Longform

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He Makes a Decent Living as a D&D 'Dungeon Master'

'Wired' profiles New York City's Timm Woods

(Newser) - Like a lot of kids, Timm Woods developed an intense fascination with the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons. Unlike a lot of those kids, the 30-year-old Woods is now making a living at it as an adult. Wired profiles the Brooklyn resident and his unusual profession: that of a "... More »

Meet the Last 3 People Still Using an Iron Lung

Gizmodo writer visits them all, and finds that the logistics of survival are scary

(Newser) - When Jonas Salk's vaccine largely wiped out polio in the US back in the 1950s, it eliminated a once-common sight: rows of iron lungs in hospitals used to help victims breathe. But the need for those life-saving contraptions hasn't been entirely eliminated. Jennings Brown of Gizmodo visits three... More »

They Volunteer to Find Missing Bodies. They're Getting Old

A look at the incredible work done by NecroSearch

(Newser) - The revelation earlier this year that a Colorado man had buried his estranged wife's body under the grave of a World War II veteran in 1995 grabbed headlines. What was less mentioned about the case of Kristina Tournai-Sandoval is that the nonprofit NecroSearch is the one that confirmed... More »

Are Amazon's 'Last Mile' Drivers 'Utterly Expendable'?

Gizmodo says contracted workers aren't exactly living the dream that job ads push

(Newser) - Amazon has an open secret that few pay heed to: a "nearly invisible workforce" that works to get consumers their packages on demand, per Gizmodo . Bryan Menegus dives into the company's Flex program, responsible for the firm's "last-mile" service, which involves getting ordered goods to a... More »

In US Army Vault, 'Heinous' Art Includes a Hitler Bust

Andrew Beaujon explores Nazi art collection at Fort Belvoir

(Newser) - Getting to the 3-foot bust of Adolf Hitler, taken from his mountaintop retreat known as the Eagle's Nest, was a monthslong effort. Even on the day that Andrew Beaujon would set his eyes upon it, he had to pass through a security gate, drive a mile to its host... More »

This May Be the Most Secretive State in the Nation

'Kansas City Star' explores the state's unusually tight-lipped bureaucracy

(Newser) - Kansas doesn't just try to manage the flow of information to the public about government doings, it throttles it. After a months-long investigation, the Kansas City Star concludes that Kansas "runs one of the most secretive state governments in the nation." The newspaper finds that this lack... More »

They Weathered War, PTSD, and Prison. Love Prevailed

The 'New York Times' has the story of Samuel Siatta and Ashley Volk

(Newser) - A loop of blue dental floss is one of Ashley Volk's treasured possessions, and it's introduced at the start of a New York Times article on a moving story of a modern love that overcame great obstacles. The Chicago woman first spotted it on the ring finger of... More »

To Be a Sportswriter, She Invented a Man. He Was a Monster

The baseball writer abusing women online was actually a teen girl

(Newser) - Over the past eight years, Ryan Schultz—a married father of two studying to be a pharmacist—has been a prolific online baseball writer. He's also been a serial harasser of women, who claim he would get drunk, force himself into their online lives, "get aggressively horny,"... More »

It's the World's Biggest Radio Dish, and It's Looking for ETs

In the Chinese countryside, a structure that searches for 'a civilization's fainter radio whispers'

(Newser) - Nestled in southwest China lies the largest radio dish in the world, and Ross Andersen reveals in the Atlantic the dish's purpose: to serve as "Earth's first flagship observatory custom-built to listen for a message from an extraterrestrial intelligence." Andersen journeyed into the remote countryside to... More »

Botox Has Hidden Deadly Toxin Somewhere in America

Inside the deadly secrets, maximum security of the Botox empire

(Newser) - It sounds like something out of Mission: Impossible. The laboratory in Irvine, California, is protected by locked door after locked door, glass barriers, double-paned windows, metal-enclosed workstations, video surveillance, and 24-hour guards. And a waiver lets visitors know they risk complete paralysis just by entering. At the center of all... More »

The Russian Spies Who Lived Among Us

Russia's post-Cold War efforts against the US didn't start with the 2016 election

(Newser) - In the mid-2000s, Michael Zottoli was working at a Seattle-area telecom firm, annoying coworkers with complaints about President Bush and phone arguments with his wife, Patricia Mills. Zottoli and Mills seemed like an ordinary—if unhappy—couple, but they were actually Mikhail Kutsik and Natalia Pereverzeva, Russian spies. The outing... More »

How Opioid Patients' Urine Became 'Liquid Gold'

Urine tests have gotten sophisticated, and some pain doctors have gotten rich

(Newser) - The article calls it "liquid gold," and that might be only a slight exaggeration. A lengthy piece by Fred Schulte and Elizabeth Lucas for the non-profit Kaiser Health News that was picked up by Bloomberg examines a side business that has sprung up alongside the opioid epidemic: pricey... More »

Cinnabon Knows You Don't Want to Eat It. It Doesn't Care

The sweet history of a cinnamon roll empire

(Newser) - Cinnabon knows it didn't get to where it is—1,200 locations in 48 countries—because it makes a product people want to eat. Rather, 32 years ago the chain perfected a recipe so tantalizing people weren't strong enough not to eat it. “For so many years,... More »

She Was a Prodigy. 'Pappoulis' Became Obsessed With Her

Atavist Magazine has the incredible story of Promethea Olympia Kyrene Pythaitha

(Newser) - You might expect the tale of a child prodigy would be an incredible one. But the story of Promethea Olympia Kyrene Pythaitha—born Jasmine Li Lysistrata, she gave herself the Greek name as she graduated from Montana State University with a math degree at age 13—is almost unimaginable. Raised... More »

Mary Trump: The Mother Behind the Man

Trump doesn't talk about his mother much; that doesn't mean he isn't shaped by her

(Newser) - Psychologists are fascinated by President Trump. From afar they wonder, as Politico puts it, "What makes somebody act the way he acts ... his belligerence and his impulsivity, his bottomless need for applause and his clockwork rage when he doesn’t get it?" The answers inevitably start with Trump's... More »

Super-Secret Bunkers Under Denver Airport? Eh, Maybe

A writer explores conspiracy theories, doesn't think this one is so far-fetched

(Newser) - Denver International Airport is, among other things, a magnet for wackadoo conspiracy theories . The 32-foot statue of a blue mustang with glowing orange eyes doesn't help, nor does the fact that a piece of the horse fell off and killed the sculptor while it was a work in progress,... More »

Kimmel Has One Response to 'Thanks' on Health Care

'I always ask, Did you call your congressman?' he says in interview with Vulture

(Newser) - Jimmy Kimmel tells Vulture that when he goes out in public these days, about 30 people a day will come up to him and say thanks for speaking out on health care . By now he has a set response. "I always ask, 'Have you called your congressman?'"... More »

Boehner Has Choice Expletives for Former Foes

Retired House speaker is indeed 'unchained' in interviews with Politico

(Newser) - Politico is out with a long, entertaining profile of former House speaker John Boehner, and there's a reason the headline is "John Boehner Unchained." In a series of extensive interviews, Boehner unloads on lots of people, mostly within his own party, but the 67-year-old also seems... More »

Christie: That Beach Photo Had an Overlooked Angle

Shutdown stemmed over his push for opioids money; 'GQ' profiles his 'last fight'

(Newser) - Chris Christie's political plummet has been well documented. The man once figured to be president is now merely an outgoing governor, and one of the most unpopular in the nation at that. And even though Christie quickly endorsed Donald Trump once the governor was out of the presidential race,... More »

Why Thawing the Dead With a Hose Is Basically Legal

Reuters digs into the grim, gruesome, and largely unregulated world of cadavers

(Newser) - When the subject is cadavers, and one of the first sentences is "grisly abuses abound," you know what's to come is likely not for the faint of heart. That's true with Reuters' investigation into the body trade: The story opens with a description of "bits... More »

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