This American Life, “The Convert”— “Craig told us he has never been to Afghanistan. But he was trying to see if these guys at the gym, who he’d never met, thought it would be cool to hang out with Osama bin Laden. They didn’t think that would be cool.” Hear more.
Jeff Zeleny and Mark Landler, The New York Times, “Clinton Delivers Impassioned Plea for Obama Second Term”—”Mr. Clinton drew sharp lines between the choices facing voters in November. He made the case in a deeply personal way, sometimes articulating the argument for Mr. Obama more forcefully than the president has done throughout his race with Mitt Romney. ‘We believe ‘we’re all in this together’ is a better philosophy than ‘you’re on your own,’ Mr. Clinton said.” Read more.
Neetzan Zimmerman, Gawker, “Sight of Toddlers Being Potty Trained Inside Restaurant Disgusts Patrons”—One Utah mother may have taken her parenting privileges too far when she decided to train her twin daughters on the fine art of potty-making while they were seated at a table inside a busy restaurant in Lehi. ‘I noticed that this lady was having her two – she had two twins, two little girls about 2-and-a-half years old, sitting on what I thought were booster seats,’ said Thanksgiving Point Deli patron Kimberly Decker. Doing a double-take, Decker quickly realized the girls were actually seated on two toilet-training potties.” Read more.
The Economist, “Domestic terrorism: The benefits of hindsight”—”Since coming under Republican control in 2010, the House Homeland Security Committee has held five hearings on Muslim radicalisation, and none on right-wing threats. Yet America’s right-wing extremists commit a vastly greater number of murderous attacks (though leading to fewer deaths) than Muslims do.” Read more.
Jamie Condliffe, Gizmodo, “How Yelp Scores Make or Break Restaurants”—”A team of economists from the University of California, Berkeley, has investigated how 300 restaurants in San Francisco perform, and cross-referenced the results with star ratings from Yelp.com to understand how reviews affect success. They found that an extra half-star caused a restaurant’s 7pm bookings to fill up 20 percent more often. Interestingly, they also managed to disentangle those changes in trade from price differences, food quality and service, suggesting that it was the reviews alone that brought in custom.” Read more.
Wells Tower, GQ, “Does Mitt Romney Have a Soul?”—”If you’ve somehow dodged Romney’s stump speech until now, its rather flavorless nubs are these: ‘1.7 million jobs lost in the private sector. Oh, by the way, [Obama’s] added 135,000 jobs in the governmental sector…. Get rid of Obamacare and return health care to the individuals…. Maintain a strong military…. Come out of poverty by virtue of our belief in free trade, free enterprise…. Spent my life in the private sector. I know how the economy works…. Return to the principles that made us the hope of the earth…. Pursuit of happiness… Prosperous future…’ Blork blah blargh. The speech’s only thing resembling a distinctive from-the-heart gesture comes at the closer, when Romney says, ‘I love the hymns of America…. O beautiful for spacious skies / For amber waves of grain.’ One is baffled. One imagines that if an eighth-grader, assigned to write a presidential stump speech, turned in cribbed lines from “America the Beautiful,” he would probably be given a C.” Read more.
The Economist, “Drinking at work: The boredom of boozeless business”—”Another recent paper from the journal Consciousness and Cognition by psychologists at the University of Illinois confirms what many have long suspected: a couple of drinks makes workers more creative. Tipsy employees, they say, find it hard to focus on a task, but this makes them more likely to come up with innovative ideas.” Read more.
Photo: Blind tasting—beerrtender’s choice, and brat at the Holy Grale by Zach Everson