The Underground — Issue #38
Everything you need to know about in this weekly series: One of the best books on what it’s like to sling drugs, the 25 best historical heists, all the weird things people in your state search for, the full rundown of the Star Wars universe, and a robot that can make pizza and pancakes.
At Social Underground we go beyond the mainstream stuff and see what’s underneath the surface. What should we get into, listen to, read, eat or watch? If there is something in our culture that needs attention that’s our job: Show you the underground things that you need to know about: Books, music, television, movies, comedians, art, and whatever else we can find to get you into something you never knew about. That’s The Underground.
1. The Corner is a book that you need to read, a mini-series you need to watch after you read it, and a prelude the The Wire. West Baltimore seems a lot like bad areas I worked in Detroit: Drug adverts yelled in the open, people going house to house stealing copper, gun shots heard every couple minutes, and seeing drug addicts wandering around like zombies. The book, The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner-City Neighborhood, is a book that needs to be read by everyone. Not only does the average person need to read it, every politician does, too.
Every big city has a bad area that can be documented, but David Simon and Ed Burns studied one corner of West Baltimore for a year to see what it was like. What’s discovered is the devastating impact of drugs.
“The crime-infested intersection of West Fayette and Monroe Streets is well-known–and cautiously avoided–by most of Baltimore. But this notorious corner’s 24-hour open-air drug market provides the economic fuel for a dying neighborhood. David Simon, an award-winning author and crime reporter, and Edward Burns, a 20-year veteran of the urban drug war, tell the chilling story of this desolate crossroad.
Through the eyes of one broken family–two drug-addicted adults and their smart, vulnerable 15-year-old son, DeAndre McCollough, Simon and Burns examine the sinister realities of inner cities across the country and unflinchingly assess why law enforcement policies, moral crusades, and the welfare system have accomplished so little. This extraordinary book is a crucial look at the price of the drug culture and the poignant scenes of hope, caring, and love that astonishingly rise in the midst of a place America has abandoned.”
Remember what you’re reading is a true story. After you read this book, I suggest that you watch The Wire. Trust me, working in Detroit and seeing this is pretty insightful, but knowing why it happens is devastating.
Go and buy it at Amazon, the go watch it, then watch The Wire.
2. The 25 best heists that have ever been pulled off. I think we can all say that heist movies are rad. The opening scene from The Dark Knight is one of my favorite from any movie, and that was just in the first few minutes. Most heists usually get bobbled because the people involved don’t really know what they’re doing. You can’t just run into a modern bank with masks, have a driver wait, rob the place, jump in the car, and expect to not get caught eventually. My buddy used to work in a bank, they will find you.
Some heists are complicated and get pulled off. These are 25 heists that the robbers actually planned and should all have movies based on them — unless you want Ocean’s 14? Didn’t think so.
3. This maps shows the most unusual Google searches that each state looks for. Considering that all of our privacy is open for anyone to look at, it’s pretty difficult to search for anything nowadays without getting the stinkeye. Hell, I once had an idea for a crime thriller book, but since my plot needed a lot of scientific information and criminal terms, I was too afraid to look anything up, Especially after watching the Cannibal Cop documentary on HBO.
Have a look at all the shame you will feel when you see what that weird homeless guy in the library is looking for on a Wednesday afternoon. Also, what the hell, Maine? Nickelback lyrics?
4. Here is all the properties that are considered canon in the Star Wars universe. Ever since Disney bought the rights to Star Wars, they have been setting up a future jampacked full of movies, toys, games, books and even a theme park. But since it was bought, a lot of the books and other properties are considered non-canon — meaning they don’t exist in the timeline anymore.
Outer Places decided to make a huge timeline of all the things that are still considered canon in the Star Wars universe. It’s a lot of stuff, so think of it like the opening scroll and hum the opening scene as you view it.
5. Watch a robot make pizza after watching tutorials on YouTube and reading Wikihow.
I’ve always been on the side of robots eventually defeating mankind by simply making us lazy like in Wall-E. The other day we told you about the robot team that can serve you beer like a bar can, and now the nail in the coffin may be here: A robot that can make pizza.
In the video below, a robot can be seen making pizza and pancakes by merely looking at online sources. The robot is an experiment by a European project called RoboHow.
“The researchers behind the four-year project see exploring ways to teach robots to understand language as the route to achieving their goal. They aim to enable machines to perform everyday human-scale activities as competently as humans. Put simply, they want to be able to tell a robot what to do rather than needing to program it to perform each precise movement.”
At this point, I think we are a few years away from sitting in those hovering chairs and letting machines do everything for us. If you want a glimpse of the future, just go to any grocery store and try to make your way down an aisle without seeing a gigantic human being tossing 5 gallon jugs of cookie dough ice cream into their baskets. We’re doomed.
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post,UPROXX,BGR and by just looking up his name.