The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

The Itch Nobody Can Scratch In Matter, Will Storr provides a book excerpt detailing his investigation into the controversial Morgellons disease, a maddening condition that may or may not exist.

Hell on Earth On Aeon, Ross Andersen has a discussion with three philosophers about the moral implications of criminal punishment when lifespans are extended into centuries and drugs that can slow time are introduced.

Researchers crowd-source funds to back Ouija board science project In the Globe and Mail, Zoe Tennant covers a pair of Canadian psychologists investigating the science behind the Ouija board.

The Curse of the Bankers: The Mystery of Eight Suicides On Brazil Weird News, Lygia Cabus provides a brief account of a recent series of suicides that are probably unrelated, but in a charming and sinister translation from Portuguese.

A Call for Help In The New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann writes about the origin of the article covering the attack and murder of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964 and how it framed the public outrage over her death.

They Came in Through the Bathroom Mirror In the Chicago Reader Steve Bigoira provides us a 1987-era view of murder, mental illness, poverty and race with his account of the death of a woman in Chicago's projects.

The rich strike back In Politico, Ben White and Maggie Haberman write about how the ultrarich are publicly dealing with the populist drum beat that both the Left and the Tea Party have been beating against them.

Where Nature Hides the Darkest Mystery of All On Nautilus, Matthew Francis writes about a new understanding of black holes and how they may be detected, thanks in part to recent work by Stephen Hawking.

Sinners in the Hands In Texas Monthly, Sonia Smith writes about a turf war between one Christian group and another Christian group in a small Texas town.

Phineas Gage's Connectome On The Guardian, Mo Costandi writes about recent research into just what parts of Phineas Gage's brain was destroyed and what effects it would have had on his personality using the new science of connectomes.

Lincoln's doctor's dog On The Canine in Conversation, Alec MacLeod writes a glossary entry on the showbiz idea that if three things are popular, those three things combined should be even more popular.

The GOP Lawmaker Principle: Why You See So Many Articles About Random Right-Wing Politicians On Slate, Dave Weigel calls out the Left-leaning media for ire-generation.

Gerald Bull's Downfall On Damn Interesting, Anthony Kendall writes a brief overview of the life of the shady ballistics maverick Gerald Bull.

Project HARP Space Gun Contributors on Atlas Obscura give a small tour of one of Gerald Bull's giant guns rusting away in Barbados.

Black holes As Energy Sources On Research.gov, Harvard University team posts a brief description of its simulation on the energy produced by a black hole and how that may or may not be harnessed for useful energy.

A Stillborn Child, a Charge of Murder and the Disputed Case Law on "Fetal Harm" On ProPublica, Nina Martin writes about the growing cases of murder and manslaughter charges being leveled against mothers who use drugs, the unproven science such cases are based on and why they disproportionately affect the poor.

The International Date Line, Explained On LiveScience, Dan Heim does just as the title suggests and explains the human creation of the International Date Line and how and when it jibes with the progress of time.

When to Act on a Correlation, and When Not To On the Harvard Business Review blog, David Ritter hashes out why business's new lust for all things data and its confidence in correlation should not lead to a total abandonment of the search for causation.

The Death of an Employer Scam On The American Prospect, Harold Meyerson writes about the increasing crackdown on businesses and industries that misclassify their employees as non-employees, like independent contractors, to save money stiffing them on benefits.

Napping Can Dramatically Increase Learning, Memory, Awareness and More On Natural Society, Elizabeth Renter provides a brief overview of the findings on napping's benefits.