News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Curse Of Genius

Tom remembers the day he decided he wanted to be a theoretical astrophysicist. He was deep into research about black holes, and had amassed a box of papers on his theories. In one he speculated about the relationship between black holes and white holes, hypothetical celestial objects that emit colossal amounts of energy. Black holes, he thought, must be linked across space-time with white holes. “I put them together and I thought, oh wow, that works! That’s when I knew I wanted to do this as a job.” Tom didn’t know enough maths to prove his theory, but he had time to learn. He was only five.

Tom is now 11. At home, his favourite way to relax is to devise maths exam papers complete with marking sheets. Last year for Christmas he asked his parents for the £125 registration fee to sit maths GCSE, an exam most children in Britain take at 16. He is currently working towards his maths A-level. Tom is an only child, and at first Chrissie, his mother, thought his love of numbers was normal. Gradually she realised it wasn’t. She would take him to lectures about dark matter at the Royal Observatory in London and notice that there were no other children there. His teacher reported that instead of playing outside with other kids at breaks, he wanted to stay indoors and do sums.

Read the rest of this article at: 1843

News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Curious Cons of the Man Who Wouldn’t Die

News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Mark was tweaking when he forged his own death certificate. Meth gave him diamantaire focus and huge confidence. The drug was like a cheering section in his veins, telling him he was a genius, they’d never catch him. This was late in October 2003, at his desk in the apartment on Willoughby Avenue in West Hollywood.

Mark based the forgery, as usual, on his brother Luke’s death certificate, now more than ten years old. Using Photoshop, he altered names, dates, vital statistics. (Such a boon, Photoshop. For his first forgery, he’d had to use scissors and adhesive.) He imported the public health director’s signature straight into the file. The final flourish was the embossed seal he’d bought off the shelf at Office Depot.

Sometime between 2 A.M. and 5 A.M., Mark completed the death certificate, as well as a fake New York Times paid death notice—a ridiculously easy project, by comparison. In the high-WASP tones of his childhood in Mount Vernon, New York, he wrote a cover letter for the documents, addressed to the Los Angeles County Probation Department. He signed the letter in the name of his dead brother, Luke.

It was his sad duty, “Luke” wrote, to report the death of his brother, Mark Olmsted, from AIDS complications. He continued: The members of Mark’s family had been shocked to discover, among his personal effects, evidence of his recent arrest. Mark had kept all of them completely in the dark about his troubles with the law. But here, enclosed, were Mark’s obituary and a certified copy of his death certificate, so that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department need no longer concern itself with Mark.

On November 4, a deputy probation officer replied by mail to “Luke.” The county was dropping all charges against his deceased brother, Mark, effective immediately.

Read the rest of this article at: GQ

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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Who Killed The Prime Minister? The Unsolved Murder That Still Haunts Sweden

On the last night of February 1986, the Swedish prime minister Olof Palme and his wife, Lisbet, were strolling home through downtown Stockholm. They had taken an impromptu trip to the cinema and decided, as they often did, not to bring bodyguards. Palme made a point of living as much as possible like an ordinary person; he did not want the fact that he was running the country to come between him and his countrymen. “You saw him in the streets all the time,” says the Swedish ethnologist Jonas Engman. “You could speak to him. There was an intimacy to it.”

At 11.21pm, as the couple walked down Sveavägen, one of Stockholm’s busiest streets, a tall man in a dark coat walked up behind them. The man put one hand on Palme’s shoulder, and with his other hand fired a single round from a gun into the prime minister’s back. He grazed Lisbet with a second bullet before fleeing up a flight of 89 steps that links the main street with a parallel road above.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Pangea Has Taken Thousands To Eviction Court. The Story Of An Apartment Empire

News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Krystal Horton arrived at the downtown court building that Thursday morning in June with her two kids in tow and only minutes to spare before her 9:30 eviction hearing. She found a long line at security, struggled to get her baby daughter’s stroller through the X-ray, and lost more time scrambling to the Daley Center’s childcare room on the 13th floor, only to learn that the staff can’t admit a kid under two. By the time she made it to the courtroom she figures she was at least 15 minutes late for the hearing.

A trial had been held without her. She’d been evicted and would have to vacate her apartment immediately or be prepared for sheriff’s deputies to show up any day. A judgment was entered against her, which marked in her credit history that she owed her landlord $2,241.

This was in 2016. Horton, then 34, had been living with her kids, 1 and 11, in a four-story brick courtyard building in East Chatham for a year and a half. The property had been foreclosed and boarded up and was on the city’s troubled building list until a local real estate company bought and rehabbed it four years before she moved in.

Horton had been working as a full-time certified nursing assistant with a hospice company—work she got into after caring for her father as he died from ALS. She’d had a lot of challenges in her 20s—marrying right out of high school and getting divorced; suffering a life-threatening bite to the face from her beloved dog, which resulted in reconstructive surgery; dropping out of college after getting pregnant; fighting one ex for years to receive child support for their son; and more fights with another ex over child support for her baby daughter. Still, she has an optimistic and resilient disposition, and the two-bedroom apartment in Chatham represented “independence. That I could do it as a single parent, even with all the struggles I had going on, that I could provide for my family, put a roof over our heads. It gave me sunlight to a brighter future.”

Read the rest of this article at: Chicago Reader

Listening to My Neighbors Fight

News 05.20.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“Should we knock on the door?” she said.

“If this is still going on in 10 minutes we should just call the police,” I decided.


As we listened and I felt my fight-or-flight adrenaline kicking in, I thought, Is this what adulthood is? Was I to accept that this kind of confrontation was actually common among married people after a long day at work and a few too many drinks? I was disgusted and fascinated, and disgusted by my fascination. I wanted to hear more, to figure out exactly what they were yelling to each other, even for the fight to escalate so I could understand it more clearly. The couple met our deadline. I don’t know whether they went to bed angry, but they stopped yelling. I went into my makeshift bedroom and turned on my white-noise machine and hoped that everything turned out okay. We went through a number of similar nights before the couple moved out, I hope to get a divorce. I was too scared to intervene, but I was never too scared to be judgmental.

Years later I moved into my first solo apartment, a studio in Chelsea that was tight yet cozy. I used a screen to separate my “bedroom” from my living room, but the close quarters didn’t bother me because those 350 square feet were all mine. I was surrounded by stacks of books piled on the floor and tons of DVDs, and the desire to soak up my solitude and revel in it. A young family of four lived in the one-bedroom apartment next door. The mother had lived there for years, and had a deal on rent that was apparently worth staying for, putting bunks in the bedroom so that her children could have some space while she and her husband slept on a pullout couch in the living area. I could hear every move the family made: the tantrums, the horseplay, the highs and lows of being together constantly. It drove me crazy. I got a better white-noise machine and soldiered on.

On Saturday, May 31, 2008, I came home from a business trip at close to midnight, groggy and jet-lagged, to find crime-scene tape surrounding my building. Before I could enter, a police officer checked my ID and asked me whether I’d noticed any disturbances in the building, anything off. Something was wrong, I understood, but other than letting me know it was safe to go in, he wouldn’t tell me any more.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.

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