The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

On Smarm On Gawker, Tom Scocca provides an essay that is counted among a number of 2013's best articles lists. Scocca creates a lengthy defense and response to the popular notion that snarkiness, biting criticism, is a bad thing and simultaneously takes down the concept of positivity at any cost as disingenuous.

18 Tigers, 17 Lions, 8 Bears, 3 Cougars, 2 Wolves, 1 Baboon, 1 Macaque, and 1 Man Dead in Ohio In GQ, Chris Heath uncovers the events that led to the release of an Ohio man's extensive private menagerie of exotic animals onto the Ohio countryside, an act which was immediately followed by the man's suicide.

How to Name a Baby Wait But Why posted an interesting and entertaining look at current and historical baby naming trends, complete with illuminating graphs.

The Ghost of Shipwrecks Future In Outside, Patrick Symmes weaves together the history of a ship that went down off the coast of New Jersey with his uncle aboard with questions about whether the widely popular recreational diving trend of souvenir hunting on shipwrecks is morally acceptable.

Surviving Anxiety In The Atlantic, editor Scott Stossel provides an intensely personal detailing of his lifelong battle with crippling anxiety and the effects the disorder has had on his life.

The Chessboard Killer In GQ, Peter Savodnik profiles Alexander Pichushkin, one of Russia's most prolific and evil serial killers, who confessed to murdering 63 people in the same wooded area of Moscow during the early 200s.

The Art of Reviling: 10 Tips for Criticizing People More Effectively On Mental Floss, Arika Okrent plucks ten gems from an early 20th-century book by Chinese educator and scholar Liang Shiqiu who published a studied treatise on how to dress down and humiliate others impactfully.

The Dark Age Myth: An Atheist Reviews "God's Philosophers" On Strange Notions, Tim O'Neill reviews the book God's Philosophers, which argues that the Medieval period (and specifically from 1000-1500 AD) was not a dark age as it is perceived, where science was squashed by religion, but in actuality the period that directly gave rise to modern scientific inquiry and the first scientists.

The Next Mass Extinction In More Intelligent Life, Marek Kohn covers what is becoming a rising drumbeat in science reporting, that humans will likely survive the coming massive changes to Earth due to climate change and extinction, but that we will live in a downgraded version of the planet.

A Visit to the World's Fair of 2014 In the New York Times in 1964, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov used the World's Fair as a launching point to predict the state of technology fifty years from then, some of which proved startlingly on target.

SantaCon Founder to Santas: "Go Do Something Else" On Gothamist, Dan Glass interviews the performance artist who co-founded the now widespread and devolving annual SantaCon, who laments the convention's continued existence.

Parsley - The Herb of Death On Nourishing Death, the bloggers provide a brief overview of the now-lost but once strong link between the innocuous herb parsley and death in the ancient world.

Dolphins Seem to Use Toxic Pufferfish to Get High On the Smithsonian's blog, Rachel Nuwer describes a recent novel finding that dolphins may become purposefully intoxicated using pufferfish.