Snopes.com and the Search for Facts in a Post-Fact World | Michelle Dean | Wired | 20 September 2017
How the legendary internet fact-finding site snopes.com came to be, and how a messy divorce and ownership and control squabbles have threatened the site’s existence.
13 hours ago
Camping with Kids: A Non-Primer | Reid Doughten | Longreads | 22 September 2017
I start to realize that taking the kids backpacking like this is little more than an abbreviation of my old camping trips. And this may be the real folly in my thinking — the notion that this is based less on their idea of adventure than on my own, the whole thing rooted in my longing for cold mountain air and dark skies and the kind of exhaustion borne out from a long day’s hike.
13 hours ago
When Every Bra Size Is Wrong | Mallory Ortberg | Shondaland | 18 September 2017
Underwear review: The GC2B black half-binder. “I cannot promise this will happen for you, but here is what happened for me: I put on a shirt over the binder and I saw a look on my own face I had never seen before. There was joy in it, and amazement, and utter delight. There were other things, too, that I do not yet have words for. I felt, at thirty years of age, a wholly new feeling about my own appearance”
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5 days ago
Why Happy People Cheat | Esther Perel | The Atlantic | 10 September 2017
Adultery has existed since marriage was invented, yet this extremely common act remains poorly understood. Around the globe, the responses I get when I mention infidelity range from bitter condemnation to resigned acceptance to cautious compassion to outright enthusiasm.
10 days ago
This Tiny Country Feeds The World | Frank Viviano | National Geographic | 04 September 2017
The Netherlands is a small, densely populated country, with more than 1,300 inhabitants per square mile. It is bereft of almost every resource long thought to be necessary for large-scale agriculture. Yet it is the globe’s number two exporter of food as measured by value, second only to the United States, which has 270 times its landmass. More than half the nation’s land area is used for agriculture and horticulture. How on Earth have the Dutch done it?
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16 days ago
How Washington Made Harvey Worse | Michael Grunwald | Politico | 29 August 2017
Government-subsidised flood insurance encourages Americans to build and live in flood-prone areas. “Houston’s low-lying flatlands keep booming, as sprawling subdivisions and parking lots pave over the wetlands and pastures that used to soak up the area’s excess rainfall”, with the result that Houston has hosted three “500-year floods” in the past three years. One house in Houston has flooded 16 times in 18 years, netting its owners more than $800,000 on a valuation of 115,000
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25 days ago
Baked Alaska | Christopher Solomon | Outside | 18 April 2014
The volcanic remains at the heart of Aniakchak National Monument—the least visited site in the national park system—are a trippy mishmash of postapocalyptic cinder cones, hardened lava, and flame-colored walls. The only catch? Doing it right involves days of trekking and rafting through some of the planet’s toughest, most bear-heavy terrain.
27 days ago
Dogger, Fisher, German Bight | Fiona Harvey | The Guardian | 24 August 2017
Short history of the Shipping Forecast, launched 150 years ago by Robert FitzRoy, first head of the British government’s Metereological Office and previously captain of HMS Beagle, on which Charles Darwin sailed. “The shipping forecast is now 93% accurate overall, and the forecast for inshore waters is about 97% accurate. Wind direction is not always as easy to get right as wind speed, with about 80% accuracy and more than 90% respectively, while about 15% of gale warnings turn out to be false alarms”
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28 days ago
The Drive For Perfect Children | Tyler Cowen | Bloomberg | 22 August 2017
As the genetic engineering of embryos comes to seem almost inevitable, what qualities will parents seek in their children? You might assume intelligence above all; but American mothers prize extraversion over intelligence; they want children who are fun to have around. “The current mix of human personalities and institutions is a delicate balance which, for all of its flaws, has allowed society to survive and progress. I’m not looking to make a big roll of the dice on this one”
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28 days ago
Unpopular Ideas About Social Norms | Julia Galef | Julia Galef | 23 August 2017
Bullet-point list of claims that have much in their favour — indeed, I think I agree with most of them — but which would be guaranteed to start an argument in a public place. “Divorce should be stigmatized more than it is now, to preserve the significance of marital commitment”. “Incest that doesn’t involve children, coercion, or procreation should be socially accepted”. “We should de-stigmatize suicide, because some people would in fact be better off ending their lives”
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28 days ago
Why Is Westeros Still Poor? | Adam Ozimek | Modeled Behavior | 20 August 2017
“Technological and economic conditions in Westeros seem to have been stuck in the same place for a very long time. Bran the Builder constructed Winterfell and the Wall about 8,000 years ago, suggesting the same basic medieval technologies existed back then. If anything, it’s unclear that the wall could be built today, suggesting possible decline. So given they’ve had so much time, why hasn’t Westeros had an industrial revolution and emerged from medieval poverty?”
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4 weeks ago
Jobs Most Segregated by Gender and Race | Justin Fox | Bloomberg | 16 August 2017
Whatever the reasons for it, the division between jobs dominated by men and jobs dominated by women is clear-cut. All of the jobs with the highest percentage of male workers involve working primarily with things. Almost all of the jobs with the highest percentage of female workers involve working primarily with people. “If you are one of those who believe that men are congenitally disposed to prefer working with things and women to prefer working with people, these numbers offer some support for your position”
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4 weeks ago
McGregor Versus Mayweather | William D'Urso | LARB | 20 August 2017
Just climbing into the ring will be a triumph for Conor McGregor: He gets “the biggest fight available in a sport in which he has never before competed”. The betting public loves him: The odds against his winning have shortened from 225/1 to 3/1, which is ridiculous. “McGregor won’t win. Absolutely not. For Mayweather, hitting him will be as easy as it would be for an adult to smack a child. That’s not hyperbole. Oh, you disagree? You have questions? Give me your hand. I’ll walk you through this”
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4 weeks ago
A Bit More Toaster | Ian Bogost | The Atlantic | 20 July 2017
In praise of the “Bit More” button on Breville toasters, and its inventor, Keith Hensel. “The button is nothing short of brilliant. It highlights an obvious but still unseen problem with electric toasters, devices that have been around for more than a century. Your bread comes up too light, so you put it back down, then get distracted and forget, and it goes through a full cycle and burns. Keith thought, why can’t the consumer have more control? Why can’t they have A Bit More?”
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5 weeks ago
How Big Data Saved the Mountain Town | Abe Streep | Outside | 04 August 2017
How does a town go from logging and livestock to bits and bytes? Tiny Prineville, Oregon, is finding out as huge data centers from Apple and Facebook transform the timber town into a recreational hub of mountain bikers and craft brewers.
5 weeks ago
Korean Borderland | Kurt Kohldstedt | 99% Invisible | 14 August 2017
“Strange structures start to appear all around as one drives toward the Korean Demilitarized Zone from either side of the border. There are overhead signs and what appear to be bridges connecting nothing at either end, roadside concrete blocks stacked like Brutalist totem poles, beach ball-sized steel orbs rusting on stumpy pedestals and other odd varieties. While the forms vary, these odd assemblies share a common purpose: in case of war, explosives can quickly turn them into defensive rubble”
5 weeks ago
The Stethoscope | Emmmett FitzGerald | 99% Invisible | 06 August 2017
The invention of the stethoscope in the early 19C changed the fundamentals of medicine. Before the stethoscope, “the only way for a doctor to figure out what was wrong with a patient was to ask them, and as a result patients’ accounts of their symptoms were seen as diseases in themselves.” After the stethoscope, “it didn’t matter what patients thought was wrong with them, it mattered more what the doctor found. Our understanding of disease shifted from one centered on symptoms to one centered on objective observation of the body”
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6 weeks ago
How To Please A Customer | Lisa Naftolin | Vestoj | 01 August 2017
A dry-cleaner explains his trade. “There are two kinds of stains: wet side and dry side. Wet side includes coffee, juice, wine, blood, anything from the body, which has to be taken out with water or water-based solvents. The dry side is lipstick, paint, nail polish, grease; those can’t be taken out with water, which will only set the stain. What you’re trying to do with stain removal is kind of cool; you dilute it with what it is”
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6 weeks ago
An Honest Business News Update | Morgan Housel | Collaborative Fund | 02 August 2017
The truth as satire, or possibly vice-versa. “The S&P 500 closed at a new high on Wednesday in what analysts hailed as the accumulated result of several hundred million people waking up every morning hoping to solve problems and improve their lives. The index finished up 4 points. Facebook stock fell $0.23 to close at $169.16. No one knows why. Analysts expect more of the same tomorrow, with the trend continuing into next week”
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6 weeks ago
The Baccarat Binge That Bled Bangladesh | Alan Katz & Wenxin Fan | Bloomberg | 03 August 2017
On the 2016 theft of $81 million from an account held by the central bank of Bangladesh at the New York Fed. Hackers sent bogus instructions via Swift telling the Fed to transfer the money to accounts in Manila, where it was withdrawn and laundered by two Chinese gamblers in a casino blackjack marathon. The gamblers ended up in jail, but most of the money is thought to have ended up in North Korea
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6 weeks ago
Venezuela’s Unprecedented Collapse | Ricardo Hausmann | Project Syndicate | 31 July 2017
Venezuela’s economic catastrophe “dwarfs any in the history of the US, Western Europe, or the rest of Latin America”. The economy has shrunk by 35% since 2013, or 40% in per capita terms, since the population is also shrinking through emigration. Venezuela is now the world’s most indebted country. Imports of goods and services have fallen by more than three-quarters. The mortality rate for newborns has increased 100-fold. It is like Romania under Nicolae Ceausescu, but worse
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7 weeks ago
God’s Gift To Men | Zoe Heller | NYRB | 30 July 2017
Review of Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins, starring Gal Gadot. “She adores babies and ice cream and snowflakes. She is sweetly oblivious to her own beauty and its devastating effects on those around her. She has absolutely no problem with men. She loves men! The imperative to eradicate any hint of bossiness or anger from her character weighs heavily on the film, threatening to turn it into one long, dispiriting exercise in allaying male fears about powerful women”
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7 weeks ago
Claude Shannon, Las Vegas Cheat | Jimmy Soni & Rob Goodman | Nautilus | 27 July 2017
The father of information theory was also an obsessive tinkerer and gadget-builder. Shannon’s creations included a machine that made sarcastic remarks, a Roman numeral calculator, and a mechanical coin tosser which could produce a head or tail on demand. When the young physicist Ed Thorp walked into his office proposing a miniaturised computer which would predict the spin of a roulette wheel, Shannon was hooked. Eight months later, they were ready for Las Vegas
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8 weeks ago
The Hijack Of The Brillante Virtuoso | Kit Chellel & Matthew Campbell | Bloomberg Businessweek | 27 July 2017
Breathtaking account of a maritime insurance fraud, the staged hijacking and scuppering of an oil tanker in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia. “The events of July 6, 2011, set in motion a tangle of lawsuits and criminal investigations that are still nowhere near conclusion. The Brillante Virtuoso reveals the shipping industry’s capacity for lawlessness, financial complexity, and violence. Everyone at sea that night survived. But the danger was just getting started”
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8 weeks ago
Stu Ungar, Greatest Poker Player Of All Time | Liel Leibovitz | Tablet | 26 July 2017
“Over the course of his short and thunderous life, Stu Ungar, the greatest poker player in history and one of only two people to win the World Series three times, made more than $30 million, and blew it all on drugs, cars he rarely drove, and meals he consumed quickly and furiously. As we celebrate one Jewish poker champ, it’s only right to pay tribute to the other, largely forgotten hero of the sport, a Jewish athlete every bit as iconic as Koufax”
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8 weeks ago
Transformers: Superheroes Of Electrical Inventions | Vaclav Smil | IEEE Spectrum | 25 July 2017
In praise of the humble transformer, unsung hero of power transmission on which our grids and our gadgets depend. The Stanley transformer of 1876 remains the standard design. “It puts to shame all mechanical attempts at regulation, it handles with ease, certainty, and economy vast loads of energy that are instantly given to or taken from it. It is reliable, strong, and certain. In this mingled steel and copper, extraordinary forces are so nicely balanced as to be almost unsuspected”
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8 weeks ago
A Conversation With Atul Gawande | Tyler Cowen | Conversations with Tyler | 19 July 2017
Interesting throughout. Subjects include artificial intelligence, CRISPR, anaesthesia, sponges, checklists, health insurance, longevity, regulation, Michael Crichton, Peter Carey, Frightened Rabbits. “One of the things you realize is that, when you have an awake patient in the operating room, they can be part of the team, not just someone sitting there who is annoyingly awake, and they’re actually piping up to tell you they’d like to change the music you’re playing. In many ways, having people awake can be far safer”
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9 weeks ago
What If Somebody Opens A Door During A Flight? | Patrick Smith | Ask The Pilot | 09 July 2017
Short answer: It can’t happen. Cabin pressure forces the doors shut. “At a typical cruising altitude, up to eight pounds of pressure are pushing against every square inch of interior fuselage. That’s over 1,100 pounds against each square foot of door. So, while I wouldn’t recommend it, unless you enjoy being pummelled and placed in a choke-hold by panicked passengers, a person could sit there all day tugging on a door handle to his or her heart’s content”
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10 weeks ago
America’s Future Is Texas | Lawrence Wright | New Yorker | 07 July 2017
With right-wing zealots taking over the legislature even as the state’s demographics shift leftward, Texas has become the nation’s bellwether.
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11 weeks ago
Americans Lie About Sex | Sean Illing | Vox | 27 June 2017
PG-13, obviously. Interesting throughout. What Google and Pornhub data reveal about Americans’ inner sex-lives. “Women are eight times more likely to ask Google if their husband is gay than if he is an alcoholic and 10 times more likely to ask Google if their husband is gay than if he is depressed. It is far more likely that a woman is married to a man who is secretly an alcoholic or secretly depressed than secretly gay. About 98 percent of women’s husbands are really straight. Trust me”
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12 weeks ago
Putting Profits Ahead of Patients | Jerome Groopman & Pamela Hartzband | NYRB | 15 July 2017
At the center of both our flawed current system and its disastrous proposed replacement is a more fundamental reality: health care in the United States is enormously costly, often in ways that are baffling not only to patients but to doctors themselves.
12 weeks ago
Why California Has the Lowest Maternal Mortality in America | Julia Belluz | Vox | 29 June 2017
The maternal mortality rate in the state is a third of the American average. Here's why.
12 weeks ago
The Mosteller Hall Puzzle | Jonathan Weisberg | 14 June 2017
Variant on the Monty Hall problem. Three prisoners are condemned to die in the morning. The king decides in the night to pardon one of them. Prisoner A welcomes the news. He says to the guard, “I know you can’t tell me whether I am condemned or pardoned. But at least one other prisoner must still be condemned, so can you just name one who is?”. The guard says B is still condemned. “OK”, says A, “it’s either me or C who was pardoned. So my chance of survival has gone up to 50/50”. A is mistaken. But how?
june 2017
The Long-Term Price Of Oil | Liam Denning | Bloomberg | 15 June 2017
Long-term oil-future prices have halved over the past three years to around $55. Why so? Because that it is the trigger price for US shale producers to boost drilling and fracking. But traditional oil producers, including Saudi Arabia, “require oil prices far above $50 to make their economies function”. And electric vehicles are eating into oil’s core market, transportation. So here’s one scenario: the collapse of a major producer, a spike in prices, and a huge shift among consumers to electricity
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june 2017
How To Win The Doctor Lottery | Donna Jackson Nakazawa | Health Affairs | 01 April 2017
Not every doctor-patient encounter is healing, and it can seem a game of chance. One patient explores what it takes to win.
june 2017
The World Is Running Out of Sand | David Owen | New Yorker | 29 May 2017
It’s one of our most widely used natural resources, but it’s scarcer than you think.
june 2017
Pump Action | Gavin Francis | New Statesman | 10th June 2017
Thomas Morris’s Matter Of The Heart, a history of heart surgery, is “lively, enthusiastic and brimming with detail”. The 17C polymath Robert Hooke proposed a machine to maintain blood circulation while the heart was under repair, but this did not become a reality until the 1950s, prior to which “children undergoing surgery sometimes had their hearts plumbed into their mother’s or father’s circulation” — the only surgical procedure with “a potential mortality of 200 per cent”
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june 2017
The Greatest Sports Achievement Of My Lifetime | Eugene Wei | Remains Of The Day | 10 June 2017
Alex Honnold’s free climb of El Capitan demands a new category of admiration. “What makes a free climb of El Capitan perhaps the greatest sports achievement of my lifetime is the mental challenge of entering a flow state for four hours straight. People marvel at a basketball player entering the zone and hitting shot after shot, but Honnold had to enter a new level of zone in which he could not miss a single shot or the game would end forever”
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june 2017
The Great Self-Esteem Con | Will Storr | The Guardian | 03 June 2017 |
By now, the idea that positive self-esteem is necessary for success is more or less taken for granted. But what if it’s all based on very shaky, smartly packaged science?
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june 2017
Is Pharma Research Worse Than Chance? | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 05 June 2017
The biggest advances in psychopharmacology this century have been the use of ketamine against depression, and MDMA against PTSD. We owe these discoveries not to big pharma but to recreational drug users. “Abusers take the vast flood of possible chemicals and select the ones they think will feel good at raves. Psychopharmacologists select the ones they think will treat mental illnesses. How come the abusers’ selection process is better at picking out promising mental health treatments?”
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june 2017
Fall To Your Death And Live | Neil Steinberg | Mosaic | 05 June 2017
Alcides Moreno fell 472 feet from a New York skyscraper and lived. But falls from more than 100 feet are almost always fatal. For older people, merely falling over on to a hard surface can kill. Falls are the leading cause of death for the over-60s. “Young people break their wrists because they shoot their hands out quickly when falling. Older people break their hips because they don’t get their hands out quickly enough. You’d much rather break a wrist than a hip”
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june 2017
The Loneliness of Donald Trump | Rebecca Solnit | Literary Hub | 30 May 2017
The corrosiveness of privilege, particularly that of Donald Trump.
june 2017
Hungarian Education | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 30 May 2017
Laszlo Polgar studied intelligence in university, wrote a book called Bring Up Genius, and said any child could become a prodigy with the right upbringing. He “recruited an interested woman to marry him” with a view to testing his philosophy by raising children together. And, apparently, he was right. The Polgars’ three daughters became the 1st, 2nd, and 6th best female chess players in the world. They also spoke seven languages. How was it done?
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june 2017
The Hedge Fund Managers Are At The Bellagio | Hamilton Nolan | Deadspin | 01 June 2017
Report from a conference of hedge-fund managers in Las Vegas. “All of the younger men looked like Jared Kushner, and all the younger women looked like Ivanka Trump might look if she had to work 14-hour days. Their lives stretched out in front of them, down the Bellagio’s gaudy, carpeted halls. They could fall in love over credit strategies, have a marriage announcement in the New York Times at 26 and a scandalous divorce announcement in the New York Post at 44"
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june 2017
Anaesthesia: The Gift Of Oblivion | Kate Cole-Adams | The Age | 27 May 2017
“Every time you have a general anaesthetic, you take a trip towards death and back. The more hypnotic your doctor puts in, the longer you take to recover and the more likely it is that something will go wrong. The less your doctor puts in, the more likely that you will wake. It is a balancing act, and anaesthetists are very good at it. But it doesn’t alter the fact that people have been waking during surgery for as long as other people have been putting them to sleep”
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may 2017
The Atomic Bomb As A Hungarian School Project | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 26 May 2017
Why did early-20C Hungary produce so many brilliant physicists? Because Budapest was a centre for a European Jewry that had selected for intelligence through centuries of oppression. “Around 1880 economic and political conditions finally became ripe for the potential to be realised in a few countries only. The result was one of the greatest spurts of progress in scientific history, which lasted for approximately one generation, after which a psychopath with a moustache killed everyone involved
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may 2017
Rewriting Greek Tragedy | Colm Tóibín | The Guardian | 20 May 2017
“The Kingsmill massacre happened when 12 men, 11 Protestants and one Catholic, coming home from work in a minibus, were stopped by gunmen who asked the one Catholic to identify himself. Since they all believed that this man was to be singled out to be killed, neither he nor his colleagues wanted to tell the gunmen who he was. But eventually he stepped forward, only to be told to run. As he did so, the gunmen opened fire on the other 11, killing 10 of them”
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may 2017
Why Everything We Know About Salt May Be Wrong | Gina Kolata | NYT | 08 May 2017
Research on Russian cosmonauts suggests that salt makes you hungry but not thirsty, and may help burn calories.
may 2017
How Does Alex Jones Make Money? | Seth Brown | New York | 04 May 2017
“Jones makes no money from selling advertisements on his radio show. He makes no money selling advertisements on his YouTube channel. He makes, most likely, around $1 million from selling ad space on his popular website — not a paltry sum by any means, but not nearly enough to support a media empire on the order of Infowars. So where does Alex Jones’s money come from? It comes from dietary supplements”
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may 2017
Simple Rules For Complex Decisions | Jongbin Jung et al | Harvard Business Review | 19 April 2017
We worry about handing life-changing decisions over to algorithms — for example, a doctor’s decision about a medical procedure, a judge’s decision about setting bail; and it is certainly worrying when decisions are made by algorithms too complex for human understanding. But very simple algorithms, the workings of which are clear to all, can be a great aid to consistent decision-making. For example, a three-step rule to setting bail “significantly outperforms expert human decision makers”
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may 2017
Death By Fire | Miles Wilson | Longreads / Crazyhorse | 08 May 2017
A veteran firefighter’s tribute to his enemy. “Like much of the West, the Angeles is built to burn: heavy fuel loads, Biblical droughts, perpendicular country, big wind, and lots of citizens building cabins, wrecking cars, pitching cigarettes. I put out some of those fires. Turns out, I was doing almost exactly the wrong thing. Putting those fires out was, at best, beside the point. What we did was exchange a temporary fix for a guaranteed apocalypse in the historically fire-rich chaparral brushscape”
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may 2017
Why the Menace of Mosquitoes Will Only Get Worse | Maryn McKenna | NYT | 20 April 2017
Climate change is altering the environment in ways that increase the potential for viruses like Zika.
may 2017
The Algorithm Will See You Now | Siddhartha Mukherjee | New Yorker | 03 April 2017
Will the invention and expansion of neural nets into medicine fundamentally change the way medicine is practiced?
may 2017
The Watchmaker and The Easter Egg | Jack Forster | Hodinkee | 17 April 2017
Patek Philippe makes the only watch in on Earth that shows the date of Easter, “probably the single most difficult complication in horology”, and even Patek Philippe’s mechanism relies on a notched wheel that needs to be replaced every 28 years. It would be theoretically possible to put a full cycle of Easter dates on to such a wheel, but since the cycle spans 5,700,000 years, the wheel would be six kilometres wide, making for a rather large watch
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may 2017
Those Indecipherable Medical Bills? They’re One Reason Health Care Costs So Much | Elisabeth Rosenthal | NYT | 29 March 2017
Hospitals have learned to manipulate medical codes — often resulting in mind-boggling bills.
april 2017
The Heart of Whiteness | Ijeoma Oluo | The Stranger | 19 April 2017
Amusing and ruthless interview with Rachel Dolezal, the white Spokane woman who passed for a decade as black, headed the local chapter of the NAACP, and has since changed her name to Nkechi Amare Diallo. “For a white woman to imagine herself into a real-life black identity without any lived black experience, to place herself at the forefront of local black society — well, it’s the ultimate ‘you can be anything’ success story of white America. Another branch of manifest destiny”
april 2017
The Blood of the Crab | Caren Chesler | Popular Mechanics | 13 April 2017
Horseshoe crab blood is an irreplaceable medical marvel—and so biomedical companies are bleeding 500,000 every year. Can this creature that's been around since the dinosaurs be saved?
april 2017
Why Some Opioid Addicts Overdose on a Diarrhea Drug | Sarah Zhang | The Atlantic | 07 April 2017
“We’ve had patients tell us they take 400 to 500 tablets day … They put it in a blender and make a smoothie and drink it over one or two hours.”
april 2017
How Google Book Search Got Lost | Scott Rosenberg | Backchannel | 11 April 2017
A brief history of Google Books. “At the birth of the project, in 2002, as Larry Page and Marissa Mayer set out to gauge how long it might take to Scan All The Books, they set up a digital camera on a stand and timed themselves with a metronome”. Fifteen years and 25 million books later, after titanic legal battles, the outcome is an astonishing achievement, a new Library of Alexandria, a game-changer for academia; in Google parlance, a true moonshot. So why does Google hide it away?
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april 2017
In The Land Of Giants | Jon Mooallem | NYT | 23 March 2017
Communing with some of the biggest trees on Earth, in California’s Sequoia National Park. “The trees are so big that it would be cowardly not to deal with their bigness head on. They are very, very big. The delirium of their size is enhanced by their age, by the knowledge that the oldest sequoias predate the English language and most of the world’s major religions — older by centuries, even millenniums. The appearance of a tree cannot be deafening, and yet with these trees, it is”
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april 2017
Food Fights | Jerome Groopman | New Yorker | 03 April 2017
Is fat killing you, or is sugar? What we do and don’t know about dietary science.
april 2017
Findings | Rafil Kroll-Zaidi | Harper's | 30 March 2017
News from the world of science. “Honeybee guards accept drifting migrant bees but repel hostile raider bees. Buddhists can suppress reactions to terrifying stimuli by chanting the name of Amit obha but not by chanting the name of Santa Claus. Rangers in Western Australia observed a 3,000-foot-tall fire tornado. The genomes of the death cap and the destroying angel have been sequenced. The guardian of the thousand-year-old windmills of Nashtifan was expected to die with no successor”
from instapaper
april 2017
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.
march 2017
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
march 2017
The Most Expensive Weapon Ever Built | Daniel Soare | LRB | 24 March 2017
At a lifetime cost of $1.5 trillion, the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighter plane is history’s most expensive weapons system — and perhaps the most expensive peacetime project of any kind. And yet the first F-35s were already obsolescent by the time they were declared combat-ready last year: Piloted planes are yielding to drones. The F-35 pilot, watching screens inside his headset and touching more screens to fire missiles, is “just another node in the network, through whom information is filtered”. He might as well be on the ground a thousand miles away
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march 2017
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.
march 2017
Eight Expectations | Charles Foster | Literary Review | 06 March 2017
The wonder of Nature that is the octopus: “It can squeeze through a hole the size of its eyeball. Its oesophagus tunnels through its brain, and the brain is sometimes skewered by a spiky mouthful of food. It smells and tastes with its arms, sees with its skin, plays with toys and craves novelty. It can turn off lights by squirting water at them, negotiate mazes, undo jam jars from the inside, carry round two halves of a coconut shell and assemble a house from them wherever it stops”
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march 2017
How Ikea’s Billy Bookcase Conquered The World | Tim Harford | BBC | 27 February 2017
IKEA stays far head of its rivals, not by leaps of innovation but by a constant search for small efficiencies. The “bare-bones, functional bookshelf” called Billy has sold 60 million units since its launch in 1978 — one for every 100 people in the world. Over that time the cost of producing a Billy has fallen 30% thanks to scale and automation. The single manufacturing plant in Sweden employs humans only to tend the robots that process 600 tons of particle board per day
from instapaper
march 2017
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.
february 2017
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”
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february 2017
The Coming Amnesia | Geoff Manaugh | BldgBlog | 23 February 2017
If the universe goes on expanding, the point will come at which all the galaxies are so far apart that they will cease to be visible to one another. No observer will have reason even to theorise that other galaxies exist. “All evidence of a broader cosmos will disappear. Cosmology itself will be impossible.” But what if something like that has already happened — if our Big Bang theory is a “side-effect of having lost some other form of cosmic evidence that long ago slipped eternally away from view?”
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february 2017
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.
february 2017
Warfighter: Toad Hall | PPT Sapper | Angry Staff Officer | 20 February 2017
“The situation is as follows. Two heavily armed factions – the Weasels and the Stoats – have undermined the local power in the region; namely, that of Toad and Toad Hall. While Toad was a fairly unsteady leader – investing at random in items that took his fancy – he remained the rightful leader of the region. Taking advantage of a time when Toad was absent, the Weasels and Stoats infiltrated the seat of power and established themselves as the new brokers in the region”
from instapaper
february 2017
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”
february 2017
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”
february 2017
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