The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

Creepypasta On Aeon Magazine, Will Wiles writes about the phenomenon of creepypasta, a type of intentional Internet meme that is rooted the weird horror fiction of the 20th century and passed along like urban myth.

Candle Cove And here is a creepypasta mentioned in the Aeon article, described as one of the best of the bunch.

Euthanasia Coaster In a dissertation, design student Julijonas Urbonas describes his euthanasia coaster, a theoretical rollercoaster designed to employ the force of gravity to humanely kill while providing one last thrill of a lifetime.

The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted? In the New York Review of Books, US district court judge Jed S Rakoff lays out a comprehensive and coherent argument in support of a number of depressingly pedestrian reasons why investment bank executives haven't been and never will be prosecuted for the fraud they perpetrated that led directly to the Great Recession.

The Welfare Queen In Slate, Josh Levin provides a thorough (if overly lengthy) portrait of a woman aliased Linda Taylor, who was prosecuted for massive welfare fraud, but who was much, much worse. Levin gets to the real evil that lay behind a real-life cautionary tale.

The Social Life of Genes In Pacific Standard Magazine, David Dobbs goes in-depth and study-heavy into the world of gene expression and epigenetics, the study of how external factors, in this case our social ties or lack thereof, create changes to how genes function and ultimately how we humans function as a result.

The Death of the Funeral Business In Philly Magazine, Sandy Hingston covers the demise and resulting attempt to adapt by the traditional funeral business in the face of fundamentally changing attitudes toward death and the hereafter.

What Happened on Easter Island - A New (Even Scarier) Scenario On the NPR blogs, science reporter Robert Krulwich reexamines the story of what happened to the civilization at Easter Island, finding that perhaps rather than ruining their environment the residents of Rapa Nui instead adapted to less than desirable conditions.

Twist-Ties vs Plastic Clips: Tiny Titans Battle For the Bakery Aisle In Businessweek, Paul Lukas chronicles the equilibrium in the market between the makers of the clips and the twist ties that hold our bread packaging closed and the unwitting allegiance customers have toward one or the other.

Truffle Wars In Gastronomica, Garreth Renowden investigates the rise of the Chinese truffle, the nearly-identical - and much less expensive - cousin to the black truffle from the Perigord region of France and its effect on the truffle market.

The Food Bubble (PDF) In the July 2010 issue of Harper's Magazine, author Frederick Kaufman follows a fascinating trail as he traces the food crises of 2008 back to fluctuations in the market and falls just short of laying famines around the world at the feet of Goldman Sachs.