Holland is home to a thriving community of journalists and bloggers who cover criminals and the drug trade. Those writers are often targeted by their subjects — and so was Martin Kok.

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Photo: Manuel Breva Colmeiro/Getty Images

By Kenneth R. Rosen

Squeeze the trigger of a gun and a spring unwinds. A bolt lurches forward. On that piece of precision-milled steel is a firing pin that ignites a spark and initiates a sequence of events which, if the human will is powerful enough and mechanical tolerance is not exceeded, often ends in death. And tolerance for Martin Kok was running out.

As a teenager living north of Amsterdam, Kok sold fish and later cocaine. He was nicknamed the Stutterer, for an affliction he would never quite overcome, and he went to prison multiple times — twice for killing acquaintances. After his release at the age of 47, Kok (pronounced “coke”) sought redemption through a keyboard: Holland is home to an active community of bloggers and online sleuths who detail the gritty trade of drug syndicates and killers for hire, and he started a crime blog of his own in February 2015. …


Inside Fort Gordon, where the military’s next generation of cyber troops is training to fight the endless war — through a computer screen.

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Photo: Chongkon Yangpaiboon / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Matt Gallagher

Satellite dishes mark the main gate of Fort Gordon, eggshell white and lasering up at the moon. It’s a modest shrine, as these things go. Many military bases put machines of might on the front porch — tanks or helos or jumbo artillery guns — but the dishes fit Fort Gordon just fine. They’re subtle. They’re quiet.

Inside the gates it’s more of the same. Fort Gordon sits in a soft Georgian basin, the traditional home of the US Army Signal Corps. Signal has been around since the Civil War and has long been responsible for military communications — flags and torches back in the day, radios and cables and mesh networks in the more recent past. Recently, this staple of warfare started sharing its digs with a new branch: cyber. Find the right Signal old-timer, maybe one feeling cranky or deep in their cups in a bar along the dark Augusta riverfront, and they’ll talk candidly about this new branch. They say it with envy, and sibling affection. Still, though. …


Jeff Bezos may be the richest man of the modern age, but he built his e-commerce empire by playing freely with new ideas — not disrupting swaths of industries

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Photo: Phillip Faraone/Getty Images for WIRED25

By Felix Salmon

Amazon is one of the largest and most formidable companies in the world. It’s run with brutal efficiency, a keen focus on keeping its customers happy, and a deep thirst for innovation. Its $50 billion of revenue per quarter makes the company worth more than $850 billion, which is enough to buy Walmart three times over and still have more than $100 billion in change. (It’s also enough to make founder Jeff Bezos the richest man in modern history.) …


Buried in media scholar Jonathan Albright’s research was proof of a massive political misinformation campaign. Now he’s taking on the the world’s biggest platforms before it’s too late

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Jonathan Albright’s research exposes how misinformation flourishes on the web, which has made him an inexhaustible check on tech titans’ tremendous power. Photo: Laurence Dutton/Getty Images

By Issie Lapowsky

When we met in early March, Jonathan Albright was still shrugging off a sleepless weekend. It was a few weeks after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had killed 17 people, most of them teenagers, and promptly turned the internet into a cesspool of finger pointing and conspiracy slinging. Within days, ultraconservative YouTube stars like Alex Jones had rallied their supporters behind the bogus claim that the students who survived and took to the press to call for gun control were merely actors. Within a week, one of these videos had topped YouTube’s Trending section.

Albright, the research director for Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, probes the way information moves through the web. He was amazed by the speed with which the conspiracies had advanced from tiny corners of the web to YouTube’s front page. How could this happen so quickly?


The closed group was taken over by abusive trolls, raising questions about Facebook’s ability to monitor spaces designed for sharing intimate information

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Photo: leremy/Getty Images

By Louise Matsakis

Last year, as thousands of women shared their stories of sexual assault and harassment with the hashtag #MeToo, Amanda, a 30-year-old from Oregon, was looking for a supportive place to share her own experiences. Soon enough she was invited by a friend to join a Facebook group for survivors of sexual assault that had thousands of members.

The group was easy to find: As recently as July, the page associated with it ranked higher in some search results than the #MeToo page verified by Facebook. The group, which also had “me too” in the name, looked legitimate to Amanda. …


Selfies may not be cool anymore, but their spirit lives on — just as it always has

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Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

By Margaret Andersen

The duck face, the fish gape, the smize — these are just a few of the time-honored poses that celebrities, influencers, and the Instagram-happy masses have relied upon to create perfect selfies. But a lot has changed since the early aughts, when people first started training their smartphone lenses on themselves. Today, selfie-takers can achieve poreless, doll-like symmetry through feature enhancing apps like FaceTune, or they can hire on-demand photographers through ElsiePic to capture their adventures for them so they can remain “in the moment.”

But is a selfie still a selfie if someone else is taking it for you? Is intimacy lost when your look is digitally modified, or is that just better living through technology? Somehow paying a photographer to art direct your life feels antithetical to the spontaneity that was once associated with #iwokeuplikethis or even the much-maligned bathroom mirror pic. Could it be the selfie has come to an end? Kim Kardashian West seems to think so. Yes, the woman who once released a coffee table book of selfies, has concluded that, in her professional opinion, the trend is basically over. Data from Google Trends has also shown a steady decline in the keyword since it was added to the dictionary in 2013. …


Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are redefining the underground culinary world, and young chefs are eliminating gatekeepers while they cater to poor communities and celebs alike. Exhibit A: Ghetto Gastro.

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Lester Walker of Ghetto Gastro in the kitchen at the H.O.M.E by Martell event on October 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. — Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Martell

By Jason Parham

The palazzo-style building in the heart of the Bronx known as Andrew Freedman Home was once a retirement refuge for rich New Yorkers who fell on hard times. Today it’s a sprawling event and gallery space. It stands majestically on a tract of lawn behind a neat procession of trees that have gone naked on this crisp, overcast Tuesday in February. Outside the lawn’s gate, an apartment-packed stretch of Grand Concourse is furious with movement and sound. …


Faced with runaway inflation and a weak national currency, Venezuelans are turning to cryptocurrencies to store savings and conduct some transactions.

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Since the bolivar devalued by 81.27% in 2018, some Venezuelans prefer to make handbags and handicrafts with the bills to survive. Cucuta, Colombia on June 10, 2018 - Juan Torres/NurPhoto via Getty Images

By Cady Voge

When Juan Pinto gets in line at the movie theater, he takes out his phone and trades just enough bitcoin for Venezuelan bolivars to pay for the ticket by the time he gets to the counter. Pinto lives in Venezuela, but doesn’t keep any of his money in the national currency. The 29-year-old quit his job as a mechanical engineer to dedicate his life to cryptocurrency three years ago, when he says he “fell in love with the technology.” Venezuela’s crumbling economy played a part as well. …


Five years ago Mark Zuckerberg debuted a bold, humanitarian vision of global internet. It didn’t go as planned — forcing Facebook to reckon with the limits of its own ambition.

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Co-founder and chief executive of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg gestures as he announces the Internet.org Innovation Challenge in India on October 9, 2014 in New Delhi, India — Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

By Jessi Hempel

In August 2013, Mark Zuckerberg tapped out a 10-page white paper on his iPhone and shared it on Facebook. It was intended as a call to action for the tech industry: Facebook was going to help get people online. Everyone should be entitled to free basic internet service, Zuckerberg argued. Data was, like food or water, a human right. Universal basic internet service is possible, he wrote, but “it isn’t going to happen by itself.” Wiring the world required powerful players — institutions like Facebook. …


The processor that makes your laptop or cell phone work was fabricated using quartz from this obscure Appalachian backwater.

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The beginning of computer chips. High grade silica rocks mined near Charlotte, N.C.

By Vince Beiser

In the digital age, the jobs we work at, the entertainment we divert ourselves with, and the ways we communicate with one another are increasingly defined by the internet and the computers, tablets, and cell phones that connect us to it. None of this would be possible were it not for sand.

The processor that makes your laptop or cell phone work was fabricated using quartz from this obscure Appalachian backwater.

Fresh from church on a cool, overcast Sunday morning in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, Alex Glover slides onto the plastic bench of a McDonald’s booth. He rummages through his knapsack, then pulls out a plastic sandwich bag full of white powder. “I hope we don’t get arrested,” he says. …

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