Josh Harkinson

Josh Harkinson

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Born in Texas and based in San Francisco, Josh covers tech, labor, drug policy, and the environment. PGP public key.

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Quick Reads: "The Noble Hustle" by Colson Whitehead

| Fri May 2, 2014 5:00 AM EDT
The Noble Hustle

The Noble Hustle

By Colson Whitehead

DOUBLEDAY

Like rednecks at a demolition derby, novelists keep showing up at the World Series of Poker. To be sure, other writers (notably James McManus) have won far more prize money playing high-stakes hold 'em, but none can match the self-deprecating charm of Colson Whitehead, a recently divorced New Yorker who figures that being "half dead inside" gives him the perfect poker face. With just six weeks to train, he juggles bus trips to Atlantic City with picking up his daughter from school. He finds something oddly reassuring about sharing tables with a hoodied "Robotron" and a grizzled "Methy Mike." The Noble Hustle, part love letter, part dark confessional, captures perfectly the mix of neurosis and narrative that makes gambling so appealing.

This review originally appeared in our May/June 2014 issue of Mother Jones.

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Wiretapping Advocate Condoleezza Rice Joins Dropbox

| Thu Apr. 10, 2014 5:27 PM EDT

The internet is not pleased that Condoleezza Rice will be joining the board of the filesharing service Dropbox. A lot of the concern has to do with the fact that she'll be helping Dropbox navigate "international expansion and privacy" issues. As Ars Technica notes, the former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State isn't exactly the kind of person you'd trust to defend your data from Uncle Sam: In 2003, she authorized NSA wiretaps of members of the United Nations Security Council at the behest of George W. Bush, and later defended them. Of course, to be fair, maybe having an insider like Rice onboard will allow Dropbox to push back against would-be government intrusions. Still, the news is likely to give a boost to Dropbox competitors that now market their cloud services, convincingly or not, as "NSA-proof."