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The Best Stuff We've Read This Week

Neat articles on the plastic pink flamingo, true crime, Nudge politics and more.

Genes: Why I Drink Coffee Until I Can't Breathe

I have just figured out what the lump on the inside of my right forearm is. It's my oversized CYP1A2 gene, the one responsible for caffeine metabolism cravings. WebMD recently ran an article (thanks for the link, LOML) on how researchers are finding that genes likely play a role in a desire for more caffeine in some people than in others. Really, the concept could change our understanding of addiction, or cravings at least.

In this Halloween episode, Josh and Chuck go way back to late 19th century London to examine the grisly details of the Jack the Ripper murders. They also discuss Ripperology, Jack the Ripper suspects and theories, and the legacy of the murders.

This news story from the BBC last week tells us about a new anti-terror ad campaign being waged in England. Posters in Manchester and London urge citizens to be suspicious and report anything they think might be untoward. One such poster has a photo of some chemicals containers in a trash bin, with these words across the bottom - "These chemicals won't be used in a bomb because a neighbour (sic) reported the dumped containers to the Anti-Terrorism Hotline." Another shows a street scene and reads "A bomb won't go off because weeks before, a shopper reported someone for studying the CCTV cameras. Don't rely on others: if you suspect it, report it." You get the idea. This is a bit of a mixed bag. While it's necessary for citizens to be vigilant, this seems slightly skewed toward fear-based tactics and could lead to a certain level of paranoia and hysteria...