Longform

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Welcome to the Depressing New Real-Estate Game

Faraway investors scoop up abandoned homes online to make a quick buck

(Newser) - A story in the New Republic pronounces "a new era of real estate speculation" in the US, one that's taking a depressing toll on poor neighborhoods across the country. Two factors are at play: the housing bust of 2008, which left a glut of abandoned properties on the... More »

Rod Blagojevich's Life in Prison: He Makes $8.40 a Month

Disgraced Illinois governor talks to 'Chicago Magazine' in first interview

(Newser) - The other inmates call him "Gov," of course. Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is not quite halfway through a 14-year sentence for corruption , gives his first interview to talk about life in prison to Chicago Magazine . He's doing his time at the Federal Correctional Institution Englewood... More »

Dov Charney's Take on Sex With Co-Workers: 'UNAVOIDABLE!'

American Apparel founder has new brand, same creepy vibe

(Newser) - Dov Charney once ran a pioneering clothing company. Now he sleeps on a mattress on a factory floor. At the Guardian , Hadley Freeman digs deeper into the American Apparel founder's downfall and what he hopes will be his resurrection. Fired from American Apparel in 2014 following accusations of sexual... More »

Could This Mountain Town Turn Into a US Utopia?

Entrepreneurs have big plans for Powder Mountain in Utah

(Newser) - They don't like the word "utopia," but five friends who bought Powder Mountain in Eden, Utah, have plans to create a community that sounds pretty utopian-ish. Writer Laura Raskin paid a visit and lays out the vision in the Atlantic . The five friends bought the mountain in... More »

He Knew Everything About Everyone, but Is Veiled in Mystery

Eamon Javers pieces together the life of Tom Corbally

(Newser) - "Nobody ever learned everything about Tom Corbally," Eamon Javers writes at Buzzfeed . He should know. Despite a 10,000–word feature on the man with many titles—private investigator, spy, con man, socialite—Javers notes Corbally will always remain somewhat of a mystery because he "bluffed and... More »

Google Is a Dangerous Place for Addicts Seeking Help

There's no shortage of scammers looking to take advantage of people at their lowest

(Newser) - The internet can be a dangerous place for people seeking help for drug and alcohol addiction. And that's bad news for many Americans, as a Google study found 61% of people who enter rehab used the internet to find treatment. Search a phrase like "rehabs near me" on... More »

After 20 Years in Prison, He Calls State's Bluff. And Wins

Case illustrates reluctance of prosecutors to agree to a formal exoneration

(Newser) - A ProPublica investigation begins with a familiar-sounding tale: A man imprisoned for a crime he didn't commit gets his conviction tossed through DNA analysis. But then comes the twist: State prosecutors in Baltimore still had the option to retry James Owens for the rape and murder of a woman... More »

The Thing About North Korea That's Toughest to Understand

'New Yorker' reporter travels to Pyongyang, assesses prospects of war

(Newser) - Reporter Evan Osnos of the New Yorker traveled to North Korea in August to gauge first-hand the mood of the nation amid the escalating rhetoric between Kim Jong Un and President Trump. The result is his "Letter From Pyongyang," a lengthy article filled with anecdotes of what he... More »

Kevin Smith Finds a Niche, and He's Pretty Happy There

Live appearances, podcasts, TV directing, and, soon, a reboot of Jay and Silent Bob

(Newser) - Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy, Dogma. Director Kevin Smith didn't just have a run of hits in the 1990s, he "changed American popular culture," writes Abraham Riesman in a profile for New York . These days, one question Smith gets asked a lot is: What happened to you? "... More »

Moving Is Hard— Especially When You're a City of 18K People

Mining company paying billions to move Swedish city 2 miles away

(Newser) - Sweden's Kirunavaara is the biggest underground iron-ore mine in the world, with miners currently working around 4,000 feet below the surface. The mine is so deep it's practically its own city, boasting the world's deepest restaurant and even, at one point, a circus. Unfortunately, this is... More »

'It Still Haunts Us': Inside the Hell of Eden

Reality show stranded 23 people in the wilderness; it went poorly

(Newser) - "If we could start again, what kind of world would we build?" asks a narrator during the first episode of Eden, which aired in July 2016 in Britain. The answer, it turns out, is a damned horrifying one complete with starving reality show contestants openly feuding with their producers,... More »

Inside the Quest for the Shark Repellent 'Holy Grail'

'It just consumed me'

(Newser) - "I have yet to see an anti-shark device that I, somebody who studies sharks and shark attacks, would plop down money for," ichthyologist George Burgess says. But that hasn't stopped shark experts and entrepreneurs from chasing the "holy grail" of a completely effective shark repellent, Outside... More »

By Live-Streaming Her Suicide, Teen Set a Tragic First

'I’ve got to the stage where nothing can make me happy anymore'

(Newser) - In the final moments of Océane's life, these were some of the messages she received from humanity: "Show us your tits." "Retard." "Will you marry me?" "Kill yourself." At 4:29pm on May 10, 2016, the French 18-year-old threw herself under... More »

Most Hotel Locks Had a Fatal Glitch. He Had the Key

Aaron Cashatt burgled dozens of hotel rooms using homemade hacking device

(Newser) - "It was like the heavens had opened," Aaron Cashatt says of the first time he broke into a hotel room using a homemade device made of little more than a circuit board, wires, and a nine-volt battery. Cashatt found instructions to build the device, which unlocks a very... More »

She Knew He Was Dead—and Called Him 28 Times

Getting inside the mind of Michelle Carter

(Newser) - What Michelle Carter texted to Conrad Roy III is well known : The Massachusetts teens' communications, obtained by police after Roy's suicide, filled 317 pages. Many of them, particularly the ones in which Carter seemingly encouraged Roy to take his life, were read in court during Carter's involuntary manslaughter... More »

Ellen Pao and the 'Second Class' Workers of Silicon Valley

Pao opens up about sexism and her discrimination lawsuit

(Newser) - Two years after losing a high-profile sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit, Ellen Pao is opening up about her experiences with sexism in Silicon Valley. "Sometimes the whole world felt like a nerdy frat house," Pao says in the Cut , which has a lengthy excerpt from her new book,... More »

The Snowbird Bandit: a Good Cop Who Broke Bad

A decorated LAPD detective became a bank robber in his 70s

(Newser) - “Seventy-one years of goodness and four months of idiot," Randy Adair says from the visiting room of a federal prison in California. The retired Los Angeles Police Department detective is serving a seven-year prison sentence for a string of bank robberies in 2015. Los Angeles Magazine takes an... More »

Dylann Roof Wouldn't Tell His Story, So I Did

Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah takes a look at the killer for 'GQ'

(Newser) - Rachel Kaadzi Ghansah describes SC church shooter Dylann Roof in incredibly detailed and visual language: A burgeoning bald patch "almost made him look like a young, demented monk with a tonsure"; when he spoke in court it "sounded like his mouth was full of Karo syrup." But... More »

Docs Injected Fake Typhus to Outsmart Nazis

The false positives let prisoners live in quarantine

(Newser) - It all started with a man so desperate to escape forced labor in Nazi Germany in 1941 that he considered cutting off his own arm. Instead, on a whim, his doctor in Poland stuck a needle in his arm, the man tested positive for the oft-deadly typhus, and he was... More »

Germany Begins to Apologize for a Different Genocide

Historians think slaughter in Africa was the first genocide of 20th century

(Newser) - In 1907, Germans cut the head off a man in Africa and sent it, with hundreds of others, to Germany as part of research to establish white superiority. The man, Cornelius Fredericks, was a legendary Nama fighter who'd led a rebellion against occupying German forces in Namibia, and he... More »

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