but am I allowed to joke about it? when I describe a guy to my brunch friend as “the most tragic example of meat rationing since world war II,” and he laughs, is he a bad person?
james hamblin | the perfect penis
[presented without comment.]
can we talk about this claim that viewing pictures of baby animals at work will make you more productive? I feel like I spend my day strategically avoiding babies of all kinds, not because I’m a monster but because the only purpose they serve is to remind me that of all the things I’ll never have, for example, a puppy that never needs to be taken out and can be left alone for a week or two, should I decide to go on vacation. or a cat that doesn’t shed all over every single thing I own and repel at least fifty percent of my friends with its allergens. or a human infant that won’t grow into an angsty tween that hates me. or a baby panda. or a baby cheetah.
on the other side of this coin is my love of my parents’ dog. it is the greatest. ever. runs for miles. sleeps in my lap. awesome.
after my latest visit, I decided that I might be ready to make such a commitment (though this may be the most terrifying, nausea-inducing commitment I’ve ever considered). my grandparents were longtime breeders of brittany spaniels. I visited one spring a few years ago and met the most lovely brittany in the entire world. her name is dusty and she didn’t have the traditional brittany traits: separation anxiety, extreme energy, uncontrollable strength. she loved sleeping for hours at my feet, but she could run for days. because we were way out in the middle of nowhere, we ran without a leash and she always came as soon as I called. but once she rolled in a mud puddle.
last week I decided that my entire life would be better if I could have dusty. unfortunately, she’s busy creating puppies and living somewhere in the midwest. but there’s a group of breeders right here in nyc who have been contacted and are aware that I’m looking for a two-ish year old calm, sweet, friendly brittany. it’s going to be a long process to find the perfect dog, but luckily I have neither a home in which to live with this dog nor a job with which to support it, so I’m not in much of a rush. and the year or so it may take to find the perfect dog will give me time to settle in with the ten or so year commitment that comes with dog ownership.
I’ve been resisting doing this, because I really shouldn’t be murdering time by reading so many unhelpful and extraneous articles, but I do. so here it is.
a captivating, heartbreaking story that will remind you of your youth, though it is probably nothing like your youth at all. so beautiful.
douglas preston researches the murders of seven couples, purportedly committed by a serial killer known as the monster of florence. during the course of his investigation, he becomes entangled with the story.
I know you’ve always wondered: if you’re shot in the head, do you feel it. now you know.
my dad worked for quite a while in manhattan, and one of the stories he likes it tell is about automats, so this one is for him.
a poignant story of a family living with mental illness. also, a story about love.
this american life appreciates radiolab.
q&a with jonathan safran foer. this will have to do until his next book is published. sigh.
as an admitted fan of jonah lehrer’s work, I’m not entirely sure I care all that much about his reuse of his own work. how are you all feeling about that?
I had to do it — too many interesting things this week.
this is the future of music. amanda palmer’s kickstarter may have changed the way music is created and distributed. very cool.
merchant exchange: a couponing site for the young. check it out and let me know what you think.
do you sleep with your electric fan blowing all night? if you do, you’re probably going to die soon. ok, well that’s not true, but this belief has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon in south korea.
this kid is much cooler than you are — he created a cheap and accurate cancer sensor at the same age that you and your friends were crowded around your packard bell contemplating what next to say via AIM to secure a recess date with your crush. good job.
have an awesome fiery sunburn like me? you might one day be the proud subject of melafind, which uses military technology to detect melanoma.
do the jews own anxiety? presented without comment.
so bored, you’re about to fall asleep? read this first — it’ll explain why your body twitches when you’re between sleep and awake.
michelle obama for nyc mayor. the end.
to begin: a fascinating article about the history of the elevator (I can’t believe I just typed those words), including reassuring information about the structural design and safety features of modern elevators.
who needs grad school when you can suffer a brain injury that releases previously buried savant-like capabilities? I have to admit, after reading this article, a small part of me wished for a similar fate.
in an effort to prepare for a life of student loan repayments, here’s how to make the most of the tiniest apartment. moveable walls, hidden storage, and filtered air. pretty neat. I wonder how I can entice the designer, Graham Hill, to renovate my future apartment.
sometimes it feels like our 20s were designed for reevaluating everything about ourselves and our choices: where we live, how we spend out money, who we go out with on Friday night, who we wake up next to on Saturday morning. it turns out that feeling will likely extend well beyond these years. will we ever stop wondering whether the choices we’ve made are the right ones?
you don’t have to stop learning just because you’re no longer in school. lots of schools, including Harvard and MIT (which has, admittedly, made course lectures available for free for quite a while) are providing free online classes. check them out!
I was recently chatting with a friend about Jonah Lehrer’s new book on creativity, and she mentioned a chapter about how loss, sadness, and/or depression can promote creativity. if you aren’t unhappy, don’t worry, though: there are other ways to enhance your creativity.
switched at birth + twins = learning your sister is someone else’s twin.
the Atlantic selects 53 photos from the more than 870,000 just released digitally by the New York City Municipal Archives. the above photo is captioned: A man reads a newspaper on New York’s 6th Ave. and 40th St., with the headline: “Nazi Army Now 75 Miles from Paris.” on May 18, 1940. the comments at the bottom are especially interesting.
we’re all reaching that age where our friends are pairing off and making their pairings permanent. one feeling I’ve had that I have yet to share out loud with my friends, especially those who are members of these pairings, is the feeling that some of my friends were meant to be with someone else. those relationships that seemed to fizzle and fade because one or the other was afraid to admit their feelings, one or the other claimed not to have romantic feelings, one or the other wasn’t ready to be in a relationship. these letters from Woody Allen to Diane Keaton leave me with the same sense of cosmic missed connection.
feeling a creatively blocked? unable to write, play, create, innovate? here’s some advice to promote creative thought and action. my favorite: 8. Be positive. ”Never forget that magic is an elusive force. Sometimes exasperating in its creation, it is generated by confidence and certainty. It takes swagger, madness, absurdity; it requires encouragement, irreverence, and positivity.” (John Hegarty)
an interesting collaboration between NPR and TED that discusses cheating, valuation, happiness, and why the brain is imperfect.
a fascinating glimpse into dating lessons for men who leave their Orthodox Jewish Communities. it might just incite you to be less dismissive when awkwardly approached on the subway or in a park. the only bad thing about this article: too short.
five important pieces of dating advice. my favorite: 1. If you have more than five dealbreakers, you’re the dealbreaker. (I like it mostly because it includes a 30 rock reference and, as a result of this first piece of advice, I realized that I have literally zero dealbreakers. maybe low standards should be a dealbreaker.)
I’ve always loved Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, so when I saw this NY Times fiction piece she wrote, I was immediately sucked in. I love how she aligns current events with fantasy to weave a riveting story.
bet you didn’t know ellen and portia eat vegan. now ellen has a new vegan pet food. to be fair, I have no pets and am not really all that interested in falling into the vast abyss that is The Ethics of Pet Care. It is my understanding that dogs are biologically designed to eat both meats and plants (and can, I believe, go either way), while cats are biologically designed to eat meats only (though obviously cat foods contain products other than meats). It is also my understanding that the real concerns with pet food are not necessarily factory farming but rather the quality of the meat we currently feed to pets (think animals found dead on the side of the road).
if you’re interested in cutting back a bit on consumption, here’s a list of things that are ok to buy used (hint: not undies).
one of the soundest arguments for adopting vegetarianism (or adapting your current diet to be more veg/local/seasonal friendly) is the significant effects of factory farming and shipping of foods on the environment. if that argument appeals to you, you may want to check out this little global warming map, which details the record-breaking temperatures of March 2012. Obviously this map doesn’t directly connect the effects of eating a steak to damage to the environment, but it’s all interrelated.
a list of the country’s most and least walkable cities and neighborhoods. see where your city stands.
finally, an article about the abuse of science, the use of herbal remedies, and the importance of doing your research before blindly following the crowd.
can’t stop procrastinating? check out this article.
nearly one-third of all households contain only one resident [and other interesting facts about the rising trend of single-dom in the US].
when do negative thoughts become depression?
a new answer to the age-old question: can a man and a woman be just friends?
recommended yoga for runners (only ten minutes long!).
one-hundred years of technology in one graph.
this is what it looks like to be detained as a juvenile in the US.
brains, brains, brains.
a media guide to gender-neutral coverage of women candidates + politicians.
I’m looking forward to a summer spent in the woods and on the lakes of upstate new york (more on that later). if you’re thinking of moving somewhere remote, check out these destinations.
some fun, embarrassing, awkward, and uncomfortable “first time I had sex" stories from Sarah Silverman, Lena Dunham, Krista Burton, and more.
probably worth reading: Lil B’s eighty-minute lecture at NYU, which includes a discussion of his ant problem: “I was looking at insects. I do my observations when I go out. If I become a neurosurgeon or I’m about to come into some bugs, I’m rocking. With the bugs, man, you just be looking at them. Because I was having these big ant problems in my house. It was crazy. And these are people in their own way, too. As I was studying these ant colonies infesting my house daily, I’m not kidding you, I left food out and 20 minutes later r-r-r-r-r and I’m like, man, they already know! They get it down pat! And real talk, like, seeing these ants and studying them and respecting them, it’s like, man, they’re in their own community too. They’re trying to survive. They love. They fight. They telling themselves something. We can’t understand, but one day we will.”
finally, what fictional character shares your birthday?
following the Supreme Court’s ruling that anyone who has been arrested may be strip searched prior to admission to jail, Slate provides a guide to proper strip-search technique.
after last week’s post about Kerry Max Cook, you’re probably wondering how forensic DNA testing works. now you know, in under two minutes.
ladies, what it’s like to donate your eggs, and what they might not tell you.
what do you consider to be the purpose of the universe? is there any purpose at all?
the most interesting aspect of the new release of Titanic is that Neil deGrasse Tyson corrected the images of the sky such that the stars are seen as they would have been at that time (winter, 1912).
remember when you stayed up for twenty-four hours straight, watching all the episodes of studio 60 in a row? check out the trailer for (and WNYC’s coverage of) Aaron Sorkin’s new show, The Newsroom.
real-life Hunger Games in North Korea.
Kurt Vonnegut’s eight tips on how to write a great story are the perfect.
an article about Tonya Harding before she was better known as Nancy Kerrigan’s attacker.
an argument to convince you to start smoking. or, if you’re going to continue to stubbornly protect the health of the tiny bronchioles within your perfectly pink lungs, you could read here about why you should at least not be so concerned that others aren’t as careful.
I totally trust the New Yorker to advise me on ways to prevent or eliminate my hangover.
seven people who gave up on civilization to live in the wild.
Kerry Max Cook was wrongfully held on death row in Texas for sixteen years (the years Cook spent in prison totaled twenty two). even after his release, he was not quite free, and, to this day, seeks justice.
can depression be good for you?
George Orwell | Politics and the English Language, 1946
the Hebrew University of Jeruselum and California Institute of Technology are working jointly to digitize the over eighty thousand records held at the Albert Einstein Archives the two universities. the project began on March 19, 2012 with two thousand documents, ranging from manuscripts to diaries to letters.
for those of you who are still hoping that Amelia Earhart will be found alive, she would have turned 128 this July. you might have better luck simply hoping for the discovery of Earhart’s aircraft and likely crash site.
Steinbeck passes along writing tips. on the other hand, “If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another.”
good news for some of us: it’s ok to be an introvert. though you my make up a minority of the population, your introversion is something to cultivate, not something to obscure. for others: tips on caring for your introvert.
you might consider purchasing Jonah Lehrer’s new book, or at least reading a bit about how to be creative.
When I am gone what will you do?
Who will write and draw for you?
Someone smarter—someone new?
Someone better—maybe YOU!