The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

English is Not Normal On Aeon, John McWhorter writes about the evolution of the English language, which helps explain some of the peculiar nuances of it that native speakers take for granted.

The Plan In a 2008 list in The New Yorker, Jack Handey maps out the perfect heist with lots of variables.

Phobia of Sickness Leads to Angelina Jolie Syndrome In EurekAlert! Julia Moronova writes about recent research that concludes healthism - the focus on a healthful lifestyle - can lead to undesirable outcomes like prophylactic surgery and eugenics.

How A Dead Millionaire Convinced Dozens of Women to Have as Many Babies as Possible In FiveThirtyEight, David Goldenberg writes about a Toronto businessman's unusual will and the deleterious effects it inadvertently created.

Anarchy in the USA In The Believer, Zander Sherman writes about the godfather of American primitive anarchism, John Zerzan, who finds contradiction in terms increasingly necessary as he ages.

Brompton Cemetery: The Sealed Mausoleum Believed to Be a Fully-Functioning Time Machine In The Independent, Richard Jinman writes about the push to fund the making of a key that will open a mausoleum that at least one man believes is a time machine built by Victorian knowledge of ancient Egyptian techniques.

Irma Grese In Capital Punishment UK, Richard Clark writes about a teenager who rose to second in command of women prisoners of a Nazi concentration camp and who was hanged for crimes against humanity.

Grateful Doe On Snopes, Kim LaCapria writes about the case of an unidentified young man who died in a car accident in 1995 and whose identity was recently uncovered thanks to internet sleuth groups.

Travis the Menace In a 2011 article in New York Magazine, Dan P Lee writes about the life of a chimpanzee raised as a human who famously went berserk and removed a woman's face.

Considering the Four Happiness Myths On, Katie M Wachs writes about some widespread misunderstandings about what it takes to be happy.

Melting the Myths of Visual Snow On Psychology Today, Mark Borigini writes about an unusual neurological disorder where a person sees static akin to television static in their daily visual field.

Hundreds of Medical Studies Are Worthless and the Reason Is Pretty Embarrassing On Quartz, Akshat Rathi writes about an increasing problem with biological studies that are using contaminated cell lines.

What the F***? In a 2007 article in The New Republic, Steven Pinker writes about the psychology of what makes expletives and offensive epithets taboo.

The Undertaker's Racket In a 1963 article in The Atlantic, Jessica Mitford writes about her investigation into the underhandedness of the mortuary industry and its exploitation of its customers.