The man with the golden blood

On the people involved in the complex global network of rare blood

“Because so few people have it, by definition, rare blood is hardly ever needed. But when it is, finding a donor and getting the blood to a patient in crisis can become a desperate race against the clock. It will almost certainly involve a convoluted international network of people working invisibly behind the bustle of ‘ordinary’ blood donation…” Image Credit

Penny Bailey | Mosaic

Read It Now (15 min)

A nation divided

How a Boko Haram ‘takeover’ exposes a flaw at the heart of Nigeria

“Arriving in the early morning they spent the day looting and killing among scorched corrugated-iron roofs. Bodies were dismembered and left for vultures. The security forces never turned up. “We have not seen them in a long time,” says a surviving villager, Ahmed Huda. “We are alone.”” Image Credit

Report | The Economist

Read It Now (8 min)

When “Purple Rain” came falling down

Excerpt from Alan Light’s Let’s Go Crazy: Prince and the Making of Purple Rain

““I knew at that point that it was the beginning of the end,” says Susannah Melvoin. “He had found the thing that was going to throw him into the stratosphere of stardom, but also that he couldn’t stop…It’s hard to live on a day-to-day basis that way. He had to live and breathe this character, and it was like, ‘Who the fuck is that guy?’…”” Image Credit

Alan Light | Cuepoint

Read It Now (16 min)

What it took for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to become a serious space company

How a supposed ‘vanity project’ disrupted Boeing and leapfrogged NASA

“An enormous robot encircles a carbon-fiber shell that enfolds a satellite mounted on top of a rocket, using sonic waves to test for invisible imperfections. Human workers align nine rocket engines in an octagonal frame before they are installed into the enormous aluminum tube; others use a crane to lift a large panel and move it between workspaces.” Image Credit

Tim Fernholz | Quartz

Read It Now (23 min)

Jehovah’s Witnesses: a case study in viral marketing

The data behind preaching on the doorstep

“When Pew Research Center surveyed Americans on their religious affiliations, they reported that the United States has a “very competitive marketplace”: “every major religious group is simultaneously gaining and losing adherents.” A lot of this dynamism is lost in top-line statistics. For example, about a third of all Americans raised Catholic no longer identify as Catholic…” Image Credit

Rosie Cima | Priceonomics

Read It Now (6 min)

More small wars

Why the nature of today’s warfare means counterinsurgency is here to stay

“Although the world has not seen a purely conventional war since the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, more than 30 countries — including Colombia, Iraq, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia, and Ukraine, to name a few — now find themselves fighting foes that rely on guerrilla or terrorist tactics. One such conflict, the civil war in Syria, has killed over 170,000 people since 2011.” Image Credit

Max Boot | Foreign Affairs

Read It Now (20 min)

Silicon Valley’s billion dollar start-up failures

On the ever increasing rate that start-ups are burning through cash

“Seattle analysts PitchBook say burn rates among all but the smallest US software companies have risen dramatically over the last four years, and are indeed at their highest levels since 1999. In fact later stage start-ups – those most likely to have a significant customer base already – are splurging an average of $1.82m (£1.1m; €1.42m ) per month.” Image Credit

Daniel Thomas | BBC

Read It Now (5 min)

Pot kids

Inside the shadowy world of medical marijuana for children

“A German shepherd approaches your vehicle and somehow doesn’t detect the marijuana that’s under a pile of ice in a cooler. As you’re sent on your way, adrenaline pulses through your body. Tears pool in your eyes. You are, after all, committing at least several state and federal crimes, but when you get home a few days later, it’s business as usual.” Image Credit

Kate Pickert | Time

Read It Now (17 min)

The origins of the Shroud of Turin

A ‘groundbreaking examination’ into the creation of the shroud

“So the argument that the Shroud is a painted linen cloth of the 14th century and that it has decayed significantly seems strong but it is important to see whether there is any evidence that contradicts this. In April 1988 the Shroud underwent a radiocarbon test. The most recent method of dating, accelerator-mass-spectrometry (AMS), was selected as it allowed small samples to be taken.” Image Credit

Charles Freeman | History Today

Read It Now (37 min)

Surveillance, intelligence and accountability: an Australian story

A look at current Australian terror legislation in the context of the country’s history

“The partisan nature of surveillance began early. Beyond enemy aliens, the concentration of intelligence agents during the First World War was on the anti-conscription campaigners, especially after the prime minister, Billy Hughes, was pelted with eggs at a rally in Warwick, Queensland, in November 1917. The prime minister believed that the Queensland police took too little action against the perpetrators…” Image Credit

John Faulkner | The Australian Financial Review

Read It Now (21 min)