Five things we’ve learned while making DG #24
Our 24th issue – which will mark our sixth birthday – has been signed off and is going on the presses today. There’s some excellent long-form Slow Journalism in there, including a story on the people who drove three double-decker buses to Iraq hoping to stop the 2003 invasion, a return to Turkey three months after the failed coup and stunning images from a photographer who spent years covering the Colombian conflict.
In our research for the issue, we stumbled across some fantastic facts which unfortunately didn’t make it onto the pages. Here are five of them.
1) On 13th May 1958, Australian adventurer Ben Carlin became the first and only person ever to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle. Carlin built the vehicle himself, remodelling a Ford GPW Jeep which he had bought for $901. Carlin had hoped his journey would take him a year, but ended up spending seven years and 10 months completing the circumnavigation from when he first set off from Halifax, Nova Scotia on 19th July 1950.
2) After a 9.1-magnitude earthquake struck Japan on 11th March 2011 the yakuza were among the first to provide aid, sending trucks with goods including food, water and blankets to affected areas. Several yakuza crime syndicates also opened their offices to take in people who were unable to return home.
3) During the 2016 Paralympic Games, four athletes recorded faster times in a 1,500m final than the gold medalist in the 1,500m Olympic event. The visually impaired Algerian runner Abdellatif Baka improved on Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz’s time by more than 1.7 seconds. Centrowitz’s record was smashed by three more runners competing in the T13 1,500m final, in which visually impaired athletes compete.
4) In September, the first pop song written by AI was revealed. ‘Daddy’s Car’ was created by researchers at Sony who used software to analyse 13,000 lead sheets from different genres. While machines created the score, a human composer, Benoît Carré, was recruited to turn the software’s output into a fully produced track and write the lyrics.
5) Since 2000, the US has spent $10 billion in aid to Colombia for combating narcotrafficking and left-wing guerillas. But despite the hefty financial outlay, Colombia is still the world’s number one coca producer, reclaiming the dubious title in November 2015 after ceding it to Peru in 2013.
DG #24 will be mailed out to subscribers on 5th December. UK subscribers can look forward to receiving their copy from 7th December, with international deliveries taking a bit longer. Not a subscriber yet? If you take out an annual subscription with promotion code ‘SOCIAL20’ we’ll send you our new issue for free.
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