Briefings: Tony Scott, High-Frequency Trading, Pappy Van Winkle, Mobile Phone Throwing, and the Oglala Lakota

August 22, 2012 Briefings By

We’re off to Ironman this week. There’s plenty to keep you occupied, though: a great director needs to be mourned, rare bourbon consumed, and mobile phones hurled. All in a days work.

It’s a big and complicated world. We’re at tips [at] if you think there’s something we should know about.

1. In Memoriam | Tony Scott

Nobody loves action films with fighter planes, helicopters and Denzel Washington serving an improbable amount of justice as much as we do. Tony Scott made some of the best. He directed an entire category of classic Americana, from Top Gun and Days of Thunder to True Romance and Spy Game. Hard to believe the dude was an Englishman. The LA Times has a good look at his life and work.

2. How to Trade Securities | Fast

We know a thing or two about high-frequency trading, as in, How fast can we dump all these Grant Hill rookie cards we collected in 1995? But there’s a type of trading that happens at an even greater clip: high-speed algorithmic trading in financial markets, which can allow firms to move in and out of investment positions automatically and for very brief periods of time. Critics say it increases volatility. It spiked in 2010. Here’s a graphic to show it.

3. Whom to Know | Julian P. Van Winkle III

Look at this, okay? I want you to remember this face, here. Okay? This is the guy behind the guy behind the Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Julian P. Van Winkle III. Garden and Gun goes inside the tasting room with JPVW to see what it’s all about. It turns out the life of a limited-supply bourbon maker has its hazards. “It can get dangerous,” Van Winkle says. “In Michigan, a guy physically ran our sales rep out of a store because he didn’t get but two or three bottles. He was so damn angry about it. Threatened him with a shoe or a gun or something.”

4. What to Play | Mobile Phone Throwing

Look, it’s not like every game at the Olympics is the archetypal sport. We celebrate handball nevertheless. And so it is with mobile phone throwing, now in its 13th year, a sport practiced casually everywhere but officially in Savonlinna, Finland, where this year’s big tosser reached more than 101 meters. The type of device was unspecified.

5. What to Read | In The Shadow of Wounded Knee

Native Americans don’t always get the most robust treatment, let’s say, in textbooks. And their story is as nuanced and individual as any other unique culture. This National Geographic profile takes an in-depth look at the cultural revival of the Oglala Lakota people of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.