The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

The Mathematics of Murder In Popular Science, Erik Sofge considers an unnerving but increasingly significant question: How will we program robots that serve us in the future to decide who to kill when faced with an unavoidable choice?

The End of Food In the New Yorker, Lizzie Widdicombe writes about Soylent a nutritious shake that contains calculated amounts of every nutrient humans need and is being marketed as an alternative to food.

The Curious Case of the Exploding Pig Farms On Nautilus, Sarah Zhang writes about the strange developing phenomenon of exploding manure beneath hog pens at pig farms in the U.S.

500 Pounds of Man-Eating Stealth In Outside, Caroline Alexander writes a longform article on the preservation of Bengal tigers in one of their last natural strongholds, an enormous mangrove swamp that straddles the border of Bangladesh and India.

Britain's grand Martian adventure In Cosmonline, Ben Gilliand contributes a brief article about the UK's ill-fated attempt to land a Martian rover in 2003 and the man whose vision got the contraption as far as the planet's surface.

Artificial Forgetting On Medium, Clive Thompson writes about the recently court-supported notion of a person's right to be forgotten and how to go about preserving that right in the context of the long memory of the digital age.

How India pale ale conquered the world In an explainer, The Economist, well, explains the origin of IPA and how it became the dominant beer of the craft brewing renaissance.

What Happens to Shipping Containers Lost at Sea? On LiveScience, Megan Gannon writes about the loss off thousands of shipping containers that slide overboard and into the ocean's depths each year and the impact they have on the ocean ecosystems where they settle.

I Went to the Nutrionists's Annual Confab. It Was Catered by McDonald's In Mother Jones, Kiera Butler writes an article that lives up to and goes beyond the attention-grabbing title, exploring the disturbing sponsorship by (junk) food companies of the major dieticians' and nutritionists' academies.

DNA From A 12,000 Year-Old Skull Helps Us Answer the Question: Who Were the First Americans? In Smithsonian, Mohi Kumar writes about the discovery of the intact skeleton of a girl who lives in the Yucatan 12 millennia ago and whose DNA is providing answers about the populating of the Americas.

Still Paying for the Civil War In the Wall Street Journal, Michael M Mills writes about the continued pension drawn by the last surviving child of a Civil War vet and explores the life of an enlisted man during the war.

Who is the Zodiac? A look at the suspects we've considered On the SFGate blog, Beth Spotswood briefly runs down the top suspects in the Zodiac killer case, San Francisco's unsolved serial murders.

A Trail of Murder and Revenge in Papua New Guinea In Outdoor, Carl Hoffman writes about how a newly-established hiking trail through the jungle of Papua New Guinea quickly was abandoned after a brutal attack killed and maimed a traveling party.

Is Sugar Toxic? In a 2011 article in the New York Times, Gary Taubes explored controversial studies about how and why some types of sugar are genuinely detrimental to human health.

As NASA seeks next mission, Russia holds the trump card In the Houston Chronicle, Eric Berger writes about the loss of momentum and direction NASA faces following the scrapping of the shuttle program, a lack of a replacement for it and the impending demise of the International Space Station.