Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds | Elizabeth Kolbert | New Yorker | 27 February 2017
New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.
yesterday
The Deliciously Fishy Case of the "Codfather" | Ben Goldfarb | Mother Jones | 13 March 2017
New England’s seafood industry is in deep trouble—thanks in no small part to one mogul’s seriously shady business
yesterday
The Fake Freedom of American Health Care | Anu Partanenmarch | NYT | 18 March 2017
What passes for an American health care system today certainly has not made me feel freer. Having to arrange so many aspects of care myself, while also having to navigate the ever-changing maze of plans, prices and the scarcity of appointments available with good doctors in my network, has thrown me, along with huge numbers of Americans, into a state of constant stress. And I haven’t even been seriously sick or injured yet.
9 days ago
Why So Many Young Doctors Work Such Awful Hours | Ryan Park | The Atlantic | 21 February 2017
Neither truck drivers nor bankers would put up with a system like the one that influences medical residents’ schedules.
4 weeks ago
Why Nothing Works Any More | Ian Bogost | The Atlantic | 23 February 2017
“Toilets flush three times instead of one. Faucets open at full-blast. Towel dispensers mete out papers so miserly that people take more than they need. Instead of saving resources, these apparatuses mostly save labor and management costs. To flush a toilet or open a faucet by hand offers almost wanton pleasure given how rare it has become. The common response to precarious technology is to add even more technology to solve the problems caused by earlier technology”
from instapaper
4 weeks ago
The Heroism of Incremental Care | Atul Gawande | New Yorker | 16 January 2017
We devote vast resources to intensive, one-off procedures, while starving the kind of steady, intimate care that often helps people more.
4 weeks ago
Queens Of The Stoned Age | Suketu Mehta | GQ | 14 February 2017
New York pot dealer “Honey” tells all, hoping to boost the value of her business ahead of legalisation. Eight years without a single police bust, 150 calls a day, every one a felony. Her secret? She is an ex-model, and she uses models for delivery. “Good-looking girls don’t get searched”. She says that in a good month she takes home about $150,000. “She spends $15,000 on herself. The rest goes into the bank, she says, but of course it doesn’t. It goes into a pile of cash somewhere”
5 weeks ago
Intellectual Integrity In The Age Of Donald Trump | Bret Stephens | Time | 18 February 2017
Bret Stephens gives the Daniel Pearl Memorial Lecture at UCLA: “We crossed a rubicon in the Clinton years, when three things happened: we decided that some types of presidential lies didn’t matter; we concluded that “character” was over-rated when judging a president; we allowed the lines between political culture and celebrity culture to become hopelessly blurred. But whatever one might say about President Clinton, what we have now is the crack-cocaine version of that”
5 weeks ago
The Coffee Shaman | Sam Dean | Lucky Peach | 16 February 2017
George Howell “pushed light roasts and sourced single-origin beans” while the rest of us were still drinking Nescafé. He invented the Frappucino, sold out to Starbucks, then spent 20 years working with coffee-growers as a UN consultant. Now he claims to have a new method for spotting the best beans — and it seems to work: “The third cup tastes unbelievable, so good that each hit from the cupping spoon exerts a magnetic effect on my tongue as powerful as the crumbs at the bottom of a bag of Doritos”
5 weeks ago
General Chaos | Nicholas Schmidle | New Yorker | 18 November 2017
What the removal of Flynn as the national-security adviser reveals about Donald Trump’s White House.
5 weeks ago
Fat In Every Language | Jonatha Kottler | New York | 08 February 2017
On being fat in America, the Netherlands, and Scotland. The Netherlands is worst: “Every sidewalk, tram car, and restaurant chair made it clear that in the land of the very tall and very slim I was taking up more than my share of space. Struggling and homesick, I was living proof of the worst American stereotypes. I wasn’t just an overweight woman who was singled out as fat in her own country, but the manifestation of the fat, lazy, loud, insincere, stupid Americans that they always knew existed”
from instapaper
5 weeks ago
What We’re Fighting For | Phil Klay | NYT | 10 February 2017
"If we choose to believe in a morally diminished America, an America that pursues its narrow selfish interests and no more, we can take that course and see how far it gets us. But if we choose to believe that America is not just a set of borders, but a set of principles, we need to act accordingly. That is the only way we ensure that our founding document, and the principles embedded within, are alive enough, and honorable enough, to be worth fighting for."
6 weeks ago
Republicans in Idaho tried to design a better plan than Obamacare — and failed | Robert Samuels | Washington Post | 09 February 2017
Idaho serves as an example of what could happen in states across the country if Congress, with the support of President Trump, repeals the Affordable Care Act. Many of the proposals to replace the federal law call for states to come up with their own health-care solutions, to be “laboratories for innovation.”

In 2012, Otter set up a 15-person working group to figure out whether the state should do more. The task force’s conclusion was unanimous: expand Medicaid.
6 weeks ago
I Accidentally Bought A Giant Pig | Steve Jenkins | The Guardian | 10 February 2017
In which the writer agrees to give house room to a “mini-pig” which he is told will grow to the size of “a large cat”. Events prove otherwise. ” By her first birthday she had blown past 250lb; she was on track to be at least 500lb. She’s unlike any animal I’ve met. Her intelligence is unbelievable. She’s house trained and even opens the back door with her snout to let herself out to pee. Her favourite treat is a cupcake. She’s bathed regularly and pigs don’t sweat, so she doesn’t smell”
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
Bias In The ER | Michael Lewis | Nautilus | 09 February 2017
Profile of “medical detective” Don Redelmeier, a disciple of Amos Tversky, who strives to identify and prevent common errors of judgment among doctors. Doctors have cognitive biases just like everybody else, but they are peculiarly reluctant to acknowledge as much because so much certainty is expected of them, and because the cost of an error in medicine can be so high. “Most physicians try to maintain this facade of being rational and scientific and logical and it’s a great lie”
from instapaper
6 weeks ago
How Systems Engineering Can Help Fix Health Care | Peter Pronovost, Alan Ravitz, & Conrad Grant | Harvard Business Review | 09 February 2017
When an aircraft manufacturer decides to create a new model, it doesn’t ask pilots and crew to identify the best cabin, wings, jet engines, and other parts, and then put all the pieces together. By contrast, the way we build hospitals and clinics typically happens in a piecemeal, patchwork approach. Institutions purchase hundreds of individual, siloed technologies — each with its own work processes, training, and user interfaces — based on what the market offers. We then plop them into an ICU or operating room and hope that they somehow work together.
6 weeks ago
How to Build an Autocracy | David Frum | The Atlantic | 30 January 2017
The preconditions are present in the U.S. today. Here’s the playbook Donald Trump could use to set the country down a path toward illiberalism.
8 weeks ago
Sick But Not Sick | Jerome Groopman | NYRB | 30 January 2017
Physicians typically spend about one-quarter of their time dealing with patients whose symptoms “appear to have no physical basis”. But is an illness in the mind any less of an illness? “Every week I tell somebody that their disability has a psychological cause. When they ask me how I have come to that conclusion, all I can provide is a list of test results. When a person is paralyzed or blind, it is not difficult to see why they find that a very unsatisfactory explanation”
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
It Could Happen To You | Adam Kotsko | An Und Für Sich | 26 January 2017
Thought experiment about torture. “And then it hit me: this was what he was after! This was what the whole setup was for. He had kidnapped my baby — which again, I totally have and am just desperate to get back and unbomb — and then let himself fall into my clutches specifically to tempt me into contradicting my stated opposition to torture. That was literally the only reason that anyone would do anything remotely this convoluted. I had to hand it to the terroristic bastard: he had really put me in a spot. It was funny, if you thought about it”
from instapaper
8 weeks ago
The Political Uses Of Lying | Tyler Cowen | Bloomberg View | 24 January 2017
Why lie, when people are sure to know or discover that you are lying? Partly because lying is a show of power, a declaration that you don’t have to take into account what others think. And requiring your subordinates to lie on your behalf is a test of their loyalty — if they balk, they aren’t fully with you. This is not usual behaviour in American presidential politics, but President Trump may “simply be replicating tactics that he found useful in his earlier business and media careers”
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Life-And-Death Experiments | Julian Baggini | Aeon | 17 January 2017
We may worry about the psychological effects of playing violent video games — but perhaps moral philosophy is just as corrosive. “A worryingly large proportion of ethical thought experiments involve fantasies of homicide, requiring you to decide who gets tortured or killed. Is it justifiable to hang an innocent man to calm a mob who would otherwise run riot and kill many more? Should a doctor let a patient die, knowing that the patient’s organs can save five other people?”
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
Peter’s Choice | Rick Perlstein | Mother Jones | 23 January 2017
A liberal historian teaching in Oklahoma presses Peter, “one of the brightest students in the class”, to explain why he supports for Donald Trump. Peter replies with an essay called Plight of the Redneck: “Imagine being one of those rednecks under the poverty line, living in a camper trailer on your grandpa’s land, eating about one full meal a day, yet being accused by Black Lives Matter that you are benefiting from white privilege and your life is somehow much better than theirs”
from instapaper
9 weeks ago
The Traffic Ticket Trial Of The Century | Adam MacLeod | Public Discourse | 13 January 2017
“The traffic-camera ticket: Like a parking ticket, it looks lawful enough. Most people simply write the check. But this is not a parking ticket. In legal terms, it is not a proceeding in rem against your car. It is a legal action against you personally. And before you pay the fine, you might want to hear my story. My story is not legal advice. I offer it only to show how our ruling elites have corrupted the rule of law and to suggest why this matters for the American experiment in self-governance”
from instapaper
10 weeks ago
Saint Of Saint Bernards | Elena Passarello | Paris Review | 10 January 2017
In affectionate memory of Barry, the greatest Saint Bernard, who saved at least 40 lives in the Pennine Alps between 1800 to 1812, probably including some of Napoleon’s soldiers. He was “close to the size of an Airedale”, much smaller than today’s picture-postcard Saint Bernards, which date from the 1820s, when the monks of the Saint Bernard hospice brought in Newfoundlands for cross-breeding. The big new dogs proved too clumsy for rescue work — but ideal as pets and film stars
from instapaper
11 weeks ago
The Fighter | C. J. Chivers | NYT | 28 December 2016
The Marine Corps taught Sam Siatta how to shoot. The war in Afghanistan
taught him how to kill. Nobody taught him how to come home.
12 weeks ago
All About Avocados | Joanna Sciarrino | Lucky Peach | 22 December 2016
The avocado is a fruit, specifically a single-seeded berry; and — at 82% fat — probably the fattiest fruit in the world. It matures on the tree but ripens only when picked. It can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks for an avocado to ripen naturally at room temperature. A ripe avocado will keep in the refrigerator for seven to ten days. Americans eat four billion avocados a year. There are more than a thousand varieties of avocado, but the Hass, first grown in 1926, accounts for 95% of the US market
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
Annual Kitchen Gift Guide | Megan McArdle | Bloomberg View | 21 December 2016
An institution. A joy for ever. Coolest gadget for advanced cooks: The PolyScience induction burner, $1,800. “This thing is amazing. It is, to be sure, a specialty product. But it’s a great specialty product. Basically, it’s an induction burner that also has a temperature probe to regulate the temperature. I’ve used it as a deep fryer, to make candy, to do sous vide and slow cooking, and, of course, just to cook regular things. Spectacular success with all of them. It is both precise and powerful”
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
The Economist Bids Farewell | The Economist | Medium | 22 December 2016
A look back at fifty years of life and work in The Economist building on St James’s Street in London — which the paper will vacate this year in favour of slightly more affordable space off the Strand. The tower block, a distinctive product of Britain’s brief infatuation with brutalism, was much more of a pleasure to work in than to look upon — even though, in this case, the brutalism was tempered; the architects were persuaded to use Portland stone rather than bare concrete for the cladding
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
A Bigger Problem Than ISIS? | Dexter Filkins | New Yorker | 28 December 2016
The Mosul Dam is failing. A breach would cause a colossal wave that could kill as many as a million and a half people.
from instapaper
12 weeks ago
Superintelligence | Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 23 December 2016
Claims that artificial intelligence will conquer and perhaps destroy humankind are tech-industry propaganda. “I live in California, which has the highest poverty rate in the United States, even though it’s home to Silicon Valley. I see my rich industry doing nothing to improve the lives of indigent people around us. But if you’re committed to the idea of superintelligence, AI research is the most important thing you could do on the planet right now. It’s more important than politics, malaria, starving children, war, global warming”
from instapaper
december 2016
Live Animal Export: Escapees | Lynn Simpson | Splash 24/7 | 22 November 2016
Harrowing notes from the diary of a sea-going vet. “The night before we had had a 500kg escapee bull. He had broken out of one of the ratty Libyan trucks. Libyan trucks appear to be held together by prayers only. He jumped the breakwater and headed north across the Mediterranean Sea towards Italy. I was proud of his boldness until he became the hit and run victim of a 36,000-ton container ship. As a cattle vet I needed nothing short of a magic wand to help him. Alas, down he went”
december 2016
In Search Of The World’s Hardest Language | The Economist | Medium | 01 December 2016
And the winner is: Tuyuca, spoken in the eastern Amazon, which divides nouns into 140 classes. The noun-class used for “bark that does not cling closely to a tree” is also used for baggy trousers and for wet plywood in the process of coming apart. Tuyuca requires “evidential” verb-endings to signal the source of a speaker’s knowledge: diga ape-wi means that “the boy played soccer (I know because I saw him)”, while diga ape-hiyi means “the boy played soccer (I assume)”
from instapaper
december 2016
How To Be Your Own Investment Manager | John Kay | John Kay | 02 December 2016
If you invest £1,000 for 40 years at a 5% return you end up with £7,000. But if you pay a professional 2% to manage your money you end up with just £3,250. So do it yourself. “The least risky method of improving investment returns is to pay less to the financial services industry.” Buy things that you understand, and hold on to them. It’s that simple. “Modern financial markets are complex, but much of the complexity is for the benefit of providers rather than consumers of financial services”
december 2016
52 Things I Learned In 2016 | Tom Whitwell | Fluxx | 01 December 2016
Every one a gem. “Call Me Baby is a call centre for cybercriminals who need a human voice as part of a scam. They charge $10 for each call in English, and $12 for calls in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Polish.” “A Californian company called Skinny Mirror sells mirrors that make you look thinner. When installed in the changing rooms of clothes shops, they can increase sales by 18%.” “Twitter has enough money in the bank to run for 412 years at current losses”
december 2016
The Devil’s Hair Dryers | David Dudley | City Lab | 03 November 2016
Running a leaf blower for 30 minutes creates more emissions than driving a pickup truck for 3800 miles. The noise of a leaf blower exceeds 100 decibels and carries hundreds of feet in every direction. “The tragedy of the leaf blower is that it makes assholes of us all, users and neighbors alike”. The suburban garden is conceived as peaceful refuge, “predicated on the assumption that other people are fundamentally irritants. And when we move there, we discover just how true that can be”
from instapaper
november 2016
Magnus Carlsen Makes Chess Cool | David Cox | Vice Sports | 22 November 2016
Profile of Magnus Carlsen, defending his world chess title in New York this week. His edge is stamina. He wears rivals down. “His practical strengths are at a completely new level. He has vast patience. Some people want to win immediately but he has no problem winning after six hours. There will be positions where most players will agree to a draw, but he’ll see some small things and keep playing for another three hours, applying moderate pressure with simple but exact moves. People crack”
from instapaper
november 2016
Learning From Elevators | Paul Dawson | Fluxx | 22 November 2016
Malfunctioning lifts don’t fall. At worst, they rocket upwards and crash into the roof. “The most terrifying potential lift incident is the dreaded free-fall to the bottom of the shaft if a cable snapped. Talk to anyone in the elevator industry though, and they will tell you that the last instance of this was in 1945 when an errant B-25 bomber pilot turned the wrong way and ran in to the Empire State Building — severing all of the cables on two separate elevators in the process”
from instapaper
november 2016
Can Hypothermia Save Gunshot Victims? | Nicola Twilley | New Yorker | 21 November 2016
Many trauma patients die of blood loss before treatable injuries can be fixed. A new procedure freezes trauma patients who are bleeding out in order to buy time to operate.
from instapaper
november 2016
Jack London, A Century On | Michael Caines | Times Literary Supplement | 22 November 2016
London, “a second-rate writer of genius”, died one hundred years ago at the age of forty — and he was lucky to get that far. “During his short life he smoked sixty Russian Imperiale cigarettes a day. He drank so much that his kidneys began to fail before he reached thirty-five. He ate for dinner, when he could get them, two whole and barely cooked ducks. He was also addicted to morphine. By the end, he had become the absolute inversion of the image that made him and his fictional characters famous”
from instapaper
november 2016
Inside A Moneymaking Machine | Katherine Burton | Bloomberg Businessweek | 21 November 2016
A computer-driven hedge fund limited to 300 investors has produced has produced $55 billion in profits over the last 28 years. The Renaissance Technologies Medallion Fund is “perhaps the world’s greatest moneymaking machine”, producing annualized returns of almost 80 percent a year before fees. “In addition to language specialists, astrophysicists have historically had an outsize impact on the system’s success, according to people familiar with the firm. String theorists have also had a major role”
from instapaper
november 2016
How To Annoy People In The Most Effective Ways | Ella Morton | Atlas Obscura | 15 November 2016
An alarm designer explains how to give warning signals the appropriate degree of urgency: “The faster an alarm goes, the more urgent it tends to sound. And in terms of pitch, alarms start high. Most adults can hear sounds between 20 Hz and 20,000 Hz. Baldwin uses 1,000 Hz as a base frequency, which is at the bottom of the range of human speech. Harmonics are also important. To be perceived as urgent, an alarm needs to have two or more notes rather than being a pure tone”
from instapaper
november 2016
The Most Effective Modern Weapon Is Concrete | John Spencer | Modern War Institute | 14 November 2016
Concrete is the most effective defensive weapon in modern warfare. It shuts out threats that cannot be shut down. “Many soldiers deployed to Iraq became experts in concrete during their combat tours. Concrete is as symbolic to their deployments as the weapons they carried. No other weapon or technology has done more to contribute to achieving strategic goals of providing security, protecting populations, establishing stability, and eliminating terrorist threats”
from instapaper
november 2016
Big Money, Big Questions | Daniela Wei & Matthew Campbell | Bloomberg Businessweek | 13 November 2016
“On a tiny island in the western Pacific, between a one-story laundromat and a cell-phone shop, you’ll find what may be the most successful casino of all time. Nothing about the facility, which opened last year on the US island of Saipan, hints at the money flowing through it — table for table, far more than at the biggest casinos in Macau, the world’s number-one gambling capital”. But no cause for concern. An ex-Trump gambling boss is in charge, advised by former directors of the CIA and the FBI
from instapaper
november 2016
The Deadly Business Of War-Zone Medical Care | Katrin Kuntz | Der Spiegel | 22 September 2016
At work with Médicins Sans Frontières in two of their most dangerous deployments, the Central African Republic and the Jordanian border with Syria. “Since the war in Syria began five years ago, the regime and its allies have murdered 698 Syrian doctors and nurses. Some 63 hospitals supported by MSF were bombed in 2015 and a further 16 have been attacked by August of this year. When officials planned to rebuild a hospital in southern Syria, the local residents protested — out of fear”
from instapaper
november 2016
Autocracy: Rules for Survival | Masha Gessen | NYRB | 10 November 2016
Russian emigree Masha Gessen offers sobering pointers on how to survive under—and stand in uncompromising resistance to—the rule of a totalitarian autocrat.
from instapaper
november 2016
How We Got It So Wrong | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone | 10 November 2016
A mea culpa on behalf of the American press. “We journalists made the same mistake the Republicans made, the same mistake the Democrats made. We were too sure of our own influence, too lazy to bother hearing things first-hand, too much in love with ourselves to imagine that so many people could hate and distrust us as much as they apparently do.Just like the politicians, our job was to listen, and we talked instead. Now America will do its own talking for a while”
from instapaper
november 2016
It's Just a Job | Louis M. Profeta | news.com.au | 01 November 2016
No matter how we like to hold up ourselves as the pillars of compassion, the keepers of the public wellbeing, we are just one profession out of countless others that keep our world moving.
november 2016
The Pyramid And The Garden | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 05 November 2016
The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second. The coordinates of the Great Pyramid — you can check this on Google Maps — are 29.9792458° N, 31.1342880° E. So the Great Pyramid is “telling” us the speed of light. Is this a message from an ancient or alien civilisation? Probably not, and it’s not necessarily even that much of a coincidence. The reasoning here is a brief parable in probability, with wider implications for science. An event can be striking without being significant
from instapaper
november 2016
The Gone Girl With The Dragon Tattoo On The Train | Emily St John Mandel | Five Thirty Eight | 27 October 2016
Analysis of 800 popular recent novels with “girl” in the title. In two-thirds of the books the titular “girl” is in fact a woman. Four-fifths of the “girl” books are written by women; but the “girl” is three times as likely to get killed or to disappear in the course of the story if the author is a man. After Girl With Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and Girl On A Train, sales of “girl” books are still rising — so expect more. “There are five different galleys on the shelf with ‘girl’ in the title pubbing this fall”
from instapaper
october 2016
Crash: Computer-Assisted Disaster | Tim Harford | The Guardian | 11 October 2016
A computer that is a hundred times more accurate than a human, and a million times faster, will make 10,000 times as many mistakes. “This is not to say that we should call for death to the databases and algorithms. There is at least some legitimate role for computerised attempts to investigate criminal suspects, and keep traffic flowing. But the database and the algorithm, like the autopilot, should be there to support human decision-making. If we rely on computers completely, disaster awaits”
from instapaper
october 2016
Essentially Witchcraft | Megan Thielking | Stat | 20 October 2016
A former naturopath takes on the field. For the past two years, Hermes has been waging a scathing fight against naturopathy on social media, in science blogs, and on her own website, Naturopathic Diaries, which just won a “best blog of the year” award from a scientific skepticism magazine in the United Kingdom. She has not pulled punches.
october 2016
Congratulations! You Essay Has Been Accepted! | Aaron Guest | McSweeney's | 23 October 2016
Satire. But only just. “Dear Mr. Guest: Thank you for your recent submission, “What I Talk About When I Talk About Paying Off My Student Loan Debt,” to Navient’s Loan Repayment Success Story Quarterly. We read it with great interest! We are excited to present it to our student loan borrowers! We know it will encourage the many thousands of borrowers to give us the money they owe in a more timely manner! As you know, repaying your Student Loan Debt is an achievement worth sharing!”
from instapaper
october 2016
The Evolutionary Economics Of Ikea | Oliver Roeder | Five Thirty Eight | 21 October 2016
IKEA consumes 1% of the world’s timber, and may well have achieved the scale needed to deter all competitors, since it has none. Compare IKEA catalogues over the years, and you see evolution at work. This is “survival of the fittest” for furniture. Products survive from decade to decade only if they achieve the scale needed for their cost of manufacture to fall sharply. Thus the Poäng chair sold for the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $300 in the early 1990s; now it costs $79
from instapaper
october 2016
Fuller House: High-End Poker Cheating | Elie Bursztein | Elie | 21 October 2016
Senior Google cyber-security expert pursues a Chinese-made platform for cheating at poker using marked cards and repurposed iPhones. “I decided to follow the trail of this fabled device to see if people were indeed cheating at poker using devices that would fit naturally into a James Bond movie. Without spoiling too much of the rest of this post, let’s just say that the high-end cheating device that I was able to get my hands on far exceeded my expectations and it really is an outstanding piece of technology.
from instapaper
october 2016
The Fury And Failure Of Donald Trump | Matt Taibbi | Rolling Stone | 14 October 2016
Enjoyable if belated philippic against Donald Trump. “Trump’s early rampage through the Republican field made literary sense. It was classic farce. He was the lewd, unwelcome guest who horrified priggish, decent society, a theme that has mesmerized audiences for centuries. When you let a drunken slob loose at an aristocrats’ ball, the satirical power of the story comes from the aristocrats deserving what comes next”
from instapaper
october 2016
Findings | Rafil Kroll-Zaidi | Harper's | 14 October 2016
News from the world of science. “A shortage of fish urine will harm coral reefs. Scientists described a new crab genus in a Chinese pet market and a sleeping beauty rain frog in a Peruvian rainforest. Giraffes are four species. The first confirmed puppy twins were born. A herd of 323 reindeer were killed by lightning. A queenless colony of ants were found living in a Soviet nuclear bunker, perpetually starving to death and being replenished by new ants who fall from the surface”
from instapaper
october 2016
Lessons On Surviving A Siege | Janine di Giovanni | The Atlantic | 13 October 2016
After the siege of Sarajevo and the other horrors of the Bosnian civil, the West said: Never again. Now it is happening again, in the siege of Aleppo and the other horrors of the Syrian proxy war. “I don’t remember cannibalism in Sarajevo, but I do remember a bleak day in the winter of 1993 when a dog with a human hand limped by from the site of a nearby shelling. Similar hideous scenes occur daily in Eastern Aleppo, where some 250,000 people have been under government siege since September”
from instapaper
october 2016
Welcome To Hoodwink | Katie Brinkworth | McSweeney's | 05 October 2016
Satire. “We are not an advertising agency. We are Hoodwink, a collective of artists, dreamers, poets, storytellers, digital wizards, disrupters, gambling addicts, misfits, misfit toys that have creepily come to life and refuse to die no matter what we do, and one lone gunman. We cultivate. We think-o-vate. We adver-tain. We make up words. We don’t write copy, we craft maddening, inescapable verbal labyrinths, creating a sense of wonder that compels your audience to ask: What does this even mean?”
from instapaper
october 2016
Cape Adare | Maciej Cegłowski | Idle Words | 06 October 2016
Diary of a sea-voyage through Antarctica. “Of all the penguin species, Adélies are the most cartoon-like. Sitting among the king penguins on Macquarie Island felt like watching the deliberations of a select committee, whose members would confer among themselves before sending an inspection team to peck your boots. Adélie penguins give the impression of forever being late to an important appointment. When they run, they fling back their flippers and rock perilously back and forth”
from instapaper
october 2016
The Economics of Dining as a Couple | Megan McArdle | Bloomberg | 30 September 2016
Marriage counselors tell us that couples frequently tie the knot without discussing the core matters that can cement or sunder their marriage: finances, children, religion. Well, let me add one under-discussed biggie to the list: restaurant dining.
october 2016
Findings | Rafil Kroll-Zaidi | Harper's | 27 September 2016
News from the world of science. “Reading Harry Potter books worsens Americans’ attitudes toward Donald Trump. Native Amazonians are indifferent to dissonance. The hedonically inclined have a larger left globus pallidus. Nanog reactivates stem cells in progeriacs. An Indian snake charmer attempted suicide by cobra. Scientists now know the reasons for concrete creep but do not know whether garlicky breast milk influences babies’ preferences later in life”
from instapaper
september 2016
Imagine If Donald Trump Was A Woman | Hadley Freeman | The Guardian | 27 September 2016
“Imagine it wasn’t Trump who was the conduit for this anger. Imagine it was a woman. Picture a woman up there on the podium shouting over her rival, jabbing her finger in the air, denying she’d said things there was ample evidence of online that she had said. Imagine a completely inexperienced woman insisting she had better political nous than someone who had been at the forefront of politics for decades. And, of course, you can’t: it is, literally, beyond imagination”
from instapaper
september 2016
Why Is Milk In The Back Of The Store? | Russ Roberts | Medium | 22 September 2016
Why do supermarket always put milk at the back of the store? Conventional wisdom holds that it’s a sales ploy. You go to buy milk, and you are funnelled past shelves of other items that you can also be tempted to buy. But that sounds implausible. Competition will surely force grocery stores to put the milk more or less where the customers want it. So the real question is why customers want to go to the back of the store. Do they want to be tempted with other purchases?
from instapaper
september 2016
An Endless Buffet For Bald Eagles | Susan Matthews | Audubon | 19 September 2016
“The slaughter here is relentless. White Oak is home to one of the largest pastured chicken flocks in the country; at any given time, 60,000 birds wander the land. As the next level beyond free-range, this farm never contains its adult birds indoors, instead allowing them to roam without restraint at all times. This also means that for the Bald Eagles that showed up a few years ago, White Oak is an all-you-can-eat buffet”
from instapaper
september 2016
Don’t Leave Your Kids Near Judgmental Strangers | Virginia Postrel | Bloomberg | 12 September 2016
To leave a child alone, even for a short time, whether at home or in a public place, is treated in the United States as grounds for a child-abuse investigation. This bizarre social and legal norm is no more than a decade old, it is based on a wildly exaggerated and inconsistent view of risk, but it seems to have broad public support. “People don’t only think that leaving children alone is dangerous and therefore immoral. They also think it is immoral and therefore dangerous”
from instapaper
september 2016
Three Short Essays On Air Travel | Connie Porter et al | Literary Hub | 16 September 2016
“Five beers and 30 minutes later, I heard the last call for my flight. There wasn’t enough time to find the ladies’ room. The flight was only 45 minutes long. And anyway, there would be a bathroom on the plane. It was on takeoff that I realized my mistake. It was a small plane; there were less than fifty seats available and each passenger had their own row. I looked to the back: there was no sign that the bathroom wasn’t occupied. There was no sign of a bathroom, period. I began to pray for prevailing winds”
from instapaper
september 2016
What Can Hitters Actually See Out Of A Pitcher’s Hand? | Eno Sarris | Fan Graphs | 15 September 2016
The baseball travels from pitch to plate in 225 milliseconds. What can the hitter see in that time? “At release, hitters might access motor programs for each type of pitch, and then use the release information to stop their swing if it doesn’t line up with what they expected. The info on release is probably mostly velocity, with some movement extrapolated from changes in color (“spin”), but every hitter reported that sensitivity to that information came and went”
from instapaper
september 2016
Swimming In The Sink | Lynne Cox | Literary Hub | 08 September 2016
A long-distance swimmer participates in an experiment to test the human body’s tolerance of cold. “I thought I was acclimated to the cold, but this test was the most difficult and excruciating I had ever endured. I glanced at my hand in the bucket. It looked strange with the thermocouples attached to my fingers. My hand was ghostly white and shaped like a claw. When I swam across the Bering Strait my hands turned gray, but they never turned white. The tissues were starting to freeze”
from instapaper
september 2016
A Striped Haunting | Corrina Carter | Kenyon Review | 05 September 2016
Ben, the world’s last thylacine — “a striped, smooth-coated wolf with a furry rod for a tail” — died in Hobart Zoo in 1936 when his keeper accidentally left him outdoors overnight. “The temperature dropped below freezing. Ben probably barked with increasing urgency. If so, every wallaby, wombat, and bandicoot within hearing distance must have experienced fear akin to muscle memory. As the sky blued toward dawn, Ben fell silent. Over twenty million years of evolution vanished with him”
from instapaper
september 2016
Terrorists Versus Chairs | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 31 August 2016
When picturing risk, you have to think about outliers as well as averages. “Did you know that giant asteroids kill about a hundred people per year, on average? Admittedly, this is an odd definition of ‘kill’, and ‘average’, given that no human being has ever been killed by a giant asteroid. But given that giant asteroids strike Earth about every ten million years, and an asteroid strike today might kill about a billion people, then on average giant asteroids kill about a hundred people per year”
from instapaper
september 2016
Drugs Versus Chairs | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 29 August 2016
On the predatory pricing of the Epipen. “Imagine that government creates the Furniture And Desk Association, which says only IKEA is allowed to sell chairs. IKEA responds by charging $300 per chair. Other companies try to sell stools or sofas, but get bogged down for years in litigation over whether these technically count as ‘chairs’. When a few of them win their cases, the FDA shoots them down anyway because they haven’t done studies showing that their chairs will not break”
from instapaper
august 2016
In Defense of Play | Alison Gopnik | The Atlantic | 12 August 2016
The “elaborate detour” of having fun pays cognitive dividends.
from instapaper
august 2016
Overselling A.D.H.D.: A New Book Exposes Big Pharma’s Role | Steve Silberman | NYT | 22 August 2016
Review of 'ADHD Nation' by Alan Schwarz. "In a narrative that unfolds with the momentum of a thriller, he depicts pediatricians’ waiting rooms snowed under with pharma-funded brochures, parents clamoring to turn their allegedly underachieving children into academic superstars and kids showered with pills whose long-term effects on the developing brain (particularly when taken in combination) are still barely understood."
august 2016
Memo to Parents: Back Off, and Children Learn More | Ruth Graham | NYT | 24 August 2016
Review of Alison Gopnik's book 'The Gardner and the Carpenter'. "Marshaling evidence from sources including evolutionary biology and her own Berkeley lab, she argues that the kids’ll be all right pretty much no matter what their parents do. At the very least, they won’t be much different than they were going to be anyway. Children are learning all the time, whether an adult thinks she is teaching them or not, and they are almost terrifyingly astute."
august 2016
Placebo Buttons | Kurt Kohlstedt | 99% Invisible | 01 August 2016
Our built world is full of placebo buttons whose purpose is to absorb our impatience and give us an illusory sense of control. Crosswalk buttons to change traffic lights in Manhattan are a prime example: “Citywide, there are around 100 crosswalk buttons that still work in NYC but close to 1,000 more that do nothing at all.” Around 90% of office thermostats are “non-functional”, just there to be fiddled with. Some are connected to noise generators which simulate the hum of a fan
from instapaper
august 2016
Why There Are So Many Ties In Swimming | Timothy Burke | Regressing | 12 August 2016
We cannot build pools in which lanes are the same length to the nearest millimetre; so there is no sense in timing swimming races to the nearest millisecond. “In a 50-meter Olympic pool a thousandth-of-a-second constitutes 2.39 millimeters of travel. Regulations allow a tolerance of three centimeters in each lane. Could you time swimmers to a thousandth-of-a-second? Sure, but you couldn’t guarantee the winning swimmer didn’t have a thousandth-of-a-second-shorter course to swim”
august 2016
What am I supposed to do when doctors can't find what’s wrong with me? | Ben Howell | Quora | 24 July 2016
Your question is genius. You asked EXACTLY the right question. As others have suggested, doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result, was Einstein’s definition of insanity. You’ve correctly asked what you can do differently.
august 2016
The Political Philosophy Of Guns | Thomas Wells | The Critique | 25 July 2016
“I’m going to have to be blunt. Gun control advocates rely excessively on a public health case that is not only much weaker than they believe it to be but also crowds out the kind of arguments that might actually win over their opponents. Their confidence that they are on the right side of history has blinded them to the fact that they have chosen to fight on the wrong ground. They keep harping on about guns killing people. As if guns were like cigarettes, and as if the numbers were big enough to matter”
from instapaper
august 2016
Cognitive Dissonance | Matt Reed | Inside Higher Ed | 01 August 2016
A community college dean visits Stanford, and loves the place — then tries to imagine what his own college could do with a fraction of Stanford’s endowment. “Stanford has about 7,000 under­graduates and about 8,000 grad students. Brookdale has about 13,000 students. We could go to free for every student, for less than a twentieth of Stanford’s annual rentier income. It would affect roughly the same number of people. The key difference is that the Brookdale students have fewer other options”
from instapaper
august 2016
« earlier      
fiction images infographic photos video

Copy this bookmark:



description:


tags: