GAME | You know how horror video games are best played late at night, with the lights off? Well, THE LONG DARK (Steam) is best played in wet socks, with the window open and the heat off. You play as someone who's stuck in the northern Canadian wilderness. No one else is alive. And you don't even have a decent coat. You'll have to find clean water, safe food and a way to keep warm. Except for some particularly bitey wolves, you don't have to worry about monsters. Just your own dry mouth, rumbling stomach and shivering arms. The Long Dark is still in "early access" so it's continually getting better. But no warmer.
PODCAST | Financial stories are often a morass of impenetrable phrases like "mortgage backed securities," "credit default swaps" and "savings account." They're one of those things nearly always easier to hear others clearly explain than try to figure out yourself. The SLATE MONEY PODCAST, from Slate's slate of podcasts, can help. Financial reporters and bloggers debate everything on the podcast from the best financial books to the economic incentives of philanthropy. They don't talk down to you, but explain things clearly enough for you to get a general sense of what they're going for.
BOOK | In 2011, I wrote a story for the Inlander, called "The Meat Grinder," about the shocking practice of bundling consumer debts, selling the bundles and then auto-filing error-ridden lawsuits. Investigative reporter Jake Halpern has gone one better in BAD PAPER. He follows a bundle of debt, from the people who owe it, to the people in Buffalo, New York, trying to collect on it, to the thieves who steal it. It's a vastly undercovered and under-regulated world. Important reading for anyone with a credit card, medical bill or college education. ♦