A Harvard English major wrote The Inner Game of Tennis in 1972. A million copies later, its ideas are still some of the most influential in sports — and beyond, taken seriously by actors, politicians, and even sex researchers. What’s its secret? Maybe that there is no secret.
Over more than 20 years at Buffalo Trace, Curtsinger had worked his way to a senior position on the loading dock, but it wasn't necessarily clear where he might go from there. ... Still, what might drive a man with a wife and two kids, who's worked some two decades for the same company, to start stealing from his employer? The simple explanation might be that bourbon prices were soaring and that stealing it was pretty easy. Buffalo Trace has 450 employees spread across 440 acres, and more bourbon aging in its 15 warehouses than at any time since the 1970s. ... Curtsinger started small. According to the investigation, around 2008 he began lifting bottles from display cases at the distillery. As a precaution, he would casually ask co-workers about security cameras around the facility. Curtsinger could be a generous colleague, loaning cash to co-workers but then asking that they repay him in stolen bottles. Eventually he got bolder: One night Curtsinger loaded more than 50 cases of Eagle Rare onto a pickup truck that was so weighted down it bottomed out on his driveway when he got home. ... Business was brisk, but there were only so many bottles of Pappy to be found, and eventually Curtsinger started stealing entire barrels, each containing the equivalent of around a hundred bottles.
The group of European black-hat hackers who launched the attack against New York had spent much of the previous decade breaking into American corporate networks — credit-card companies, hospitals, big-box retailers — mostly for profit, and sometimes just because they could. When those attacks became routine, the group moved into more politically inclined hacks, both against and on behalf of various governments, rigging elections15 and fomenting dissent. In the summer of 2016, the hackers received an anonymous offer of $100 million to perform a cyberattack that would debilitate a major American city. ... to self-identified anarchists with a reflexively nihilistic will to power, the proposition had some appeal. Causing disruption was something that had been on their minds recently, as their conversations veered toward the problems with global capitalism, the rise of technocentrism, bitcoin, and the hubris required to nominate a man like Donald Trump. Their animus got more personal when American authorities arrested a well-respected white-hat hacker who had broken into an insulin pump in order to show the dangers of connecting devices without proper security. The black hats were on the opposite end of the ideological spectrum but had more empathy for their fellow hacker than they did for the American people, who, they felt, deserved a comeuppance ... The plan was to show how much of modern life in a city like New York could be disrupted by purely digital means. The hackers would get paid, but they also hoped their attack would dent America’s complacent faith in order and in the technology and political authority that undergirded it. As a bonus, their services would be in even greater demand.
When an Olympic archer readies to shoot, she is staring down a distance of seventy meters — roughly three quarters of a football field — and aiming to hit a circle the size of a CD. An elite archer does not grip her bow tightly, fearing what anxious jitters might do; she attaches it to a string that wraps around her hand, extends her arm forward, and holds the bow in place with the skin between her thumb and index finger. As she draws, more than forty pounds of resistance weighs on her fingers and back, and her bow stores so much energy that if she were to fire without an arrow the bow could break at both ends. The physical strain is never evident on her face, which remains in stern repose as she brings the string back to the same spot on her lips as the shot before and the shot before that. It presses against her mouth, pulling it into a frown, as if she were afflicted with a temporary bout of Bell’s palsy. ... She must hold steady — moving her release point by more than the width of a ballpoint pen would result in a miss. This is difficult enough on a good day, but arrows are not bullets. They dip under the weight of raindrops and veer in a gust of wind, which can force an archer to aim entirely off the target ... When an arrow is loosed, it does not fly straight; it wriggles like an eel. From bow to target, it will arc to a height of about ten feet, traveling at 150 miles per hour, and arrive at its destination in one second. ... Archery is in the middle of an unprecedented boom: membership in USA Archery, the sport’s national governing body, has quadrupled since 2011, and youth participation has quintupled. ... more than 20 million Americans pick up a bow every year, from hunters to yuppies on Groupon dates. ... Archery is meant to be a pursuit, not a performance, and even the most impressive shots make for quiet entertainment. All the action happens inside an archer’s head, and until ESPN hooks up archers to a brain scanner, there won’t be much for spectators to see.