The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Josh Clark

How A Basket On Wheels Revolutionized Grocery Shopping On Priceonomics, Zachary Crockett writes about the origin of the grocery cart and the vast effects it has had on consumerism.

The Feejee Mermaid The Museum of Hoaxes entry for a bit of 19th-century rogue taxidermy that became an international sensation in the hands of P.T. Barnum

Schlitzie the Pinhead on The Human Marvels, J Tithonius Pednaud writes about Simon Metz (most likely), a man born with microcephaly, who became famous as a sideshow performer widely renowned as a "ray of sunshine".

My Favorite Hitchcock: The Lady Vanishes In The Guardian, Phillip French writes about Alfred Hitchcock's 1938 comedy mystery melodrama set aboard a train as it travels through the Balkans.

The Real Story of Germanwings Flight 9525 In GQ, Joshua Hammer writes about the 2015 plane crashed that killed 150 people including the pilot that purposely guided it into the side of the Alps.

Renewed Crypto-Wars? On the Congressional Research Service site, Kristen Finklea writes briefly about the history of the government seeking to block tech companies from using encryption software, which frames the current Apple/FBI debate.

Who's Watching the Children?: The Beaumont Case Revisited In a 1997 article on her website, Beth Spencer writes about three children who were abducted in 1966 and never found and how it fits into Australia's culture among both kids and adults.

Consciousness Creep On Aeon, George Musser writes about the possibility of some of the myriad artificial intelligences humans are now creating growing conscious, perhaps without our noticing.

Follow the Dark Money In a 2012 article in Mother Jones, Andy Kroll writes about the rise of anonymous and unrestricted campaign donations.

Should Chimpanzees Have Legal Rights? In a 2013 article in The Boston Globe, Chris Berdik writes about the advent of a case seeking legal personhood for chimpanzees, which was struck down last year.

The Meaning and Origin of the Expression: Slush Fund On the Phrase Finder, the unappetizing etymology of the term that describes a fund used for bribes and other untoward activity.

Analysis of a Toxic Death In a 1995 article in Discover Magazine, Richard Stone writes about the investigation into why the dying body of a woman named Gloria Ramirez violently sickened the ER team trying to save her.

How Did President Zachary Taylor Actually Die? In Priceonomics, Zachary Crockett writes about the exhumation of the 19th-century president to determine if he had been assassinated through poisoning.