Tuesday, July 9th, 2013


In With the Old

For many years, experts associated nostalgia with psychological pain. But over the past decade or so, psychologists have changed their tune. As John Tierney explains in the NYT, research has shown nostalgia can actually be a good thing: It "has been shown to counteract loneliness, boredom and anxiety. It makes people more generous to strangers and more tolerant of outsiders. Couples feel closer and look happier when they're sharing nostalgic memories. On cold days, or in cold rooms, people use nostalgia to literally feel warmer." Now I don't feel so bad about missing the old days when reading an article like this would make me feel more optimistic about the future.


Pulling Over Bin Laden

A leaked report from the Abbottabad Commission paints an ugly picture of Pakistan's government (and other officials and organizations) during the era they played host to the world's most wanted person. At one point, Osama bin Laden's car was pulled over for speeding but his guard "quickly settled the matter." The report also makes it clear that Osama bin Laden could have had help from people inside the government. And how did bin Laden avoid aerial detection when he moved about his compound? He wore a cowboy hat. Here are more details from the report.

+ Peter Begen: Bin Laden's life on the run.


Here's Looking For You, Kid

So you want to hide from the NSA? In The AtlanticWire, Philip Bump provides a guide to the nearly impossible. Tip number one: "We are not saying that you should not use Facebook. What we are saying is that if you are desperate to prevent the NSA from knowing what you're doing, you shouldn't use Facebook."

+ NPR: Who's watching when you look for health information online.

+ The New Yorker's Matt Buchanan on Facebook's new graph search: A radical new way to look at Facebook.

+ And from Will Oremus: "If you've ever posted anything embarrassing on Facebook, now is the time to hide it." Note to people warning us to hide or delete embarrassing Facebook content ahead of Graph Search: No one is embarrassed. That's the problem.


Table for One

In California, about 30,000 inmates have gone on a strike that includes refusing meals and skipping work or classes. At issue is the solitary confinement policy at Pelican Bay State Prison, where prisoners suspected of having gang ties are often held in isolation for indefinite periods.


Vitamin T

The eating habits some Mexicans refer to as Vitamin T includes tacos, tamales and tostadas. Well, the T now also stands for Tops. Mexico has taken the most obese country title away from the U.S. The trends in Mexico show how quickly bad food policies and programs can lead to nationwide health problems.

+ So many restaurants are selling "industrially prepared, and often frozen, food" that the government feels the need to pass new legislation. And we're talking about France.

+ According to a recent study, eating food in a cafeteria makes it taste worse.


You Don't Look a Day Over a Billion

How much of an impact can living in heavy pollution have on your life expectancy? Some researchers in China performed a longterm study to answer that question and "estimated that the 500 million residents of northern China in the 1990s collectively lost 2.5 billion years from their lives." That amounts to about five and half years of life for every person in the study.


Cozy Apartment

You walk up five flights of stairs to find a four hundred square foot apartment with a kitchen so small it only accommodates a fridge that is hip high. The asking price: $600,000. That probably sounds nuts to most people. As the NYT's Elizabeth Harris explains, in New York City, that description is enough to start a stampede of potential buyers.


A Font of Knowledge

Ben Barrett-Forrest takes us to Helvetica and back as he presents the history of typography, in stop motion animation. Get ready for a cool trip from Guttenberg's printing press to the modern age (with a brief layover in Comic Sans).


How We Roll

With the race in full force, Gizmodo takes a look back at 100 years of Tour de France bikes and the evolution of cycling.


The Bottom of the News

Last week, Slate told you that your flip flops are grossing them out. This week, their war on Summer continues: Down with Lemonade Stands.

+ Can you really die from peeing on the third rail?

+ A motorcyclist rescues a coffee cup.