Thursday, May 22nd, 2014


Soap on the Ropes

Prior to his post-college Peace Corps experience, my friend Erik wanted to train his body to need fewer showers. So he stopped bathing. After a rough patch (for everyone around him), Erik really didn't smell all that bad. Today, many researchers are studying whether we should be adding bacteria to our bodies instead of constantly scrubbing it away. NYT Magazine's Julia Scott visited with a team looking to put an end to daily showers -- which they replace with a few pumps of mist containing billions of cultivated Nitrosomonas eutropha (you may have met them before, in dirt and untreated water). The team's MIT-trained engineer hasn't showered for the past 12 years. Welcome to: My No-Soap, No-Shampoo, Bacteria-Rich Hygiene Experiment. (I'm pretty my 7 year-old son has been running the same test.)


Targeting the Drug Lords?

Two California counties are banding together to go after drug pushers. But they're not just going after the low level pushers working the malls and the corners of your neighborhoods. They're going after execs at the largest drug makers who they accuse of "waging a 'campaign of deception' aimed at boosting sales of potent painkillers such as OxyContin."


Coup d’Thai

Remember yesterday's military takeover of Thailand that definitely wasn't a coup? Well, it's a coup. The leader of the Royal Thai Army said the detention of political leaders and country-wide curfew would allow the country to "return to normal quickly."

+ The Daily Beast: Thailand's 19th Nervous Breakdown; a report from Bangkok under curfew.


It’s Payback Time

"The recovering alcoholic may well have to live with his illness for the rest of his life. But at least he is not living a drunken lie. Reparations beckons us to reject the intoxication of hubris and see America as it is -- the work of fallible humans ... An America that asks what it owes its most vulnerable citizens is improved and humane." In an interesting and detailed piece that provides an overview of the broad damages caused by institutionalized racism, The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates makes The Case fo Reparations.


Mi Casa es Su Casa (y mi dinero)

"To eat, I stockpiled a cache of Trader Joe's entrees in the break room -- no one noticed that a single pair of initials monopolized the freezer. Every night, my coworkers would remark on my sudden enthusiasm for budget reports and inquire about the midnight oil. It was still burning, I assured them." From Narratively: The Secret Life Of An Obsessive Airbnb Host.

+ The New Republic: Uber and Airbnb are waging a libertarian war on regulators.

+ The NYT Upshot has a handy interactive guide if you're deciding whether to rent or buy.


To Dye For

Orange soda. Red candies. There are many foods where you fully expect to find dye. And you may not be surprised to know it's in products like Kraft Mac and Cheese. But it's in a lot more places than that ("even white icing contains artificial color"). From Modern Farmer: Just how much dye is in your food? (I could easily survive on Soylent if it looked like a Shamrock Shake.)


Snow Job?

Have you ever aspired to stand barefoot in the snow for five minutes and then walk into a hot sauna? Perhaps you're more interested in learning to hold your breath for five minutes? A Dutch extremeophile named Wim Hof offers that and more in his course to help you reach your goals (though, classes will be canceled the week he attempts to climb Everest wearing shorts). Scott Carney bravely went to visit Hof in the Polish mountains -- where he quickly found himself climbing up a snow-covered mountain in only his skivvies. From Playboy (where I had to browse for hours trying to find this article), The Iceman Cometh.


This is Not Hype

"From a distance, everyone will be able to read text, enlarged and limited to the desired subject, projected on an individual screen. In this way, everyone from his armchair will be able to contemplate the whole of creation, in whole or in certain parts." That sounds a lot like the Internet. But Paul Otlet wrote that description in 1935. From the awesome Alex Wright: The Secret History of Hypertext.


Intelligent Design

"It's not just the interface piece. It's designing the right business model into it. Designing the right marketing and the copy, and the way to distribute it. All of those pieces are critical." From FastCo: 4 myths about Apple design, from an ex-Apple designer.


The Bottom of the News

It's rare when it's a good idea to accept a billion dollar divorce settlement. But I think we can safely say that Russia's '"fertilizer king" would have been off taking that initial deal. Instead, he was just hit with a record $4.8 billion divorce judgment.

+ A Brazilian street artist has created the World Cup's first viral image (and it could be powerful enough to be its last.)

+ Syndicated from Kottke: Through a series of unlikely events, Steven Frank was able to master the near-unwinnable Dragon's Lair when he was a kid. And for one day, it made him a God amongst kids. (Well, nerdy kids anyway.)