DC Firefighters Stood By as an Old Man Died

Hamilton Nolan · 01/30/14 11:51AM

Last weekend, Medrick Cecil Mills, 77, collapsed in the street in Washington, DC. Fortunately, he was across the street from a firehouse. Unfortunately, they wouldn't help him.

J.K. Trotter · 09/25/13 12:31PM

Bill de Blasio, the Democratic nominee for New York City mayor, seriously regrets attending an event honoring Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe in 2002. De Blasio currently leads Republican opponent Joe Lhota by 41 points.

Husband Accidentally Sells Wife's $23,000 Wedding Ring for $10

Taylor Berman · 06/12/13 07:31PM

Before Racquel Cloutier went to the hospital to deliver her fifth child, she hid her $23,000 diamond wedding ring in a plain watch box to keep it safe from her two-year-old twins. As she was in the hospital recovering, her husband, Eric Cloutier, decided to hold a yard sale in part to keep the couple's other children occupied. Only one problem: he accidentally put the watch box, containing the $23,000 ring inside, for sale – for $10 – and someone bought it.

'Surprising' New Facts About Roger Ailes Were Published Two Years Ago

Hamilton Nolan · 06/05/13 04:33PM

Bloomberg View columnist and longtime Newsweek man Jonathan Alter has a new book coming out that includes details about jowly shithead Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News. Politico's media reporter Dylan Byers writes that excerpts from the book show that Alter "reveals a number of surprising facts about the Fox News chief that, taken together, make him out to appear extraordinarily paranoid." Yes, Roger Ailes is paranoid. But Alter didn't "reveal" anything new at all.

A Sloppy Excel Error Might Have Messed Up the Way We Think About GDP

Maggie Lange · 04/16/13 01:46PM

A new study reveals that one of the most cited economic principles regarding GDP and debt is most likely based on a "sloppy Excel coding error." According to a 2009 book by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, This Time It's Different, countries with a high debt to GDP ratio have slow economic growth. But three economists at the University of Massachusetts have published a critique of Reinhart and Rogoff entitled: "Does High Public Debt Consistently Stifle Economic Growth?" They found a major and embarrassing error in the original calculations.

Whoops, Turns Out the Navy's $37 Billion Boat Is a Death Trap

Hamilton Nolan · 03/28/13 03:21PM

After 9/11, the US Navy launched a massive program to build a "Littoral Combat Ship" that could fight submarines, clear underwater mines, and perform other tasks close to shore, because, um... you never know where the terrorists might be, with snorkels. Astoundingly, it appears more and more like this boondoggle has become—you guessed it—a boondoggle.

All the Mistakes Four Ohio College Kids Made Trying to Set Up Their Campus Ecstasy Lab

Hamilton Nolan · 11/27/12 10:19AM

Four Ohio college students were indicted earlier this month on a multitude of drug charges, after they were caught last May trying to steal chemicals from a school chemistry lab in order to cook up some ecstasy in "an empty dorm room." An all too typical tale. For purposes of instruction—and to ensure that future college ecstasy labs are more professionally run—allow us to examine what mistakes they made in their budding criminal enterprise, all detailed exhaustively in this Plain-Dealer story:

PR Dummies: How Not to Pitch

Hamilton Nolan · 10/05/12 05:00PM

In the public relations industry, the fine art of pitching stories often consists of little more throwing shit against a wall and seeing what sticks. Regardless: it's important to have the right shit, and the right wall. This is PR Dummies. Having the right shit is what we do.

PR Dummies: No, Oprah Is Not Coming

Hamilton Nolan · 08/24/12 02:40PM

The public relations industry could fairly be described as a machine that functions on broken dreams. The only question is whether your dreams will be broken now, or later. If that dream is about meeting Oprah, the answer is: now. This is PR Dummies. Oprah will not be coming.

Charles Dickens to Be Very Embarrassed When Everyone Reads all the Stuff He Crossed Out

Caity Weaver · 08/08/12 05:40PM

Imagine if 100 years after you died, people started analyzing every text you'd ever sent, uncovering deleted punctuation and word choices and debating among themselves why you messaged that guy you were merely "looking forward to the party," when earlier drafts revealed you were, in fact, "so excited to see [him]!!"

PR Dummies: When Bizarro Mistakes Happen

Hamilton Nolan · 04/06/12 12:30PM

The public relations industry is often called upon to smooth over the errors of others. This makes their own mistakes all the more delicious. This is PR Dummies. Dummies, in PR, every week.

CVS Accidentally Gave Kids Breast Cancer Drugs

Louis Peitzman · 03/04/12 02:44PM

Kids in as many as 50 families in Chatham, New Jersey were mistakenly given breast cancer medication instead of chewable fluoride tablets. While the fluoride the children were supposed to receive is used to prevent tooth decay, the pill Tamoxifen blocks the production of estrogen. CVS has alerted all the families and apologized, but no one can figure out exactly how this happened.