The editor of BuzzFeed remembers a friend, colleague and fearless journalist. Hastings
died Tuesday in a car crash in Los Angeles, at age 33:
"Michael Hastings was really only interested in writing stories someone didn’t want him to write — often his subjects; occasionally his editor. While there is no template for a great reporter, he was one for reasons that were intrinsic to who he was: ambitious, skeptical of power and conventional wisdom, and incredibly brave. And he was warm and honest in a way that left him many unlikely friends among people you’d expect to hate him."
PUBLISHED: June 18, 2013
LENGTH: 8 minutes (2014 words)
Homeland Security agent Jovana Deas was a rising star at her agency, "an exemplary example to her peers," according to supervisors. She was also doing favors for family members with ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel:
"Agents are allowed to search for people in the government database only when it’s relevant to an assignment. They’re suspended if caught using the system for their own, extracurricular purposes. Each search is recorded electronically, so misuse of the system rarely goes undetected. Jovana knew the rules — she was her office’s database security officer — but she had no interest in following them. She looked up her father, Antonio. She looked up Uncle Oscar’s granddaughters, who had been arrested for carrying marijuana across the border. She used the database when she needed to confirm a relative’s birthday to buy a plane ticket so that she and her daughter could fly to Los Angeles for a special procedure at Shriners Hospital. Family was more important to her than DHS’ arbitrary rules. Jovana had an ethical flexibility informed, perhaps, by growing up in her father’s household; she seemed to believe that abusing the system was an unmentioned perk of the job. When Dana planned a trip into Arizona with a new boyfriend, Jovana checked that he wasn’t on a government watch list — she didn’t want Dana to be stopped at the port. Jovana was subtly protective of Dana — the perfect younger sister, allowing Dana to maintain the illusion of power."
PUBLISHED: June 13, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6295 words)
The story behind a car chase that ended in tragedy:
"It's agony. She feels gutted, hope drained, as she waits for a detective to call her back. Miles away, Jodon zooms past cars and weaves through lanes — but Nature doesn't see a car chase. She sees a man — her brother — deliberately orchestrating something. Stealing some kid's car, even though he had a nicer, faster truck at home; shooting at the door of a police car, even though officers are clearly within his aim. She sees a man purposefully backing himself so far into a corner that it seems like he has no other option."
PUBLISHED: May 9, 2013
LENGTH: 20 minutes (5141 words)
The writer gains a new perspective on who her parents were after examining old photos and letters they left behind after they died:
"As I worked on my blog, I read these and similar letters again and again, and wondered how the man I thought my father was could have written these words, words that are so romantic that I melt on my mother's behalf when I read them. How could my father have been the person that I knew, the person I was happy to have dead, and the person in these letters, a person who was articulate, generous, and so, so loving? And how could my mother, who never seemed very happy with him, love him so much in return? Didn't she know he was a monster?"
PUBLISHED: April 18, 2013
LENGTH: 26 minutes (6740 words)
A profile of rock star David Lee Roth, who has had a diverse career and life. He's now 57 years old and back doing shows with Van Halen:
"He eventually became a certified EMT in New York and then completed a tactical medicine training program in Southern California. Not famous enough to headline Madison Square Garden, plenty famous enough to stand out in a tactical medicine training program.
'The altitude drop is when somebody realizes who you are and they take you to task. Now you're the guy who gets to do garbage five days in a row instead of one, and doing ambulance-garage garbage is different from I-just-finished-dinner-and-now-I-have-to-dump-the-garbage-darling garbage. That will test you. But I was old enough and smart enough to know what I'd signed up for. These tactics are of value, they're a contribution.' For years he went on ambulance calls all over New York City, and found that a life in the music business was good preparation for rushing to the aid of grievously injured people in the less picturesque corners of the city. 'My skills were serious,' he says. 'Verbal judo, staying calm in the face of hyper-accelerated emotion. Same bizarre hours. Same keening velocity.'"
PUBLISHED: April 12, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6495 words)
A 10-year-old boy suffers abuse growing up and murders his sleeping father, a member of the National Socialist Movement. What led to the killing, and did the system fail him?
"Inside the police station, Joseph sits in the interrogation room with a blanket on his lap and a McDonald's meal on the table. Krista strokes his hand as Detective Hopewell interviews him. Joseph tells Hopewell that he was 'tired' of his dad hitting him and his mom. 'I didn't want to do it,' Joseph tells Hopewell. 'It's just that he hurts us.'
"He says his dad is cheating on his mother and he's afraid if there would be a divorce, he would have to live with his father. 'That really scared me,' Joseph says. He tells Hopewell that Jeffrey threated to kill the family. 'He hates everybody, even my baby sister. When someone says that about someone I really care about, I get really mad.' Every day, Joseph says, he and his father 'are hating each other more and more.'
"Joseph tells Hopewell that the night of the killing he woke up in his bedroom — 'crazy in my thoughts. I think that if I shoot him then maybe he wouldn't be able to hurt us… I started thinking I should end this father-son thing.'"
PUBLISHED: Feb. 12, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6408 words)
An enterprising anesthesiologist is offering hungover people in Las Vegas an intravenous treatment:
"Burke set up an IV bag in his office and inserted a catheter into his foot. 'That's really the only place that's easy to start an IV on yourself,' he says. 'I let probably 300 or 400 cc's of fluid in.' The hydration offered some relief, but not enough to declare victory over his hangover. 'I said, "OK, it's time to put the drugs in. Let's see what's going to happen with this."'
"First, he added Zofran, an anti-nausea medicine. 'After about 10 minutes, the nausea started melting away.' Then, he added Toradol. 'When I get hangovers, it feels like there's a vice on my head.' The impact of the Toradol was dramatic, however. 'Literally, within three minutes, it was like someone had unscrewed the vice. I was like, 'Good God, I can't believe I've been suffering all these years when I could have been done with it in 30 minutes.'"
PUBLISHED: Feb. 1, 2013
LENGTH: 25 minutes (6490 words)
PUBLISHED: Dec. 10, 2012
LENGTH: 1 minutes (383 words)
A brief history of the title that launched Atari and the video game industry:
"In 1976, Atari took a monetary hit, settling a lawsuit out of court in Chicago with Magnavox. (Alcorn remembers the settlement being $300,000; Bushnell thinks Atari coughed up $500,000; Curt Vendel, who had seen documentation surrounding the suit, notes that $1.5 million in all was paid in installments up to 1983.) The suit concerned a patent held by Baer and Magnavox regarding interaction between machine-controlled and player-controlled elements on the screen, a basic foundation of design 'that covered just about every game developed between 1971 and the mid-1980s,' Baer says. He was clear about the lineage of Atari’s product: He told the Computer History Museum in 2006 that 'Pong is simply a knockoff of the Odyssey Ping-Pong game,' and that Bushnell 'knew he was going to lose and decided to come under contract' with Magnavox as a licensee."
PUBLISHED: Dec. 4, 2012
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4532 words)