Longform

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The Complex Tale of America's 'Blue-Collar Millionaire'

Percy Ross gave away millions of dollars—but was everything as it seemed?

(Newser) - Percy Ross made his fortune in plastic garbage bags (after some other entrepreneurial endeavors), culminating in the sale of his company, Poly-Tech, for $8 million on July 20, 1969—the same day man walked on the moon. A Longreads story by Jacqui Shine details Ross' "pitch-perfect rags-to-riches tale" as... More »

Netflix's $1M Code Contest Was Tech's 'Willy Wonka' Prize

At the time, it was giant news in the world of coding

(Newser) - At the time, it was giant news in the world of coding: In 2006, Netflix offered $1 million to anyone who could improve its movie-recommendation algorithm by 10%. In doing so, CEO Reed Hastings took the unprecedented step of making available the company's huge troves of data from customers.... More »

Hong Kong Is Almost Completely Trashed

City says its landfills will be totally full in next few years

(Newser) - Hong Kong's 7.4 million denizens create a lot of trash—15,000 tons of garbage are disposed of every day. But at only 427 square miles, the city is quickly running out of space to put all that garbage. In a close look at a smelly subject, Motherboard... More »

USC's Former Medical School Dean Allegedly Had a Secret Life

'Los Angeles Times' takes a long look

(Newser) - Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito, the Harvard-educated former dean of USC's Keck School of Medicine, oversaw hundreds of medical students, professors, and clinicians; he estimated he raised more than $1 billion in funds for the Southern California university. But in March of last year he resigned; the only reason he... More »

Leaked Documents Reveal Tobacco Company's Secret War

Philip Morris International is working to undermine WHO tobacco control treaty

(Newser) - Philip Morris International—the largest publicly traded tobacco firm in the world—"is running a secretive campaign" against a World Health Organization treaty credited with saving millions of lives in what could be "one of the broadest corporate lobbying efforts in existence," Reuters reports.The news agency... More »

What It's Like to Be Mistaken for a Cop Killer

Fusion offers an extensive look at Mark Hughes of Dallas

(Newser) - A year ago, Mark Hughes' life was permanently changed when he attended a Black Lives Matter march in Dallas. He was legally carrying his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, which he decided to do to protest the fatal police shooting of Philando Castile, who was also legally carrying a firearm when he... More »

'Tumor Eroded Through Skin': A Graphic Look at Prison Health Care

'Pacific Standard' charts the case of Debbie Daley

(Newser) - Pacific Standard sets out to expose the "twisted world of for-profit prison health care" in a lengthy piece that the easily queasy may struggle through. John H. Tucker charts the case of Debbie Daley, an inmate at Virginia's Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women who in July 2014... More »

Walmart's Shifting Strategy Is a Gut Punch to Rural US

For Exhibit A, look to McDowell County in West Virginia

(Newser) - Reporter Ed Pilkington points out in the Guardian that much has been written about what happens when Walmart opens a store in a particular community. Less so about what happens when Walmart closes a store. Thus, he digs into the consequences for rural McDowell County in West Virginia, where the... More »

They Moved Here to Escape the Gangs. The Gangs Followed

'NYT' documents MS-13 problem in some of Long Island's suburbs

(Newser) - They were four young men, three living on Long Island and one visiting, and they all met tragic deaths at the hands of the MS-13 gang, the island's latest scourge over the past year and a half. In the New York Times , Liz Robbins and Nadia T. Rodriguez dive... More »

This Is One of the Bleakest Climate Stories You'll Read

Writer warns that no matter how worried you are, it's probably not enough

(Newser) - New York is out with an assessment of climate change, and the piece by David Wallace-Wells is drawing attention for its blunt language. Witness the very first line: "It is, I promise, worse than you think." Wallace-Wells begins by noting that most people, assuming they believe that... More »

Parents Who Can't Stop Using, Kids Sent to Foster Care

The US foster system is overwhelmed because of the opioid epidemic

(Newser) - "I felt like I lost my mom to this pit that I couldn't pull her out of." That's how 20-year-old Brianna McLaughlin describes her mom, Kelly, after the former Head Start caseworker became addicted to OxyContin, then heroin, after neck surgery. As Julia Lurie details for... More »

Inside One of Worst Sailing Disasters in US History

'Hundreds of moments that went wrong, for everyone'

(Newser) - When the storm hit with enough force to knock a 57,000-ton, 600-foot oil tanker aground, Alabama's Mobile Bay was filled with much smaller vessels. Smithsonian , in a harrowing look at one of the worst sailing disasters in US history, reports 125 boats with 475 sailors and guests—some... More »

What It's Like to Give Birth and Then 'Become Psychotic'

Catherine Carver describes her experience with postpartum psychosis

(Newser) - Catherine Carver has a medical degree. She's published a book on the immune system . She never struggled with mental illness before becoming a mother. So she's surprised, now that she's on the other side of the experience, that after giving birth to her daughter via emergency C-section,... More »

My Dentist Was Arrested for Murder. Then Things Got Weird

Inside the trial of Dr. Gilberto Nunez

(Newser) - When James Lasdun needed immediate care for a broken tooth in April 2016, he found himself in the office of his dentist, a man he had assumed he'd have to give up seeing—due to the doctor's arrest for murder six months earlier. After the tooth was tended... More »

Why Hearing 'Voices' May Not Necessarily Be a Bad Thing

Scientists: Psychics may be able to harness coping mechanisms to help others

(Newser) - When people say they hear voices no one else can, it can be an indication of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, or it could be some sort of auditory hallucination—and per Joseph Frankel's examination in the Atlantic , some scientists think such a sensory glitch might not always be... More »

Selling Nikes on Amazon Was a Lucrative Hustle—Until Now

Nike strikes deal with Amazon to crack down on 3rd-party sellers

(Newser) - Mike "Reezy" Rezendes II and three full-time employees scour Ross, Marshall's, and Nike Outlets for discounted sneakers and sell them for a slight markup on Amazon, making about $20 in profit per pair. Sam Cohen says he grossed about $1 million after mass-purchasing Nike products at 90% discounts... More »

At 'Rogue' Clinic, Requests for Poop Milkshakes Are Normal

At least they're not taken orally

(Newser) - Preparing the sample takes about 45 minutes. A little water is added to the frozen brown mass and blended with a hand mixer until the substance is just thicker than a milkshake. The next part takes less than five minutes: A syringe collects the slurry, then puts it into a... More »

The Secret Nuclear Mishaps That Aren't Causing Alarm

Scientists in one case ended up breathing in uranium due to 'several grievous errors'

(Newser) - For the past year, the Center for Public Integrity has been investigating nuclear negligence in the US, finding weaknesses that led to avoidable accidents and looking at the resulting repercussions—or lack of them. As part of that probe, Scientific American publishes a look at one such federal investigation into... More »

His Brother Was the Murderer, but He's the One Doing Life

David Maldonado was 17 when the crime occurred; Sammy was 18

(Newser) - They were brothers bound by a crime—and ultimately separated by the Supreme Court. The BBC has the story of Sammy and David Maldonado, who on the evening of Aug. 13, 1980, met some teens at Devil's Pool in Pennsylvania. Sammy and David eventually decided to make off with... More »

How a Student's Rape Allegation Ultimately Led to Her Death

Megan Rondini found herself the subject of investigation

(Newser) - Megan Rondini was a 20-year-old honors student with a 3.8 GPA at the University of Alabama when she was allegedly raped by a 34-year-old businessman, a member of a prominent Tuscaloosa family. After escaping from his home in the wee hours of July 2, 2015, she went immediately to... More »

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