Leaving aside the morally ambiguous – the grey economy, the cash economy, the City – there’s still plenty of full-on, striped-jumper-and-swag-bag crime. Though the outfits may have changed – they certainly have for pirates. There are also confidence tricksters, online fraudsters and people who sell drugs or snaffle mobile phones to pay the rent. Or pay for drugs. (Why not just steal drugs? I could be a master criminal.)
Zablon Simintov (b. 1959, Turkmenistan) is an Afghan carpet trader and restaurateur who is believed to be the last remaining Jew in Afghanistan. He is also the caretaker of the only synagogue in Kabul.
The Leningrad première of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 7 occurred on 9 August 1942 during the Second World War, while the city of Leningrad was under siege by Nazi German forces.
It was performed by the surviving musicians of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra, supplemented with military performers. Most of the musicians were starving, which made rehearsing difficult: musicians frequently collapsed during rehearsals, and three died. The orchestra was able to play the symphony all the way through only once before the concert.
The concert was supported by a Soviet military offensive, code-named Squall, intended to silence German forces during the performance. The symphony was broadcast to the German lines by loudspeaker.
A tiny moth, no bigger than a baby’s fingernail, fluttered through a wee air crevice in our transparent Apple keyboard and was unable to find its way out again. We tried shaking it loose. We tried prying open the keyboard. No go.
The little fellow has taken up permanent sentry duty beneath our fingers, his corpse set at a crisp 45° angle to the keyboard’s Up arrow key.
“We had made six of these great form models to show Steve,” he recalls. “They were fully done, with all the parting lines cut in for buttons and different plastic parts, and all the colors just right.” At the last minute, the design team had decided to create a model that would echo the look of the Topolino mouse which shipped prior to the hockey puck. The only problem was, the model wasn’t finished. They hadn’t had time to draw buttons on to the model to indicate where they would go.
“It looked like a grey blob,” Farag says. “We were going to put that model into a box so people wouldn’t see it.” However, when Jobs turned up things went awry.
“Steve looked at the lineup of potential forms and made straight for the unfinished one,” Farag says.
“That’s genius,” he said. “We don’t want to have any buttons.”
“That’s right, Steve,” someone else piped up. “No buttons at all.”
The meeting, it seemed, was over.
“[Afterwards], Bart Andre, Brian Huppi and I left the room and huddled outside with each other, [saying] ‘how are we going to do that?’” Farag recalls. “Because of that unfinished model we had to invent a way to make a mouse with no buttons.”
Habe ich eigentlich einen Migrationshintergrund? — Das Quiz!
The Christmas Truce was a series of widespread, unofficial ceasefires that took place along the Western Front around Christmas 1914, during World War I. Through the week leading up to Christmas, parties of German and British soldiers began to exchange seasonal greetings and songs between their trenches; on occasion, the tension was reduced to the point that individuals would walk across to talk to their opposite numbers bearing gifts. On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, many soldiers from both sides—as well as, to a lesser degree, from French units—independently ventured into “no man’s land”, where they mingled, exchanging food and souvenirs. As well as joint burial ceremonies, several meetings ended in carol-singing. Troops from both sides were also friendly enough to play games of football with one another.
On a snowy Wednesday morning in early February, a team of Red ethnographers is spread around a long table, thinking about food. The firm’s New York office is near the southern tip of Manhattan, high up in the old Standard Oil Building on what was once John D. Rockefeller’s floor. Far below, ships and barges steam down the Hudson into the Upper New York Bay; the famed Charging Bull statue is right outside the building. When Red moved in, Madsbjerg had the space painted entirely in black and white. “I don’t like colors much,” he says, almost apologetically. He’s 39, pale and thin, and on most days the red date numeral on his white-faced Rolex is the only splash of color on his person.
In London, at the age of 31, [Nancy Wake] became one of 39 women, and 430 men, recruited into the French Section of the British Special Operations Executive. She was trained in guerrilla fighting techniques and parachuted back into France in April 1944.
Nancy recalled later in life that her parachute had snagged in a tree. The French resistance fighter who freed her said he wished all trees bore “such beautiful fruit”. Nancy retorted: “Don’t give me that French shit.”
Boys in crisp white shirts and matching uniforms poured through a gate. One of them, a bright-eyed 10-year-old, pushed a miniature version of Peñalosa’s bicycle through the crowd. Suddenly I understood his haste. He had been rushing to pick up his son from school, like other parents were doing that very moment up and down the time zone. Here, in the heart of one of the meanest, poorest cities in the hemisphere, father and son would roll away from the school gate for a carefree ride across the metropolis. This was an unthinkable act in most modern cities. As the sun fell and the Andes caught fire, we arced our way along the wide-open avenues, then west along a highway built for bicycles. The kid raced ahead. At that point, I wasn’t sure about Peñalosa’s ideology. Who was to say that one way of moving was better than another? How could anyone know enough about the needs of the human soul to prescribe the ideal city for happiness?
But for a moment I forgot my questions. I let go of my handlebars and raised my arms in the air of the cooling breeze, and I remembered my own childhood of country roads, after-school wanderings, lazy rides and pure freedom. I felt fine. The city was mine. The journey began.
Roll call is the worst part of my day. After a long list of Brittanys, Jonathans, Ashleys, and Yen-but-call-me-Jens, the teacher rests on my name in silence. She squints. She has never seen this combination of letters strung together in this order before. They are incomprehensible. What is this h doing at the end? Maybe it is a typo.
“Tasbeeh,” I mutter, with my hand half up in the air. “Tasbeeh.”
“Do you go by anything else?”
“No,” I say. “Just Tasbeeh. Tas-beeh.”
“Tazbee. All right. Alex?”
She moves on before I can correct her. She said it wrong. She said it so wrong. I have never heard my name said so ugly before, like it’s a burden. Her entire face contorts as she says it, like she is expelling a distasteful thing from her mouth. She avoids saying it for the rest of the day, but she has already baptized me with this new name. It is the name everyone knows me by, now, for the next six years I am in elementary school. “Tazbee,” a name with no grace, no meaning, no history; it belongs in no language.
#1. “Oh, I Guess It’s Free!” (To a Cashier When Something Doesn’t Have a Price Tag or Won’t Scan)
Sometimes items don’t have prices. Sometimes scanners are dirty and they don’t tell you how much something is. When that happens, look out, because there is always a customer who knows exactly how to turn that minor inconvenience into comedy gold.
You see where I’m going with this? Of course you do. You read the numbered entry. But in any event, without fail, whenever someone needs a price check, some hilarious dude says …
"No price? It must be free!"
“We are both fanatical in terms of care and attention to things people don’t see immediately,” Ive said. “It’s like finishing the back of a drawer. Nobody’s going to see it, but you do it anyway. Products are a form of communication—they demonstrate your value system, what you care about.”
“You discover that very few people have the level of perfection we do. It is actually very sick,” Newson said. “It is neurotic.”
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity — in all this vastness — there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
That Friday afternoon, resplendent in a lustrous violet button-down, Willms packed half a dozen friends into a private plane on a frosty Edmonton, Alberta, tarmac and jetted off to Las Vegas. En route, Willms uncorked a bottle of Dom Pérignon and passed it around so everyone could take a swig. Then came the shooters: for the men, Jack Daniel’s; for the women—three leggy brunettes and a statuesque blonde—Smirnoff with Red Bull. Soon enough, off came Willms’s shirt, as often happened on festive occasions. After landing in Las Vegas, the group piled into a titanic silver limo and made for the Encore, where they checked into an $8,000-a-night, 5,829-square-foot duplex suite—a favorite haunt of Prince Harry. For the next two days, Willms and his entourage danced atop nightclub tables, shopped at Tiffany, went for thrill rides, and caught an Usher concert, all before flying back to Alberta in time for work on Monday morning.
Of course, for an ascendant young tycoon like Willms, a flashy weekend in Vegas hardly registered as a noteworthy event. In those days, Willms spent quite a few of his off hours celebrating in grand style—carousing at the Playboy Mansion, racing Formula One cars—and with good reason. At only 22, without even a high-school diploma to his name, Willms had forged himself into a veritable e-commerce titan, with footholds in online auctions, health products, data services, and more. His company Just Think Media may have been the most successful Internet venture no one had ever heard of: in 2009, with just 20 employees, it earned more than $100 million in revenue.
If you’ve used the Internet at all in the past six years, your cursor has probably lingered over ads for Willms’s Web sites more times than you’d suspect. His pitches generally fit in nicely with what have become the classics of the dubious-ad genre: tropes like photos of comely newscasters alongside fake headlines such as “Shocking Diet Secrets Exposed!”; too-good-to-be-true stories of a “local mom” who “earns $629/day working from home”; clusters of text links for miracle teeth whiteners and “loopholes” entitling you to government grants; and most notorious of all, eye-grabbing animations of disappearing “belly fat” coupled with a tagline promising the same results if you follow “1 weird old trick.”