Hacking, Asparagus, Mormon Vermont, McDonalds, Non-Marriage

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How To Run A Russian Hacking Ring

Kaveh Waddell | Atlantic | 9th June 2016

No special skills required, beyond the ability to write or buy computer viruses. Place a small ad online. Sign up 10-15 minions and give them your viruses; they infect target computers and issue demands. Once a victim responds, “the easy part of the job falls to the boss. He communicates with victims, extracts ransoms via Bitcoin, and shares 40 percent of each payment with the affiliate”. But the money isn’t that good. At most one in ten victims pays up; and a ransom is usually around $300 (930 words)

White Asparagus With Miso Butter and Boiled Eggs

Frances Leech | Tangerine Drawings | 9th June 2016

Notes on eating asparagus in season, with a drawing and a recipe. Who could ask for more? “First I boiled some eggs. And in the meantime, I peeled and sliced the white asparagus. As soon as the eggs were done, the asparagus went in some salted water to fully cook through. Eggs peeled. Drained the asparagus stalks and swirled butter, olive oil and miso in the hot pan. Then tossed the asparagus in the miso sauce, serving it piled on a plate with the eggs grated on top” (830 words)

Man With A Mormon Plan

Anne Galloway | VT Digger | 5th June 2016

A “wealthy Mormon engineer” wants to turn Vermont, birthplace of church founder Joseph Smith, into a sort of Mormon republic centred on new cities built according to a “blueprint for ideal communities” devised by Smith. Each city is a private corporation. Residents must sell all their goods and invest all their money in the corporation. You don’t have to be a Mormon, but it helps. “It’s bizarre and fascinating. I can’t imagine how he thinks Vermonters will get with the program” (2,950 words)

McDonald’s Holds Communities Together

Chris Arnade | Guardian | 8th June 2016

McDonald’s is the “de facto community centre” of low-income America. It offers space, cheap coffee, wi-fi, clean bathrooms, phone-charging points, and none of the bureaucracy attaching to an official community or outreach centre. Retired people meet in daily social clubs. The homeless come in from the streets. “They prefer McDonald’s to shelters because McDonald’s are safer, provide more freedom, and most importantly, the chance to be social, restoring a small amount of normalcy” (1,400 words)

Is Marriage Worth It?

Laurie Penny | New Statesman | 9th June 2016

“At almost 30 I still have no desire to settle down and form a traditional family. Despite no small amount of social pressure, I am happy as I am. I’ve made the same choice that men my age have been able to make for centuries without being scolded by society, or even having to think about it too much – and in and of itself, that’s not radical. The possibility of millions of women making the same decision, en masse, however, is an entirely more threatening prospect” (2,400 words)

Video of the day: My Friend Richard Feynman

What to expect:

TED talk. CalTech physicist Leonard Susskind tells stories about Richard Feynman (14’41”)

Thought for the day

We may also attack simply to become aware of our own strength
Friedrich Nietzsche

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