The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

Home of the Whopper In Harper's magazine, Thomas Frank writes about the recent rise in protests by fast food workers who are picketing for higher wages and whose cause is bolstered by a recent study that found they require about $7.2 billion in public assistance on top of the wages they earn in order to live.

The Body in Room 348. In Vanity Fair, author Mark Bowden writes about real-life world-class private detective Ken Brennan, who has a talent for solving difficult unsolved murder cases. In this article, Brennan solves the case of a man who is found dead in a hotel room from mysterious causes.

That Armpit Odor Says a Lot About Who You Are In Pacific Standard magazine, writer Michael White covers a recent study that found that the pheromones exuded by mammals (including humans) are the products of the bacteria that lives in and on our bodies, further evidence of the importance of the microbiome that is interlaced with us.

An Atlas of Love and Hate: Detroit in the 1970s On Architizer, writer Katherine Wisniewski provides a brief glimpse into the work of activist cartographer William Bunge and then steps aside to allow Bunge's maps to do the rest.

Baby's First Butcher Shop, Circa 1900 On Collector's Weekly, writer Lisa Hix covers early miniature butcher's shops and ends up discussing the evolution of dollhouses.

There's a Reason They Call Them 'Crazy Ants' In the New York Times Magazine, Jon Mooallem writes about a recently-arrived invasive species of ant that is exploding in suburban Houston at an alarming rate.

An archeological quest for the 'real' King Arthur Hosted by the University of Idaho, an anonymous writer provides a brief overview of potential archaeological sites that may be associated with a real version of the King Arthur of legend.

Retail Therapy: What Mannequins Say About Us On Collectors Weekly, Hunter Oatman-Stanford examines the use of the mannequin by clothing sellers over the centuries and how they have served as unintended reflections of our tastes, values and views of ourselves.

Controlling Health Care Costs In the New Yorker, James Surowiecki covers recent health care costs figures that show that since the cost of American health care has become a ubiquitous topic of national conversation it has dropped, suggesting sustained attention forces providers to charge lower prices.

Santa's 'flying' reindeer story traced back to magic mushrooms On Mother Nature Network, Douglas Hill provides a lunatic stoner's report on a tenuous (if even extant) though interesting proposal that the Christmas tradition finds its roots in hallucinogenic mushroom use by Northern European tribes.