Summary of “Kidnapping: A Very Efficient Business”

The ransom seems noteworthy for its heft-at about $275 million in today’s money, it stands as the largest one paid in a conventional kidnapping case.
Around 90 percent of all kidnappings are successfully resolved, meaning the hostages return alive, usually through ransom-an “Astonishing success rate,” remarks Anja Shortland in Kidnap: Inside the Ransom Business.
Accordingly, insured payouts constitute a small percentage of the roughly $500 million to $1.5 billion collected in ransoms each year, but Shortland argues that the growing use of insurance has made kidnapping both safer and more affordable for all victims.
Critics have long worried that, as Simon puts it, the “Tendency to look for monetary settlements fuels global kidnapping.” By facilitating ransom payments, this logic goes, insurance helps make kidnapping profitable and thereby encourages further crime.
As Ann Hagedorn Auerbach wrote in her 1998 book Ransom: The Untold Story of International Kidnapping, the “Chaos and opportunity flowing out of the Cold War thaw, along with the anxiety over national security that the Gulf War had precipitated,” created an unprecedented demand for protection and crisis-resolution services, and new providers cropped up in the UK and US. Indeed, groups engaged in kidnapping had gotten both bolder and more sophisticated.
Photo from the Kingsport Times News.As these changes and innovations suggest, kidnapping for ransom is almost always a deliberative enterprise.
Any analysis of the K&R business is limited to a small fraction of all kidnapping incidents.
Some kidnappers don’t even bother with the kidnapping.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This Land Is No Longer Your Land”

According to a 2013 study by the Center for Western Priorities, that dynamic has effectively locked the public out of about 4 million acres of land in Western states; almost half of that blocked public land, or about 2 million acres, is in Montana, according to the study.
The push to end public thoroughfare is either an overdue reassertion of private property rights or an openly cynical land snatch, depending which side of the gate you’re standing on.
Every trail leading to public land is different, and not all necessarily have a history of public use, but Sienkiewicz was echoing the government’s generally established position regarding such access points, the one argued by Justice Department attorneys in the Wonder Ranch LLC case.
In a pre-election interview, Trump told the magazine Field & Stream he didn’t like the idea of transferring the land to the states, suggesting such transfers could erode public oversight of them: “I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” he said.
Public land advocates smelled a contradiction, since the new president was positioning himself elsewhere as a champion of private property rights.
Defenders of Sienkiewicz and Gregoire-a group that included land access advocates, proprietors of recreation businesses, wildlife groups, and individuals-cast the developments as evidence of an under-the-table assault on public lands that the Trump administration appeared to endorse, if not initiate.
PERC’s affiliation with politically connected outfitters that stand to profit if trails are closed bolsters the sense, to Wilson and others confronting locked gates, that a void in coherent policy about public land management is being filled by cronyism that rewards wealth and connections above all else.
In July 2017, while public land advocates were protesting the Interior Department’s pending move to downsize the national monuments and hikers were cursing the new No Trespassing signs in the Crazies, Zinke traveled to Denver to speak at the annual conference of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC. The group, a conservative lobbying coalition that helps lawmakers draft legislative proposals, has energetically pushed for the potential transfer of federal lands to the states.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The No-Brainer Meals Chefs Make When They’re Too Tired to Cook”

We tapped our trusty network of foodies and chefs to source the low-lift recipes they turn to when they’re too lazy to cook.
All you need is pasta, butter, black pepper, Parmesan cheese, and a bit of lemon and arugula for garnish.
Chef and Food Network star Maneet Chauhan relaxes with a toasty grilled cheese, which she elevates with a medley of spices, including ginger, cumin, and masala.
Photo courtesy of Eden Eats.Top Chef Canada host and cook Eden Grinshpan.
Executive chef Melia Marden, weeknight meals entail something healthy that only takes five minutes to make.
Her easy escarole bowl is topped with sliced avocado and garnished with olive oil, Aleppo chili flakes, and garlic.
‘s chef, Zivko Radojcic, turns to an easy-to-prepare bowl of creamy polenta to satisfy his weeknight cravings.
His pick is a charcuterie board, and the usual suspects include a goat cheese, a blue cheese, and a Cheddar.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Chills and Thrills: Why Some People Love Music”

Importantly, these people are not “Amusic” – an affliction that often results from acquired or congenital damage to parts of the brain required to perceive or interpret music.
They simply don’t experience chills or similar responses to pleasurable music in the way that other people do.
It is possible that the pattern of brain regions specifically activated by music pleasure, including the connection from auditory regions which perceive music to the reward centres, are slightly different in these individuals than in other people.
While pleasure is a popular reason for music listening, we are also drawn to music for other reasons.
Insight into our uses of music is however being achieved via music psychology – a rapidly expanding field which draws on research across numerous domains including cognitive neuroscience, social psychology and affective computing.
In a study involving more than 1,000 people, Swedish music psychologist Alf Gabrielsson showed that only a little over half of strong experiences with music involve positive emotions.
It may be possible then for music anhedonics to still appreciate and enjoy music, even if their reward brain circuitry differs a little from those of us who can experience intense physical responses to music.
Of course, music anhedonics might still find music a useful way to express or regulate their own emotions, and to connect to others.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Who Owns a Home in America, in 12 Charts”

Though more than 100 million Americans rent, they’re outnumbered two-to-one by Americans who own their own home, according to data from the U.S. Census.
The populations of homeowners and renters aren’t flat across the U.S. There’s one major group of Americans who are more likely to rent than own: people in their 20s. Adults older than 30 are more likely to live in homes they own rather than rent, a likelihood that increases as they get older.
In 1980, for example, young-adult Baby Boomers were much more likely to own a home than today’s young-adult Millennials.
The trend of Americans renting in their 20s also holds steady when controlling for other factors that affect homeownership.
Residents of cities are much more likely than rural Americans to rent, regardless of their age.
Lower-income Americans are much more likely to rent than wealthier Americans.
The median household income for black Americans is less than $40,000 per year, compared to more than $60,000 for white Americans.
Americans who marry in their early 20s-well below the country’s median age at first marriage of around 28 for men and 26 for women-are actually more likely to rent than their single brethren.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why You Should Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time”

A workplace study found an average working professional experiences 87 interruptions per day, making it difficult to remain productive and focused for a full day.
Knowing something had to give, Congdon began to adjust her approach to work and restructured her day to achieve the same amount of output, without working around the clock.
The key to maintaining focus and energy in shorter bursts was to apply flexibility to those segments – she could use some for exercise, some for meditation, some for work.
Getting rest within her workday helped lower stress levels and therefore achieve better results within the allotted time for working, Congdon found.
While our culture may be pushing us towards working 24/7, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, a Silcon Valley consultant and author of Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, believes this is not helping us to be more productive or to come up with creative solutions.
There are a number of approaches to mastering the art of deep work – be it lengthy retreats dedicated to a specific task; developing a daily ritual; or taking a ‘journalistic’ approach to seizing moments of deep work when you can throughout the day.
In the past, Justin Gignac, co-founder of freelance network Working Not Working, left little room in his routine to be lazy.
Now, he believes it is important to build time to kick back and let his brain think by itself, and is one of many successful people debunking the myth that working more equals working best.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘It’s a Place Where They Try to Destroy You’: Why Concentration Camps Are Still With Us”

The disturbing truth is that concentration camps have been widespread throughout recent history, used to intern civilians that a state considers hostile, to control the movement of people in transit and to extract forced labour.
The definition of a concentration camp is sometimes fuzzy, but at root, such camps represent a combination of physical and legal power.
That the British, Americans, Spanish, French and Germans, among other nations, had all used concentration camps led some thinkers to ask whether such camps were inevitable features of the modern state.
According to Agamben, the tendency to banish and dehumanise keeps on coming back in the form of the concentration camp: a space where people are outside the law, yet more subject to its power than anywhere else.
Concentration camps are uniquely dangerous spaces.
In June 2019, amid the outcry from opponents of this policy, congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez recorded a video for her Instagram followers: “The US is running concentration camps on our southern border,” she stated, “And that is exactly what they are I want to talk to the people that are concerned enough with humanity to say that ‘never again’ means something.”
The two most prominent critics of Britain’s camps – the feminist campaigners Emily Hobhouse and Millicent Fawcett – both had to struggle against political and public opinion that initially saw the camps as a wartime necessity, and both fought hard to alleviate suffering.
Without Hobhouse’s radical critique, it would have been harder to oppose the harm done by Britain’s camps a century ago, and would be harder to understand why camps still appear in the world today.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 10 Weirdest Paths to Superstardom”

The pint-size dancer won a coveted spot as a Los Angeles Lakers cheerleader while in college, shooting to the role of head choreographer by the time she was 19.
In no time Abdul was Janet Jackson’s right-hand lady, creating signature moves like the snakey one in “Pleasure Principle” before scoring her own record deal.
Twice rejected for a spot as a fly girl on the sketch comedy show In Living Color, Jennifer Lopez finally took the stage in 1990, dancing alongside future Dancing With the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba.
Justin found a girlfriend and a future bandmate in Britney and JC Chasez respectively, and Britney and Christina went on to score solo record deals during a time of boy-and-girl-band mania.
Sean “Puffy” Combs honed his managerial instincts by dropping out of Howard University for an unpaid internship at the now-defunct hip hop label Uptown Records.
In real life, the girl who played Sally on TV grew up to become the lead singer of a band that performs to sold-out stadiums and disappointed Superbowl-goers.
Before Diana Ross signed to Motown Records, she worked as a secretary for Motown CEO Berry Gordy.
At the time, Gordy considered Ross too young to represent, so he paid her to file papers in the Motown offices until she turned 17, at which point he relented.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Our Ancestors Drilled Holes in Each Other’s Skulls”

To date, thousands of skulls bearing signs of trepanation have been unearthed at archaeological sites across the world.
Many trepanned skulls show signs of cranial injuries or neurological diseases, often in the same region of the skull where the trepanation hole was made.
None of the skulls showed any signs of having suffered any injury or illness, before or after the trepanation had been performed.
The skulls of two young women with obelion trepanations had been discovered years earlier: one in 1980 and another in 1992.
The holes had been made in a variety of different locations around the front and side of the skull, and all of the skulls showed signs of having suffered a physical trauma, suggesting that the trepanations had been performed to treat the effects of the injuries.
Thanks to the trepanation holes themselves, we can infer a surprising amount about the fate of the people after they received their trepanation.
Their skulls showed bone healing around the edges of the trepanation holes – although the bone never completely re-grew over the holes.
Three of the 12 skulls showed only slight signs of healing around the trepanation hole, suggesting that their owners only survived between two and eight weeks after the operation.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Japanese Fasting Study Reveals Complex Metabolic Changes in the Human Body”

Fasting is gaining popularity among biohackers looking for an edge, but there’s remarkably little information on what happens inside the body during a fast.
To start filling in this knowledge gap, a small new study shows that fasting’s effects on human metabolism are actually much broader than previous research has shown, and intermittent fasting could have unrecognized benefits.
As a human is fasting, the body has to switch from using food for energy to using the energy that’s stored in the body, in the form of fat and glycogen.
The implications of these findings aren’t completely clear, as the study was small and didn’t track the participants’ long-term health over multiple fasts, but the researchers say they point to several potential benefits of fasting.
One thing is abundantly clear, though: Fasting really changes the body.
“Since the 44 metabolites account for one-third of all blood metabolites detected, fasting clearly caused major metabolic changes in human blood,” write the researchers.
With future studies, they hope to gain a clearer picture of how fasting affects the human body by recruiting more volunteers, lowering the chances that variations in metabolism will be due to individual differences.
We performed non-targeted, accurate semiquantitative metabolomic analysis of human whole blood, plasma, and red blood cells during 34-58 hr fasting of four volunteers.

The orginal article.