Commuting = reading time.
Here are some of the best things I read this week.
‘Star Wars’ Strikes Back: Behind the Scenes of the Biggest Movie of the Year
It is a bleak time for the Republic. It is a period of great struggle for the entire planet, and not only is the dark side winning, it’s no longer clear any other side even exists. Seriously, you guys – Earth is messed up. Just ask a polar bear, or an almond farmer, or a GOP debate moderator.
Arts & Culture
Read Is it OK if you don’t know where you stand on Syria? A poll by YouGov found 1 in 4 women don’t know if they support Syrian airstrikes. And they’re not the only ones.
In the hunt for new antibiotics, the genius of simplicity
BOSTON — Slava Epstein works in aggressively low-tech quarters at Northeastern University. You might expect otherwise, given the extraordinary work that he and his colleagues are doing, discovering new kinds of antibiotics that are fundamentally different than the ones doctors prescribe today.
Peking Duk fan infiltrates backstage by fooling security guard with Wikipedia edit
You can’t trust everything you read on Wikipedia, as a security guard has learned after falling for a concertgoer’s auspicious edit.
All the Bros I Love Leave Me
On a glassy, windy night, I tried to make an employee of this magazine like me. To achieve this, I used a kind of psychological warfare. I don’t have enough male friends. I want more, badly. Most of the bros I love leave me.
How To Turn Your #NaNoWriMo Project Into a Real Novel
Back in 2009, I used NaNoWriMo to create the first 20,000 words of what eventually became STONE OF FIRE. But the words I wrote that month were only the start of the journey. They were first draft words that needed a lot more work to turn into book form.
Creeps on a Train
I like to work in London in glittering cabaret shows, bedecked in sequins and crystals then I gather up my bags and trudge home, make up flaking, at the end of an evening. I take the late night train home, a train regularly character filled.
Giving Up Is the Enemy of Creativity
What determines whether the ideas we generate are truly creative? Recent research of ours finds that one common factor often gets in the way: we tend to undervalue the benefits of persistence.
Rick Dyer’s Believe It Or Not!
A team of Bigfoot believers, a legion of “Haters,” more than one Walmart parking lot, and the showman at the center of it all. I. To Believe or Not to Believe Things got weird, as they so often do, in a Walmart parking lot.
Gift Shopping for People You Hate: the Passive-Aggressive Shopping Guide
Those who used to follow my blog over on LiveJournal may remember that for several years now I’ve done a list of suggested gifts you could give to someone you didn’t like very much, but had to buy a gift for anyway.
The Other Side of The Other Side of Midnight
In 1973, author SIdney Sheldon published the book “The Other Side of the Midnight,” a novel focusing on a love triangle between a American World War II pilot, the lover he takes while stationed in France, and the woman back home he abandons her for after the war is over.
Can a French Friar End the 21st-Century Slave Trade?
Xavier Plassat is a friar of the Dominican order, a Frenchman who has worked for decades in the Brazilian Amazon and is renowned for his fight against slavery as it exists in our time.
What critics agree are the best books of 2015
2015 has been an unusual—and exciting—year for books. We saw new works from literary legends, like Dr. Seuss and Harper Lee, books from rising contemporary figures such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, and tomes from established writers such as Salman Rushdie and Jonathan Franzen.
Wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery
In 1944 an American war ship loaded with supplies and explosives never made it to her destination. Bound for Allied-controlled territory in France, a side-trip to join up with a shipping convoy – and an inconvenient sandbank – got in the way.
‘The Boy in the Bubble’ Moved a World He Couldn’t Touch
The epitaph on David Phillip Vetter’s gravestone observes correctly that “he never touched the world.” How could he have? From a few seconds after his birth until two weeks before his death at age 12, David lived life entirely in one plastic bubble or another.
The Mystery Men Behind Carly Simon’s ‘You’re So Vain’
According to her recently released memoir Boys in the Trees, Carly Simon decided at the age of three that she wanted nothing more than to be noticed.
TIME Person of the Year 2015 : Angela Merkel
Fairy tales are where you find them, but any number seem to begin in the dark German woods where Angela Merkel spent her childhood. The girl who would grow up to be called the most powerful woman in the world came of age in a glade dappled by the northern sun and shadowed by tall pines.
India’s Untouchable Queen of the Dead
She sits down under the arches of the ancient temple blackened by soot, guarding the sacred fire — an eternal flame used to cremate the dead. In a male-dominated realm, her presence instils a sense of maternal safety. Two golden bracelets tie her burly wrists.
Slacktivism is having a powerful real-world impact, new research shows
It’s time to rethink armchair activism. As large social movements from the Arab Spring to #BlackLivesMatter have shown, 21st-century activism is intimately tied to the internet. But does the activity carried out on social networks actually help make a difference?
Reggie Miller Sizes Up Steph Curry
A recent fivethirtyeight.com piece made a lengthy statistical argument that the Golden State Warriors—the only N.B.A. team in history to win its first twenty-three games—could be even better if they let Stephen Curry, their very human-looking superman, take even more shots.