The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

Stealing Mona Lisa In an excerpt printed in Vanity Fair in 2009, Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler write about the astounding 1911 theft of the Mona Lisa right off the wall of the Louvre Museum.

Cornel West: "He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency" In Salon, Thomas Frank has a conversation with Dr. Cornel West, who has a harsh appraisal of Obama and his administration at the end of his presidency.

The Evolution of Diet In National Geographic, Ann Gibbons writes about research into what humans evolved to eat and how, for both better and worse, our diets over the eons have affected our health.

How YouTube and Internet Journalism Destroyed Tom Cruise, Our Last Real Movie Star In LA Weekly, Amy Nicholson traces the series of events in 2005 that led to the Internet we know today, the decline of Tom Cruise's stardom and the dearth of good movies in theaters as of late.

The Man Who Saves You From Yourself In a 2013 article in Harper's, Nathaniel Rich profiles a professional cult de-programmer.

A Sordid But Instructive Interval At Soldier Of Fortune Magazine In a 1984 article in Playboy, Fred Reed writes about his time working at the controversial publication for mercenaries.

Loyalty Nearly Killed My Beehive In Nautilus, John Knight writes about his experience with bringing a honeybee colony back from the brink of disaster.

Nukes of Hazard In a 2013 article in the New Yorker, Louis Menand visits the highlights of the near-disasters the world has unwittingly lived through since the advent of the Nuclear Age.

How plagues really work On Aeon, Wendy Orent writes about how viruses transmit among hosts and what conditions can make a disease's rounds into a full-blown epidemic.

Oxford University Is Older Than The Aztecs On Smithsonian, Colin Schultz writes about historical perspective.

Can the World Really Set Aside Half of the World for Wildlife? On Smithsonian, Tony Hiss writes about an ambitious plan to prevent the sixth mass extinction.

Why the Ice Bucket Challenge is bad for you On Macleans, Scott Gilmore offers an alternative view of the vial fundraising phenomenon for ALS.

About Colonial Indoor Lighting On his blog Colonial American Digressions, David Webb Fowler writes about how early European colonists made do in America prior to the advent of gas or electric light.

U.S. Journal: Pinellas County, Florida Attractions In a classic 1971 New Yorker article with an incongruously boring title, Calvin Trillin writes about losing his grasp on the make-believe that makes Disney World magical.

200 Years of Surgery In a 2012 article in the New England Journal of Medicine, Atul Gawande writes about the long, brutal procession of surgical advancement since the early 19th century and how it was made exponentially easier with the advent of two inventions.

Homicidal Hypersexuality Due to Amygdala Temporal Lobe Dysfunction On Dr. Rhawn Joseph provides a tragic study about a boy who suffered brain damage after being thrown from a horse, ultimately leading to his murdering and sexually assaulting his mother.

The secret life of a food stamp On Marketplace's site, Krissy Clark writes about the secretive nature of determining what companies make profits in what amounts from the $76 billion dollars paid out annually for food stamps by taxpayer funds in the US.

The Craigslist Killers In GQ, Devin Friedman writes about the Craigslist Killers, a man and a teen, who murdered indigent men in Ohio to rob them.