A few new things out for your edification/derision/etc. One is a longer piece on Slate about the decline of pickpocketing in America. While pickpocketing flourishes abroad, it’s tanking here.
Beyond being an object of fascination for people all over, the topic is also responsible for one of the most memorable lines I’ve ever heard. When I lived in Ireland, I worked as a waiter. The restaurant I terrorized with ineptitude in this capacity had some outdoor seating that was continually preyed upon by Roma thieves. They were about as brazen as you could be without resorting to violence, often using their children as stalls in elaborately staged pickpocketing attempts. One fabled scheme involved a woman coming up to you ad pressing her baby to your chest; you’d grab it to keep it from falling, and while your arms were engaged, someone would sweep past and pick your pocket. I never saw this, but a friend I met over there warned me very gravely about it. “There’s only one thing you can do: Swat the baby,” he said gesturing a swat. “You’ve got to swat that baby.”
The other two are for Hemispheres magazine. One on Domino’s bonkers, and hugely effective, self-flagellating ad campaign of 2010, and another on the efforts to build a series of huge, moveable dams around Venice to protect it from flooding. Fascinating.