Dial Up!

The Hmong diaspora broadcasts radio programs run by DJs via conference call — a place where far-flung people can phone in to listen to programs and connect with one another in their own language.

Author: Mia Sato
Source: The Verge
Published: Nov 22, 2019
Length: 15 minutes (3,897 words)

Drink Up, Stoners

Beer producers from Lagunitas to Anheuser-Busch are betting big money that the drinkable marijuana market will be the next Red Bull or kombucha market, but will alcohol consumers buy fizzy THC water that makes you sleepy rather than amped to hit the club? As Amanda Chicago Lewis puts it, “The people who can’t handle being stoned in public are not going to suddenly learn how.”

Source: The Verge
Published: Jul 30, 2019
Length: 21 minutes (5,360 words)

Road Tripping With the Amazon Nomads

Capitalism is one strange beast.

Source: The Verge
Published: Jul 10, 2019
Length: 13 minutes (3,460 words)

Bodies In Seats

“At Facebook’s worst-performing content moderation site in North America, one contractor has died, and others say they fear for their lives.” (Content warning: this article and the accompanying video describe harm to children and animals in detail.)

Source: The Verge
Published: Jun 19, 2019
Length: 26 minutes (6,712 words)

Fearing for His Life

Ramsey Orta filmed the killing of Eric Garner. The video traveled far, but it wouldn’t get justice for his dead friend. Instead, the NYPD would exact their revenge through targeted harassment and eventually imprisonment — Orta’s punishment for daring to show the world police brutality.

Source: The Verge
Published: Mar 13, 2019
Length: 26 minutes (6,500 words)

The Trauma Floor

Facebook has thousands of people  in contract centers around the world reviewing questionable content. They make a bit above minimum wage to watch people get stabbed or shot, read hate speech, and watch conspiracy theory videos — at massive personal cost and without the support and perks of actually working for Facebook.

Source: The Verge
Published: Feb 25, 2019
Length: 29 minutes (7,435 words)

Prime and Punishment

Lucrative placements within coveted search ranks on Amazon’s Marketplace are incentivizing sellers to do whatever it takes to undercut each other — not by competing on price or quality, but by creatively sabotaging the listing above theirs. Bad actors plant obviously fraudulent five-star reviews on popular listings to trigger penalties, or set rivals’ products on fire to frame them as explosive, or reclassify mundane products into irrelevant categories like “sex toys.” Once sellers find themselves trapped in Amazon’s Byzantine court of appeals after a surprise suspension, guilt is often the only acceptable plea — and sometimes the only person left to contact is the richest man in the world.

Source: The Verge
Published: Dec 19, 2018
Length: 26 minutes (6,612 words)

The Rock That Fell to Earth

How a meteorite hunter’s obsession took him from the mountains of Colorado to the Bundy Ranch to declaring his own sovereign homestead, and eventually landed him in jail.

Source: The Verge
Published: Jun 25, 2018
Length: 33 minutes (8,300 words)

The Decline of Snapchat and the Secret Joy of Internet Ghost Towns

As once-popular Snapchat becomes an increasingly irrelevant platform, Helena Fitzgerald finds beauty in its uselessness.

Source: The Verge
Published: May 18, 2018
Length: 9 minutes (2,394 words)

The $100 Laptop That Was Going to Change the World—Then It All Went Wrong

One Laptop Per Child was the vision of MIT Media Lab founder Nicholas Negroponte, who unveiled the small, green, affordable hand-cranked laptop in 2005. The marketing touted a laptop that would cost $100—except Negroponte quickly learned that creating that was impossible

Source: The Verge
Published: Apr 16, 2018
Length: 21 minutes (5,300 words)