Roundup: Giant Viruses, Pooping in Public, and the Real Reason We Get Fat?

‘Weekly’ Media Roundup (Aug 30 – Sep 8th)

Speaking of consistency, here’s the latest roundup, in which we learn about topics from viruses to low carb diets and taking a cash payout when you’re pretty sure you’re dying.



  • RadioLab – Elements
    • Go on a sonic tour of physics – from lithium to carbon-14 to cosmic rays and dark matter and
  • This American Life – Petty Tyrant
    • The amazing story of one small time crooked union boss and his swath of destruction
  • This American Life – Lower 9 + 10
    • How’s life in the Lower 9th Ward 10 years after Katrina?


Personal Improvement


  • Question of the Day – Ten-Minute Advice
    • My new favorite podcast with James Altucher and Steven Dubner, with a very simple premise: ask each other an everyday question, like “What’s something you can teach me in 10 minutes that will change my life?”


  • James Clear – Getting to Simple
    • To find out the essentials, you must master the fundamentals, often through hard work and trial and error
  • Structured Procrastination – Do Less, Deceive Yourself, And Succeed Long-Term
    • Use your tendency to procrastinate for good – by doing other lower priority tasks rather than sitting on the couch
  • The Wall Street Journal – To Stop Procrastinating, Start by Understanding the Emotions Involved
    • If you’re a chronic procrastinator, start by examining the emotions – anxiety, etc – that come up with you’re faced with a big task
  • Jeff Ammons – Hacking the Flow State
    • Flow can be necessary to accomplishment and job satisfaction. How do you get those necessary ingredients, clear goals, clear and immediate feedback, good balance between one’s perceived skills and those perceived as necessary for the task, and uninterrupted concentration time?



  • Gary Taubes – Why We Get Fat
    • In an easy to read way, Taubes lays out how people can be fat and malnourished at the same time (here’s a spoiler: processed carbs), and shares an Atkins-like plan for tipping the scales back towards even. (I’ve decided to try this one as an experiment.)


  • The New York Times – Gary Taubes: Diet Advice That Ignores Hunger
    • “Calories in/calories out” has a major problem: restricting calories in is unsustainable, and weight inevitably bounces back once calories are returned to normalcy.



  • Freakonomics – Are You Read for a Glorious Sunset?
    • Serious question: why don’t insurance companies offer a generous payout instead of a long, drawn out stay in the hospital for terminal patients?

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