Topics of interest

This is a rough list of things I like to think about when I’m not doing real work. By posting articles here, I’m not saying I entirely agree with them – only that they are well-written approaches to the subject matter that raise interesting points. I was pleased to learn that Walter Benjamin’s “Arcades” is similarly organized, with a logic that is clearly only apparent to the author but (kind of) makes sense as an agglomerate. I’m trying to write an article about each section to say why they’re fascinating… TBC.

*continually updated!*

What we do with our bodies (living and dead) (but mostly dead)

BBC – The tragic tale of Mt Everest’s most famous dead body

Imgur – Bodies left on Everest

The Toast – Considering a Possible Human Head

Vice – The Best Place in the World to Die; Living with the Dead

Gawker – Brazilian Trio Running Cannibal Bakery Go to Trial

NPR – When People Ate People, A Strange Disease Emerged

Buzzfeed – eBay just nixed its human skull market

The Age – The Big Sleep

NYT – Death and Dying, the Animal Way

Minnesota Post – There Will Be Blood

The Guardian – Where in the world is it illegal to die?

Nautilus – The Curious Case of the Bog Bodies

Vice – Meet the Living People Who Collect Dead Human Remains

The Atlantic – The Doctors Whose Patients Are Already Dead

New Republic – Who Owns the Dead?

The Guardian – The sacred task of caring for the dead should be a normal part of life

NYT – A Project to Turn Corpses into Compost

Lapham’s Quarterly – A Brief History of Medical Cannibalism

Nautilus – Love, Death, and Other Forgotten Traditions

Finance Degree Center – How Much Is Your Body Worth on the Black Market?

Vice Munchies – I made blood sausage using my own blood

Reddit – Hi all I am a man who ate a portion of his own leg

Casting Lots: A Survival Cannibalism Podcast

Evolution of cognition; experiences of truth and reality; dreams

NPR – What if evolution bred reality out of us?

The Atlantic – Inside the artificial universe that creates itself

Business Insider – 20 Cognitive Biases

New Statesman – This won’t hurt a bit: the cultural history of pain

The Atlantic – Did Neanderthals Have Souls?

Nautilus – Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking

Nautilus – Your Terrifying Dreams Could Be Rehearsal for Real Life

Sapiens – The Night I Was attacked By A Ghost

Jumping to conclusions in paleoanthropology; imagining ancient times; anatomically modern human-neanderthal sex

John Hawks – Why I’m skeptical about Lucy in the skyfall

Ars Technica – Humans aren’t so special after all: The fuzzy evolutionary boundaries of Homo sapiens

NYT – Who Apes Whom?

Pacific Standard – How Our Understanding of Neanderthals Has Dramatically — and Rapidly — Shifted

Vox – Humans and Neanderthals had sex. But was it for love?

Scientific American – Artistic Depictions of Dinosaurs Have Undergone Two Revolutions

Sapiens – The Man Who Was Mistaken for a Homo sapiens in a Hat

Utah News – The Pyrophilic Primate

Scientific American – I am Innately Aggressive, Not Innately Warlike

Hell’s Ditch – Archaeologists Officially Declare Collective Sigh Over “Paleo Diet”

Huffington Post – The Dangers of Kennewick Man’s DNA

Uncontacted tribes and modern societal absconders

New Yorker – An Isolated Tribe Emerges from the Rainforest

Independent – Awá Amazon tribeswomen reject civilisation and escape to forest

Smithsonian – For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II

Sapiens – The Myth of the Virgin Rainforest

Uncommon modern diseases and treatment paradigms

Buzzfeed – Is empty nose syndrome real?

Slate – Refugees of the Modern World

The Guardian – Green Bank: the town that banned Wi-Fi

NYT – In One Arizona Community, an Oasis in a Toxic World

Guardian – Allergic to life: the Arizona residents ‘sensitive to the whole world’

538 – How MSG got a bad rap: Flawed Science And Xenophobia

Vice – The Cure Culture

Stat – Accidental therapists: For insect detectives, the trickiest cases involve the bugs that aren’t really there

Campus debates about trigger warnings; professorial responsibilities

NYT – Trigger Warnings, Safe Spaces, and Free Speech, Too

The Nation – This Professor Was Fired for Saying ‘Fuck No’ in Class

NYT – Why I Use Trigger Warnings

Pacific Standard – Do we need trigger warnings for depictions of drug use? 

The Atlantic – How Trigger Warnings Silence Religious Students

The Atlantic – The Coddling of the American Mind

The Atlantic – Concept Creep: How Americans Became So Sensitive to Harm

The concepts of genius and personality

Longreads – Who gets to be a genius?

Pacific Standard – We are all confident idiots

Wired – The Myers-Briggs Personality Test Is Bunk But I Don’t Care

Morality, effective altruism, and the trolley-car problem

Boston Review – The Logic of Effective Altruism

The Atlantic – The Greatest Good

Aeon – Homes for the Homeless

Rational Reflection – Vegetarianism, Abortion, and Moral EmpathyVegetarianism, Abortion, and Moral Empathy

Radiolab – Playing God

Utilitarian – Shopping at the Genetic Supermarket

NYT – Should Your Driverless Car Hit a Pedestrian to Save Your Life?

The Verge – How do you teach an autonomous car when to hurt its passengers?

Youtube – A Two-Year-Old’s Solution to the Trolley-Car Problem

Current Affairs – The Trolley Problem Will Tell You Nothing Useful About Morality

MIT News – Driverless cars: Who gets protected?

Fireside – STET

Stanford Encyclopedia – The Repugnant Conclusion

Human female anatomy and childbirth (Why are so many of these phrased as questions?)

American Scientist – Why is Human Childbirth so Painful?

Evolution Institute – Why is the Human Vagina So Big? (see also: The obstetric dilemma hypothesis unraveled)

Scientific American – Do animals know where babies come from?

NYT – Why Is American Home Birth So Dangerous?

Slate – Is a Surrogate a Mother?

Sapiens – Labor Pains and Helpless Infants: Eve or Evolution? Part 1; Part 2

Undark – Of Evolution, Culture, and the Obstetrical Dilemma

Knowable – Labor of Love

The Atlantic – Why is Giving Birth So Hard?

Personal DNA Testing: Positives and Pitfalls

The Atlantic – The False Promise of DNA Testing

Slate – A DNA Test Won’t Determine Elizabeth Warren’s Ancestry

WaPo – She Thought She Was Irish Until…

The Atlantic – How African-Americans Can Use DNA Testing to Connect With Their Past

The Atlantic – When White Nationalists Get DNA Tests That Reveal African Ancestry

NPR – Why Aren’t My Genes Italian?

Transforming drug policy; psychedelics in modern culture

New Yorker – The Trip Treatment

Washington Post – How the FBI just made the world a more dangerous place by shutting down Silkroad 2.0 and a bunch of online drug markets

Washington Post – Carly Fiorina accidentally said something really smart about weed

Nautilus – A Vaccine for Depression?

The Guardian – ‘I’ve done really bad things’: The undercover cop who abandoned the war on drugs

New Yorker – The Drug of Choice for the Age of Kale

Quartz – Psychedelic drugs can be the shortcut to a mental state we may be wired to crave

New Yorker – Altered States (by Oliver Sacks, one of my favorite humans)

All history as alt-history

New Yorker – The Underground Railroad’s Troubling Allure

The Verge – How natural are nature documentaries?

Buzzfeed – The Secret History Of The Photo At The Center Of The Black Confederate Myth

Polygon – Karl Marx and the historical determinism of video games

Medium – Could Rome Have Had an Industrial Revolution?

Imperialism and poverty tourism

Sapiens – Will GMOs Put an End to Hunger? Ask the Hungry

But is it art?

Sapiens – Graffiti Bombing in U.S. National Parks

Running, yoga, and the science of sports (that I practice)

NYMag – How Neuroscientists Explain the Mind-Clearing Magic of Running

Washington Post – Why kids should go barefoot more (and probably adults, too)

Harvard Mag – Run Barefoot, says Dan Lieberman

Quartz – A neuroscientist says there’s a powerful benefit to exercise that is rarely discussed

Runners’ World – The Mystery of “Nonlocal” Fatigue: Why does arm exercise make your legs feel tired?

The Atlantic – Why One Neuroscientist Started Blasting His Core

NYT – The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes

NYT – 85-year-old Marathoner is So Fast That Even Scientists Marvel

Sad Animal Tales

Jeremy the Lefty Snail

Nigel No Mates

Thomas the Blind Bisexual Goose

Romeo, Bolivia’s Lonely Frog

Scammers, pathological liars, and heists

New Yorker – A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deception

The Cut – How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People

ABC News  – The Dropout

New Yorker – The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist

GQ – The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief

Other really good articles

Idle Words – Shuffleboard at McMurdo (related: The White Darkness)

New Yorker – Recall of the Wild

New Yorker – Polar Express

Harper’s – The Radioactive Boy Scout

The Awl – The Shoes Under the Art World

Nautilus – Postcards from the Edge of Consciousness

The Baffler – Despair Fatigue

The Atlantic – The Oliver Sacks Reading List

Current Affairs – Why You Hate Contemporary Architecture

Sky News –  ‘Second World War bomb’ turns out to be big courgette, police in Germany confirm

Just some fun videos

Gawker – Laugh At Robots Falling Down Now, While You Still Can

Vimeo – The colors of feelings

YouTube – 1980 World Disco Finals


*Pro tip* – you can only read a limited number of New Yorker and NYT articles per month. You can get around this by reading them in different browsers.