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Friday, March 11, 2016

The Man Who Sold The Eiffel Tower. Twice., by Jeff Maysh, Smithsonian

The air was as crisp as a hundred dollar bill, on April 27, 1936. A southwesterly breeze filled the bright white sails of the pleasure boats sailing across the San Francisco Bay. Through the cabin window of a ferryboat, a man studied the horizon. His tired eyes were hooded, his dark hair swept backwards, his hands and feet locked in iron chains. Behind a curtain of grey mist, he caught his first dreadful glimpse of Alcatraz Island.

“Count” Victor Lustig, 46 years old at the time, was America’s most dangerous con man. In a lengthy criminal career, his sleight-of-hand tricks and get-rich-quick schemes had rocked Jazz-Era America and the rest of the world. In Paris, he had sold the Eiffel Tower in an audacious confidence game—not once, but twice. Finally, in 1935, Lustig was captured after masterminding a counterfeit banknote operation so vast that it threatened to shake confidence in the American economy. A judge in New York sentenced him to 20 years on Alcatraz.

How Asking 5 Questions Allowed Me To Eat Dinner With My Kids, by Charles Duhigg, New York Times

Four years ago, when I began working on a book about the secrets of productivity, I had a hidden motivation: I wanted to figure out how to eat dinner with my kids.

A Critic’s Job Of Work, by Barry Schwabsky, The Nation

I don't see my job as making or breaking an artist. I have other responsibilities toward art.

A Trip Through Amazon’s First Physical Store, by Alexandra Alter and Nick Wingfield, New York Times

The best part is, I just tested the free Wi-Fi and it’s 114 Mbps, easily the fastest I’ve ever gotten. Thank you, Jeff Bezos!

Why Does America Hate Roundabouts?, by John Metcalfe, The Atlantic

Intersections in America are boring: Grind to a halt, go left, right, or straight. Why can’t we be more like countries that forgo 90-degree angles for welcoming roundabouts, where drivers can ease into their exits or just circle repeatedly in automotive bliss?

The Tragic Tale Of The Baron And His Wife, by Witold Gombrowicz

Breakfast, by Eugenie Montague