The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

The First-Person Industrial Complex On Slate, Laura Bennett writes about the spread of the harrowing first-person essay.

A Mysterious Law that Predicts the Size of the World's Biggest Cities On i09, Annalee Newitz writes about Zipf's law, a mysterious and not understood law that governs social dynamics.

How Much of Your Audience is Fake? On Bloomberg Business, Ben Elgin, et al. write about the widespread method of making money on the internet by directing bots to advertisements.

A Short History of Evil Ventriloquism On Travalanche, Trav S.D. covers some of the high points of scary dummies in movies.

'I Cannot Be that Person': Why the 'Queen of the Mommy Bloggers' Had to Quit In The Guardian, Michelle Dean writes about why Heather Armstrong abandoned her blog because of sponsored content.

Proving It: The American Provers' Union Documents Certain Ill Effects On the Public Domain Review, Alicia Puglionesi writes about the early American homeopaths who self-experimented with the drugs they prescribed before recommending them to their patients.

Anatomy of an Advertising Fail: Burger King's 'Where's Herb?' Campaign On Go Retro, Pam writes about Burger King's sincerely unappreciated response to Wendy's beloved 'Where's the Beef?' campaign.

Against Happiness In the Los Angeles Review of Books, Russell Williams writes about what draws people to feel-bad movies.

Choo Choo Crash Bang! The Golden Age of Juvenile Trainwrecking On i09's True Crime site, John Marr writes about a horrifying trend among some mid-century American youth.

Ian Brady Biography's post on the Scottish serial killer who, along with his girlfriend, lured children to the Northern England moors to murder them.

The 1931 Slaying of a Liverpool Housewife Remains to this Day the Perfect Murder In The Telegraph, a 2001 article about an extremely curious murder that remains to this day unsolved and will likely remain that way.

An Abandoned Lifeboat at World's End On Blast from the Past, Mike Dash writes about the surprising and peculiar discovery in 1964 of a lifeboat stranded on what is the most remote uninhabited island in the world.

It's Not Easy Writing About Nothing In The Guardian, Patti Smith writes about an odd trip she took to Europe to speak before 27 of her peers.