Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from July 29th, 2011

Spirited Away

July 29th, 2011 · No Comments

One of the most interesting aspects of researching my slot-machines yarn for Wired was the whole extradition angle. In fact, I’d daresay that’s what attracted me to the story in the first place—the fact that the United States government deemed the crime grave enough to go an fetch someone from Latvia, a country that had […]

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The Human Fly, Cont’d

July 27th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Though I can’t quite claim to have solved the mystery of The Human Fly’s identity and current whereabouts, which I wrote about a month ago, I’m happy to report that Microkhan has at least uncovered another thread to the tale. Canadian film director Steve Goldmann popped by the blog to point us toward his documentary […]

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The Art of Seeming Like You Care

July 26th, 2011 · 3 Comments

As I believe I’ve mentioned in this space before, the best teacher I ever had was a rotund, sweaty Jesuit who presided over my 10th-grade history class. Among his many wise lessons was one that invoked Napoleon’s rise to power as a case study. He argued quite convincingly that the French Consulate was designed with […]

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Passing Through the Membrane

July 22nd, 2011 · No Comments

Sweltering weather here in the County of Queens, but can’t let it make a bother—gotta pass through what John McPhee termed “the membrane” and get to thinking only about writing. So signing off ’til early next week—might not circle back to y’all ’til Tuesday, when I’ll return with tales of Kenyan anti-corruption efforts, anti-psychic laws […]

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Truthiness

July 22nd, 2011 · 2 Comments

As I try and focus on the painful act of book-writing, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the unwritten rules of non-fiction‐or, rather, the fact that those rules seem to vary by creator. While I spend time agonizing over which version of a remembered quote to use, other writers seem to have no […]

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Tall J Speaks

July 21st, 2011 · 4 Comments

Though Microkhan can’t claim to be the most journalistically rigorous blog on The Tubes, we do strive for a certain amount of fairness. And so we feel compelled to publish a response to last week’s post regarding the Tall J Foundation, they mysterious American mining concern that recently drew the ire of Bougainville’s president. He […]

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The Unsung Hero of Slots

July 19th, 2011 · 8 Comments

After a gestation period that lasted nearly a year, my latest Wired story is finally out. It’s a tough one to summarize, but the tale centers on a Cuban-Latvian engineer who figured out a way to replicate the slot machines manufactured by International Game Technology (IGT), the S&P 500 company that has long dominated the […]

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“Success in Work, Comrade”

July 18th, 2011 · 1 Comment

Searching for motivation to once again get cracking on my book for an eight-hour stretch, I stumbled across this excellent trove of East German labor propaganda. These particular images were produced at the tail end of Communist Era, and they reflect the nation’s struggles to keep pace with the West. There are plenty of mentions […]

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The Maestro Has Entered the Building

July 15th, 2011 · No Comments

I was all set to write a thoughtful post about the declining fortunes of cemetery towns, but looks like there just isn’t going to be enough time today. I’m already running late for Microkhan Jr.’s first violin recital, at which he will allegedly do a solo in “Three Blind Mice.” The morning’s more exciting musical […]

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The Book is the Boss

July 14th, 2011 · 5 Comments

Moving from Atlah to Queens has been an arduous process, but the act of sifting through one’s detritus has not been without its small pleasures. I’ve had occasion to stumble upon various old magazines that I kept around for one reason or another, and flipping through their pages has often reminded me of why I […]

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The Allure of Meat

July 13th, 2011 · 2 Comments

The crime rate in Bermuda is not particularly high, but I’m still surprised the island nation’s police force had time to solve a five-year-old cold case that was far from dastardly: the theft of $70 worth of meat from a home. The perpetrator of this not-so-sinister act was finally nabbed last month, after Bermudan cops […]

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Mass Hysteria in Bangladesh

July 12th, 2011 · 4 Comments

One of the issues I’ll be exploring in my next book is the notion of psychological epidemics. How do certain behaviors go viral, and how do the arcs of such epidemics mirror those of their physiological counterparts? To this point, a lot of my research has focused on incidents of mass hysteria, which are endlessly […]

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The Single Step

July 11th, 2011 · 5 Comments

So pretty momentous day here ’round Microkhan’s new-ish Queens headquarters: after many weeks of inventing excuses to procrastinate, I’m finally starting to write my next book. It’s due in April, so I reckon I have just enough time to craft the tale and fill in the remaining research gaps. But right now the endeavor seems […]

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The New Filibusters

July 8th, 2011 · 12 Comments

When last we checked in on Bougainville’s Panguna copper mine, there was considerable talk of reopening the long-shuttered operation—much to the consternation of indigenous groups who have long fought for a more equitable distribution of the proceeds. Now comes word that a few Americans might be sticking their nose in the island’s business, thereby threatening […]

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Keeping It Far Too Real: The Blackjack Ward Story

July 7th, 2011 · 2 Comments

While snooping about some old Google-able papers the other day, I stumbled across this true-crime tidbit about a 1940 murder case involving a pair of Hollywood extras. The killing took place in Gower Gulch, a street corner where former cowboys would gather in hopes of being picked to appear in B-grade Westerns—much like day laborers […]

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Justice Too Swift

July 6th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Years back, in an effort to quell football fan violence, authorities in Philadelphia set up a courtroom at Veterans Stadium, so that drunken brawlers could be punished within minutes of being arrested. Sure, such a legal arrangement wasn’t in the constitutional spirit, since the accused weren’t permitted legal representation or a chance to review the […]

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Dodging Zeus

July 5th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Virtually every ancient mythological system included a deity who was fond of hurling lightning bolts at unfortunate humans. Concocting the notion of such violence-from-above certainly took little imagination on the folklorists’ parts, since lightning fatalities were commonplace in bygone times. In fact, as the chart above shows, it is not until quite recently that the […]

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Turning the Corner

July 1st, 2011 · 1 Comment

A million things to do before the long weekend kicks in, starting with a journey back to Harlem to snake a drain. (No, this isn’t a euphemism.) Hope y’all have something special planned for the holiday, and see you back here next week. If you have a spare moment before then, though, I highly recommend […]

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