RECENT WORK (Selected)

“The Kilogram’s Long, Slow Climb to Harmony,” newyorker.com, November 2018.

“Insofar as the notion of the American avoirdupois pound has any official meaning, it is by relation to the kilogram, of which, by law, it is 0.45359237. This is not to suggest that the kilogram possesses some inherent authority. Like all units of measure, it is a tool entirely of man’s making. It exists in nature no more than a pound does, or a unicorn.”

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“Terrorist by Association,” The New Republic, October 2018.

“Abdelkader Merah created Mohammed Merah,” the public prosecutor would claim. The two had functioned as a unit, “the one who played the role of sage, the other who played the role of combatant.” The prosecution held that Abdelkader had radicalized his brother, had provided him with the beliefs that were evidently the cause of his violence, and on its face this seemed a perfectly reasonable claim.”

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"There Will Always Be Fires," Harper’s, August 2018.

“Oxygen, fuel, and heat, each in sufficient proportion, will ignite into fire, releasing more heat, igniting more fuel and oxygen, releasing more heat, and so on. A bad wildfire is the consequence of still further chain reactions, a small fire that sets off a stronger fire that sets off a fire that is stronger still—a succession of cataclysms, each more terrible than the last and each opening the way to something more terrible than itself.”

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"Did We Adopt a Jihadist?" GQ, November 2017.

"The violence in Syria was only the handmaiden to something more powerful, it seemed to him, some raging elemental force that had billowed up over the territory like a storm and seized control of the inhabitants below. 'The place is under a spell,' Padnos said. Sweden was not."

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"How Marine Le Pen Played the Media," The Guardian Long Read, April 2017.

"She has inherited her father’s unconscious smirk, which often serves as notice that she has just concocted some particularly clever bit of verbal violence. Like him, too, she tends to jut her jaw and bare her lower teeth when speaking, which can lend her the slight air of a bulldog. The French say she has gouaille, which might be translated as 'cheekiness,' but is a term applied almost exclusively to women, evocative of late evenings at a Paris bistro counter, cigarettes, red wine and a certain bawdy self-assurance."

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"The Untold Story of the Bastille Day Attacker," GQ, February 2017. 

“He was 31 but preferred older women, both for their erotic openness and, it seems clear, for their money. Those who knew him best knew him to be a cold and brutal man, detached, amused by little save rough sex and gore.”

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"The Ultimate Terrorist Factory," Harper's, January 2016. 

“This was my precious DREAM. Can you imagine the good fortune to have a whole virgin country ready to be drawn, shaped, adorned, instructed, constructed, repainted in the colors of an enlightened and intelligently modern Islam! Can you imagine?”

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