How a happy accident has gone on to make men happy the world over.
Dating and hookup sites are filled with bots that convince real people into handing over their money.
How Mark Karpeles forged an empire out of digital currency before becoming a suspect in a half-billion dollar heist.
How a white man from Boston rose through the ranks of Asian organized crime.
James McGibney—a former marine and founder of website BullyVille—aims to stop the worst of the worst on the internet, but critics say he’s the real bully.
How the radical hacking collective Anonymous incited online vigilantism from Tunisia to Ferguson.
This week’s Longreads Member Pick is by David Kushner, a contributing editor for Rolling Stone whose work has been featured on Longreads often in the past. He has just published The Bones of Marianna, a new story from The Atavist, and we’re thrilled to give the ebook to Longreads Members.
The U.S. government is increasingly facing cyber threats that could affect our national security and economy. As a result, the government is courting hackers for cyber security jobs, but needs to overhaul its image to lure young talent, who can easily find well paid jobs in Silicon Valley and private security firms:
“To get a sense of just how weak our cyberdefenses are, I take a trip with Jayson Street, Chief Chaos Coordinator for another firm, Krypton Security, into the basement of a hotel in South Beach. We breeze past an open door with a taped sign that reads, ‘Doors must be closed at all times!!!’ This is where the brains of the building live – the computer network, the alarm system, the hard drives of credit-card numbers – but, as Street tells a brawny security guard, he’s here on the job, ‘doing a Wi-Fi assessment.’ Street, a paunchy, 45-year-old Oklahoman in a black T-shirt and jeans, flashes the hulk some indecipherable graphs on his tablet and says, ‘We’re good,’ as he continues into another restricted room.
“The doors aren’t locked. No one seems to be monitoring the security cameras. The wires for the burglar-alarm system are exposed, ready for an intruder to snip. We make our way to the unmanned computer room, where, in seconds, Street could install malware to swipe every credit-card number coming through the system if he wanted to. ‘They’re like every other hotel I’ve tried to go into,’ he tells me. ‘They fail.'”
A profile of Scott Lindquist, a blind Alaskan who harvests icebergs for a living:
“Quickly, Lindquist grabs his most important tool: his son Hank’s old hockey stick, which he uses partly for good luck and partly because it works well for hooking ice. ‘Ease it back,’ he shouts at the captain, who idles the boat. Lindquist lies on his belly at the bow, extending his torso over the water, and starts pulling on the berg. The wind has just picked up, and Lindquist’s target is bobbing around like a giant candy apple dusted with powdered sugar. The boat rises and falls on the waves, the water slapping Lindquist. When he finally pulls the berg within arm’s reach, one of the crew scurries up and tries to steady the ice with the pike pole as Lindquist attempts to twist in the ice screws. But with each motion, the berg bobs away stubbornly. After more than an hour of failed attempts, Lindquist says it’s time to move to calmer waters. ‘I like hanging out in front of a glacier,’ he tells me, wiping the water from his face, ‘but sometimes you gotta go where the getting is good.'”
This week, we're excited to feature a Longreads Exclusive from David Kushner (@DavidKushner), a contributing editor to Rolling Stone whose work has also appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ and Wired. He's been featured many times on Longreads, and he's the author of Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto.
“Cormac McCarthy’s Apocalypse” is Kushner's 2007 Rolling Stone profile of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Road, No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses. Kushner explains how he first met the reclusive writer:
"I owe my Cormac McCarthy story to two people: Harvard physicist Lisa Randall, and my dad. My dad urged me to read Cormac's books when I began writing for my college newspaper. The sentences are amazing, he said. He was right, and I read every one of them. Years later, I was interviewing Randall for Rolling Stone when she told me that Cormac had done an edit of her most recent book on theoretical physics. Come again? I said. Cormac hangs out at the Sante Fe Institute, she explained, a science research center in the foothills of New Mexico. After meeting him there, he offered to read her book—and surprised her by sending back an edited copy of the manuscript. Hmm, I said. Can I interview him about you for the story?
"Randall laughed, and I knew why. Cormac had a reputation for being reclusive, and had only done a couple interviews over his career. It's a long shot, she said, but she'd give it a try. A few minutes later my phone rang. You're not going to believe this, she said, but he'll talk with you.”