The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

This doesn't even make any sense.

When Burial Begins In a 2002 article in British Archaeology magazine, Paul Pettitt writes about the archaeological evidence for burial rituals, which date as far back as 40,000-80,000 years ago and possibly much earlier and span across hominid species.

Crazy Far In a 2013 article in National Geographic, Tim Folger interviews experts in the field of deep space exploration and finds the challenges to travel anywhere beyond Mars are extremely daunting.

A Short History of the Executioner In the Appendix, Stassa Edwards traces the office of the executioner, once a despised and feared appointed station in Early Modern European history, which was staffed by family lines for centuries.

Brood Parasitism In an entry on the Stanford University Birds group, Paul Erlich, et al. write about the puzzling mystery of brood parasitism, where some bird species trick others into raising their eggs for them.

The Yankee Comandante In a 2012 profile in the New Yorker, David Grann writes about one of the more fascinating and overlooked American figures of the mid-20th century, William Morgan, who traveled to Cuba to fight for the revolution.

Trolling Hell: Is the Satanic Temple a Prank, the Start of a New Religious Movement -- or Both? In the Village Voice, Anna Merlan writes about the Satanic Temple, a new group that is roundly despised by Christians and Satanists alike.

Victorian Strangeness: The bizarre tale of the ladies who limped The BBC's Magazine Monitor writes about the odd fashion trend of affecting a limp among young Victorian women after a trendsetter had a mishap.

She's Her Own Twin On ABC News, a 2006 article about not one, but two women in the spectacularly unusual situation of not sharing any DNA with their own biological children.

The Benefits of Blue Blood On PBS's Nature site, an article about the primitive and effective technique of using horseshoe crab blood as a test to determine the presence of bacteria in medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

Yes, Your Internet Is Getting Slower On Slate, David Auerbach writes about the disincentives the FCC is giving internet service providers to innovate or to spend money on upgrading infrastructure.

Personal Privacy Is Only One of the Costs of NSA Surveillance On Wired's Threat Level blog, Kim Zetter writes about the somewhat overlooked economic and political ramifications of the revelation that the NSA is eavesdropping on the world.

Samuel Beckett Used to Drive Andre The Giant to School, All They Talked About Was Cricket On The Mary Sue, James Pilfke writes about a little-known gem from the history of the French countryside.

Your 'Craft' Whiskey Is Probably From A Factory Distillery In Indiana On the Daily Beast, Eric Felten writes about the preposterous, legal practice of selling factory-mass-produced whiskey being marketed and sold (at very high prices) as "handmade" at craft distilleries.

Potemkin village On Wikipedia, an entry about the origin of the term describing a facade intended to fool observers that has evolved to include more than just villages.