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April 1, 2014
[conspiracy] Confessions of a Non–Serial Killer … what it’s like to be part of a conspircacy theory and incorrectly identified as as serial killer… ‘ As I understand it, Penn first decided I was the culprit after analyzing the Zodiac’s messages to the San Francisco Chronicle and determining that the murderer was an artist with the initials HOH, whose crimes formed, on a map, some sort of graphic having to do with a radian (the angle formed by laying a circle’s radius along its circumference, about 57 degrees) and Mt. Diablo, a Bay Area landmark. There is also something about water, whose chemical formula is sometimes written HOH, and my initials (my middle name, which I rarely use even as an initial, is Henry).’
March 24, 2014
[crime] What the Kitty Genovese Story Really Means … turns out most of what I knew about the murder of Kitty Genovese is wrong … ‘The Times story was inaccurate in a number of significant ways. There were two attacks, not three. Only a handful of people saw the first clearly and only one saw the second, because it took place indoors, within the vestibule. The reason there were two attacks was that Robert Mozer, far from being a “silent witness,” yelled at Moseley when he heard Genovese’s screams and drove him away. Two people called the police. When the ambulance arrived at the scene—precisely because neighbors had called for help—Genovese, still alive, lay in the arms of a neighbor named Sophia Farrar, who had courageously left her apartment to go to the crime scene, even though she had no way of knowing that the murderer had fled.’
February 18, 2014
[crime] Death of a Playmate … a long-read on the murder of Dorothy Stratten‘The irony that Hefner does not perceive or at least fails to acknowledge is that Stratten was destroyed not by random particulars, but by a germ breeding within the ethic. One of the tacit tenets of Playboy philosophy—that women can be possessed—had found a fervent adherent in Paul Snider. He had bought the dream without qualification, and he thought of himself as perhaps one of Playboy’s most honest apostles. He acted out of dark fantasies never intended to be realized.’
February 9, 2014
[crime] Mug shots from Newcastle in the 1930’s

George Coulson Criminal

August 8, 2013
[history] The Great Train Robbery … Diamond Geezer visits the site of the Great Train Robbery.
June 18, 2013
[crime] Russian Mafia Tombstones … Live Fast and leave a gravestone to be puzzled over by archaeologists in a 1000 years time … ‘These photos were taken in the cemetery of Dnepropetrovsk, in the Ukraine, a place much like the mafia-infested Yekaterinburg, in Mother Russia. Although the two cities are 2,000 km apart, mafia fashion is very much the same. During the Russian Mafia Wars of the ’90s bosses started commissioning these lavish tombstones for them and their loyal subjects.’
May 8, 2013
[crime] How a Mysterious Beaumont, Texas, Murder Was Solved… fascinating true crime story from Mark Bowden – a real Sherlock Holmes-esque locked room murder mystery …

The circumstances of Greg Fleniken’s death, as reported, were unremarkable. On the table before him was a 55-year-old Caucasian male who appeared to be in decent shape. After methodical inspection, the only marks Brown found on the body were a one-inch abrasion on his left cheek, where his face had hit the rug, and, curiously, a half-inch laceration of his scrotum. This was interesting. The sack itself was swollen and discolored, and around the wound was a small amount of edema fluid. The bruising had spread up through the groin area and across the right hip. Something had hit him hard.

The story his body told grew more intriguing. When Brown opened the front of the torso he discovered a surprising amount of blood and extensive internal damage. A certain amount of partly digested food had been torn from his intestines. The doctor found small lacerations there, and on the stomach and liver, as well as two broken ribs and a hole in the right atrium of his heart.

The condition of his insides reflected severe trauma: Fleniken had been beaten to death, or crushed. Brown concluded that the wound to his genitals likely had been caused by a hard kick. He had also taken a blow to the chest so severe it had caused lethal damage. He would have bled out in less than 30 seconds.

On the official form, next to “Manner of Death,” Brown wrote, “Homicide.”

February 1, 2013
[guns] The Onion: AR-15 Assault Rifle Beginning To Worry It May Never Get To Kill Innocent Person

The Colt-manufactured assault rifle confirmed that, given the administration’s intention to advance gun control measures designed to curb the nation’s ready access to deadly firearms such as itself, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that the weapon will ever have the opportunity to act on its long-held desire to brutally execute even a single innocent person.

“Ever since I came off the assembly line, I’ve dreamed of being used to annihilate dozens of frantic people in a deadly rampage; it’s what I was made to do,” the semiautomatic rifle said from its display stand at Richmond-area gun retailer Pete’s Munitions. “But if the government clamps down on sales of guns like me, then I can pretty much kiss that dream goodbye. And, I have to say, the idea of that happening is massively disappointing for me.”

January 24, 2013
[tv] How Unrealistic Is Murder On Television?‘In a paper printed in the British Medical Journal, Tim Crayford, Richard Hooper and Sarah Evans reported that the mortality rate for characters in the television soap operas Coronation Street and EastEnders exceeded those of bomb disposal experts and racing drivers. Deaths were generally violent, and recently introduced characters had a five-year survival rate.’
December 28, 2012
[crime] The Myth of the Lone Villain … Kevin Kelly looks at why lone, murderous, technically advanced super-villians don’t work in the real world … ‘The lone evil genius works in a high tech haven, hidden from others, all by himself. At this point, the scenario is total fiction because no one can run all that technology by themselves. It is hard to keep 3 computers and a network going all by yourself. The madman’s electronic door hatch probably crashes once a month, particularly if the madman just invented it. So can you invent and keep operational the death ray? No. Way. No solo genius can destroy mankind. That kind of power takes cooperation.’
December 27, 2012
[facebook] Here’s How Facebook Gives You Up To The Police … a fascinating look at what Facebook hands over to the Police after a legal subpoena … ‘Your entire Facebook browsing history – When you click on someone’s profile, it’s logged. Other Facebook users don’t know you’re looking at their profiles, but Facebook itself most assuredly does. Or rather can, if the police come asking.’
November 20, 2012
[crime] Don Jimmy Gambino OBE … a look at a another side of Jimmy Savile – was he a gangster? … ‘We may never find out who Jimmy Savile really was: whether the entertainer, the philanthropist, the discotheque pioneer, the loner, the Bevin Boy, the loyal company man, the daft-coiffed eccentric, the secure-mental-hospital administrator, the all-in wrestler, the sociopath, the counsellor to royalty, the morgue attendant, the marathon runner or the serial sex fiend. At various times he was all those things.’
November 6, 2012
[crime] Light Entertainment: Our Paedophile Culture … Compelling, long-read from Andrew O’Hagan on Jimmy Savile, the BBC and British Culture …

Savile went to work in light entertainment and thrived there: of course he did, because those places were custom-built for men who wanted to dandle dreaming kids on their knees. If you grew up during ‘the golden era of British television’, the 1970s, when light entertainment was tapping deep into the national unconscious, particularly the more perverted parts, you got used to grown-up men like Rod Hull clowning around on stage with a girl like Lena Zavaroni. You got used to Hughie Green holding the little girl’s hand and asking her if she wanted an ice-cream. Far from wanting an ice-cream, the little girl was starving herself to death while helpfully glazing over for the camera and throwing out her hands and singing ‘Mama, He’s Making Eyes at Me’. She was 13.

There’s something creepy about British light entertainment and there always has been. Joe Orton meets the Marquis de Sade at the end of the pier, with a few Union Jacks fluttering in the stink and a mother-in-law tied in bunting to a ducking-stool. Those of us who grew up on it liked its oddness without quite understanding how creepy it was. I mean, Benny Hill? And then we wake up one day, in 2012, and wonder why so many of them turned out to be deviants and weirdos. Our papers explode in outrage and we put on our Crucible expressions before setting off to the graveyard to take down the celebrity graves and break them up for landfill. Of course. Graffiti the plaques and take down the statues, because the joy of execration must match the original sin, when we made heroes out of these damaged and damaging ‘entertainers’. We suddenly wish them to have been normal, when all we ever ask of our celebrities is that they be much more fucked up than we are. And what do we do now? Do we burn the commemorative programmes, scratch their names from the national memory?

August 23, 2012
[murder] The Unsolved Murder Of Julia Wallace … Fascinating story of an unresolved very English murder from the 1930s … ‘‘The Wallace case of 1931 is regarded as the classic English whodunnit, a labyrinth of clues and false trails leading everywhere except, it seems, to the identity of the murderer… The setting is wintrily provincial, the milieu lower middle-class, the style threadbare domestic. J.B. Priestley’s fog-filled Liverpool remembrance of “trams going whining down long sad roads” is the quintessence of it. Events turn tantalisingly on finical questions of time and distance; knuckle-headed police jostle with whistling street urchins for star billing, while at the centre of the drama stands the scrawny, inscrutable figure of the accused man, William Herbert Wallace, the Man from The Pru…’ (Roger Wilkes, editor, The Mammoth Book of Unsolved Crimes, 2005)’
August 14, 2012
[history] Alcatraz Escapees’ Tale Still Captivates, 50 Years Later … Did the only three men to ever escape from Alcatraz make it?… ‘At Alcatraz — onetime home to notorious inmates like gangster Al Capone and Robert Stroud, who came to be known as the Birdman of Alcatraz — Morris and the Anglins spent 18 months preparing for the breakout. They stitched together 50 prison-issued WWII-era raincoats, cotton with rubber backing, into a raft and life vests. They chiseled through the walls with spoons and other kitchen utensils. A hollow space above the cellblock served as a storage area for tools and the decoy heads, which they crafted from barbershop hair, plaster and paint. On the night of June 11, 1962, each man wriggled through his own chiseled shaft into a utility corridor and then onto the prison roof. They shimmied down a pipe, climbed two barbed wire fences and launched the boat into the dark waters…’
March 6, 2012
[comics] Here’s One Way To Spend Drug Money: 18,753 Comic Books‘An associate told detectives that Castro’s comic collecting also seemed to have turned into a kind of mania, and he “began to struggle with money because he would spend his drug money on comic books,” court papers said. Castro pleaded guilty last year to multiple felony charges and was sentenced to 45 years in prison, the Post reported. As for all those comics? Federal authorities seized them, along with Castro’s Audi A8, Mercedes S500 and Lexus GS300.’
February 17, 2012
[crime] Teddy Boys, Christmas Humphreys and the murder of John Beckley on Clapham Common in 1953 … fascinating true-crime story from London in the 1950′s … ‘It was during the reporting of this trial when the press, for the first time, started to make a connection between the odd-looking clothes of the South Londoners and casual violence. The Evening Standard called Ronald Coleman ‘the leader of the Edwardians… a teenage gang of hooligans’ who wore ‘eccentric suits’. In fact Coleman in his statement to the police proudly described how he was dressed on the night of the murder. Stating that he wore ‘a very dark grey suit, single breasted with three buttons… after the style of what is called Edwardian.’ A Daily Mirror headline during the trial simply said ‘Flick Knives, Dance Music and Edwardian Suits’. It was the Daily Express on September 23rd 1953 who took the word ‘Edwardian’ and shortened it to Teddy and so the Teddy Boy was born.’
December 23, 2011
[crime] A Kiss Before Dying … fascinating true crime story from 1960s America about a High School girl murdered by her boyfriend after she asks him to kill her …

After the arrest, the gossip centered less on Mack than it did on Betty. “She was seen as a slut and a diabolical manipulator,” says Shelton Williams. “My father overheard a customer at his car wash say, ‘Everyone knew that girl was no good. She tricked that boy into killing her.’” Betty’s classmates in Winterset, which was canceled after the news of Mack’s arrest, puzzled over her intentions on the last night of her life. Had she really wanted to die, or was she still hoping, somehow, to win Mack back? “I think Betty trapped herself in a real-life drama of her own making,” says Dixon Bowles. “She was ad-libbing all the way, and it spun out of her control. I remember a teacher taking me aside afterward and asking me, ‘Was Betty pregnant?’ And I said, ‘No. I wish it were that simple.’ It was a game of chicken, and she never backed out.”

December 15, 2011
[crime] What Really Happened to Strauss-Kahn? … fascinating quasi-forensic look at what happened to Dominique Strauss-Kahn on the day he was arrested … ‘At 1:31—one hour after Diallo had first told a supervisor that she had been assaulted by the client in the presidential suite—Adrian Branch placed a 911 call to the police. Less than two minutes later, the footage from the two surveillance cameras shows Yearwood and an unidentified man walking from the security office to an adjacent area. This is the same unidentified man who had accompanied Diallo to the security office at 12:52 PM. There, the two men high-five each other, clap their hands, and do what looks like an extraordinary dance of celebration that lasts for three minutes. They are then shown standing by the service door leading to 45th Street—apparently waiting for the police to arrive’
November 9, 2011
[crime] The Constitution of the Mexican Mafia’9. Membership is for life. 10. Membership mandates assaulting/killing all drop outs.’
October 12, 2011
[comics] Kids Say The Stupidest Things: The Wit And Wisdom of Naughty Children … Children who kill – in their own words by Evan Dorkin‘Murder Isn’t That Bad. We All Die Sometime.’

Quotes From Children Who Kill

June 14, 2011
[crime] The Incredible True Story of the Collar Bomb Heist … Another must-read stranger-than-fiction true crime story … ‘If Wells did as he was told, the instructions promised, he’d wind up with the keys and the combination required to free him from the bomb. Failure or disobedience would result in certain death. “There is only one way you can survive and that is to cooperate completely,” the notes read in meticulous lettering that would later stymie handwriting analysis. “This powerful, booby-trapped bomb can be removed only by following our instructions… ACT NOW, THINK LATER OR YOU WILL DIE!” It seemed that whoever planned the robbery had also constructed a nightmarish scavenger hunt for Wells, in which the prize was his life.’
May 30, 2011
[crime] The Lazarus File … fascinating look at the investigation into a murder in Los Angeles from 1986 which has recently been reopened … ‘The detectives went back over the whole investigation—but this time with the assumption that they were looking for a female suspect. When they finished going through the case file, they had a list of five names, among them that of Stephanie Lazarus, who was cited in the original police work as John Ruetten’s ex-girlfriend, with the further notation “P.O.” Nuttall didn’t make anything of the initials until he called Ruetten, who told him that Lazarus had been a Los Angeles police officer.’
April 3, 2011
[newspapers] Happy Mothers Day … (With Love, from The Sunday Times Magazine.)
February 28, 2011
[crime] The Monster of Florence … a compelling true crime story …

People have often asked me if the Monster of Florence will ever be found. I once believed that Spezi and I could find the truth; now I am not so certain. Any crime novel, to be successful, must contain certain basic elements: there must be a motive; evidence; a trail of clues; and a process of discovery that leads, one way or another, to a conclusion. All novels, even Crime and Punishment, must come to an end.

But life, I have learned, is not so tidy. Here were murders without motive and a trail of clues apparently without end. The process of discovery has led investigators so deeply into a wilderness of falsehood that I doubt they will ever find their way out.

February 7, 2011
[crime] The Case Of The Vanishing Blonde … engrossing true-life story about the brutal rape of a woman in Miami and the private detective who followed the leads hunting down a serial rapist … ‘It was about weighing the detective’s fee against a chance to limit their exposure. Brennan didn’t care what their reasons were; he just wanted to keep going. Old instincts had been aroused. He had never even met the victim, but with her attacker in his sights, he wanted him badly. Here was a guy who was walking around almost a year later, certain he had gotten away with his crime. Brennan wanted what all detectives want: the gotcha! He wanted to see the look on the guy’s face.’
January 11, 2011
[weird] Body of Murdered Cyberwar Expert Found In Landfill‘Events surrounding the murder of John P. Wheeler III, who most recently worked part-time for defense contractor Mitre Corporation on cyber defense topics, read like a Tom Clancy novel…’
January 10, 2011
[media] The Death of One Middle Class Woman is Equal to that of Six Prostitutes, Reveals UK Media

The recent tragedy where two hot air balloonists were killed was quite rightly headline news.” revealed one British reporter.

“But if it had been two prostitutes flying that balloon it wouldn’t have got anywhere near the same coverage, though it might have made page 5 of The Sun, with a headline something like Slag, Bang, Wallop!”

“It would take about twelve prostitutes to die in a balloon crash to make headline news. I’m not sure why twelve prostitutes would be flying a balloon, but I guess if you had enough money and a fetish for that sort of thing then anything is possible.

December 29, 2010
[email] American Charged With Hacking After Snooping On Wife’s Emails‘Walker was charged after opening the Gmail account of his wife, Clara, who was married twice previously. Walker found she was having an affair with her second husband, who had once been arrested for beating her in front of her young son from her first husband. Walker handed the emails over to the boy’s father, saying he was concerned for the child’s safety. The father sought custody.’
November 15, 2010
[funny] Forensic Homeopathologist Offers Police ‘Alternative’ Evidence, Suspects‘[Yates] will admit, though, that forensic homeopathology has its limits and that some cases are beyond its reach. ‘In those cases, I would recommend aroma-inquiry with perhaps a course of Naturopathy to enhance the crime’s ability to solve itself.”
July 16, 2010
[crime] The Untold Story of the World’s Biggest Diamond Heist … great true crime story from Wired … ‘Next, the King of Keys played out a hunch. In Notarbartolo’s videos, the guard usually visited a utility room just before opening the vault. When the thieves searched the room, they found a major security lapse: The original vault key was hanging inside. The King of Keys grabbed the original. There was no point in letting the safe manufacturers know that their precious key could be copied, and the police still don’t know that a duplicate was made.’
March 22, 2010
[crime] Andrew O’Hagen on Jon Venables and the murder of Jamie Bulger [via Sore Eyes] …

Now, at this distance, I realise Venables is nearly 30. I find the confluence, if that’s the word, of his ruination and my visibility disturbing. At some level, I will always feel I could have been Venables and the more opportunity I get to make myself understood, the more it becomes obvious that he will never escape condemnation, the thing John Major called for more of in his statement at the time of the trial. I have dreams about the boys, and sometimes dream I am the person in the CCTV footage who walks past them with a shopping bag at the exact moment they abducted James. I can see the butcher’s shop where James’s mother is waiting for her change; I see the floor tiles reflecting shadows and hear the mall’s muzak bending sinister as the shoppers go about their business. I hear the echoing swimming-pool clamour of the ordinary day about to go wrong…

February 16, 2010
[internet] A Crime of Shadows .. a really disturbing look at how potential sexual predators are entrapped on the internet by U.S. Police … ‘J was guilty of some things, serious things. He was guilty of saying he wanted to have sex with two imaginary children. He was guilty of being a troubled soul in a bad marriage, of abusing steroids, of a lifelong inability to establish a healthy intimacy with a woman, and of being morally adrift in a netherworld of illicit sexual desire. He was guilty of lacking moral boundaries and good sense…’ [via Metafilter]
January 14, 2010
[crime] The Silver Thief … amazing true-crime story about a high-end cat burglar … ‘The police inventoried Nordahl’s belongings in his vehicle and in his motel room, and found, among other items, nationwide motel directories, a video titled “How to Create a New Birth Certificate,” a rubber stamp that read “original document,” and a book called “How to Launder Money.” He had been travelling with two cats, one white and one black, named Romeo and Juliet; a series of receipts from various animal clinics suggested that he was a devoted pet owner. Not surprisingly, he had no sterling silver and no piles of cash.’
January 5, 2010
[crime] Yorkshire Ripper loves Wii Bowling‘[Peter] Sutcliffe – convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women – has a fondness for Wii Bowling, a source at the Berkshire-based hospital told the newspaper, adding that the murderer has played the game while watched by Robert Napper, the killer of Rachel Nickell.’
December 31, 2009
[crime] Madeleine McCann… part of a series on Icons Of The Decade from The Guardian

Late in 2007, Gerry McCann gave an interview to an American magazine and talked about the decision to publicise the eye defect. “Certainly we thought it was possible that [the publicity] could possibly hurt her or her abductor might do something to her eye . . . But in terms of marketing, it was a good ploy.”

It is this unsettling mix – of the incredibly intimate and the coolly tactical – that has made the mystery of Madeleine McCann arguably the biggest and most extraordinary child abduction story in history…

November 29, 2009
[books] In Cold Blood, Half A Century On … revisiting the senseless murder of four people, Kansas and Truman Capote …

For Truman Capote the outcome of his sojourn in west Kansas was decidedly mixed. In Cold Blood, which he immodestly heralded as a new form of non-fiction novel, was received with delirious approval; Norman Mailer dubbed Perry as one of the great characters in American literature. The book earned its author more than $2m, which he used to buy homes in Manhattan, the Hamptons, Palm Springs and Switzerland. But by all accounts such heavenly success also went to his head, and contributed to his downward spiral in a haze of lavish parties, drink and drugs. He failed to write another substantial work, and died in 1984.

November 13, 2009
[facebook] Facebook Status Bolsters Alibi In Armed Robbery Case‘His defence lawyer, Robert Reuland, admitted that it might be possible for anyone who knew Bradford Junior’s username and password to have made the update, while dismissing the scenario as highly unlikely. “This implies a level of criminal genius that you would not expect from a young boy like this. He is not Dr. Evil,” Reuland told The New York Times…’
August 1, 2009
[ronson] Jon Ronson on Gary McKinnon … Ronson tries his best to provide a sympathetic profile of McKinnon

‘His testimony offers a compelling argument against conspiracy theories. He spent between five and seven years roaming the corridors of power like the Invisible Man, wandering into Pentagon offices, rifling through files, and he found no particular smoking gun about anything. He unearthed nothing to suggest a US involvement in 9/11, nothing to suggest a UFO cover-up. Nothing, he told me, except two things…’

February 12, 2009
[murder] My father’s murder: Taking his life in my hands … the sad story of a man facing up to his father’s murder and sexually murky past … ‘I sifted the contents of his house for another five months. After the trial I finally felt strong enough to empty it: the furniture, his clothes, my mother’s clothes, the nine video machines, the bamboo canes and the leather paddles and the blackboard. Then I started stripping and cleaning. I told myself it would help sell the flat. How could anyone think of buying it? But I also imagined that if I cleaned long enough and hard enough, the dull patina of dried blood that seemed to cling to every surface would finally go. I hoped that if I emptied the flat of its objects, and pared back its contents to nothing, I would uncover the place that I grew up in, before Ivor was the old man, before he was a legend. I couldn’t find that place, and I didn’t think I would find it in the boxes and among the papers either.’
September 10, 2008
[crime] A Classic post from Ask Metafilter: Suppose you killed somebody… How would you dispose of the body without getting caught?‘Truly grinding down a body takes a lot more work, and you run the risk of fouling your plumbing and calling in a plumber. So don’t try it unless you know how to clear bones and meat out of a drainpipe. A good food processor can be useful. But don’t over-use it, or power drills or saws. They’re noisy and they attract attention. And forget the kitchen sink. It’s better if you actually remove one of the toilets in your house from its base, which will give you direct access to one of the largest sewer pipes that enters your house.’
August 11, 2008
[correspondence] The Billy Letters … find out what happens when a small child seeks written advice from Charles Manson, Richard Ramirez, Ted Kacyinski and other notable characters … Manson: ‘Find out why the L.A. Times hasn’t sent my newspaper —Charles Manson. P.S. O-yes HI BILLY Easy easy EASSY’ [via Metafilter]
February 15, 2008
[crime] Death of a Supergrass: The Armed Robber who got out of Jail Free — Duncan Campbell sums up after the death of the UK’s first Supergrass‘A short, squat man, described by a former colleague as “like Bob Hoskins but without the charm”, he held extreme rightwing views and at the time of his arrest was knocking back a bottle of vodka a day. He was reviled throughout the criminal fraternity. One of the men he helped to convict spent many hours in jail teaching his pet budgie to say “Bertie Smalls is a fucking grass.” But from the police’s point of view, Smalls was a godsend…’
December 11, 2007
[wrestling] The Ring Cycle — Jon and Joel Ronson investigate WWE and the Chris Benoit double murder and sucide‘Bodybuilders beat each other to a pulp. Women in bikinis beat each other to a pulp, sometimes with midgets on their shoulders. From time to time the wrestlers lay out their philosophies for the camera. My favourite philosophical wrestler is John Morrison, who says, “Join me in the palace of wisdom or continue to be slaves to society. I am a portal to the infinite. You are temporary, a fleeting footnote to an average reality.” His palace of wisdom seems to involve hammering opponents’ faces into the floor.’
October 1, 2007
[internet] An IM Infatuation Turned to Romance. Then the Truth Came Out — great Wired article proving once and for all that on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog (and how that can destroy lives) …

He tried to explain what drew him to his computer. “When I’m talking to Cindy or you like this, face-to-face,” he said, “it’s hard for me to say what I feel.” As Tommy, however, the words came easily. And then there was Jessi. He loved her, or at least believed he loved her, though he knew he was “never going to meet her.” His plan was to “kill Tommy off” in Iraq, but Cindy intervened too soon. He nearly committed suicide because of his guilt about having lied to Jessi.

September 19, 2007
[maddy] Maddy: TV torture for the ADD generation — The Register on the media storm around the McCann Case …

‘Consider the pace at which the story unfolds. Nobody is in control of it, which means it occasionally gets quite dull. We can’t fast forward or time-switch. We’re not invited to phone in and vote for which suspect we would like to see arrested. Key scenes and pieces of information are kept from us in a way that would defeat the point of a show like Big Brother. But we find this all the more compelling. The one nod to conventional broadcasting principles is that the ratings have mattered right from the beginning. When there was a risk that they might slump, David Beckham was drafted in to speak on the matter, thus giving the story a new boost. Most grippingly of all, we have no idea what genre of story we are watching, so have no idea how or when it might end.’

September 13, 2007
[maddy] Madeleine: a grimly compelling story that will end badly for us all — Jonathan Freedland on the McCann Case …

Suddenly we have to hold two entirely contradictory thoughts in our head at the same time. For the McCanns have now either suffered the cruellest fate imaginable – not only to have innocently lost their beloved daughter but also to have been publicly accused of a wicked crime – or they are guilty of the most elaborate and heinous confidence trick in history, deceitfully winning the trust and sympathy of the world’s media, a British prime minister, the wife of the American president and even the Pope, to say nothing of international public opinion. One of those statements, both of them extraordinary, describes the truth. As a senior tabloid journalist put it to me yesterday: “They’re either the victims of a horrible smear which they will never fully escape or they are cold, psychotic killers” responsible for the death of their own child.

August 23, 2007
[wifi] Is Stealing Wireless Wrong?‘Philosopher Julian Baggini says he can’t see what all the fuss is about. “I’m pro the stealers on this one. If you are doing it systematically to avoid chipping in your bit you are a freeloader and that’s immoral. “But casual and occasional use while travelling is a bit like reading your book from the light coming out from someone’s window. It’s like eating someone’s leftovers.”‘
July 25, 2007
[crime] Crime Scenes with Shapes — pretend you’re Gil Grissom with Microsoft Visio. ‘…many new shapes for creating Visio drawings to depict crime, accident, or incident scenes for courtroom presentations.’
July 2, 2007
[crime] Hans Reiser: Once a Linux Visionary, Now Accused of Murder — Wired Article on Hans Reiser and the disappearance of his Wife … ‘For the past two decades, he has struggled to create a different method of organizing data. His approach, known as ReiserFS, is a file system unlike any other. Rather than assign data a fixed location on a hard drive, it uses algorithms to frequently reposition information, including the code that makes up the file system itself. It elegantly maximizes storage space, but it can also complicate data recovery when a computer crashes. If the algorithms are corrupted, the file system will be unable to locate its own position. All the data it organizes disappears into an indistinguishable mass of 0s and 1s. The contents of that hard drive will be irretrievably lost. In Reiser’s case, a critical piece of data — the location of Nina Reiser — has gone missing…’

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