Weekend Reading

  • I’m Meditating (I’m Just Not Sitting Down)
    For a while, it seemed like everyone was talking about how meditation changed their lives—friends, acquaintances, podcast interviewees and interviewers, authors, even the baristas at the coffee shops I went to. Someone told me about the Headspace app, so I downloaded it.
    Other apps are available – I prefer Buddhify – but yes to this.

  • Re: Hate Mail
    I’ve received 15 emails from my internet stalker in the past four days. It’s like watching an inmate from behind a two-way mirror. He read a short story I wrote once satirically titled “The Greatest Story Ever Written.” It’s about a group of male writers who lose their way.
    One wish for the world: End hate.

  • How coffee protects the brain
    Scientists have now proved that drinking certain types of coffee can be beneficial to brain health, but how does this popular brew support cognitive function? A new study identifies some of the mechanisms that allow coffee to keep mental decline at bay.
    I bet TEA doesn’t do this, stupid tea.

  • Aaaand Now … an Oral History of the Greatest Starting Lineup Introduction in Sports History
    In the annals of the Great American Sports Songbook, a singular tune has reigned for more than three decades as the undisputed heavyweight champion of outré jock jams.
    I think the third CD I ever bought was purely to get this track.

  • A Day in the Life of a Mountain-Bike Trail Builder
    Clayton Woodruff, vice president of Progressive Trail Design (PTD) in Bentonville, Arkansas, misses digging in the dirt.
    Fun job! (But still a job).

  • Why Don’t We Forget How to Ride a Bike?
    Most of us learn how to ride a bike during childhood. But as we grow older, many of us stop riding and put those once-beloved bikes in storage. Years later, when we discover these relics and hop on, it’s as if we never stopped biking.
    Why don’t I forget song lyrics from 20 years ago but can’t remember what I did last week?

  • Tired of Pasted Text Messing Up Your Formatting? Try This
    You paste text into a document and for some dumb reason the formatting comes with. Gah! Here’s how to stop that.
    Mac users (posting ahead of potential new MacBook purchase…)

  • I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.
    I n my office, I have a coffee mug from Stanich’s in Portland, Oregon. Under the restaurant name, it says “Great hamburgers since 1949.
    Screw you internet!!

  • Does cutting carbs really help keep weight off? The big new diet study, explained.
    It’s probably the most contentious question in the dieting wars: How much do carbs really matter when it comes to weight loss?
    Another week, another sciencing of what we eat.

  • This mobile laundry gives homeless people free showers and washes their clothes
    Set up in 2014 by two friends, Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett, the Orange Sky Laundry started life as a van that had been fitted out with a washing machine and dryer. There are now 27 Orange Sky vans in Australia, which are operated by a team of volunteers.
    This is wonderful!!

  • The remote UK community living off-grid
    On a remote peninsula in the north-west Highlands of Scotland is the small off-grid community of Scoraig. Accessible only by boat or a five-mile walk, the residents of Scoraig live in relative isolation, partly powering their homes and school with wind power.

  • The Wrong Pair
    Dr. Alvarez furrowed his brow, crouching to view my right breast head-on, inscribing something on it with a dark blue marker — a map for his scalpel.
    Men have it so so easy.

  • How to Control a Machine with Your Brain
    For eighteen years, Jan Scheuermann has been paralyzed from the neck down. She is six feet tall, and she spends all day and all night in a sophisticated, battery-powered wheelchair that cradles her—half sitting, half reclining—from head to toe.
    The upside of all those scary Boston Robotics and AI videos? This. Life changing.

  • The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete
    Nicole Follmann arrived at the Brooklyn House of Detention last spring to post bail by fax. This is how it works: You can post someone’s bail from any jail or courthouse, but you have to send a fax to wherever the person is housed.
    BEEEEEoooooooo ksshshhhshshhshhh BEEooeEEOOOOOE Jahsajhjahajshjkkkkk (sorry, you don’t speak fax?)

  • Rape survivors are clear on the distress of a ‘not proven’ verdict
    1878 rapes and attempted rapes reported to the police, but only 251 prosecutions and 98 convictions. Just 39% of cases which are prosecuted lead to a conviction. This is the lowest conviction rate for any crime. Nearly 30% of acquittals were not proven, compared with 17% for all crimes and offences.
    This has to change. Come on Scotland, we are better than this.

  • In Defense of Puns
    Once upon a time—in 382 C.E., to be exact—Eve bit into an apple. Seeing it was good, she offered the apple to Adam, and he also took a bite. Whereupon Adam and Eve’s eyes were opened, and they realized they were naked.
    I love a pun, I tried a number of puns here but none worked; no pun in ten did.

  • 24 Amazing, Homemade Dungeons & Dragons Maps
    Last week we asked Atlas Obscura readers to send us their greatest DIY Dungeons & Dragons maps. It was a critical success. We received dozens of fantasy adventure maps illustrating the amazing worlds in our readers’ imaginations.
    Wow. Never ‘got’ D&D but some of these are epic.

  • New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit
    For two years, observers have speculated that the June, 2016, Brexit campaign in the U.K. served as a petri dish for Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in the United States. Now there is new evidence that it did.
    But of course.

  • The Mystery of the Havana Syndrome
    In the winter of 2017, the American Embassy in Havana was in a precarious state.
    A fascinating insight into Cuba and the CIA.

  • A dark, handsome rival plans to muscle in on Nutella
    It’s being called the jar wars. For decades, the Italian spread known as Nutella has sat placidly upon its throne—the undisputed queen of the chocolate (and chocolate-hazelnut) spreads, with 54% of global market share. Now there’s a pretender looming in the wings.
    Just posting here. For reasons.

  • Why Scientists Are Rushing to Catalog the World’s Poop
    If a group of scientists is successful, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault will be getting a cousin—one that may initially sound rather strange. Instead of gathering seeds to preserve plant species, this project involves gathering fecal samples from people all over the globe.
    I really must stop complaining about MY job…