I'm really enjoying this series of articles from Timothy McSweeney. In their latest issue, they talk to Ken Doyle, a professional safecracker who explains how he got into the trade and some of the most unusual things he experienced.
Q: How did you learn to be a safecracker?
A: In 1978 I took a correspondence course to learn the basics of locksmithing. The ad in the Popular Mechanics classifieds said, "Be your own boss."
The course consisted of about 70 lessons. I'd study each lesson and practice the particular skill required, like how to fit a key, lock disassembly, rekeying, etc.
Q: What does it mean to fit a key?
A: This is only one of a dozen basic locksmith skills. You insert a blank key, wiggle it while turning and the bumping action creates marks on the key blade. You file where the marks are until the key turns in the lock. It's also known as "impressioning."
Q: It seems like you could use this knowledge in bad ways if you wanted to.
A: Clients often ask, jokingly, whether we learn our trade in prison.
|“We’re creating a social network with a physical address.”|
|"Hitmen are more boring than we make them out to be."|
|"Many people are now spending huge portions of their lives at work that, they know, is not benefitting society."|
|“This isn’t a 10 or 20 year away thing. This transformation is happening right now.”|
|15 Most Stressful Jobs in the World|
|Reviewing Counterfeit Toys Made in China|
|The Spaceship Propulsion Compendium|
|The Unknown Reader|
|Termite-Inspired Autonomous Robotic Construction Crew|
|"This very internationalism that contributed to the apocalyptic disaster that ended the Bronze Age."|
|Soviet Air Force’s First All-Female Bombing Squad|
|James Charles' Pop Culture Dollars|
|Unboxing a Factory Sealed IBM Compatible PC from 1988|
|“There was not only automation but where the suggestion that humans had any control [...] was absent too.”|
|"Most of what kids currently learn at school will probably be irrelevant by the time they are 40."|
|“The release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”|