Microkhan by Brendan I. Koerner

Entries from January 30th, 2013

Deathboats, Cont’d

January 30th, 2013 · 1 Comment

A treasured microblog correspondent alerted us to this heap of bad news from the maritime realm: cruise-ship crews will henceforth be receiving more lifeboat training than ever before. This decision by the Cruise Lines International Association was surely made with the best of intentions, as the organization doesn’t want a repeat of the chaos that […]

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Upside-Down World

January 29th, 2013 · 2 Comments

There is a certain breed of non-fiction story that I call the bridge burner—a tale so damning that it ensures that the writer will never again enjoy access to a vast swath of trusted sources. A prime example would be Jon Lee Anderson’s recent “Slumlord,” in which he paints a vivid portrait of the chaos […]

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Knife Tricks

January 25th, 2013 · 2 Comments

The effervescent young lady above worked for an early manufacturer of handheld metal detectors. Here she shows a Congressional panel how the skyjackers of the the late 1960s managed to sneak knives aboard planes, even when selected for manual frisking by airline employees. From my very nascent collection of skyjacking-related images, tied into the forthcoming […]

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The Unapologetic Cipher

January 24th, 2013 · 5 Comments

I’m midway through David Remnick’s biography of Muhammad Ali, which is pretty much as stellar as you would expect. Yet there are times when I wish the narrative would instead focus on the tragic figure of Sonny Liston—what can I say, I’m attracted to characters who will never be universally adored, and who perhaps take […]

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The Talented Mr. Quan

January 22nd, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Phocea is one of the world’s largest superyachts, checking in at an impressive 75-meters in length. It has also proven to be a monkey’s paw of sorts, as great misfortune has befallen its ultra-successful owners: The Phocea was built in Toulon in 1976 for yachtsman Alain Colas who called her Club Mediterranee. She competed […]

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Be Thankful for What You’ve Got

January 18th, 2013 · No Comments

A bundle of statistics to chew over the next time you set foot in an automated elevator. Yes, the steel boxes of today lack a certain charm compared to the ornate, manually-controlled brass contraptions of yore. But at least they’re not death traps. (Current accident statistics here.) Humans are great at many things, but reliable […]

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A Serious Approach

January 17th, 2013 · No Comments

If you pay the slightest bit of attention to high-profile criminal cases, you have doubtless encountered the sketches of Harvey Pratt. The Oklahoma-based forensic artist is one of the masters of his craft, and thus a frequent attendee at trials where cameras are verboten. He is also a pioneer of post-mortem reconstruction techniques, which allow […]

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Someone Take Him Up on This

January 15th, 2013 · 1 Comment

Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko, who we prefer to think of as The Armed Clown, has a famously high opinion of his own athletic prowess. Today that hubris led him to make a proposition that I hope he will live to regret, as he wrote a check with his mouth that his body surely cannot cash. […]

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The Mouths of Babes

January 11th, 2013 · No Comments

Given its obviously confrontational nature, it’s a wonder that Shurooq Amin’s series of paintings entitled “It’s a Man’s World” were shown in Kuwait City at all. The exhibition lasted all of three hours before the secret police shut it down, citing complaints that the art was both “anti-Islamic” and “pornographic.” To her great credit, Amin […]

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Espionage Made Easy

January 9th, 2013 · No Comments

The Department of Justice rarely indicts people it has no genuine hope of prosecuting, but an exception was recently made in the case of two Chinese nationals, Wan Li Yuan and “Jason Jiang” (true name unknown). The men, who will surely not be foolish enough to travel to these shores again, are alleged to have […]

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The Not-So-Delicate Dance

January 8th, 2013 · No Comments

Scrambling like mad to deal with Wired and book-related duties as the week bleeds toward Humpday. Back tomorrow with something halfway spectacular about Chinese industrial espionage.

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The Pangolin’s Curse

January 4th, 2013 · 4 Comments

There are few environmental tragedies I find more puzzling than the decimation of the pangolin, a phenomenon recently covered by notable Microkhan ally Dan Morrison. Like rhino horns, pangolin scales are in high demand in Asian markets, primarily for medicinal and epicurean purposes. Yet there is little evidence that the scales work better than placebos, […]

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