Among the Landlords

Matthew Gault attends the 21st Annual Mr. National Landlord Convention, a conference in St. Louis where landlords gather, commiserate, and pitch and sell tips and tricks to each other. If you’ve ever wondered what 200 landlords come together to talk about, Gault’s insider’s look paints an interesting picture.

There was something deeply American about all of this—a push to acquire more, be more, get more. Every presenter had a hustle, something to sell: a book, a program, a key that will help unlock your potential landlording powers. All you have to do is cut them a check for around $1,997.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Jun 23, 2022
Length: 21 minutes (5,459 words)

Why the US Sucks at Building Public Transit

“Whether it’s traditional subway and commuter rail systems, modern streetcars and light rails, high-speed intercity rail, or even the humble bus with dedicated lanes and train-like stops, the U.S. lags perilously behind. It is a national embarrassment and a major reason our cities are less pleasant, more expensive places to live.”

Source: Motherboard
Published: Mar 9, 2020
Length: 27 minutes (6,779 words)

Inside the Phone Company Secretly Run By Drug Traffickers

When you’re a criminal, naturally, you need a secure, private means of communicating to further your illicit activities. So what do you do? You make your own encrypted, untraceable phones at your own phone company and sell them to other criminals as part of your enterprise.

Author: Joseph Cox
Source: Motherboard
Published: Oct 22, 2019
Length: 11 minutes (2,796 words)

The Selfie Monkey Goes to the Ninth Circuit

Can a monkey be an “author” under U.S. copyright law? PETA forges ahead with a claim on behalf of Naruto the macaque, and Sarah Jeong walks us through the details.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Jul 13, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,804 words)

The Man Who Broke Ticketmaster

Ken Lowson, the most infamous and successful ticket scalper of all time, used bots to buy millions of tickets. Now, several years later, he’s ready to tell his story—and fix the system.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Feb 10, 2017
Length: 25 minutes (6,266 words)

How to Use the Internet on the Summit of Everest

A writer travels to Mt. Everest’s base camp to see how technology is changing the world’s highest peak.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Jul 31, 2016
Length: 21 minutes (5,429 words)

How to Make a Bot That Isn’t Racist

In the wake of Microsoft’s disastrous chatbot, Motherboard‘s Jeong discusses ethical botmaking with veterans of the trade.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Mar 25, 2016
Length: 7 minutes (1,875 words)

Cell to Cell

How Smuggled Mobile Phones Are Rewiring Brazil’s Prisons:

On January 18, 2013, prison guards in the Brazilian city of Joinville rounded up a group of inmates and began torturing them. Over the course of four hours, the naked men were shot with rubber bullets and doused with pepper spray. In a video clip, the men are seen in the fetal position, waiting for the attack to end.

The prisoners’ counterattack was swift and deadly. Days after the video surfaced, prisoners organized attacks across the six-million-person state of Santa Catarina. The homes of prison officials, police stations, and public busses were all attacked. “Prisoners decided to orchestrate the attacks to call the attention of the population and authorities to issues of management in the prison system,” said Col. Nazareno Marcineiro, the commander of Santa Catarina’s military police.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Apr 14, 2014
Length: 9 minutes (2,300 words)

The Mystery of the Creepiest Television Hack

On Nov. 22, 1987, a Chicago television station was hacked, broadcasting a strange suited figure wearing a rubbery mask and sunglasses to viewers for a brief moment. The story behind the hack and the hunt to figure out who was behind it:

In some corners of the Internet, the story of how Max Headroom infiltrated two Chicago TV stations, just a few weeks after the show was canceled, has reached almost mythic proportions. When the tale is retold every now and then, it’s often received with incredulity by newbies, or with a shock of recognition by Chicagoans who remember watching it as kids, and being terrified, confused, and dazzled.

“I thought it was the coolest thing since WarGames,” said Rick Klein, a Chicagoan who serves as founder and curator of the Museum of Classic Chicago Television, and its website, Klein, who was thirteen when it happened, didn’t catch the intrusion live, but he knew that his friend’s father recorded Dr. Who every Sunday night on VHS.

Source: Motherboard
Published: Nov 27, 2013
Length: 25 minutes (6,328 words)

Slow Porn: Cindy Gallop’s Quest to Blow Up Internet Sex

Meet the woman who wants to reprogram the porn industry and change our perceptions of meaningful sex:

“Gallop’s residence in the Flatiron District–a glamorous and sprawling loft dubbed The Black Apartment–looks more like the set of a high-class erotic thriller than a casual homemade porn video. A converted YMCA locker room, it was actually used as the set for The Notorious B.I.G.’s ‘Nasty Gal’ video in 2005. The cavernous loft, filled with taxidermy and lined with bookshelves, windows, and a display case for Gallop’s 300 pairs of high heels, also serves as the base of operations for Make Love Not Porn when her staffers are in New York.

“As we sat there, Gallop facing me over a taxidermy statue of a mongoose fighting a cobra, she began to tell me the story of her fascination with porn.”

Source: Motherboard
Published: Mar 6, 2013
Length: 10 minutes (2,573 words)