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)

Instagram Is Pushing Restaurants to Be Kitschy, Colorful, and Irresistible to Photographers

How the popular app has transformed the way diners, designers, and marketers approach restaurants. (Hint: that bold wallpaper pattern isn’t there by accident.)

Source: The Verge
Published: Jul 20, 2017
Length: 10 minutes (2,592 words)

Welcome to Airspace

How the same design language — “the neutered Scandinavianism of HGTV” — took over coffee shops and Airbnbs from Brooklyn to Osaka.

Source: The Verge
Published: Aug 3, 2016
Length: 14 minutes (3,601 words)

Inside the Renegade Republican Movement for Tackling Climate Change

The number of Republicans who believe in climate change is increasing, yet the GOP stance is to deny and avoid the issue. These conservative advocates are talking to conservative voters about how a warming planet effects the things they value: economics, hunting and fishing and national security.

Source: The Verge
Published: Apr 7, 2017
Length: 7 minutes (1,955 words)

The Empathy Layer

Koko offers peer-to-peer support to promote emotional well-being. Can the app—which lets strangers and bots become amateur therapists—create a safer internet?

Author: Ben Popper
Source: The Verge
Published: Mar 2, 2017
Length: 17 minutes (4,357 words)

Speak, Memory: Can Artificial Intelligence Ease Grief?

“It has been less than a year since Mazurenko died, and he continues to loom large in the lives of the people who knew him. When they miss him, they send messages to his avatar, and they feel closer to him when they do. ‘There was a lot I didn’t know about my child,’ Roman’s mother told me. ‘But now that I can read about what he thought about different subjects, I’m getting to know him more. This gives the illusion that he’s here now.'”

Source: The Verge
Published: Oct 6, 2016
Length: 20 minutes (5,083 words)

The Secret Rules of the Internet

A look behind the scenes of the messy, complicated world of web content moderation — and its effects on free speech online.

Source: The Verge
Published: Apr 13, 2016
Length: 39 minutes (9,862 words)