The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

The Ways Food Tricks Our Brains In The Atlantic, Derek Thompson writes about the psychology behind poor food choices -- even when individuals are in the midst of making an attempt at healthy eating -- and how companies exploit it.

Introducing Sociology On his eponymous site, writer Tim Kreider includes an updated afterward for his lengthy and engrossing influential 1999 essay dissecting Stanley Kubrick's thoroughly misinterpreted (as is usual with Kubrick films) final film, Eyes Wide Shut.

The High Priestess of Fraudulent Finance On Smithsonian, Karen Abbot writes about Cassie Chadwick, a particularly brazen 19th-century con artist who managed to dupe people simply with business cards that announced she was an heiress.

New Quantum Theory Could Explain Flow of Time In Quanta Magazine, Natalie Wolchover provides a dense, albeit elementary-as-possible, explanation of a new quantum theory that explains why time flows in one direction, but doesn't guarantee it can't run backwards as well.

Jared Diamond: We Could Be Living in A New Stone Age by 2114 In a recap of an Inquiring Minds podcast episode, Indre Viscontas and Chris Mooney write about legendary ecologist Jared Diamond's compelling view that, are we not able to create a sustainable global economy in the next 35 years, we will most likely live in a new Stone Age in the next century.

The Myth of the War of the Worlds Panic On Slate, Jefferson Pooley and Michael Socolow write about a common misconception - that Orson Wells' radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds caused a mass panic across the U.S., a myth still perpetuated today.

Behind the Beanie Babies: The Secret Life of Ty Warner In Chicago Magazine, Bryan Smith writes about the reclusive billionaire toymaker behind Beanie Babies, who recently narrowly beat the rap for tax evasion.

Spark of life: Metabolism appears in lab without cells In New Scientist, Linda Geddes covers recent research that found metabolism could have arisen prior to the advent of DNA, possibly providing a solution to how life began on Earth.

Baby's Rare Brain Tumor Had Teeth On LiveScience, Rachel Rettner writes about a surgery to remove an infant's brain tumor where fully-formed teeth were found within.

Mel's Hole On (discovered via MetaFilter), perhaps Hank provides an unusually-formatted description of a bizarre saga involving bottomless pits and shady government agencies, which played out in interviews over several years on the syndicated radio show Coast to Coast AM.

The way we board airplanes makes absolutely no sense On Vox, Joseph Stromberg writes about scholarly research into the best processes for boarding airplanes in the quickest and most customer-friendly ways, superior processes which airlines willfully ignore.

Johns Hopkins study find Psilocybin dosage 'sweet spot' for positive and lasting effects On Gizmag, Paul Ridden writes about a study that found what is just the right amount of the psychoactive chemical in hallucinogenic mushrooms (what amounts to a therapeutic dose) by giving participants lots of the stuff.

Twitter Can Now Predict Crime and This Raises Serious Questions On Motherboard, Jordan Pearson writes about crime prediction using Twitter's geographic tagging.

A 1956 Plane Crash in the Grand Canyon Made Flying Safer for Americans On Gizmodo, Alissa Walker writes about the site of an air tragedy that was recently designated a national historic landmark by the Parks Service.

Ad nauseum On Aeon Magazine, Adam Corner spells out the dastardliness of modern advertising, which inverts consumers' own savvy cynicism in a bid to connect with them and sell them things.

Who Killed Anna Mae? In the New York Times Magazine, Eric Konigsberg carries out an exhaustive investigation into the murder of an American Indian Movement activist in 1976 and finds it was an inside job.

How feminism became a great way to sell stuff In The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi writes about the recent trend among advertisers of products for women to directly and overtly exploit the current wave of feminism in order to reach their target demographic.

Habitable Exoplanets are Bad News for Humanity On LiveScience, Andrew Snyder-Beattie provides a primer to the Great Filter and explains why finding life on other planets is a really bad sign, as far as humanity's chances of surviving catastrophe go.

1945: German Soldiers for Cowardice On Executed Today, the Headsman writes about (warning: with photos) the frenetic executions of deserting German soldiers by the increasingly desperate SS as Allied forces closed in on Berlin in the waning days of WWII.

The mind readers On Mosaic, Roger Highfield writes a lengthy piece about an international confederacy of neurological researchers who are developing ways of determining if patients in vegetative states are experiencing consciousness and of communicating with the ones they discover who are.

Terror Incognita: The Paradoxical History of Cosmic Horror, from Lovecraft to Ligotti In an essay in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Mike Mariani investigates what it means to know fear by connecting the dots between three giants in the field of weird horror fiction.