The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

The Empire of Edge In the New Yorker, Patrick Redden Keefe writes about the failed attempt to take down SAC, an investment firm that fostered an environment of insider trading.

A theory of conspiracies On LiveMint, the author Umberto Eco argues that conspiracy theories tend to distract us from the real threats that are otherwise plainly obvious.

Cerro Rico: Devil worship on the man-eating mountain On BBC News, Catharina Moh writes about the hard life of the miners inside a mountain in Bolivia that's been producing silver for 500 years.

Things Fall Apart: How Social Media Leads to A Less Stable World on knowledge@wharton, Curtis Hougland writes about how social media accelerates and galvanizes the Balkanization of the world's nations, allowing them to fracture into smaller states along cultural lines.

San Ysidro McDonald's Massacre The Wikipedia entry for the 1984 mass killing of 21 people at a San Diego-area McDonald's by a single deranged shooter.

The Willows A classic horror short story by Algernon Blackwood, published in 1907.

The Cat's Meow In Imbibe, Robert Simonson writes about the origin and comeback of Old Tom gin, a sweeter, lighter type of gin than its successor, the London dry gin that dominates today.

Serial Murder: Multi-Disciplinary Perspectives for Investigators From a 2005 symposium, the FBI assembled this best-practices manual for investigating serial murders.

The Chemists' War On Slate, Deborah Blum writes about an overlooked footnote to the Prohibition chapter of America's history, one that details the government adding deadly poison to the illegal supply of alcohol.

Count Magnus A classic horror short story about a 17th-century Swedish nobleman, published in 1904 by M.R. James.

The Cursed City of Chorazin On Word of God Today, Jim Gerrish writes about a real-life city in Israel that Jesus Christ curses in the Bible.

Gangsters, Pranksters, and the Invention of Trick-or-Treating, 1930-1960 In the American Journal of Play, Samira Kawash writes about the origin of Halloween trick-or-treating in the Western U.S. in the 1930s and the abrupt end to the original kid-directed tradition.

Thomas Eric Duncan The Wikipedia entry on the first patient to die of Ebola virus in the United States.

This Leap Is For Horses' Lives In the New York Times, Sam Borden writes about the jumps in the Steeplechase that frequently kill horses during races.