“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.”



Five hundred years after the publication of The Prince, the informative BBC documentary “Imagine… Who’s Afraid Of Machiavelli” asks how relevant is The Prince today, and who are the 21st century Machiavellians? [Via]


Darstellung des Räderns in einem Holzstich von 1586


Last October, archaeologists surveying the site of planned road work on federal highway 189 in Groß Pankow, Brandenburg, Germany, unearthed human remains. [...] Further examination revealed the deceased was a man in his mid to late 30s who had been executed on the wheel. His bones are in more than a thousand pieces. This is the first time a skeleton of someone broken on the wheel has been found in Germany, even though judicial execution by wheel was employed in the Holy Roman Empire from the Middle Ages to the 19th century.

This is not a coincidence. The whole point of the wheel was to display the broken bodies until they rotted away entirely, leaving the bones for carrion birds to enjoy. The punishment was reserved for the worst criminals — serial killers, murderers who killed someone during the commission of another crime, killers of kin — and the destruction of the body in a slow, public fashion did double-duty as the most gruesome retribution and as a stern warning to the public.

Death by wheel was usually a two-stage process. First a large spoked wagon wheel would be slammed onto the large bones of the arms and legs, breaking them in two places each. Then the wheel would strike the spine, breaking it. With the body’s skeletal structure in pieces, the condemned was then tied to the wheel, his limbs woven in and out of the spokes. Finally the wheel was raised on a pike and planted into the ground. If the man wasn’t dead yet, and he usually wasn’t unless he was fortunate enough to have been deliberately struck with fatal blows to the chest and abdomen as an act of mercy, he would die in slow unspeakable agony over the course of hours, often days. [Via]


“This wood cut shows the ‘breaking wheel’ as it was used in Germany in the Middle Ages. [...] The woodcut relates the crime and the punishment of Peter Stumpp and includes a depiction of the punishment of his daughter and mistress. Stumpp was accused of being a werewolf and in the top left hand corner of the woodcut we see a large wolf attacking a child. Above this scene a man with a sword is seen fighting off the wolf and in doing so, lops off the wolf’s left forepaw. In the centre left of the illustration we are shown the first punishment of Stumpp, namely the tearing of his flesh with red hot pincers while he is bound to a wheel. In the middle we see the executioner using the blunt side of an axe to break Stumpp’s arm and leg bones. On the righthand side of the illustration the executioner beheads Stumpp. In each of these three depictions we can see that Stumpp’s left hand is missing, presumably pointing to the fact that the werewolf had its left forepaw cut off. After his beheading, Stumpp’s body is dragged away to be burnt. In the top right hand corner of the wood cut we see the fire where Stumpp’s daughter and mistress, each tied to a stake, are burnt alive with Stumpp’s headless body tied to a stake between them. Also shown is a wheel, mounted on a pole, which carries Stumpp’s decapitated head together with a figure of a wolf.” [Via]

See also: Executed Today – Broken By The Wheel


“I have been a “Taita” in prison. Taita” means the prison’s lord, the wisest one, the toughest one, the biggest killer. If you’re “Taita” you master a bunch of thugs, because they respect you, you have a certain weight.”

Luis Cuevas Manchego

After spending 27 years in prison for multiple murders, Peruvian folk artist Luis Cuevas Manchego (aka Lu.Cu.Ma) has spent the last decade dedicating his to life to social change through art. In the documentary “From the Knife to the Brush” Vice Magazine examines Manchego’s criminal past, how he uses art as a way to repent and the message that even a stone cold killer can change.

“Be the strange you wish to see in the world.”



Dazed TV‘s short film POCKETS opens with a mugging gone wrong then swiftly moves into the realm of the fantastic and ties up with an unexpectedly humorous twist. Short sharp fun.


Francisco Alvarado of the Miami New Times takes an in-depth look into the cannabis “training school” industry and some of the things you may (or may not) learn there:

Inside a conference room at a Sheraton Hotel in Miami, Bob Calkin paces in front of a small stage, holding a microphone. The 50-year-old Los Angeles cannabis hustler with ’80s rock-band hair flies around the United States, charging folks $299 a head to learn how to make a fortune dealing po — sorry, “dispensing medicine.” Before 9 o’clock on a Saturday morning, 150 wannabe marijuana barons have filed in for a ten-hour crash course put on by Calkin’s company, Cannabis Career Institute. He’s just raked in $45,000 for a day’s work.


Dropping hundred-dollar bills on medical marijuana classes may seem like a good idea, and some school operators are already making a mint. But David Jones, communications director for the Florida Cannabis Network, a Melbourne-based nonprofit organization, cautions: “Some are trying to be perceived as experts and take advantage of the ill-informed.”

Some classes may offer real insight; others could be just puffing smoke. Calkin says his Cannabis Career Institute can teach people how to create a business plan, find business partners, and recruit growers who can cultivate high-quality marijuana. Once students have paid their $299, they can attend as many seminars as they want. “In the marijuana industry, it is all about networking,” Calkin says. “Some people won’t work with you unless someone they know vouches for you. We introduce you to those people.”

Yet it sounds like he has a low bar for who qualifies as an expert: “You can even become a consultant too after attending one seminar. You can start charging other people to teach them.”

See also: How to Become a Medical Marijuana Millionaire in Ten Easy Steps



“Anyone who wants a quiet life should not have been born in the twentieth century.”

~ Leon Trotsky

Emily Thompson, author of The Soundscape of Modernity and historian at Princeton who studies acoustic innovation and the historical “emergence of excessive noise,” has taken ten years of research and boiled it down into a wonderful new website.

The Roaring Twenties is an interactive map of nearly 600 noise complaints made in New York City from 1926 to 1932. Each marker represents one complaint and is often accompanied by old news-reel footage offering the sights and sounds of those responsible for the ruckus.

Emily describes the project here:

By offering a website dedicated to the sounds of New York City circa 1930, The Roaring ‘Twenties is following the lead of countless other individuals and organizations who have turned the web into a vast sonic archive, delivering a previously unimaginable wealth of historic sound recordings to anyone with a connection and a desire to listen in. With The Roaring ‘Twenties, I hope we not only add to that archive, but also set an example by doing so in an explicitly historically-minded way. The aim here is not just to present sonic content, but to evoke the original contexts of those sounds, to help us better understand that context as well as the sounds themselves. The goal is to recover the meaning of sound, to undertake a historicized mode of listening that tunes our modern ears to the pitch of the past. Simply clicking a “play” button will not do.

(Source: The Atlantic – Maps Exploring the Hilarious Noise Complaints of 1930s New York)

“If you’re going to run an illegal business, you better be driving the best car, living in the biggest house, fucking the best looking people and spending every dollar you make because sooner or later you’re going to get caught.”



Conversnitch is an inconspicuous recording device that automatically tweets snippets of overheard conversations onto twitter. Disguised as a light bulb or a lamp, the Conversnitch works anywhere that has wifi — a restaurant, library, or home, for instance — and uses a Raspberry Pi and a microphone to record audio.

Project creators, Kyle McDonald and Brian House built the device for about a hundred dollars and then pay to have the audio transcribed through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk crowdsourcing platform. Although it’s creators admit that the art project could be used for a variety of illegal activities, they intended it to raises questions about the nature of public and private spaces in an era where anything can be broadcast by ubiquitous, Internet-connected listening devices. (Via)

At Newark Airport, The Lights Are On, And They’re Watching You



A club with nails hammered in at the end. The inscription reads “Ternopil,” which is a city in Western Ukraine. According to the owner, the handle is wrapped in tape after having broken in clashes with the Berkut. (Photo by Tom Jamieson)

Photographer Tom Jamieson shows Wired magazine his series of photographs detailing the nasty homemade weapons that Ukrainian protesters used when they filled Maidan Square to battle the army and topple President Yanukovych.

Besides clubs meant for bashing and forked pikes used to rip the shields out of the hands of police, Jamison said:

” [...] he did see evidence of more substantial weaponry on the protesters’ side, including automatic weapons, but those were carefully kept out of view in order to avoid escalating the violence. It was a sign of how well organized the protesters were. Commanders of 10, 100, and 1000 people operated out of camps divided based by occupiers’ home towns. A ban on alcohol was enforced by internal police units, rotated in and out on a regular schedule. They even produced combat equipment on-site, including the very metal shields used by the government forces.

“They set up a factory on the second floor of the press center where they were literally cutting [shields] to template, and they were turning them out like one every half an hour,” Jamieson says. “They were in there for the long thing, it wasn’t just a quick flash in the pan, it was a big deal and it was really, really well organized.”


For us, the most gripping detail wasn’t in the photos themselves but this observation of Jamieson’s fellow photo-journalists:

“Some days you go to the front line and there’d be 20 or 30 protesters milling about smoking cigarettes, and there’d be 150 photographers there taking pictures of nothing,” he says. “You’d have NBC news there doing pieces to camera going, ‘Tonight on NBC, Kiev is burning,’ and there’s just a guy in the background warming his hands on an oil drum.”

[Thanks, Brooklyn!]


NightHawkInLight shows us how to pick locks like a secret agent using nothing but a pair of strategically bent hairpins. (Via)

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