The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

On any given week, Josh and Chuck read a lot of interesting articles. Read this post with links to the best articles they've read this week.

How Burning Man Works

You've probably heard about Burning Man, it's a week-long party in the middle of a desert made of 50 thousand people living pretty much without rules, pretty much without any exchange of money and often nude and on drugs. Get the background on this social experiment that began in 1986 and has grown in size and scope ever since.

Jackson Pollock: More than Just a Tool, a CIA Tool

The Independent ran a story about fifteen years ago that I missed entirely (thank you for finally enlightening me with a link, LOML) about loathed abstract impressionist painter Jackson Pollock being a propaganda tool of the CIA. I finally found the reason for Pollock's inexplicable popularity; he was a tool of the CIA in it Cold War battle to prove to the Soviets that the U.S. wasn't a cultural wasteland composed of yokels who couldn't appreciate art.

The Engrossing Mystery of Shoefiti

There's a part in the movie Big Fish where the protagonist, Edward Bloom, loses his shoes to a girl named Jenny Hill. Jenny doesn't want Edward to leave the subtly mythical town of Spectre and indoctrinates him as per the town custom: tying the laces of one's pair of shoes and throwing them over a telephone wire, to dangle out of reach. The logic, ethereal as it is, goes that without one's shoes, one can no longer travel and might as well settle down.

The t-shirt contest has been going on for so long, that it's come to feel like a recurring character on the podcast; like Jeri or the fight or flight response or my speech impediment. We first announced it several months ago, it went on hiatus and then was relaunched triumphantly (and within legal guidelines). And now, it's time to announce the five winners of the first-ever Stuff You Should Know T-Shirt Design Contest!

The Art of Moulages: How You Like Yer Death Mask? Extra Teeth?

/>Dismemberment! Thank you to Morbid Anatomy for pointing out a curiosity of which I hadn't previously been aware: moulages. (Boo-ya! How you like that for perfect grammar?) This is a medical art form; using theatrical makeup or wax to simulate trauma or the symptoms of maladies. Right up my alley.

Altoids Artists are "Tinnovative"

You gotta love humans. One of my favorite segments of the art world is those who take something and make it into something else. The practice goes by a lot of different names -- found art, reclaimed art, recycled art, etc. You get the picture. By any name, it's a medium that speaks to me for some reason.