A profile of Matt Rutledge, the founder of deals site Woot, which sold to Amazon in 2010. Rutledge is starting a new deals site called "Meh."
PUBLISHED: July 1, 2014
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3628 words)
Magazine nerds, here we go: A starter collection of 27 behind-the-scenes stories from some of your most beloved magazines, including The New Yorker, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Cosmopolitan, Vanity Fair and the New York Review of Books, plus now-defunct publications like Might, George, Sassy and Wigwag.
On saving souls in the suburbs:
Ruth morphs into another person altogether when Larry commands these spirits to manifest. Either she is an Academy Award-winning horror-film actress, with Ferrari-smooth shifts of body and voice, or she is encountering something in a subconscious realm. At one point, she speaks the name of a demon in a distinctly foreign voice: “Ba-al.” Later, in casual conversation, the pronunciation comes out differently: “Bail,” with a bit of a twang—the name of a Canaanite god mentioned numerous times in the Bible.
She describes the experience as sitting in a passenger seat, watching things unfold beside her as though another part of her brain controls them. “It becomes our little scavenger hunt,” Ruth says cheerily. “What’s the crazy little person inside me going to say next?”
PUBLISHED: May 26, 2014
LENGTH: 17 minutes (4427 words)
A stunning rise in tremors connected to fracking:
All along, the Railroad Commission, the state’s oil and gas regulator, maintained it had “not identified a significant correlation between faulting and injection practices.” But when the shaking didn’t stop, it tweaked its stock statement in December to say that the correlation was not “definitive.” Yet it remained at odds with everything else McKee had heard, not just from folks at church, but from the USGS.
Finally, she read in the Azle News that Railroad Commissioner David Porter would host a town hall meeting in the Azle High School auditorium on January 2. McKee resolved to go, determined to win back her quiet country life.
PUBLISHED: May 12, 2014
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6172 words)
Examining the benefits of short bouts of everyday stress:
When Dhabhar was starting his graduate work in McEwen's lab in the early 1990s, "the absolutely overwhelming dogma was that stress suppresses immunity." But this didn't make sense to him from an evolutionary perspective. If a lion is chasing you, he reasoned, your immune system should be ramping up, readying itself to heal torn flesh. It occurred to Dhabhar that the effects of acute stress, which lasts minutes to hours, might differ from the effects of chronic stress, which lasts days to years.
Dhabhar likens the body's immune cells to soldiers. Because their levels in the blood plummet during acute stress, "people used to say: 'See, stress is bad for you; your immune system's depressed,'" he says. "But most immune battles are not going to be fought in the blood." He suspected that the immune cells were instead traveling to the body's "battlefields"—sites most likely to be wounded in an attack, like the skin, gut and lungs. In studies where rats were briefly confined (a short-term stressor), he showed that after an initial surge of immune cells into the bloodstream, they quickly exited the blood and took up positions precisely where he predicted they would.
PUBLISHED: May 1, 2014
LENGTH: 9 minutes (2355 words)
The story of Caleb and Colten Moore—two talented brothers who competed in the X Games doing tricks on snowmobiles. After Caleb died in a competition, Colten had to learn to move on without his older brother, whom he looked up to all his life:
Wade was not enthusiastic about their desire to ride freestyle. They’d already spent so much time and money on racing and some of those stunts seemed so crazy. But soon Caleb had an agent who wanted to pay him to perform in arenas all over the world. The shows were full of pyrotechnics and heavy metal and, on occasion, monster trucks. And at every opportunity, Caleb would tell his agent about his little brother and all the fantastic tricks he could do. When he finally convinced someone to give Colten a shot, he then had to convince Colten that he could do it. Colten actually crashed in his first show, but Caleb was relentless with both his little brother and the promoters, and Colten eventually got another shot. Every time her sons left home, Michele would remind them to take care of each other.
PUBLISHED: April 1, 2014
LENGTH: 21 minutes (5417 words)
Fifty years ago, an all-white fraternity at Stanford pledged its first black member, creating national headlines and making the frat house a hot spot for the civil rights movement:
The Stanford chapter wasn't spoiling for a fight, but its members chafed at the notion that race should be a factor in membership considerations. A letter sent to chapter alums in late 1964 warned that the house was in crisis because it was "not free to pledge Negroes." In February 1965 the chapter sent a letter to Sigma Chi officials saying it intended to rush prospective members on a nondiscriminatory basis.
When pledge bids were given out in March 1965, one went to Washington, who accepted on April 3. On April 10, word arrived that Sigma Chi's national executive committee had suspended the Stanford chapter as of April 2, allegedly for chronic flouting of rituals and traditions.
PUBLISHED: March 6, 2014
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3542 words)
Inside couples counseling with Harville Hendrix and Helen Hunt:
Harville and Helen take turns talking and clicking through a PowerPoint that includes slides in both English and Spanish. Helen explains that half the people here tonight are the “draggers,” the other half are the “draggees,” and that it will actually be that second group that’s more excited by the end of the workshop. “See,” she says. “Your partner already decided that you’re the problem.”
Harville goes over what couples generally want from a relationship, which he boils down to: safety, a connected feeling, and joy. Helen explains that even if we forget everything else, they hope we remember three things. One idea: that childhood influences marriages. One skill: the ability to have safe conversations. One decision: a commitment to zero negativity.
We both bristle a bit at that last one.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 11, 2014
LENGTH: 19 minutes (4893 words)
On the disappearance of the Wilson Quarterly:
The subject line worried me. “The Wilson Quarterly’s Final Happy Hour,” it said. Even the rosiest interpretation—that they’d decided, say, to discontinue their occasional get-togethers—was troubling. A link to an online invitation appeared below. The editors had completed the winter 2014 issue, a best-of collection drawn from “four decades of classic essays.” A few particulars followed and then the bad news, withheld for a bit, the way people do: “This will be our final quarterly issue,” they said.
PUBLISHED: Feb. 11, 2014
LENGTH: 7 minutes (1789 words)