In her short history of executioners, Stassa Edwards notes that the decision to replace “the traditional punishment” of drowning people “in a sack in a local river” was actually quite pragmatic: it was “more economical” to go with a simple beheading.
Remember that story you were going to write about your neighbor’s dog but never did? When you’re a writer, you have to know when to ditch both the bad and good ideas. At The Atlantic, Bob Brody laments all the stories he’ll never write and concludes: “It’s taken me a long time to learn this—that sometimes the best course of action is inaction.”
“Perhaps I will just go underground and live a quiet life of desperation. I’ve heard mumblings about a place called ‘Social Media Manager.’ It seems like a nice place where all people my age go for a while. Just until things start to make sense again.” Nobody knows the throes of existential angst quite like a twenty-something. Here’s a plea for help from one such twenty-something over at McSweeney’s.
“He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided later, lying in his bed, after they had played several rounds of various games, and didn’t hunt one another at all.” You probably encountered Richard Connell’s The Most Dangerous Game at some point during your educational career — you definitely never came across this “comforting and anodyne” version, though.
If you’re going to accidentally leave almost two dozen unprocessed photo negatives out for 100 years, there’s no better place to store them than a block of ice in Antarctica. Conservationists restoring an Antarctic exploration hut found the negatives left from Robert Falcon Scott’s fatal 1910-13 Terre Nova Expedition to the South Pole. For a less harrowing tale of Arctic exploration, check out our review of Maria Semple’s Where’d You Go, Bernadette?