The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

America hates women In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Ericka Schickel reviews a collection of feminist essays by Roxanne Gay.

Is 'shareholder value' bad for business? In the Boston Globe, Leon Neyfakh writes about the increasing push to replace the central focus of providing for shareholders at the cost of all other considerations with some other measure of success that takes into account a company's value to the community, the nation and the world instead.

Scotch Tape Unleashes X-Ray Power In a 2008 article in the New York Times (sent to us by listener @Chewbode), Kenneth Chang writes about the surprising discovery that when Scotch brand tape is unrolled (in a vacuum), it releases enough x-rays to make an x-ray image of a finger.

The most insane deaths seen by a NYC medical examiner In the New York Post, Maureen Callahan writes about the gruesome modes of death encountered by Judy Melinek in her two-year tour as an ME in NY.

Asteroid Timing Erased the Dinosaurs? In National Geographic, Dan Vergano writes about evidence that the dinosaurs were in a precarious ecological position after losing a number of keystone species due to climate change brought on by volcanism when the asteroid that finished them off came along.

A Statistical Analysis of Bob Ross On FiveThirtyEight, Walt Hickey dissects analysis he performed on the frequency of features that appear in PBS personality Bob Ross's paintings and uncovers a secret about the artist.

That Time They Found Those Bodies In Ben Franklin's Basement On Mental Floss, Matt Soniak writes about the discovery in the 1990s of the bodies of ten people buried in the cellar of a house that date back to the time when Ben Franklin lived there.

God Knows Where I Am In a 2011 article in the New Yorker, Rachel Aviv writes about insight, a mental health concept that is based on the idea that person who cannot accept they are mentally ill thereby prove their diagnosis, as evidenced sad case of Linda Bishop.

The Myth of Thomas Szasz In a fascinating 2006 article in The New Atlantis, Jeffrey Oliver writes about psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, who sought to totally undermine his own profession as fraudulent, misguided and based on a concept that he believed didn't actually exist: mental illness.

Fresh doubts over a Texas execution In the Washington Post, Maurice Possley writes about the case of Cameron Todd Willingham, who was executed for killing his three children in a fire and whose death may prove to be the first case of a "legally and factually innocent person" being killed by the state. Willingham's case can be read about in depth in the excellent New Yorker article, Trial By Fire.

The Bartender Who Started It All In a 2007 article in the New York Times, William Grimes writes about the father of American mixology, Jerry Thomas, who remains one of the world's greatest benefactors.

Why do we see faces in everyday objects? On the BBC, David Robson writes about pareidolia, the human tendency to recognize faces all around us, and its likely evolutionary basis.

Cyanide, Uranium, and Ammonium Nitrate: When Kids Really Had Fun With Science In a 2011 article in Collectors Weekly, Lisa Hix writes about the dangerous toys and science sets kids used to get to play with.

A Different Kind of Gas Shortage In The Weekly Standard, Kelly Jane Torrance writes about the increasing scarcity of helium, where it came from and how it could impact human progress.

Cocktail Science: 5 Myths About Ice, Debunked On Serious Eats, Kevin Liu provides some exhaustive research into ice, its formation and its effects on cocktails and liquor.

Is Dirt the New Prozac? In a 2007 article on Discover, Josie Glausiusz writes about the bizarre finding that common microbes found in dirt can improve mood by increasing serotonin production simply by inhaling it, as well as the beastly experiments used on mice to arrive at those findings.

Liquor of Legend: The Distillery Behind Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Blanton's -- and Pappy Van Winkle On Forbes Abram Brown writes about a recently revived Bourbon distiller in Kentucky, which has become among the most popular in the world.

A Picture of Your Leg Hair Can Give Away Your Identity In Mother Jones, Cat Ferguson writes about emerging techniques to identify individuals in crowds and eavesdrop on people through soundproof glass.

Let's Cool It in the Bedroom In the New York Times, Gretchen Reynolds writes about a recent study that found lowering the temperature in the bedroom can spur a healthier mode of metabolism.

Diary In the London Review of Books, Mike Kirby writes about his time spent in the Navy working with nuclear weapons and the effect it had on his views.

US bots flagged Ebola before outbreak announced The Associated Press writes about bots programmed to scan the internet in search of potential health crises, which were recently successful.

NSA Tried to Delete Court Transcript in Lawsuit Over Deleting Evidence On the Daily Caller, Giuseppe Macri writes about a request by the NSA to delete parts of the open court record in a case, a request which was refused.