What we've lost as a result of our addiction to lotteries
One in two American adults buys a lottery ticket at least once a year, one in four buys one at least once a month, and the most avid players buy them at rates that might shock you. Some customers snap up entire rolls, three hundred dollars’ worth of tickets, and others show up in the morning, play until they win something, then come back in the evening and do it again. All of this, repeated every day at grocery stores and liquor stores and mini-marts across the country, renders the lottery a ninety-one-billion-dollar business. “Americans spend more on lottery tickets every year than on cigarettes, coffee, or smartphones,” Cohen writes, “and they spend more on lottery tickets annually than on video streaming services, concert tickets, books, and movie tickets combined.”
A top female gamer talks about the sexism in the industry
Stevie “KillCreek” Case’s dominance in first-person shooters made her gaming’s first female superstar. Her conquest and sharpshooting skills scored her a sponsorship as the industry’s first professional female gamer. After beating legendary Quake developer John Romero at his own game, she started dating him, and became the Pamela Anderson to his Tommy Lee – they were influencers long before the advent of social media. Today, Case is a successful 46-year-old single mother and Silicon Valley executive. Two decades after she left the gaming industry with no explanation, she’s breaking her silence about the abuse she suffered during her KillCreek years because she says that little has changed.
Inside a massive abandoned town of Disney-esque castles
If Disney World is the happiest place on Earth, then Burj Al Babas might be the eeriest. Sitting near the Black Sea, the town is full of half-finished, fully abandoned mini-castles, 587 to be exact. Like most ghost towns, it wasn’t supposed to be this way. Burj Al Babas was planned as a luxurious, stately urban development offering the look of royal living for anyone willing to shell out $600,000 for their own little palace. It made so much sense: Rich foreigners uninterested in the south of France or the northeastern tip of Spain could enjoy the Mediterranean climate on Gothic-style rooftop terraces overlooking the lush Turkish forest, with underfloor heating and Jacuzzis on every level.
Brightest ever space explosion reveals possible hints of dark matter
The explosion was a long gamma-ray burst, a cosmic event where a massive dying star unleashes powerful jets of energy as it collapses into a black hole or neutron star. This particular burst was so bright that it oversaturated the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, an orbiting NASA telescope designed in part to observe such events. “There were so many photons per second that they couldn’t keep up,” said Andrew Levan, an astrophysicist at Radboud University in the Netherlands. The burst even appears to have caused Earth’s ionosphere, the upper layer of Earth’s atmosphere, to swell in size. “The fact you can change Earth’s ionosphere from an object halfway across the universe is pretty incredible,” said Doug Welch, an astronomer at McMaster University.
She was given a house – but it already belonged to a Detroit family
Anne Moore writes that in 2016, she was given a house by Write a House, a short-lived Detroit-based organization founded in 2011 to award homes to low-income scribes. The gift was meant to support writers with some of the city’s plentiful housing stock – and thus change the stories that get told about Detroit. "It was, on paper, a great idea. But the house I was given already belonged to someone: Tomeka Langford. I didn’t know it at the time. Neither did Tomeka," Moore says. "After the roof was replaced, I realized I was now living in a surprisingly expensive free house, trying to fulfill the mission of an organization that no longer existed. It was frustrating and unsustainable."
What happens when you hit a moose with your car in Alaska
Ted Genoways was driving through Alaska at night when a full-grown cow moose vaulted from the brush on the right shoulder and into the road. "For a moment, she was frozen there, flat and depthless in my headlights. Without thinking, I slammed on the horn as I pressed the brakes almost to the floor, but the car didn’t seem to slow. I heard the clump of limbs against the grill and then the hood, then a whine—almost wheeze—from the moose as she went through the windshield. She passed so far through the glass that I actually felt her fur against my face.” As the car skidded to a stop, the roof collapsed under her weight. Only later would I realize that I’d come inches from death."