June 19, 2011  Truth isn’t just stranger than fiction — it’s faster. In an espionage novel I wrote in 2007, I created what was then a futuristic million-volt stun gun disguised as an iPhone. Today, you can buy an even more potent stun gun online, albeit tricked out as a BlackBerry. [more]

How Gamblers—History’s Most Accurate Election Forecasters—are Betting on 2012

10/24/2012  I don't like uncertainty. The current presidential polls -- Gallup with Romney leading by three percent, CBS with Obama up by two percent, aggregators split on whose nose is ahead -- are a hotbed of uncertainty. Fortunately there are veritable election oracles I can turn to instead: gamblers. [more]

The story of a man who bought 200 classic cars, mostly on eBay.

September 2008  When you enter Stewart Dudley’s dimly lit warehouse in Birmingham, Alabama, you breathe in a bouquet of steel, leather, motor oil, and antiquity. As your eyes acclimate, you’re dazzled by chrome and more fins than there are at SeaWorld. Classic American car junkies: This is your Willy Wonka factory. Those of you who don’t know a Corvette from a Chevette: You’ll still be transfixed by the details, like the phonograph in the magenta, metallic, and lilac convertible. Who knew record players were a factory option in ’56 Plymouths?


The Spy Gadget Vendor Who Loved Me

September 28, 2010  In the last two years, my work as a national security reporter brought me into contact with an array of bright and gallant intelligence community personnel ranging from a temp at the National Security Agency to the director of the CIA. As it happens, the source who had the greatest influence on my latest espionage novel was a civilian who distributes cheap spy gadgets from his father’s basement.

August 28, 1953: The Biggest Day in Alabama Baseball History

August 26, 2013  Sixty summers ago, long before the advent of pre-K soccer leagues, before there were rock-climbing camps, and before elementary schoolers began flying cross-country to compete in video game tournaments, there was baseball and only baseball. And kids couldn’t get enough of it. [more]