Tal’s latest longreads

How Google builds its maps—and what it means for the future of everything.
An exclusive look inside Ground Truth, the secretive program to build the world’s best accurate maps. (via Alberto Romero)

How Apple and Amazon security flaws led to my epic hacking
A writer loses everything on his iPhone, his iPad and his Mac—including all of the photos from the first year and a half of his daughter’s life—after a hacker infiltrates his Amazon, Apple, Gmail and Twitter accounts.

A man walks into a bank
Patrick Combs deposits a junk-mail cheque for $95,000 – for a joke. The bank actually cashes it.

Global copycats: the sincerest form of flattery
A profile of Oliver Samwer and his web copycat factory in Berlin, which specializes in building knockoff websites inspired by growing American startups—then, sometimes, selling them back to the original company

What’s so bad about a boy who wants to wear a dress?
On gender-variant kids, and their parents.

The Disappeared
How the fatwa changed the life of Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.

What Happened to Diaspora, the ‘Facebook Killer’?
It’s Complicated.

The kindness of beasts
Are animals capable of moral behaviour?

Crushing Debt Drove Me to Kosovo — And Then to Iraq
A man with $90,000 in debt makes some hard decisions about his life—starting with a trip to Kosovo for an IT job.

Obama’s Way
Lewis follows the president for six months—joining him for basketball pickup games, a trip on Air Force One, and inside a decision on how to handle Libya.

How Much Tech Can One City Take?
San Francisco struggles for its soul.

Reinsurers and the God clause
On the insurer’s insurer and calculating the risk of modern catastrophe.