The NRA’s murder mystery

How the National Rifle Association’s top lawyer was sent to prison for murder…only to be freed

“Less than six years later, Robert Dowlut would be a free man—his murder conviction thrown out by the Indiana Supreme Court because of a flawed police investigation. The court ordered a new trial, but one never took place. Dowlut would return to the Army and go on to earn college and law degrees. Then he would embark on a career that put him at the epicenter of the movement to transform America’s gun laws.” Image Credit

Dave Gilson | Mother Jones

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Wax and wane

On the tough realities of vinyl’s comeback

“Making vinyl records is more art than science. CDs are duplicated, but an LP is made from scratch with PVC pellets and paper labels in a multi-step process that’s prone to error. When Vince Slusarz, the 57-year-old owner of Cleveland’s Gotta Groove Records, tried to get his presses running in 2009, it took two weeks to press the first LP. “We didn’t know what we were doing,” he admits.” Image Credit

Joel Oliphint | Pitchfork

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Welcome to the nuclear command bunker

A rare glimpse inside one of America’s nuclear missile facilities

“There is some truth in that: Nuclear deterrence is, at its heart, a job of inaction. These two train constantly to launch a massive nuclear strike at a moment’s notice. But they’re unlikely to ever get that order…And in practice, keeping the missiles on alert is a grueling task. Front-line crews can be on 24-hour alert twice a week. They also spend days being trained and tested on procedures.” Image Credit

Geoff Brumfiel | NPR

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America’s new gold rush city

The most expensive place in the US to rent new housing is Williston, North Dakota

“What’s made all this possible is a pair oil-industry innovations: horizontal drilling, which allows wells to be inserted down and then sideways through shallow and otherwise-inaccessible oil deposits; and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which uses millions of litres of water as well as sand or ceramic beads to prop open cracks in the rock and release the light sweet crude.” Image Credit

Bartley Kives | The Guardian

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Why we don’t go to the moon anymore

Why did the new frontier of space travel fall out of favour so quickly?

“This anti-rationalism, and its penetration into mainstream culture, can be seen in the reaction to Apollo of one well-known American: Charles Lindbergh. Life — the magazine of Middle America — in 1969 asked Lindbergh to pen a reflection on Apollo. He refused, and instead sent a letter that Life published in which he claimed he no longer believed rationality was the proper path to understanding the universe.” Image Credit

Matthew D. Tribbe | Oxford University Press

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Who killed this woman?

The mystery of one of Pakistan’s many hundreds of honour killings

“The owner of a small kiosk told me he had witnessed the attack. “We saw a woman running and then there was a gunshot and people quickly gathered all around,” he said. “She was already dead when the crowd dispersed.” And so I called Iqbal to ask him whether he had killed his second wife. He laughed on the other end of the line. “If I wanted to kill her, why would I do it outside the high court in front of so many people?” he asked.” Image Credit

Mehreen Zahra-Malik | New Republic

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Aflame

On Gaza, and a summer of strife

“Meanwhile, the most malign and extremist elements within this conflict––Israeli and Palestinian—grow in strength and deepen their conviction that there is no chance of accommodation. Childhood memories of terror and death accumulate, and cripple the moral and political imagination. Abbas, who, for all his flaws, really was Israel’s most promising partner for peace in this saga, is seventy-nine, weak, and threatening retirement.” Image Credit

David Remnick | The New Yorker

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How a one-time pig peddler helped the US flood war zones with guns

A look at US arms deals that have flooded Iraq and Afghanistan with Soviet bloc weapons

“One $588,000 Dolarian deal last year was for an operation still shrouded in secrecy. American commandos wanted dozens of Kalashnikov rifles, a handful of the massive, Soviet bloc machine guns nicknamed Dushkas to mount on trucks, some rocket-propelled grenade launchers, and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition — a standard package for a foreign quick-reaction force that the U.S. could train and deploy…” Image Credit

Aram Roston | BuzzFeed

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The new face of Richard Norris

What’s it like to live with a face transplant?

“The surgery started at dawn on March 19, 2012. The face of a recently deceased 21-year-old man came off as one solid flap, skin, muscle, bone, nerves, blood vessels, tongue—everything as one piece. Rodriguez removed what was left of Richard’s disfigured face, dissected down to the skull. He attached the new face midway back on Richard’s scalp. He stabilized it with screws, tapped the jaw together, and finally draped the skin and sewed it down like a patch on a coat or a pair of jeans.” Image Credit

Jeanne Marie Laskas | GQ

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The all-American expo that invaded Cold War Russia

The story of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, July 1959

“As if on cue in the lead-up to the Exhibition, segregationist politicians in the U.S. protested when they learned that white people and black people would be depicted in normal social situations together. South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond (a man who after his death would be revealed to have fathered a child with his family’s 16-year-old black maid) was outraged by a fashion show planned for the exhibition….” Image Credit

Matt Novak | Paleofuture

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