Five of the more interesting things I've read in the past 24 hours.
Because sometimes you're on deadline, but you still need an occasional distraction, and you can't track the bozo Senate Republicans all day without wanting to duel it out, South Texas style.
1) On self-amputation and sports writing: "Cricket historian, writer, surgeon, spy: the mad world of Major Rowland Bowen," Russell Jackson (The Guardian).
Bowen was 52 years old when he chopped off his own leg. When he finished the gruesome procedure, he simply limped his way to the telephone, leaving behind a trail of blood, and called himself an ambulance.
2) On HBO's new series Confederate, Jermaine Spradley's Twitter conversation
How alternate is the history if Confederate flags still fly atop state buildings across the south? How alternate is the history if we're still debating whether the war was about states rights, economics, or slavery?
3) On being white in America, and how it relates to Hollywood folk, Fran Lebowitz interviewed in 1997 (Vanity Fair).
The advantage of being white is so extreme, so overwhelming, so immense, that to use the word “advantage” at all is misleading since it implies a kind of parity that simply does not exist.
4) On exercise science and signals among the noise, running experts are asked who they look to for advice, then those people are asked the same question, and so on (Outside).
Halson says her top follow is Keith Baar (@MuscleScience), a professor at University of California, Davis who studies, among other things, the way exercise increases muscle mass. “He is always at the cutting edge of science,” Halson says. “As Baar works with athletes, he has the ability to translate science into practical and meaningful information.”
5) On social norms and chile peppers, and how they're alike, Peter Turchin sums up books about spicy food, brain development, cooperation, pleasure and pain (Cliodynamica).
I grew up in Russia and for the first 20 years of my life I never tasted a chili pepper. I still remember my first encounter with this potent condiment in a Thai restaurant after moving to the United States: biting into an innocuous looking bit, burning sensation followed by intense pain in the mouth, copious tears flowing out of my eyes. Thai restaurants in Seattle, WA, when I did my postdoc there, had a numerical system allowing one to specify how hot you wanted your meal to be. I never graduated beyond 2 (or 3, if I felt particularly masochistic). It was incomprehensible to me that the Thai not only endured but actually enjoyed food with spiciness dialed up to its maximum level.