Weekend Reading

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  • Bedlam: The story behind the London mental hospital that came to mean hell on earth
    The word “Bedlam” conjures up scenes of wild chaos and confusion but, in the 13th century, it was linked to one specific place: The Bethlehem Royal Hospital in London. This was the first asylum in England, founded in 1247, and it cared for the mentally ill free of charge.
    I have a bit of a thing for articles like this, taking something every day and exploring it (try The Allusionist podcast if this floats your boat).
  • New York monument honors victims of giant octopus attack that never occurred
    Cast-bronze sculpture by Joseph Reginella, who made up the story of a Staten Island ferry disaster, directs people to a fake museum nearby.
    Wonderful! Given the ‘state of the world’ at the moment we need a WHOLE LOT MORE WHIMSY PLEASE!!
  • This Is Why You Shouldn’t Be Drinking Coffee First Thing in the Morning
    If your job involves you pretending to be a functioning adult five days a week you probably rely on an early morning hit of caffeine to help you feel human. Sadly, it turns out we’ve been doing coffee all wrong.
    I post this only say I can say this in reply… ppffffttttt ANY time is CAFFEINE TIME!
  • How unsanitary is double dipping anyway?
    You’ve been there: a bowl of salsa, guacamole, or some other type of dip sits on a party table right next to crackers and tortilla chips. You want some, but can’t help wondering: have the other people at the party been double dipping?
    Is it just me or does ‘double dipping’ sound rude? Just me? (yeah right).
  • Everything Google announced at its massive hardware event today
    Google on Oct. 4 unveiled a wide range of new devices and services at an event in San Francisco, in what the company is calling the largest hardware announcement in its history. The new devices seemingly put Apple’s iPhones and Amazon’s Echo home hub right in the company’s sights.
    Lots of good looking and smart stuff. Enough to make me switch? No. Not yet at least.
  • Tiny machines win chemistry Nobel prize
    The 2016 Nobel Prize for Chemistry has been awarded for the development of the world’s smallest machines. Jean-Pierre Sauvage, Sir Fraser Stoddart and Bernard Feringa will share the 8m kronor (£727,000) prize for the design and synthesis of machines on a molecular scale.
  • Clown sightings: the day it all began
    The first person to spot a clown, the patient zero in the current epidemic of threatening clowns sightings spreading across the US, was a little boy at a low-income apartment complex in Greenville, South Carolina.
    Warning: Contains Clowns.
  • The mystery of why left-handers are so much rarer
    From the time we pick up a chunky crayon and start scribbling as children, it begins to become clear whether we’re right- or left-handed. But what makes one hand dominate? And why are left-handers in the minority?
    And why is it always the weirdos that are left-handed?
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: climate change deniers should not hold public office
    The actor Leonardo DiCaprio has said he thinks that those who don’t believe in climate change should not hold public office.
    Sad that it takes a famous person to make this point. Such is the world we live in.
  • Daft Punk tour rumours sparked by new website and hidden countdown
    Daft Punk tour rumours are circulating (again) thanks to a new website and a mysterious hidden countdown. The website alive2017.com is thought by some fans to be connected to the French duo, who have not toured for ten years.
    Like a spoof. But… what if it’s not?
  • Spare us the sight of men discussing abortion – especially politicians
    If you will never be in the position of needing one, we don’t really want to hear your thoughts on the matter. That includes you, Tim Kaine and Mike Pence
    Dear men, shut up already. Our voices have had their time (and look at the mess we are in!)
  • The Bigger Your Brain, the Longer Your Yawn
    While every STAT story aims to stimulate your cortex, if this one falls short and makes you yawn, you can thank us anyway—at least if a study published Tuesday is right. If you have a big brain, you can credit yawning for promoting brain growth and activity, the researchers found.
    I challenge you to read this article without yawning (you’re probably yawning already though, right?)
  • Trying to Solve the L.E.D. Quandary
    Is there a workable business model for products that are built to last, rather than to fall apart? This is an idea that I explored here in July, in a story about the L.E.D. quandary.
    Blocked product syndrome?
  • Speak, Memory
    When the engineers had at last finished their work, Eugenia Kuyda opened a console on her laptop and began to type. It had been three months since Roman Mazurenko, Kuyda’s closest friend, had died.
    Scares me to think what my ‘rebuilt self’ would be like…
  • Do commas still matter?
    My favorite bumper sticker I’ve never seen: Commas matter. So I’ve always thought, and do still believe with the passion of one whose knuckles were rapped for grammatical errors.
    I hope they do, matter I mean, because god knows I love to, you know, abuse them, whenever I can!