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The Strange Life of a Murderer Turned Crime Blogger

Squeeze the trigger of a gun and a spring unwinds. A bolt lurches forward. On that piece of precision-milled steel is a firing pin that ignites a spark and initiates a sequence of events which, if the human will is powerful enough and mechanical tolerance is not exceeded, often ends in death. And tolerance for Martin Kok was running out. As a teenager living north of Amsterdam, Kok sold fish and later cocaine. He was nicknamed the Stutterer, for an affliction he would never quite overcome, and he went to…

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Shadow Politics: Meet the Digital Sleuth Exposing Fake News

When we met in early March, Jonathan Albright was still shrugging off a sleepless weekend. It was a few weeks after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, and promptly turned the internet into a cesspool of finger pointing and conspiracy slinging. Within days, ultraconservative YouTube stars like Alex Jones had rallied their supporters behind the bogus claim that the students who survived and took to the press to call for gun control were merely actors. Within a week, one of…

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Inside X, the Moonshot Factory Racing to Build the Next Google

At 6:40 in the morning, a klaxon horn sounds three times. “Gas!” a man in a hard hat and fluorescent vest yells out. There’s a hissing noise, and the helium starts flowing. From the tanks stacked like cordwood on a nearby truck, the gas moves through a series of hoses until it’s 55 feet up, then through a copper pipe and into the top of a plastic tube that hangs down to the ground, like a shed snake skin held up for inspection. It’s a Wednesday in late June in…

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Sex, Beer, and Coding: Inside Facebooks Wild Early Days

Everyone who has seen The Social Network knows the story of Facebook’s founding. It was at Harvard in the spring semester of 2004. What people tend to forget, however, is that Facebook was only based in Cambridge for a few short months. Back then it was called TheFacebook.com, and it was a college-specific carbon copy of Friendster, a pioneering social network based in Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerberg’s knockoff site was a hit on campus, and so he and a few school chums decided to move to Silicon Valley after finals…

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LA Is Doing Water Better Than Your City. Yes, That LA

wired East Porterville's situation is extreme, but it is not an outlier. If anything, it is a harbinger. "It was only an outlier in the concentration and sheer number of people who lived in a very small area that were affected by this," Jensen says. "There's approximately 300 communities in the state of California and more than a million residents who don't have reliable access to safe drinking water, and that's not even counting people who are on domestic wells." At the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility, engineers turn…

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This Is Ajit Pai, Nemesis of Net Neutrality

In March, Ajit Pai, the 45-year-old chair of the Federal Communications Commission, took to the internet—a community he joyfully inhabits and grudgingly regulates—to pay tribute to his favorite movie. “It’s not just, like, my opinion, man: 20 years ago today, #TheBigLebowski—the greatest film in the history of cinema—was released,” Pai wrote on Twitter. “Decades on, the Dude still abides and the movie really ties us all together.” And sure enough, the response to Pai’s cheerful tweet was united. You’re out of your element Ajit.—@JohnsNotHere Yes, Ajit. Stop trying to mingle…

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The Untold Story of Robert Mueller’s Time in Combat

One day in the summer of 1969, a young Marine lieutenant named Bob Mueller arrived in Hawaii for a rendezvous with his wife, Ann. She was flying in from the East Coast with the couple’s infant daughter, Cynthia, a child Mueller had never met. Mueller had taken a plane from Vietnam. After nine months at war, he was finally due for a few short days of R&R outside the battle zone. Mueller had seen intense combat since he last said goodbye to his wife. He’d received the Bronze Star with…

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The Young and the Reckless

I. The Bumper The trip to Delaware was only supposed to last a day. David Pokora, a bespectacled University of Toronto senior with scraggly blond hair down to his shoulders, needed to travel south to fetch a bumper that he’d bought for his souped-up Volks­wagen Golf R. The American seller had balked at shipping to Canada, so Pokora arranged to have the part sent to a buddy, Justin May, who lived in Wilmington. The young men, both ardent gamers, shared a fascination with the inner workings of the Xbox; though…

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Inside the Safety Issues Surrounding the NY Helicopter Crash

Hoisted into the air by a crane, the mock helicopter cabin swayed above the water in total silence. I sat inside, as tense as the four-point harness holding me in place. Then everything went dark. Wind from giant commercial fans roared toward us to replicate the downwash from a main rotor, water sprayed in from every angle, and we fell into a deep, barely lit indoor pool below, water suddenly pouring in from every opening. The fuselage began rotating upside-down as the operator, standing poolside with a remote control, drove…

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Where Could Bitcoin Succeed as a Currency? In a Failed State

When Juan Pinto gets in line at the movie theater, he takes out his phone and trades just enough bitcoin for Venezuelan bolivars to pay for the ticket by the time he gets to the counter. Pinto lives in Venezuela, but doesn’t keep any of his money in the national currency. The 29-year-old quit his job as a mechanical engineer to dedicate his life to cryptocurrency three years ago, when he says he “fell in love with the technology.” Venezuela’s crumbling economy played a part as well. “Being a Venezuelan…

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The Next 25 Years of WIRED Start Today

In the first issue of WIRED, published 25 years ago this year, founding editor Louis Rossetto declared that “in the age of information overload, THE ULTIMATE LUXURY IS MEANING AND CONTEXT.” (Caps his.) If anything, that simple observation rings even truer today. That’s why WIRED has always valued depth. We dig deep into our subjects, reveling in wonky engineering details that other publications skip. We think deep thoughts about the future. And we form deep relationships with our audience—connecting them to a community of ideas and encouraging them to think…

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