Last Days of the Pirate Blackbeard, and More

The Dark Side of the Truffle TradeThe Atlantic
“But both producers and buyers who do not exercise the same caution are vulnerable. The high-end industry has spawned a shadowy underworld, where tax evasion, nighttime heists, counterfeits, and sabotage are not uncommon. The schemes span continents and truffle types, but all of them boil down to scarcity and cash. “You know, it’s a short season. And for some people that make their profit within very tiny windows of the span of an entire 12 months, it’s very important that they’re making the best out of it,” Trabocchi said. “Therefore, sometimes, maybe [cash motivates] people to do things that are not completely legitimate.””

Writers and RumThe New Yorker
““Writers in this office used to drink,” a grizzled veteran of these corridors once said sternly to a couple of pup reporters, whom he had discovered taking turns trying on a good-looking cashmere jacket in another cubicle. The moral, abashing if not shaming, was that in the halls where once real men had roamed, or drank in peaceable closets, now mere jacket-fanciers wandered.”

The World’s Best Bounty Hunter is 4-Foot-11. Here’s How She HuntsWired
“Gomez, the proprietor of a one-woman operation in Lockhart, Texas, called Unlimited Recoveries, is one of the best skip tracers in the world. A combination bill collector, bounty hunter, and private investigator, a skip tracer finds people and things that have disappeared on purpose. Gomez specializes in “hard-to-locate recoveries”—she prefers cases others can’t solve. To track down the fleet of Caterpillar wheel loaders taken by the Peruvians, Gomez reached out to the estranged wife of the family’s patriarch, telling the woman that she was pregnant with her husband’s child. The ruse worked: Eventually the wife told Gomez that the heavy equipment was on its way to a construction site in South America.”

Permafrost FarmingModern Farmer
“To get at the soil, Meyers first had to develop a method for thawing it, a two-year process of clearing and amending each field with manure, composted tundra and a “slurry” of salmon, some lake water and a small amount of dry molasses to “increase biological life”. Raised beds and high tunnels help mitigate the cold temperatures and short growing season, and a vast underground root cellar stores and extends the lifespan of the harvest.”

For Love of the MoneyNew York Times
“In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted.”

The Last Days of BlackbeardSmithsonian
“Over the next three hours the sky grew dark and the vessel drew ever closer. To the Frenchmen’s relief, it was a tiny vessel: a sloop with Spanish lines better suited to shuttling cargo between Caribbean islands than to crossing an ocean. Still, something wasn’t right. What was it doing out here in the open ocean, and why was it on an intercept course with the Frenchmen’s much larger oceangoing merchant ships? As the mysterious sloop overtook them and pulled alongside, they knew they would have answers soon enough.”

FanboysThe Verge
“Fanboy-ism is not just a phone thing, of course. There are Star Wars fanboys, and video game console fanboys, and comic book fanboys. Before the word even entered the pop lexicon there were fanboys: Grateful Dead tape-traders, ham radio enthusiasts, orchid nuts, and a million other things. But smartphone fanboys are different: They are noisier. They are more aggressive. And they seem, at times, truly out of their minds, or at the least to have seriously lost perspective.”

Photo courtesy of Travis Nep Smith

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