4chan’s & Anonymous’ Chaos Theory

Vanity Fair explores 4chan and Anonymous through Housh, one of its hacktivists, and the founder of 4chan.

“Freedom of expression is priceless,” Anonymous crowed on their Twitter page. “For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”

[…] which means that anybody at any time in their lives can become Anonymous. Anonymous is nobody and nothing and nowhere.

Your empire has been compromised, your servers, your databases, online accounts and source code have all been ripped to shreds.

I was a lonely teenage hate machine, with a new computer and an old routine.

We will use this brief span of attention we’ve captured to deliver a clear and present message. Like a fistful of sand … the more you squeeze your citizens the more that they will flow right out of your hand.

The Craigslist Murder by Maureen Orth

Really good investigative journalism by Maureen Orth in Vanity Fair. The way that the killer was able to keep a “normal” life and a dual murderous one makes me think that he has psychopathic tendencies. Maureen also has a Q&A which was just posted.

Modern Iranian Culture for Dummies

John Lopez of Vanity Fair attemps to explain modern Iranian culture.

Gisele Bündchen by Mario Testino

Gisele photographed by Mario Testino for the May 09 issue of Vanity Fair
Gisele photographed by Mario Testino for the May 09 issue of Vanity Fair

The Vanities Girls

Retro pin-up shots with modern actresses
Retro pin-up shots with modern actresses. Carla Gugino.

The Vanities Girls slideshow showcases all of the actresses who posed for retro pin-up shots since 2006.

Continue reading “The Vanities Girls”

Vanity Fair on the Keith Gessen and Emily Gould Affair

Jim Windolf on the Keith Gessen and Emily Gould affair.

Ways to Save Money after the Economic Meltdown

Bruce Feirstein in Vanity Fair on how to start cutting costs to save money. #1 is to cut down on your costly iPhone plan. #2 is to cut down on your monthly cable bill. Funny, I don’t have either.

Somalian Pirates and the Ponant Ordeal

Last spring, a bunch of Somali pirates hijacked a French vessel called Le Ponant and managed to get away with $2.15 million. (via 3QDaily)

Icelanders and Their Financial Meltdown

What exactly happened in Iceland and how did it really happen? Mitchell Lewis investigates the way that Icelanders think about the financial meltdown of their nation’s economy. (via 3QDaily)

This is a really great article. I loved it.

Some great quotes from this article:

In November 2003, Shearer learned that Kaupthing, of whose existence he was totally unaware, had just taken a 9.5 percent stake in his bank. Normally, when a bank tries to buy another bank, it seeks to learn something about it. Shearer offered to meet with Kaupthing’s chairman, Sigurdur Einarsson; Einarsson had no interest. When Kaupthing raised its stake to 19.5 percent, Shearer finally flew to Reykjavík to see who on earth these Icelanders were. “They were very different,” he told the House of Commons committee. “They ran their business in a very strange way. Everyone there was incredibly young. They were all from the same community in Reykjavík. And they had no idea what they were doing.”

Yet another hedge-fund manager explained Icelandic banking to me this way: You have a dog, and I have a cat. We agree that they are each worth a billion dollars. You sell me the dog for a billion, and I sell you the cat for a billion. Now we are no longer pet owners, but Icelandic banks, with a billion dollars in new assets. “They created fake capital by trading assets amongst themselves at inflated values,” says a London hedge-fund manager. “This was how the banks and investment companies grew and grew. But they were lightweights in the international markets.”

I spoke to another hedge fund in London so perplexed by the many bad LBOs Icelandic banks were financing that it hired private investigators to figure out what was going on in the Icelandic financial system. The investigators produced a chart detailing a byzantine web of interlinked entities that boiled down to this: A handful of guys in Iceland, who had no experience of finance, were taking out tens of billions of dollars in short-term loans from abroad. They were then re-lending this money to themselves and their friends to buy assets—the banks, soccer teams, etc. Since the entire world’s assets were rising—thanks in part to people like these Icelandic lunatics paying crazy prices for them—they appeared to be making money.

To an audience of students, bankers, and journalists, he explained that Iceland, far from having an innate talent for high finance, had all the markings of a giant bubble, but he spoke the technical language of academic economists. (“Monetary Turbulence and the Icelandic Economy,” he called his speech.) In the following Q&A session someone asked him to predict the future, and he lapsed into plain English. As an audience member recalls, Aliber said, “I give you nine months. Your banks are dead. Your bankers are either stupid or greedy. And I’ll bet they are on planes trying to sell their assets right now.”

After three days in Reykjavík, I receive, more or less out of the blue, two phone calls. The first is from a producer of a leading current-events TV show. All of Iceland watches her show, she says, then asks if I’d come on and be interviewed. “About what?” I ask. “We’d like you to explain our financial crisis,” she says. “I’ve only been here three days!” I say. It doesn’t matter, she says, as no one in Iceland understands what’s happened. They’d enjoy hearing someone try to explain it, even if that person didn’t have any idea what he was talking about—which goes to show, I suppose, that not everything in Iceland is different from other places. As I demur, another call comes, from the prime minister’s office.

There’s a charming lack of financial experience in Icelandic financial-policymaking circles. The minister for business affairs is a philosopher. The finance minister is a veterinarian. The Central Bank governor is a poet. Haarde, though, is a trained economist—just not a very good one.

Before Alcoa could build its smelter it had to defer to a government expert to scour the enclosed plant site and certify that no elves were on or under it. It was a delicate corporate situation, an Alcoa spokesman told me, because they had to pay hard cash to declare the site elf-free but, as he put it, “we couldn’t as a company be in a position of acknowledging the existence of hidden people.”