed in New Fire →
by David Foster Wallace You know this love story. A gallant knight espies a fair maiden in the distant window of a forbidding-type castle. Their eyes meet - smokily - across the withered heath. Instant chemistry. And so good Sir Knight comes tear-assing toward the castle, brandishing his lance. Can he just gallop up and carry the fair maiden off? Not quite. First he’s got to get past the...
A Tetw reading list Night-Shifting for the Hip Fleet by Mark Jacobson - Behing the wheel of a New York cab. Nickel And Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich - Life as a low-wage worker. The Loading Dock Manifesto by John Hyduk - Working thorugh the night with a freight forwarder. Butcher by Tom Chiarella - Spending time with the men who cut the meat. House by Tracy Kidder - Building a house the...
Coach Fitz's Management Theory →
by Michael Lewis There are teachers with a rare ability to enter a child’s mind; it’s as if their ability to get there at all gives them the right to stay forever. I once had such a teacher. His name was Billy Fitzgerald, but everybody just called him Coach Fitz.
On Self Respect →
by Joan Didion Once, in a dry season, I wrote in large letters across two pages of a notebook that innocence ends when one is stripped of the delusion that one likes oneself. Although now, some years later, I marvel that a mind on the outs with itself should have nonetheless made painstaking record of its every tremor, I recall with embarrassing clarity the flavor of those particular ashes. It...
by Jeanne Marie Laskas The hot, peppy, underpaid world of the NFL cheerleaders.
The Squid Hunter →
by David Grann On a moonless January night in 2003, Olivier de Kersauson, the French yachtsman, was racing across the Atlantic Ocean, trying to break the record for the fastest sailing voyage around the world, when his boat mysteriously came to a halt. There was no land for hundreds of miles, yet the mast rattled and the hull shuddered, as if the vessel had run aground…
by Wil S. Hylton What went wrong with nuclear power? How did the solution to our oil dependence become the stuff of apocalyptic nightmares? Where does the myth end and the truth begin?
The Possibilian →
by Burkhard Bilger When David Eagleman was eight years old, he fell off a roof and kept on falling. Or so it seemed at the time.
The Future of Conflict →
by Robert D. Kaplan Europe is a landscape; East Asia a seascape. Because the span of the decades, the demographic and economic axis of the Earth has shifted to the opposite end of Eurasia, where the spaces between major population centers are overwhelmingly maritime, the 21st century’s defining battleground is going to be on water.
Maggie and Trudie →
by Douglas Adams I am not, I should say at once, in any formal relationship with a dog. I don’t feed a dog, give it a bed, groom it, find kennels for it when I’m away, delouse it or suddenly arrange for any of its internal organs to be removed when they displease me. I do not, in short, own a dog. On the other hand, I do have a kind of furtive, illicit relationship with a dog or rather, two...
In Defense of Prejudice →
by Jonathan Rauch In the past year, groups and factions that agree on nothing else have agreed that the public expression of any and all prejudices must be forbidden.
The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce →
by Tom Wolfe On the face of it, there you had Grinnell Iowa, in 1948: a piece of mid-nineteenth century American history frozen solid in the middle of the twentieth. It was one of the last towns in America that people back east would have figured to become the starting point of a bolt into the future that would create the very substructure, the electronic grid, of life in the year 2000 and...
The Wheels of Freedom →
by Fred Strebeigh We floated together and others floated past. But they travelled fractions of a pedal-turn faster or fractions slower, and we were left alone in talk, our handlebars occasionally nudging each other, in the bizarre intimacy of Beijing cycling.
Doing the Monkey Shuffle →
Tom Chiarella’s guide to alpha male psychology The Art of the Handshake A perfunctory gesture? Hardly. It defines the exchange. A hands-on study of a subtle craft. The Invisible Grip Maintaining eye contact feels awkward, even creepy. At first. Then it just feels powerful. On Saying No Not “No, thanks.” Not “nope.” Just “no.” clear, unambiguous, empowering “no.” But not in a mean way.
by Roland Barthes Toys are essentially a microcosm of the adult world; they are all reduced copies of human objects, as if in the eyes of the public the child was nothing but a smaller man who must be supplied with objects of his own size.
The Problem of Evil →
by Tony Judt The first work by Hannah Arendt that I read, at the age of sixteen, was Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil.1 It remains, for me, the emblematic Arendt text. It is not her most philosophical book. It is not always right; and it is decidedly not her most popular piece of writing. I did not even like the book myself when I first read it…
Social Media →
A Tetw reading list What Defines a Meme? by James Gleick - An excellent essay about what memes are and how they work. How Your Creepy Ex-Co-Workers Will Kill Facebook by Cory Doctorow - Does sucess spell the death of a social network? Small Change by Malcolm Gladwell - Why the revolution will not be tweeted. The Curse of Cow Clicker by Jason Tanz - The twisted world of social gaming and how...
The Rules of Attraction →
A Tetw reading list The Biology of Attraction by Helen E. Fisher - A comprehensive review of the biological underpinnings of human sexual behaviour, from flirting and courtship through to infidelity and break-ups. Pieces Of You by Walter Kirn - Why the most attractive woman in the room may not be who you think. What Do Women Want? by Daniel Bergner - How cutting-edge research is helping to...
The Big Takeover →
by Matt Taibbi How Wall Street insiders are using the bailout to stage a revolution
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read →
by Pierre Bayard There is more than one way not to read, the most radical of which is not to open a book at all. For any given reader, however dedicated he might be, such total abstention necessarily holds true for virtually everything that has been published, and thus in fact this constitutes our primary way of relating to books.
Heart of Dark Chocolate →
by Rowan Jacobsen The race for control of an ancient strain of cacao native to the Bolivian Amazon, wild cacao, unmolested by millennia of botanical tinkering. The tropical cacao tree, which has secret things to tell us about flavor and desire.
Why Not the Worst? →
by Gene Weingarten We promised to find the armpit of America. Turns out it’s only about five inches from the heart.