The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

Kenneth Anger: Where the Bodies Are Buried In the UK edition of Esquire, Mick Brown interviews his old friend, underground filmmaker, Satanist, Hollywood historian and all-around interesting person, Kenneth Anger.

Man Kills Self to Play Chess in Afterlife On the Philippines' Sun Star, Frank "Boy" Pestano writes about a lonely man in China who committed suicide -- after murdering a friend so he would have a chess partner in the afterlife -- who joins a long string of chess enthusiasts and masters who've taken their own lives.

John Wheeler and the "It From the Bit" In an excerpt from the book The End of Science, author John Horgan writes about physicist John Wheeler's view that reality is determined and created by our observation of it.

Last Words In Cincinnati Magazine, Linda Vaccariello writes about artificially-intelligent software that's being trained to assess risk of suicide among ER patients from the suicide notes left by those who were successful.

The Case of the Missing Ancestor In National Geographic, Jamie Shreeve writes about the discovery of a mysterious third homind that was alive in the same time and places as Neanderthals and the first modern humans.

This Drug Turns Back Time in Your Brain Until, Like a Kid, You Can Learn New Skills In a post on the Smithsonian blog, Colin Schultz writes about the FDA rejecting approval for a drug that produces neural plasticity, potentially opening the brain up to learning new things.

Iranian man goes 60 years without bath From the Islamic Republic News Agency, a staff story about a possibly mentally ill man who has officially set a record for longest time between bathing.

How Adding Iodine to Salt Boosted Americans' IQ On Discover Magazine's The Crux blog, Lisa Raffensperger writes about the introduction of iodine to America's table salt in the 1920s and how it is believed to have led to an aggregate increase in intelligence.

DNA found in Northamptonshire 'blazing car' murder case On the BBC, Laura Devlin writes about a British cold case from the 1930s involving a man killing another man to stand in for him when he faked his own death.

US District Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit Case Number 11-1355 (Part I) In the recent ruling against the FCC rule that equal access must be provided to all legal websites, Judge David Tatel wrote a background on the case which explains why the FCC is at fault that net neutrality is at stake.

The Public Housing Experiment On the Boston Review, Claude S. Fischer reviews a study that finds it was a lack of wholehearted funding that led to the demise and bad reputation of public housing in America, not that the poor are subhuman.

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs In Strike! Magazine, anthropologist David Graeber takes a sober look at exactly why the West hasn't become the leisure class it was predicted to become as more jobs have become automated.

Gary Webb, RIP In a 2004 post in LA Weekly, Marc Cooper defends independent investigative journalist Gary Webb on the occasion of his death and his posthumous roasting in the obituary the LA Times ran on him.

Fermi paradox A thorough and encompassing Wikipedia entry on the question of why we haven't been visited by alien life, posed by physicist Enrico Fermi.