The Invisible Helping Hand | Ray Fisman & Tim Sullivan | Slate | 07 June 2016
How a network of food banks learned to feed more people by embracing the free market.
3 days ago
What Does Tulsi Gabbard Believe? | Kelefa Sanneh | New Yorker | 06 November 2017
An Iraq veteran and the first Hindu in Congress, Gabbard is a compelling figure. When she was elected, Rachel Maddow said, “She is on the fast track to being very famous.”
4 days ago
The History of Blood | Jerome Groopman | New Yorker | 07 January 2019
For centuries, curiosity about the mystical and biological functions of blood has fuelled both dangerous misunderstandings and revolutionary discoveries.
4 days ago
Is Sunscreen the New Margarine? | Rowan Jacobsen | Outside | 10 January 2019
Current guidelines for sun exposure are unhealthy and unscientific, controversial new research suggests—and quite possibly even racist. How did we get it so wrong?
5 days ago
52 Things I Learned In 2018 | Kent Hendricks | Kent Hendricks | 26 December 2018
Interesting throughout. “Around 90% of infants lie with their heads facing right”. “Violent movies lead to a slight decline in violence, because, even though people who are likely to commit violent crimes enjoy watching violent movies, they don’t commit violent crimes while sitting in a movie theater”. “Cheese pizzas are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, while pepperoni pizzas, which have meat, are regulated by the Department of Agriculture”. “As late as 1939, the United States had a well-developed plan to invade Canada”
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6 days ago
The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates | Marshall Allen | ProPublica | 18 July 2017
Hospitals and pharmacies are required to toss expired drugs, no matter how expensive or vital. Meanwhile the FDA has long known that many remain safe and potent for years longer.
9 days ago
On Checklists | Mike Lauria | EMCrit | 03 January 2019
It is fantastic that checklists are gaining popularity and institutions are implementing them in their emergency departments and ICUs. Indeed, more institutions should endeavor to incorporate them. However, in some cases “checklists” have ballooned into complicated, unwieldy, multi-page monstrosities.
9 days ago
Consider The Narwhal | Katherine Rundell | LRB | 03 January 2019
A fine addition to Katherine Rundell’s brief lives of offbeat animals. The narwhal is “one of the mammals about which we know least”, given that it lives beneath pack ice and swims a mile deep. The name means “corpse whale” in old Norwegian, probably a reference to the narwhal’s mottled grey colouring. Males, and a few females, have single tusks full of nerve endings, that they rub together when meeting. In the middle ages the narwhal tusk was often sold as a unicorn’s horn. Elizabeth I had a jewel-encrusted one said to be worth £10,000 — enough, at the time, to buy and staff a small castle
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10 days ago
Six-Year-Old Moira Is One of the Sickest People in America. So Why Is North Carolina Trying to Gut Her Health Care? | Melinda Wenner Moyer | Mother Jones | 03 January 2019
Moira is one of about 400,000 “medically complex” American children—kids who have serious health issues but who, thanks to modern technology, can survive past infancy and even lead long, fulfilling lives. Yet the US health care system is increasingly failing children like her.
14 days ago
What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick? | Gary Greenberg | NYT | 07 November 2018
New research is zeroing in on a biochemical basis for the placebo effect — possibly opening a Pandora’s box for Western medicine.
18 days ago
An Anti-Vaxxer’s New Crusade | David Armstrong | New Yorker | 27 November 2018
Dr. David Ayoub used to be active in the anti-vaccination movement. Now he’s challenging mainstream science again—as an expert witness for accused child abusers.
19 days ago
I Read 1,182 Emergency Room Bills | Sarah Kliff | Vox | 18 December 2018
Interim report on a project to itemise how much American hospitals charge, using bills submitted by Vox readers. Hospitals don’t publish price lists, so the information is hard to come by. Main finding so far: Costs vary even more than you might imagine. For identical applications of an antibiotic ointment, a Tennessee hospital charges $1 and a Seattle hospital charges $76. And beware, the bills start mounting the moment you walk in, even without treatment. A woman in New Jersey with a cut ear was billed $5,751 for sitting and waiting in ER; she was given an ice pack, which triggered a “facility charge”
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28 days ago
Safecracker Of Last Resort | Geoff Manaugh | The Atlantic | 14 December 2018
Profile of Charlie Santore, licensed safecracker in Los Angeles. “A good safe technician can pass through sealed bank vaults and open jammed strongboxes after just a few minutes of casual manipulation, using skills that often look more like sleight of hand. But just when I started to think that it was all art, I’d see feats of sheer industrial brutality, watching Santore bore through several inches of heavy metal, steel filing past his face like smoke. For the safecracker, there is always a way through”
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4 weeks ago
A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide To Staying Together | Sean Illing | Vox | 03 December 2018
Interview with James Sexton, a divorce lawyer for 20 years, on pitfalls to avoid in married life. “I can’t remember the last time I had a case where social media was not either a root cause or implicated in some way. And it’s always the same story: people maintaining affairs via social media or communicating with people they don’t have any business communicating with. Infidelity is so easy now, and it’s poisoning marriages. People are using social media when they’re bored or vulnerable or in transition, not when they’re having a wonderful time with their spouse or enjoying life”
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5 weeks ago
52 Things I Learned In 2018 | Tom Whitwell | Fluxx | 02 December 2018
An annual miscellany. At Hangzhou Zhongheng Electric, “workers wear caps to monitor their brainwaves”. Rera is “an online poultry farm startup from Harare, Zimbabwe. It’s like Kickstarter for chickens. You order, the farmer grows, you save 40% of retail costs”. Expensive placebos work better than cheap placebos. 35% of Rwanda’s national blood supply outside the capital city is now delivered by drone
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6 weeks ago
The EPA Can’t Wait to Reopen the Mine That Poisoned North Idaho | Peter Waldman | Bloomberg | 12 November 2018
The Bunker Hill Mine deposited 75 million tons of toxic sludge in Lake Coeur d’Alene, and the lead and zinc are still flowing.
7 weeks ago
The Inspection Paradox | Allen Downey | Probably Overthinking It | 18 August 2015
“Airlines complain that they are losing money because so many flights are nearly empty. Passengers complain that flying is miserable because planes are too full. They could both be right. When a flight is nearly empty, only a few passengers enjoy the extra space. When a flight is full, many passengers feel the crunch. Once you notice the inspection paradox, you see it everywhere. Does it seem like you can never get a taxi when you need one? When there is a surplus of taxis, only a few customers enjoy it. When there is a shortage, many people feel the pain”
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8 weeks ago
Debt: A Love Story | Andrew Goldman | Wealthsimple | 06 November 2018
Well-educated and well-paid American couple with an armful of credit cards, two mortgages, a succession of cars, a Whole Foods habit, and three children in private school, wonder — with an awe-inspiring mixture of naivety, denial, foolishness and entitlement — marvel that are always in debt. “You can’t believe how many credit card and loan solicitations we get in the mail. When they come, we research them and make sure it’s not something really crazy. Obviously they’d have to be slightly crazy to approach us with a loan. But then we ask them for it, and they give us money. It’s ridiculous”
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8 weeks ago
A Bird That Does Not Fly | Annie Lowrey | The Atlantic | 20 November 2018
The town of Yellville in Arkansas has come to feel a touch bashful about its annual “Turkey Trot” weekend, when a dozen or so turkeys, which do not fly, are thrown from planes, which do, to the delight of many Yellville residents. “When you drop a turkey from hundreds of feet in the air, the panicked animals try to right themselves. Some catch a gust. Others do not. Some die when they hit the ground. Others survive with broken bones. Yet others are grievously injured when they are fought over by local kids. Some perish of apparent shock. A few, it is fair to note, are rattled, but physically unharmed”
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8 weeks ago
Why Doctors Hate Their Computers | Atul Gawande | New Yorker | 12 November 2018
Digitization promises to make medical care easier and more efficient. But are screens coming between doctors and patients?
8 weeks ago
Scouts In A Warzone | Moussa Abdoulaye, Simon Allison, Will Baxter, & Amy Niang | Mail & Guardian | 16 November 2018
If you want to get something done in the Central African Republic, ask a Boy Scout. The Scouts are bigger and better organised than the militias, bolder than the UN peacekeepers. “Because of its rigid hierarchical structure, the Boy Scout movement has survived the onslaught of the civil war, and is one of only a handful of institutions about which it is reasonable to assume that a decision made in Bangui can be implemented elsewhere in the country. The same cannot be said for any government ministry.”
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8 weeks ago
Losing Laura | Peter DeMarco | Boston Globe | 03 November 2018
“Laura made it to the doorstep of the emergency room that day, on her own two feet. She stared through a plate-glass window into the emergency room waiting area — she could see the red-and-white emergency room sign inside — but she could not get in. To her dismay, the door was locked. Her attack intensifying, she called 911, telling the operator she was right there but could not get in. Help was just a few feet away, on the other side of that door. But, incredibly, that help never came. This is the story of how my wife’s life was wasted by the actions of people whose job it is to save lives”
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9 weeks ago
In Defence Of Designer Babies | Ilya Somin | Reason | 11 November 2018
Using genetic engineering to produce smarter and stronger babies may lead to repugnant and unfair outcomes — but leaving genetics to nature already leads to repugnant and unfair outcomes. “Imagine that, thanks to technology, the Jones family has a child free of the Down Syndrome or Tay-Sachs Disease that might otherwise have afflicted her. She grows up to be a successful scientist. Others benefit from the discoveries she makes. If you multiply that effect over thousands of cases, it is clear that designer babies can have a great positive impact, even if the technology is not universally available”
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9 weeks ago
The Best Chemistry Books | Michelle Francl & Caspar Henderson | Five Books | 05 November 2018
Interview. Computational chemist Michelle Francl talks about her work on the structure of molecules, and recommends recent books about water, Marie Curie, spoons, poison, and asparagus. "If you make a spoon from pure gallium, it looks and feels much like a stainless steel spoon, but if you use it to stir your tea, it will seem to vanish before your eyes. It is literally melting. Gallium’s melting point is only 86°F (30°C) and if you pour out the tea you’ll find a pool of silvery liquid gallium at the bottom"
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9 weeks ago
Mail-Order Homes | Josh Jones | Open Culture | 29 October 2018
A century ago Americans could buy anything from the Sears catalogue — even houses. In its first year of production, 1908, Sears sold only one model, number 125, an Eight-Room Bungalow Style House for $945, advertised as “the finest cottage ever constructed at a price less than $1500”. But business soon picked up. "Between 1908 and 1939, Sears sold 70-75,000 houses in 447 different styles all over the country. What’s even more extraordinary is that 50% of these were built by the homeowners themselves. Local builders purchased homes from Sears to market their services to potential customers.”
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11 weeks ago
Babies In Jars | Shannon Withycombe | 31 October 2018
"Doctors went to extremes to obtain products of miscarriages, sometimes deceiving their patients, and pocketing embryos At a time when university-educated, European-influenced medical practitioners were becoming increasingly convinced of the utility of learning anatomy and physiology, but were hampered by a culture that was horrified at the idea of medical researchers using human cadavers, miscarried fetuses allowed doctors the opportunity to investigate how humans became alive and how they died, as well as to research how organs and systems worked in conjunction, and failed at the end"
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11 weeks ago
The Big Meltdown | Craig Welch | National Geographic | 30 October 2018
Report on the effects of global warming in Antarctica. "Humpback whales used to leave Antarctica in late March or early April, when sea ice closed in. Now they have many more ice-free weeks in which to roam widely and feed on krill. Humpbacks are sticking around and fattening up, which is fuelling a population boom. Will there be enough krill to go around? Penguins and humpbacks eat krill, but so do skuas, squid, fur seals, and crabeater seals. Leopard seals sometimes eat krill. A blue whale eats millions a day. Animals that don’t eat krill often feed on prey that does. Antarctica loves fatty krill. So do we"
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11 weeks ago
What I Learned At My College Reunion | Deborah Copaken | The Atlantic | 24 October 2018
“No matter our original backgrounds, no matter our incomes or skin colours or struggles or religions, the common threads running through our lives had less to do with Harvard and more with the pressing issues of being human. No one’s life turned out exactly as anticipated, not even for the most ardent planner. Every classmate who became a teacher or doctor seemed happy with the choice of career. Many lawyers seemed either unhappy or itching for a change, with the exception of those who became law professors. Our strongest desire, over more sex and more money, was to get more sleep”
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11 weeks ago
iPhones are hard to use | Joe Clark | Fawny | 22 October 2018
iPhone users, prepare to be gripped. Android users, pass by on the other side. “iPhone owners know how to force-quit apps. They know how to set a ringtone and choose atrocious wallpaper. That’s it. People don’t know that they can swipe up or down from top or bottom of screen. I never see anybody turn wifi on or off that way (it’s almost always through Settings). They don’t know what Control Center and Notification Center are by name. They also don’t know what their iSight camera is. They don’t know what Springboard is, and shouldn’t have to. But do they know what the home screen is?
12 weeks ago
Japan’s Hometown Tax | Patrick McKenzie | Kalzumeus | 19 October 2018
How Japanese taxpayers and local governments have learned to game the federal tax system, largely at Tokyo’s expense. “The regions pay to educate children, Tokyo reaps the benefits. Japan has a policy response that is sort of beautiful. The Hometown Tax System allows you to donate up to 40% of next year’s residence tax to other cities and prefectures. The idea is to donate to one’s hometown. After the system was created, city governments started getting really creative. Some bureaucrat realised that this created a market: A city government can bid for taxpayers to select you as a hometown”
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12 weeks ago
Biggles FRCA | Grant Hutchison | The Oikofuge | 31 December 2015
First published in Today’s Anaesthetist Vol.13 No.4 July/August 1998. "The whole point of a plane is that it is designed to fly, and if it’s not working properly then you don’t take it off the ground. Human beings, in contrast, are not designed to be anaesthetized, and are often not working properly when the occasion arises. They are also rather poorly provided with back-up systems and spares, and frequently have long histories of inadequate servicing. So if giving an anaesthetic is like flying a plane, then this must be what flying a plane is like."
medicine 
12 weeks ago
Herschel, the Very Hungry Sea Lion | Katharine Gammon | Hakai | 16 October 2018
It’s dangerous to blame the decline of one species on a single predator. We humans like to do it anyway.
12 weeks ago
The FBI Of The National Park Service | Rachel Monroe | Outside | 16 October 2018
The most horrible of crimes can happen in the most beautiful of places. When they happen in America’s national parks, the special agents of the Park Service Investigative Services Branch swing into action. “Many people fall to their deaths in national parks every year. But as Faherty dug deeper, several things struck him as strange. For instance, how Harold insisted he’d given his wife CPR, but her lipstick had been unsmudged when he arrived on scene. Faherty asked Harold about his previous marriage. His first wife had died in an accident, Harold said. He was reluctant to talk about it”
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october 2018
Consider The Wombat | Katharine Rundell | LRB | 04 October 2018
A wombat, though barely two feet tall, can outrun Usain Bolt, fell a grown man, and crush a predator with its hard bottom. Bounty hunters and over-grazing in Australia brought the northern hairy-nosed wombat close to extinction by 1982, when a census found just 30 survivors. Last year the population had ticked up to 251. Theodore Adorno, a lifelong wombat lover, lobbied Frankfurt Zoo to buy a pair. Dante Gabriel Rossetti kept two wombats in the garden of his London house as part of a private menagerie which also included kangaroos, racoons, and a toucan that he trained to ride a llama
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october 2018
The Inside Story Of The Trump Transition | Michael Lewis | The Guardian | 27 September 2018
“Bannon and Christie explained federal law to Trump. The nominees were expected to prepare to take control of government. The government supplied them with office space, the campaigns paid their people. To which Trump replied: ‘I don’t give a f—k about the law. Shut down the transition’. Here, Christie and Bannon parted ways. Christie thought that Trump had little chance of running the government without a formal transition. Bannon wasn’t so sure if Trump would ever get his mind around running the federal government; he just thought it would look bad if Trump didn’t at least seem to prepare”
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october 2018
The Child-Abuse Contrarian | David Armstrong | New Yorker | 26 September 2018
The renowned scientist Michael Holick is convinced that “thousands, if not tens of thousands,” of parents worldwide have been falsely accused of fracturing their children’s bones. “It’s just terrible,” he said. “I feel so sorry for these parents.”
september 2018
Comparative Advantage In Math and Science | Alex Tabarrok | Marginal Revolution | 17 September 2018
The economic idea of comparative advantage may help to rationalise why women remain under-represented in maths and sciences. Girls in school tend to do better at maths and sciences than boys do; but they tend to do even better at humanities. So if students pursue what they do best, which is a reasonable course of action, a girl might say: “I got an A+ in English and a A- in math, so I should do English”. A boy might say: “I got a B+ in Math and a B- in English, so I should do Math”
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september 2018
Henry | Rob Delaney | Medium | 17 September 2018
Rob Delaney's reflections on Henry's diagnosis of a brain tumor and the treatment that ensued.
september 2018
Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong | Michael Hobbes | The Huffington Post | 19 September 2018
“Years from now, we will look back in horror at the ways we addressed the obesity epidemic, and the barbaric ways we treated fat people — long after we knew there was a better path. For 60 years, doctors and researchers have known two things that could have improved, or even saved, millions of lives. The first is that diets do not work. Not just Paleo or Atkins or Weight Watchers or Goop, but all diets. it’s time for a paradigm shift. We’re not going to become a skinnier country. We still have a chance to become a healthier one”
september 2018
A Cardiologist’s 9/11 | Sandeep Jauhar | Nautilus | 13 September 2018
“Cadavers had always made me feel queasy. In the near corner was a group of doctors and nurses, and next to them was a plastic stretcher. Behind the group was a wooden table where a nurse and two medical students were sitting grim-faced. They were covered in grime, but you could still make out the reds and oranges and yellows. In the far corner, next to a blown-out door, was a pile of orange body-bags. Soldiers were standing guard. In the dressing room were stacks of unused body-bags”
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september 2018
The French In Afghanistan | Olivier Schmitt | War On The Rocks | 10 September 2018
Review of ‘Jonquille, Afghanistan 2012’, by Jean Michelin, a serving French soldier. “For those Americans who can read French, the book will be interesting not only for its literary qualities, but also because it gives an insight into the French way of war in Afghanistan. Notably, it shows how armed forces with much less logistical support and available means than the U.S. military effectively organize themselves for expeditionary warfare”
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september 2018
Speech Can Bury Democracy | Zeynep Tufekci | Politico | 05 September 2018
A wealth of wisdom in six paragraphs. “We thought that, as speech became more democratized, democracy itself would flourish. As more and more people could broadcast their words and opinions, there would be an ever-fiercer battle of ideas — with truth emerging as the winner, stronger from the fight. But it is increasingly clear that more speech can in fact threaten democracy. The glut of information we now face, made possible by digital tools and social media platforms, can bury what is true, greatly elevate and amplify misinformation and distract from what is important”
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september 2018
I Don’t Like Parenting | Erik Vance | Last Word On Nothing | 03 September 2018
“Don’t get me wrong, I like being a parent. I definitely love my kid. But the actual work of child-rearing, I don’t know that I like it. I am aware that this might make me a bad person. Playing with my child isn’t what I expected. I envisioned throwing a baseball, wrestling, teaching him to rock climb. But my kid can barely catch a rubber ball thrown from five feet away, let alone shag fly balls. The notion that I am too selfish to be a great father has occurred to me. But now that I have a little rabid chimpanzee to call my own, this thought returns with increasing frequency”
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september 2018
The Smell Of Fear | Preet Bano Singh & Valentina Parma | OUP Blog | 08 September 2018
Dentists can smell their patients’ fear, albeit subconsciously. The fear makes them nervous. They perform worse. As Tyler Cowen might say: Solve for the equilibrium. “We recruited two groups of dental students: the first volunteered to donate their body odors; the second performed a series of dental tasks on mannequins under the exposure of different odors. Body odors were collected under two conditions – from donors during a frontal lecture, with minimal involvement on their side, and during a clinical dental session which was likely to induce stress body odors”
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september 2018
What The British Did To India | Omer Aziz | LARB | 01 September 2018
Shashi Tharoor explains colonialism from the receiving end. The exploitation of India made Britain one of the richest countries in the world, and left India one the poorest. “Before the British occupation, India was a culturally and economically prosperous civilization. According to economist Angus Maddison, in the 18th century India accounted for 23 percent of the world’s GDP, a percentage greater than all of Europe combined. By the time the British packed up their things and sailed home in 1947, that number had fallen to under three percent”.
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september 2018
The New Science Of Seeing Around Corners | Natalie Wolchover | Quanta | 30 August 2018
“In their first paper, Freeman and Torralba showed that the light on the wall of a room, filmed with an iPhone, can be processed to reveal the scene outside the window. Last fall they reported that they can spot someone moving on the other side of a corner by filming the ground near the corner. This summer, they demonstrated that they can film a houseplant, then reconstruct a three-dimensional image of the rest of the room from the shadows cast by the plant’s leaves. Or they can turn the leaves into a visual microphone, magnifying their vibrations to listen to what’s being said”
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september 2018
Programming My Child | David Auerbach | Boston Review | 23 August 2018
“A few years after leaving Google, I had a daughter, and thus began another long-term engineering project. The stimulus-response cycle is out in the open with a child, and the feedback loop created between parent and child is tight, controlled, and frequently comprehensible. In the first months of her life, I kept a spreadsheet of my daughter’s milestones. Hardware upgrades to her height and weight were ongoing, but I declared a new ‘version’ whenever my wife and I deemed her sufficiently different to appear as though a software upgrade had been installed”
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august 2018
Biopharma Investing | Martin Shkreli | Martin Shkreli | 12 August 2018
Martin Shkreli may have done some bad things in his life, but right now, in jail, he is writing some good things. This note includes hypothetical interview questions for a person seeking a job in the pharmaceutical industry; a review of “The Acquirer’s Multiple” by Tobias Carlisle; and notes on a recent academic paper about asthma. “The number of people who tell me they have statistical experience or chemistry experience only to swing and miss a softball technical question is large. If you can fluster someone with a softball, they’re probably not a good fit”
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august 2018
The Algorithmic Trap | David Perell | David Perell | 27 August 2018
All around, I’m struck by disappearing diversity. The world is becoming optimized for the dominant aesthetic of the internet. I swear: every trendy, optimized-for-algorithms place has the same lights, the same chairs, and the same damn avocado toast.
august 2018
Searching | David Wolman | Outside | 24 August 2018
Avery Shawler left her Idaho apartment one morning in 2016 to hike a prominent peak. But the day outing quickly took a turn for the worse, and Shawler would end up needing a lot of luck—and all her backcountry skills—to make it home alive.
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august 2018
What Makes a Team Great? | Ben Rowen | The Atlantic | 18 June 2018
Inside the wide-ranging search—led by economists and psychologists—for the elixir that turns good squads into great ones
august 2018
A Few Words About Fake Breasts | Nell Boeschenstein | Granta | 20 August 2018
Memoir of a double mastectomy, undertaken after the writer discovers an inherited genetic susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer. “Ever since that phone call you have been afraid to touch them. You have been afraid of what unfun your funbags might contain. One day, trying to conquer this fear, you feel a lump and go rushing to your doctor who palpates the breast and professes she cannot feel a thing. You are beginning to wonder whether this new knowledge is starting to drive you a little mad. You decide to cut them off”
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august 2018
Ode To Gray | Meghan Flaherty | Paris Review | 21 August 2018
“The color gray is no one’s color. It is the color of cubicles and winter camouflage, of sullage, of inscrutable complexity, of compromise. It is the perfect intermediate, an emissary for both black and white. It lingers, incognito, in this saturated world. It is the color of soldiers and battleships, despite its dullness. The color of industry and uniformity. It brings bad weather, augurs bleakness. It is the color other colors fade to, once drained of themselves. It is the color of old age”
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august 2018
Snowbound | Doug Robinson | Outside | 16 August 2018
Winter storms come early to northern New Mexico, blanketing the area with several feet of snow. A veteran hiker is caught unprepared on the Continental Divide Trail. Freezing and running out of food, he scrapes his way to a campground latrine, holes up inside, and prays for help to arrive, nourished only by a store of horse-feed found at the camp. “Dec 17th. Clear but frigid. I’m still here and fighting. Gonna try to melt water by body heat. Actually don’t feel too bad. Have to stay in sleeping bag all day eating one oat at a time. Wonder how long I’ll last”
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august 2018
California Burning | William Finnegan | NYRB | 16 August 2018
The world is getting “hotter and more flammable”. Nine of the ten biggest forest fires in American history have occurred since 2000. Early last month there were 29 “large uncontained fires” burning across the United States. The best policy is generally to let a forest fire burn; fire is Nature’s way of thinning out the forest. But doing so upsets local residents, and politicians, who insist that fires are put out. The result is a build-up of “dangerous, unhealthy forests, fueling more terrible fires, many of which will need to be fought”
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august 2018
What Trauma Docs Know | Kim Bellware | Chicago Magazine | 03 August 2018
Notes from conversations with trauma doctors at Chicago hospitals, where gunshot and knife wounds make up almost one-third of Level 1 admissions. “Younger patients are ridiculously resilient. They can be shot 20 times, you give them 50 units of blood, and they walk out of the hospital”. “We don’t take the bullets out. If we find them, great. But they’re like splinters, they work their way out eventually”. “Nobody gets shot just once anymore. Everybody is shot four or five times”
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august 2018
Cormac McCarthy’s Existential Westerns | Rachel Kushner | New Statesman | 25 July 2018
“Even when lost, McCarthy’s cowboys don’t doubt, or hope, or suspect, or wonder. Instead they are defined by know-how, as Heidegger might put it. They roll their own and strike anywhere, but mostly off a thumbnail. They rope and break wild horses. And the reader too acquires skills, such as reading beautifully worked prose that has no commas. They go without beds. We go without commas, and feel liberated”
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august 2018
Flying Saltshakers Of Death | Ed Yong | The Atlantic | 30 July 2018
Annals of parasitism. “Imagine emerging into the sun after 17 long years spent lying underground, only for your butt to fall off. That ignominious fate regularly befalls America’s cicadas”. The predator is a fungus called Massospora, which grows inside the cicada, consumes its organs, and converts the rear third of its body into a mass of spores which go on to infect more cicadas. It also doses the cicada with mind-altering drugs — psilocybin and amphetamine. “Perhaps that’s why “the cicadas walk around as if nothing’s wrong even though a third of their body has fallen off”
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august 2018
The Strange Case Of Jean Harris | Gina Wohlsdorf | Crimereads | 07 August 2018
“Jean Harris was in a seriously embattled position at work, she was addicted to prescription meth, and her boyfriend of a decade and a half was slo-mo dumping her for a twinkie he had on the side. If she’d just outlined all that for the jury, and followed it by saying, ‘Then I lost it and shot him’, she’d have been a free woman in a couple of years. This is not even debated, anywhere, in the ridiculously plentiful literature on Jean Harris’s case. Here’s what she said instead”
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august 2018
Cancer Progress | Scott Alexander | Slate Star Codex | 01 August 2018
President Nixon declared “war on cancer” in 1971. How is the war going? For a war of attrition, quite well. The overall incidence of cancer, and death rates from cancer, have been declining in America since 1990, after rising steadily until that time. But why the improvement? Is it because science has been finding new cures for cancers? Or are we seeing the effects of better diagnostic techniques that catch cancer earlier, and of social policies — smoking bans, notably — that make cancer less likely?
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august 2018
Does Your Airline Still Cross Seatbelts | Alex Dichter et al | McKinsey | 03 August 2018
Those quirks of airline behaviour that puzzle all frequent flyers? They puzzle management consultants too. “Cabins where all the belts are lined up across the seats have a look of uniform neatness, but the price is high: at perhaps two seconds a belt, an airline with 100 aircraft can expect to spend quite a lot of money on this routine. Only the first few people boarding aircraft observe the neatness your product team admires, and even then only if they are really tall”
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august 2018
Postcards from the Edge | Justin Nobel | Topic | 02 August 2018
The Berkeley Pit is a gorgeous, toxic former mining site in Montana that’s beloved by tourists. But unless it’s cleaned up soon, it could become the worst environmental disaster in American history.
august 2018
Here’s Why It’s So Impossible to Get Reliable Diet Advice From the News | Emily Oster | Slate | 02 August 2018
What’s good for you seems to change every week. Maybe we should stop blaming the media and look at the studies underneath the stories, too.
august 2018
The Disgusting Colour | Kelly Grovier | BBC | 01 August 2018
Purple is “a contradiction of a colour”, combining the noblest of aspects with the basest of origins. Associated since antiquity with royalty and luxury, purple was distilled from the anal mucus glands of sea-snails. “It took tens of thousands of desiccated hypobranchial glands, wrenched from the calcified coils of spiny murex sea snails before being dried and boiled, to colour even a single small swatch of fabric, whose fibres, long after staining, retained the stench of the invertebrate’s marine excretions”
from instapaper
august 2018
Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it. | Alison Young | USA Today | 27 July 2018
Every year, thousands of women suffer life-altering injuries or die during childbirth because hospitals and medical workers skip safety practices known to head off disaster, a USA TODAY investigation has found.
august 2018
The History Of Orange | David Scott Kastan & Stephen Farthing | Literary Hub | 27 July 2018
“Orange seems to be the only basic color word for which no other word exists in English. There is only orange, and the name comes from the fruit. Tangerine doesn’t really count. Its name also comes from a fruit, a variety of the orange, but it wasn’t until 1899 that ‘tangerine’ appears in print as the name of a color — and it isn’t clear why we require a new word for it. This seems no less true for persimmon and for pumpkin. There is just orange. But there was no orange, at least before oranges came to Europe”
from instapaper
july 2018
Barbearians at the Gate | Matthew Hongolitz-Hetling | The Atavist | 01 July 2018
A journey through a quixotic New Hampshire town teeming with libertarians, fake news, guns, and—possibly—furry invaders.
july 2018
How an Ex-Cop Rigged McDonald’s Monopoly Game and Stole Millions | Jeff Maysh | The Daily Beast | 28 July 2018
Jerome Jacobson and his network of mobsters, psychics, strip club owners, and drug traffickers won almost every prize for 12 years, until the FBI launched Operation ‘Final Answer.’
july 2018
Meet The Anarchists Making Their Own Medicine | Daniel Oberhaus | Motherboard | 26 July 2018
“A pair of single use Mylan epipens can cost over $600 and the company’s generic version costs $300 per pair. In response, Four Thieves published the instructions for a DIY epipen online that can be made for $30 in off-the-shelf parts and reloaded for $3. Shkreli drove the price of the lifesaving HIV medicine Daraprim sells up to $750 per pill. So Four Thieves developed an open source portable chemistry lab that allows anyone to manufacture their own Daraprim for just 25 cents apiece”
from instapaper
july 2018
The Value of a Bear | Gloria Dickie | The Walrus | 18 April 2018
Why some Indigenous communities in BC won’t rejoice over the NDP’s decision to ban the grizzly hunt
july 2018
Genes And Staying In School | Ed Yong | The Atlantic | 23 July 2018
We have a pretty good idea of the genes associated with gains from education. There are almost 1,300 of them, and they all interact. They predict nothing about educational outcomes for the individual, but they are the strongest indicator available about the outcome of education for large groups — an 11 per cent weighting, against 7 per cent for household income. How do scientists deal with this knowledge? At the moment, by ignoring it, for fear of being tagged as eugenicists
from instapaper
july 2018
The Challenge Of “Chronic Lyme” | Rachel Pearson | NYRB | 25 July 2018
Lyme disease is real enough, and can be treated effectively with antibiotics. “Chronic Lyme” is another matter. It describes “a constellation of enduring symptoms — joint pain, fatigue, muscle pain, brain fog, fevers, blurry vision, and much more” in a person who “attributes these symptoms” to Lyme disease, but who “may have no plausible laboratory, clinical, or epidemiological evidence of exposure to the bacterium”. The bad doctor exploits such a patient. What does the good doctor do?
from instapaper
july 2018
The Waiting Room | Christian Allaire | Hazlitt | 24 July 2018
Notes from a detention room at JFK, where a Canadian passport holder waits for TSA officials to recognise that, as a First Nations citizen, he is entitled to live and work in the US. “I wish I could say this is my first time here, but it isn’t. I’ve sat in this exact chair about five times. I brace myself for the long line of questioning. The TSA officer continues to stare at me. I pause and catch his gaze. ‘Sorry’, he says. ‘I’ve never seen an Indian so pale'”
from instapaper
july 2018
Assignment Baghdad | Geoff Manaugh | The Daily Beast | 22 July 2018
When grad students were asked to collect floor plans for buildings in Baghdad in the fall of 1990, were they helping preserve Iraqi culture—or to find targets for U.S. smart bombs?
from instapaper
july 2018
Shopping List For The 1% | Andy Beckett | The Guardian | 19 July 2018
A brief history of How To Spend It, the weekly glossy for the super-rich published by the Financial Times. “The magazine usually has between 80 and 100 pages. About half of them are advertisements, for the biggest global luxury brands and for more singular commodities, such as art and property. The other pages are a gleaming parade of articles – not always easy to tell from the ads – about the most expensive fashion, travel, food, interior design and other consumer goods imaginable”
from instapaper
july 2018
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