Antrenorul de somn

Littlehales has a unique and encyclopaedic knowledge of which five-star hotels are best suited to athletes and harangues the ones that aren’t up to scratch into upgrading their mattresses and bedding. Other important factors are the potential for total black-out from the sun and temperature control (16-18C is the ideal range). But the bedding is crucial. “If they don’t tick the boxes I’m bringing my own or we’ll try another hotel,” he says.

Russell Jackson – Nick Littlehales: the man who showed Cristiano Ronaldo how to sleep

Hagi la Brescia

Pep Guardiola enjoyed a brief post-Barcelona stint at the Stadio Mario Rigamonti in 2001-02 in a team that featured not only Il Divin Codino but also future World Cup winner Luca Toni. That’s quite an alumnus.

The most remarkable example, however, has to be that of one Gheorghe Hagi, the ‘Maradona of the Carpathians’. Romania’s greatest ever player adorned the jersey of the Little Swallows for two seasons, sandwiched between spells at Spanish behemoths Real Madrid and Barcelona. When viewing his career profile it makes for a curious sight. Real Madrid. Brescia. Barcelona.

Emmet Gates – The Unlikely Success of Gheorghe Hagi at Brescia

Mărturia unui locotenent ucrainean

We don’t have the feeling that we are losing, because it doesn’t seem like we’re fighting something big, just some alcoholics and homeless guys. Despite the fact that there are Russian soldiers fighting us, they don’t have experience and make huge mistakes. Dying by the hundreds — they’re not even real fighters. (…)

Isa always told me that the Russian fighters were just a bunch of drunks, but that if I ever saw [Chechen president Ramzan] Kadyrov’s men, then you should be very afraid. These are professionals, they’ve been fighting for their whole lives. The same goes for Russian Spetsnaz, GRU. If you see any of them, just leave. He also told me that we also shouldn’t capture any of these guys, because even if you capture only one of them, they’ll do anything to kill you.

It’s better to just execute them. [There’s a long pause.] They call them Kadyrov’s dogs.

Santiago de la Presilla – This is our Stalingrad

Sfârșitul creștinismului în Orientul Mijlociu

Now, ISIS is looking to eradicate Christians and other minorities altogether. The group twists the early history of Christians in the region — their subjugation by the sword — to legitimize its millenarian enterprise. Recently, ISIS posted videos delineating the second-class status of Christians in the caliphate. Those unwilling to pay the jizya tax or to convert would be destroyed, the narrator warned, as the videos culminated in the now-­infamous scenes of Egyptian and Ethiopian Christians in Libya being marched onto the beach and beheaded, their blood running into the surf.

Eliza Griswold – Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East?

Din România până-n Portugalia cu microbuzul

The mother cleans a hotel for €5 per hour. The new construction in which she lives isn’t finished yet, but she doesn’t want to return to Romania no matter what, she is that happy here.

Talic sits next to her at her kitchen table and is too tired to talk. Tomorrow at eight he goes back to Romania. He says that he just remembered something. To the question, what it’s like to be a Romanian in Europe. He has the answer. Being Romanian in Europe is no nationality at all. Being Romanian is a job.

Juan Moreno – The Last European: Romanian Driver Navigates the Soul of the EU

Letala industrie a tutunului

O arhivă de milioane de documente arată strategiile prin care marile companii de tutun au manipulat tot ce stătea în calea profitului lor:

Secret programs to spike and freebase cigarettes in order to hook smokers for life, massive marketing campaigns aimed at hooking underage smokers and at confusing and tricking the public, and untold billions more spent bribing the media, science, academics, and politicians in order to keep the tobacco profits rolling on. You also find the names of all sorts of respectable journalists, political figures and nonprofit charities who cut secret deals with Big Tobacco to help them continue profiting off mass-death.

Un actor care făcea reclamă la Winston îl întreabă pe unul dintre directorii companiei dacă el sau colegii săi fumează. Răspunsul?

Are you kidding? We reserve that right for the poor, the young, the black and the stupid.

Pe o scară a venalității corporatiste, nu prea mai e nimic dincolo de exploatarea celor mai vulnerabile comunități de oameni pentru bani. Multe industrii fac asta, e adevărat, dar nici una nu e mai letală decât cea a tutunului.

Before getting into the tech side of this story, it’s important to understand the stakes in the tobacco conspiracy:

Every year, cigarettes still kill roughly 480,000 Americans. Worldwide, tobacco kills six million people per year.

In all, tobacco killed over 100 million people in the 20th century, and cigarettes are expected to kill 1 billion people worldwide this century.


Două cărți despre industria drogurilor

In a short section on the coke economy, Saviano points out why this illegal market generates so much violence. “If you had invested €1,000 in Apple stock in the beginning of 2012, you would have €1,670 in a year. Not bad. But if you had invested €1,000 in cocaine . . . after a year you would have €182,000.” This, of course, assumes that your investment made it safely from the jungle of Colombia to the streets of London but given that, in Britain, police pick up less than 20 per cent of the coke entering the country, it’s a risk worth taking.

Misha Glenny – ‘ZeroZeroZero’, by Roberto Saviano

No guns, no threat of violence. The dealer comes to you. Customer service is the No. 1 priority. It’s a diabolical scheme, but looked at from a pure business perspective, a brilliant one.

How did the “Xalisco Boys,” as Quinones calls them, pull it off? They only used people from back home that they could trust. They insisted that nobody involved in selling could use the drug — and in fact, there was a taboo back home against it. All the local dealers were salaried, so there was no incentive to cut the drug. They provided consistent quality, which earned customer loyalty. They would not use guns, and avoided violence to keep the cops from noticing. In fact, they had a rule against selling heroin to black customers, on the belief that blacks are likely to be violent in drug deals. They kept their client base restricted to whites. Maintaining these disciplines helped their business expand tremendously.

Rod Dreher – Tragedy of the American Dreamland

Aparențele înșeală

La semafor, biciclistul ochelarist s-a oprit, a luat punga de pe ghidon şi a aruncat-o uşurel la rădăcina stâlpului, cu un gest precis. Era o pungă de gunoi. Punga a căzut cu un sunet zemuit, moale, şi s-a lăsat uşor pe-o parte. Biciclistul şi-a întors apoi privirea spre înainte, în aşteptarea luminii verzi, şi a uitat pe loc de pungă. Un alt eco-bucureştean trecând prin centrul oraşului.

Chiar în dreapta lui, trasă la bordură, o şalupă BMW mare, neagră, lungă, lată, lucioasă. O maşină de jmeker – o altă maşină de jmeker din Bucureşti. Şoferul a deschis o portieră cât un pat matrimonial şi s-a dat jos cu greutate – s-a agăţat cu o mână de rama acoperişului şi cu cealaltă s-a-mpins în volan, într-un zvâc gâfâit, ca să-şi urnească trupul spre exterior şi la verticală. Era un tip mare şi gras, cu falduri de sharpei pe ceafă şi cu o burtă-lacrimă pe cale să dezvolte propria ei personalitate. Tricou alb, polo, pantaloni negri, o brăţară aurie pe încheietura dreaptă.

S-a îndreptat răcnind spre biciclist:

– Bă, nesimţitule, cum arunci gunoiul aşa, în mijlocul drumului?

Vlad Petreanu – Univers paralel pe Calea Victoriei