Originally published in the October 1982 issue of Inside Sports. The game is over and the baseball player sits in the hotel lobby, his eyes fixed on nothing. He thinks his secret is safe but he is…
PUBLISHED: May 8, 2013
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6542 words)
The chickens that saved Western civilization were discovered, according to legend, by the side of a road in Greece in the first decade of the fifth century B.C. The Athenian general Themistocles, on…
LENGTH: 33 minutes (8349 words)
Somewhere in Russia a signal of mysterious beeps and buzzes has broadcast since the high-water days of the Cold War. But why?Photo: Sergey Kozmin From a lonely rusted tower in a…
The secrets of Moneyball, eight years later. "The young men had heaps of fun, working crazy hours and, to blow off steam, knocking golf balls around the office, playing football among the cubicles and celebrating big wins with postgame refreshments at Boston watering holes. Then one day in 2002, a best-selling writer by the name of Michael Lewis walked into the Red Sox offices and knocked the smile right off Epstein's face. Lewis was working on a book about baseball's nascent information age, but Epstein wanted nothing to do with him. 'I can't believe Billy is letting him write this book,' he told his colleagues. Billy Beane, Oakland's general manager, had granted Lewis access to his front-office operations, which meant revealing how the A's were mining information from statistical analysis, a tool used extensively at the time by only the Athletics, Indians, Blue Jays and Red Sox. 'He's handing out the blueprint,' Epstein told Hoyer."
PUBLISHED: Sept. 21, 2011
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4711 words)
"Ayee-eeee..." Lars von Trier says, physically wincing, as it begins. (His ramblings are prompted by a question partly inquiring about the interest he had expressed to a Danish film magazine about the Nazi aesthetic and their achievements in the field of design.) "Yeah, okay. I remember that..." He asks me to stop it for a moment, then continues. "Terrible..." He sees the distressed look on Dunst's face, helpless to stop the flow of disastrous words from the mouth of someone inches away from her. "I kind of didn't look at her," he remembers. "But I had a feeling that she was kind of reacting. But then I thought 'Ah, these Americans, they're always so scared of everything, you know...' " Just watching Dunst's face, as it shifts between amusement, concern, bafflement, horror, compassion, and pain, without ever losing its dignity, tells you as much about what is happening as Trier's words do.
Most Americans are probably unaware, for example, that the US Air Force now trains more UAV operators each year than traditional pilots. (Indeed, the Air Force insists on referring to drones as “remotely piloted aircraft” in order to dispel any suspicions that it is moving out of the business of putting humans into the air.) As I write this, the US aerospace industry has for all practical purposes ceased research and development work on manned aircraft. All the projects now on the drawing board revolve around pilotless vehicles. Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies around the country eagerly await the moment when they can start operating their own UAVs. The Federal Aviation Administration is considering rules that will allow police departments to start using them within the next few years (perhaps as early as 2014).
PUBLISHED: Sept. 20, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3733 words)
Thanks to an eccentric New York lawyer in the 1930s, this college in a corner of the Catskills inherited a thousand-year trust that would not mature until the year 2936: a gift whose accumulated compound interest, the New York Times reported in 1961, “could ultimately shatter the nation’s financial structure.” The mossy stone walls and ivy-covered brickwork of Hartwick College were a ticking time-bomb of compounding interest—a very, very slowly ticking time bomb. One suspects they’d have rather gotten a new squash court.
PUBLISHED: Sept. 15, 2011
LENGTH: 10 minutes (2730 words)
Twenty-three movies in 23 years suggests an already amazing, Woody Allen-like productivity. But Soderbergh has been even more prolific than that number indicates. During the first part of his career, development struggles and the learning curve of a new filmmaker put him on a two-year cycle. His debut, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, was released in 1989; Kafka, in 1991; King of the Hill, in 1993. But following the movie that blew up his old career and created a new one, Schizopolis—more on that later—Soderbergh's been on a tear unmatched by any filmmaker I can think of. In the 13 years since 1998, he has directed 18 feature films. Oh, and one of them was a two-part, four-hour epic. Oh, and he directed every episode of a five-hour HBO series. Oh, and he also read like 20 books a month.
Brett Sharenow is presiding over the Pepsi Challenge of lightbulbs. The CFO of Switch, a Silicon Valley startup, Sharenow has set himself up in a 20-by-20 booth at the back of the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, and he’s asking passersby to check out two identical white shades. Behind one hides a standard incandescent bulb, the familiar lighting technology that has gone largely unchanged since Thomas Edison invented it 132 years ago. Behind the other is a stunning, almost art- deco-style prototype that holds 10 LEDs and a secret fluid. It’s a liquid-cooled bulb, as radically different from Edison’s invention as anything that’s ever been screwed into a standard socket and, Sharenow hopes, the next big thing in the $30 billion lighting industry. The challenge: Can you tell which is which?