• Bikini Atoll: Site of One of History’s Most Infamous Science Experiments
    A beautiful look at what happened to Bikini Atoll and its people after the atomic bomb tests that the US military performed on the islands. The story is sad for the original inhabitants, although very few of the original residents are still alive. The next generation(s) don’t have much of a connection, so now all that is left is a relic that nature is reclaiming.

    From there we board an open aluminum boat for the last eight miles to Bikini Island. As we head out into the atoll’s protected lagoon, we pass buoys that mark the sites of some of the warships sunk during the bomb tests, now moldering, their cannons still intact, under 180 feet of water. Down there is the Nagato, the flagship of the Imperial Japanese Navy, from whose bridge Admiral Yamamoto launched the attack on Pearl Harbor. Finally, we land at the island’s only dock and are greeted by some of the men who live on Bikini, part of a five-person skeletal force paid by the Bikini council to look after the remaining infrastructure.

  • The Battle for Best Buy, the Incredible Shrinking Big Box
    Best Buy is in a trouble and the recently ousted founder is hoping to buy back in and help it recover. Sounds like Apple’s story, but the result will probably not be the same?

    The battle for Best Buy is more than a Lear-like attempt to regain control. It’s also about the future of stores in the age of digital goods, same-day delivery, and apps that’ll tell you in an instant whether the 80-inch TV you covet is cheaper somewhere else, turning stores like Best Buy into “showrooms” for online competitors. It’s an expensive way to go out of business: Best Buy pays for the building, salespeople, and cash registers, and Amazon.com (AMZN) rings up the sale. Showrooming hurt Borders bookstores, and chains that sell hardware, toys, clothing, sporting goods, and groceries are vulnerable too.

  • How a Videogame God Inspired a Twitter Doppelgänger — and Resurrected His Career
    The story of respected game designer Peter Molyneux and where he has taken his career after leaving Microsoft

    But while the games were funny and some even fun, most weren’t exactly revolutionary. They tended to wrap rote mechanics—catching objects, dodging enemies, beating a timer—in an eccentric skin. Capone estimates that in the end only about 15 games were “really interesting.” That’s not a bad ratio, especially when you consider that the purpose of Molyjam wasn’t to produce a bunch of great games but to celebrate the creative act itself. Still, in a game jam inspired by Molyneux, the most Molyneuxian touch may have been the sense that when the fog lifted, the results fell somewhat short of all the impossibly overblown rhetoric.

  • The Island Where People Forget To Die
    On a Greek island, people live a long, long time. If you like fast forwarding to the end of things, the reason is because they have a varied & healthy diet, their society promotes inclusiveness and they forget over estimate how old they actually are.

    The data collection had to be rigorous. Earlier claims about long-lived people in places like Ecuador’s Vilcabamba Valley, Pakistan’s Hunza Valley or the Caucasus Mountains of Georgia had all been debunked after researchers discovered that many residents didn’t actually know their ages. For villagers born without birth certificates, it was easy to lose track. One year they were 80; a few months later they were 82. Pretty soon they claimed to be 100. And when a town discovers that a reputation for centenarians draws tourists, who’s going to question it? Even in Ikaria, the truth has been sometimes difficult to nail down. Stories like the one about Moraitis’s miraculous recovery become instant folklore, told and retold and changed and misattributed. (Stories about Moraitis have appeared on Greek TV.) In fact, when I was doing research there in 2009, I met a different man who told me virtually the exact same story about himself.

  • Boss Rail
    It is well known to Chinese people that the Chinese government is corrupt, but there seemingly was not a cause to rally around to complain until a Chinese high-speed rail accident. It took me 3 days to read this article because I got distracted, but it is good throughout.

    China’s most famous public-works project was an ecosystem almost perfectly hospitable to corruption—opaque, unsupervised, and overflowing with cash, especially after the government announced a stimulus to mitigate the effects of the 2008 global financial crisis. It boosted funding for railway projects to more than a hundred billion dollars in 2010. In some cases, the bidding period was truncated from five days to thirteen hours. In others, the bids were mere theatre, because construction had already begun. Cash was known to vanish: in one instance, seventy-eight million dollars that had been set aside to compensate people whose homes had been demolished to make way for railroad tracks disappeared. Middlemen expected cuts of between one and six per cent. “If a project is four and a half billion, the middleman is taking home two hundred million,” Wang said. “And, of course, nobody says a word.”