The Future Dystopic Hellscape is Upon Us

“The rise and fall of the ultimate doomsday prepper.”

Author: Sam Biddle
Source: The Intercept
Published: Jul 5, 2021
Length: 48 minutes (12,142 words)

Beat By Dre: The Exclusive Inside Story of How Monster Lost the World

How a maker of expensive HDMI cables bungled a deal with Interscope’s Jimmy Iovine when it agreed to produce “Beats by Dre”:

“Young Lee faced financial and familial self-destruction if he couldn’t seal the deal. So he sealed whatever he could—what he says was ‘the most complicated contract [Interscope] had ever seen.’ And he faced it by himself, with his BA, against a phalanx of corporate lawyers who wake each day to do nothing but negotiate contracts that favor interscope.”

“There can’t be two winners. Monster solidified an agreement that got Beats Electronics alive and shipping headphones, but not without gigantic forfeit: Jimmy and Dre’s side of Beats would retain permanent ownership of everything that Monster developed. Every headphone, every headband, every cup, every driver, every remote control—if there was a piece of metal or plastic associated with Beats By Dre, Noel and Kevin Lee surrendered it to Jimmy and Dre. Monster would also be entirely responsible for manufacturing the products—a hugely expensive corner of the deal—as well as distributing them. The heavy lifting. “I was a little intimidated by Dr. Dre,” Kevin Lee admits over a child-sized portion of chicken noodle soup. Noel sits beside him without a word.”

Author: Sam Biddle
Source: Gizmodo
Published: Feb 7, 2013
Length: 11 minutes (2,876 words)

Indentured Servitude, Money Laundering, and Piles of Money: The Crazy Secrets of Internet Cam Girls (NSFW)

A look at the women who work as “Internet cam girls,” and the criminal activity that may be occurring behind some of the cam networks:

“‘Cam sites are ideal for laundering. The studios are being used to have girls online accepting a financed hand that uses ‘dirty’ money to buy the private time. The studio gets paid for the private session, the girl gets her (very small) part and so the money comes back clean,’ Mila says. As a result, ‘most Russian and Romanian studios are Mafia owned,’ a claim she extends to the wider developing world. The picture becomes clearer when you remember how scattered and obfuscated these networks’ financial structures are—it’d be easier to confusingly launder money through a company that’s somehow simultaneously based in both Hungary and Portugal.

“The Eastern Bloc countries that so many cam girls call home are repeatedly mentioned in sex trafficking reports as both sources and conduits of illicit sex work—MyFreeCams has gone as far as banning all models from the Philippines, where conditions are said to be the most brutal.

“The reasoning isn’t mentioned, but is easy to surmise. Moving the exploitation online, where girls are under ‘contract’ to stay in a room for half a day at a time with dubious legal recourse, makes criminal sense.”

Author: Sam Biddle
Source: Gizmodo
Published: Sep 18, 2012
Length: 19 minutes (4,903 words)