Friday High Five: Mockingbirds, murderers and chocolate

We share our favourite finds from around the internet this week.


To steal a mockingbird

Publishing legend Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, one of the most significant novels ever written, is currently embroiled in a legal battle - in 2007, her agent duped her into signing over the lucrative copyright to her novel, then channeled her royalties into shell accounts. In one typical six-month period alone, ending December 2009, Lee earned $1,688,064.68 in royalties. Vanity Fair tells the story of the book and the scandal.

How chocolate boosts bookshop sales

Times are tough for bookshops these days - and the search is always on for new ways to keep customers browsing (and buying from) actual, rather than virtual, bookshelves. Belgian researchers have hit on a technique that’s the equivalent of real estate agents baking before an open inspection. Apparently, the smell of chocolate keeps customers browsing longer, and entices them to buy more books in certain genres (including romance).

Alaska’s climate change refugees

When we think of climate change refugees, we think about small Pacific islands and the rising waters of Bangladesh - but our vision is set to expand, as temperatures warm faster than the global average in the far north. Many native Alaskans living in remote villages are on the brink of being forced to evacuate their land: one village, Newtok, is looking at relocating to a new site further inland, at huge cost. The village is predicted to be entirely underwater within five years.

The Guardian has produced a riveting report, including interviews with the villagers, stunning photographs and videos.

Photo via *Guardian*.

Photo via Guardian.

Trayvon Martin, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, and what danger looks like

The killing of teenager Trayvon Martin and the Rolling Stone ‘rock star’ cover of Boston bombings suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been top topics of conversation in the US. In Salon, Roxane Gay draws parallels between the two: the Rolling Stone profile of Tsarnaev tries to understand why this seemingly ordinary young American did what he did. He’s not what a terrorist is supposed to look like; Trayvon Martin is what we expect street crime to look like, and he was killed for fitting that image. ‘We have certain cultural notions about who looks dangerous and who does not.’

Image via *Salon*.

Image via Salon.

Car hackers

Drivers of new-fangled cars, beware. The more functions where the car itself does part of the driving (like self-parking), the more vulnerable it is to being hacked from the outside. And the potential consequences are frightening.

As cars approach Google’s dream of passenger-carrying robots, more of their capabilities also become potentially hackable … ‘The less the driver is involved, the more potential for failure when bad people are tampering with it.’