Human Interest Story

A 3,100-Mile Race

Held over 52 days, the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race is for whoever first reaches 3,100 miles running laps around a block in Jamaica, Queens. You don’t need speed or endurance to finish; according to Arpan, a volunteer at the 2021 race, you need to be like a child again. The race should be treated like play; people aren’t concerned about winning and do other things while racing, like Facetiming their friends and family. Read full article here

The Gold Rush Returns To California

Financial economist Dirk Baur argues that it’s both environmentally and economically unviable to mine gold despite its increasing value. For a resource that’s expensive to extract and taxing on the environment and the surrounding communities, there’s little payoff as most gold ends up inside bank vaults and investment companies. If investors will be buying gold they’ll never see, then Baur offers an alternative: “green gold”, or underground gold identified by mining companies that will remain unmined. Read full article here

When Your Mother Is a Ghost Hunter

An amusing break from reality, this article covers the adventures of Brittany Tomlinson (better known as “Brittany Broski”), a ghost sceptic who tagged along to her mom’s ghost hunting escapades. Filled with electromagnetic field (EMF) sensors and “celestial emporiums”, this piece by Cat Cardenas lets you put on your ghosthunters hat and explore the surreal land of Ouija boards, where individuals go so far as to work on a PhD of metaphysical parapsychology. Read full article here

How a Ratty Old Fiat Helped Inspire the Leatherman Tool

“One of my notes in essence says, ‘Add pliers to a Boy Scout knife.’” After landing in Amsterdam, Tim Leatherman and his wife decided to buy a car to drive through Europe. They’d come across a 6-year-old Fiat 600D for cheap. However, its age brought with it mechanical problems, and Leatherman often found himself wanting to attach a pair of pliers to a Boy Scout knife. He took this idea with him back home, creating the first Leatherman tool prototype three years after the trip. Read full article here

When London Had ‘Formula 1 Races’ In the Sky

Hard to imagine now, the Aerial Derby in London was an incredibly popular aerial race that had millions of people looking up at the London sky every year. Starting in 1912, it featured many well-known figures in the world of aviation. Some of these were Bert Hinkler, the “Australian Lone Eagle”, who was the first to fly solo from England to Australia, and Tom Sopwith, founder of Sopwith and Hawker. Despite its popularity, however, it was only active for eight years, stopping after disputes over venues and withdrawal of major sponsors. Read full article here

Ann Lowe: The Black Designer Behind Jackie Kennedy’s Wedding Gown

Called “society’s best-kept secret”, Ann Lowe made dresses for New York’s elite, including the Roosevelts, the Rockeffelers, and the du Ponts. Although her dresses garnered attention and praise, Ann Lowe herself was hidden for the duration of her storied career. Jackie Kennedy, when questioned about her universally-loved wedding dress, dismissed Lowe as a “colored dressmaker”, and openly expressed her wishes for a French-made dress instead. Only now is the designer getting her (well-deserved) second look. Read full article here

Hawaii’s Forbidden Island and the Real-Life Swiss Family Robinson who Controls it

Known as “The Forbidden Isle”, Ni‘ihau is a snapshot of Hawaii from before it was colonised. The island is privately owned by the Robinson family, who are dedicated to preserving ancient Hawaiian culture and nature. But how do they do it? They strictly forbid outsiders from interacting with the native population to avoid tainting their way of life. They’re so strict that even leaving the island for an extended period brands you as an outsider, preventing you from returning.
Read full article here

Gift Card Gang Extracts Cash From 100k Inboxes Daily

Instead of using the tens of thousands of hacked email accounts at their disposal for spam or phishing attempts, a cybercrime group earns its money by skimming inboxes for free money. They log in periodically and search your emails for keywords and senders alluding to potential gift card and customer loyalty programs, like “Amazon” or “PayPal”. What do they do with their haul? They sell everything online for 80 percent of its actual value.
Read full article here

The Shakedown at Sing Sing

“This was a poor attempt at Extortion 101—make the mark think he’s done something wrong, something only his money can make right.” John J. Lennon’s work as a prison journalist has garnered him awe, envy, and in July of 2020, a threat on his life. After he had published an article on prison gambling, he was wrongly accused of causing the confiscation of contraband of one of his fellow inmates, who gave him two choices: pay up, or get shivved. An overall fascinating read.
Read full article here

What the Heck Happened to Rollerblading?

Were you part of the rollerblading craze of the ’90s? Although more than 20 million Americans were skaters, that number dwindled to a mere 1.7 million in 2015. Why did it die down? Aside from being a difficult and discouraging sport for newcomers, it might be due to the demographic shift in skaters; more and more middle-aged people are taking up the sport, apparently making it ‘uncool’ to the younger generation.
Read full article here

FASCINATING READS, SUMMARISED

The occasional email full of conversation-worthy content