Category Archives: Clips

Do Straight Guys Care How Many Men Their Girlfriends Have Slept With?

Ultimately, rather than their partner’s capital-N Number, the guys I spoke to said qualitative aspects of their partners’ pasts were more troublesome than anything quantitative. For two of the guys, both of whom described their girlfriends’ previous numbers as high, learning specifics about their girlfriends’ exes bothered them much more than the numbers. The 26-year-old said that when he learned about his girlfriend and one of her ex’s former rendezvous locations, the couple had a big fight. “It’s always worse when you have a specific location or detail or something,” he said. The 36-year-old agreed. “[He was] the best lover you’ve ever had, but he treated you like shit, so you think he’s an asshole, but really, aw, if he was just a nicer guy, then it’d all be great—that’s like, the worst conversation to have,” he said. “By the time I was in my late 20s, I wouldn’t ask. In my mind, it’s not my business.”

Others also spoke about anxieties about being compared to exes. The 32-year-old said his wife only has a couple of men in her past, which makes it easier for him to let go of anxiety about where he falls in her sexual rankings. “My gut reaction would be self-consciousness about if I was the biggest or the best, or if she was happy with me, or if the guy before me was better than I was,” he said. The 26-year-old said that his girlfriend’s number didn’t trouble him at all when he first learned it, near the start of their relationship. But as their relationship progressed, it started to bother him—which in itself bothers him. “I don’t know if I’m too sensitive or it’s something that happens when you get more attached to someone,” he said. “Suddenly you start feeling more jealous about things from the past.”

This was maybe the most intriguing theme running through my conversations. It’s not that these men judge women for having active sexual pasts. It’s that the women’s sexual pasts lead these men to judge themselves.

Read more in Slate.

Advertisements

The Last Time Seymour Hersh’s Reporting Raised Doubts

On Sunday, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a story in the London Review of Books calling the Obama administration’s account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden pure fiction, a cover story for an elaborate conspiracy between the American and Pakistani governments. Immediately, many began questioning the reporting in Hersh’s story. For a person familiar with Hersh’s famous revelations about the My Lai massacre and Abu Ghraib, the idea that he is even capable of producing shoddy journalism is shocking.

But the criticism of Hersh’s latest piece echoes the controversy that recently met Hersh after he published two other stories—in December 2013 and April 2014, also in the London Review—about the Syrian civil war. Both stories cited anonymous sources, corroborated by second- and third-hand accounts, saying that Syrian rebels, not the Assad regime, were the first to use chemical weapons in the country’s ongoing civil war, specifically in a sarin gas attack on Ghouta, Syria, on Aug. 21, 2013.

Read more at Slate.

Explosive, Controversial New Report by Seymour Hersh Says Obama Administration Lied About Bin Laden Raid

Among the report’s most explosive claims is that the U.S. did not find Bin Laden by tracking his couriers, as the government and most official accounts have reported. Instead, according to the Hersh report, the U.S. paid a $25 million reward to an unnamed former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who “betrayed the secret” of Bin Laden’s whereabouts. Hersh’s report says that this officer was relocated to Washington, D.C. and now works as a consultant for the CIA.

The story also claims that Bin Laden’s burial at sea never happened, that Bin Laden was an invalid when the SEALs raided the compound and killed him, and that there was no firefight at all during the SEAL raid. Additionally, Hersh’s account says that the ISI captured and set bin Laden up in Abbottabad in the first place, to use him as “leverage” in the country’s dealings with al-Qaida and the Taliban.

In the piece, Hersh provides a thrilling, if questionable, alternative account of how the U.S. learned about Bin Laden’s compound, of the raid itself, and of the internal political arguments that followed President Obama’s announcement of the assassination.

Read more at Slate.

Forget the Dress—What Color Is the Light?!

When we look at the photo, we know instantly that it looks different from the way the dress would look in real life. The background is very bright, and as a result, we have few hints about what the photo’s light looks like in real life. The light could be orange like a living room or a streetlight, or it could be blue like sunlight or a daylight bulb. Some of us subconsciously decided the light was orange; others decided the light was blue. Which color we chose affected our perception of the color of the dress, on which that light was shining. That subconscious choice nearly tore us all apart Thursday night—it might have broken up Kimye.

Our brains make these unconscious choices all the time. Think of a white piece of paper under a streetlight; it might look orange. But in this case, we know the paper is white to begin with, and that it’s being lit by orange light. We know a lot more in that situation than we did with the picture of the dress. That is, if we know the paper is white to begin with, we know the light is orange to begin with, and we’re not confused if the paper looks a little orange. Unfortunately, cameras aren’t always as good at compensating for different-colored light as we are. In the picture of the dress, the background is blurry, and the color of the light in the picture of the dress is ambiguous.

Read more at Slate.

How Sleep Deprivation Decays the Mind and Body

To this day, I am not sure how many consecutive nights I spent awake, but it was at least four. Espresso helped me keep going. So did furiously paced, illogical scribbling in a fat blue pocket notebook. As the sleepless days passed, I experienced the increasingly severe psychological effects common with extended sleep deprivation: I hallucinated, rambled, and lost focus. Toward the end of the ordeal, in New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, my body was giving out, too. While imposing a monologue on my biology teacher—who, I later learned, thought I was tripping on LSD—I blacked out and slumped mid-sentence. This happened more than once on my final day awake. Sleep specialists call these involuntary collapses “microsleeps.” It’s not hard to see why anybody—a high school chaperone, a parent, a doctor—might view a twitching, crumpling, babbling kid like me as some sort of nutcase. But what happened to me could happen to anyone who stays awake that long, voluntarily or otherwise.

Unlike other basic bodily functions, such as eating and breathing, we still do not fully understand why people need to sleep. There are theories—some think sleep may be the process by which the brain shuts down so it can store the day’s memories. Others, like Dr. Joyce Walseben, a psychiatrist and the former director of Bellevue Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center, point to sleep’s importance in regulating the body’s hormones. But these theories are not complete. […] Sleep deprivation is nearly as misunderstood as sleep itself, but it can physically and mentally harm people in myriad ways.

[…]

Read the rest of this article at The Atlantic. I was interviewed about it on Vancouver radio show The Shift and on Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time.

Do Americans Spend More On Video Games Or Movies?

Americans spend more on video games than on tickets to the movies. Grand Theft Auto V was the fastest-selling entertainment product of all time, with sales of $1 billion in just three days.

But when you factor in everything — not just movie tickets, but on demand, rentals, etc. — Americans still spend way more on movies than they do on video games.

See the graphs and read more at Planet Money.

Models, Rules And High School Dropouts: A Guide To The Economics Nobel

While a few gamblers bet real money on potential Nobel Prize winners, at Planet Money we’re content to merely speculate. We’re particularly interested in who might win the economics prize, which will be announced Monday morning.

The good folks at Thomson Reuters are interested, too. Each year, Reuters publishes a closely watched list of predictions about who might win. Since 2002, this list has successfully predicted the eventual economics laureate(s) five times. This year, it named three groups of economists as favorites.

Read about them at Planet Money.

The Key To Power At The Federal Reserve? Running The Meetings

I am asking this sincerely: Why does it matter who the next Fed chairman will be? What difference does it make if Larry Summers or Janet Yellen or someone else heads the central bank?

More to the point: What does the Fed chairman do? What kind of power does he or she actually have?

To find out, I called Joe Gagnon, an economist who worked at the Fed for nearly 20 years and who now works at the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

Read a condensed transcript of our conversation at Planet Money.

Mom Recalls Last Moments With Baby Killed in Brownsville

The distraught mother of a 16-month-old who was shot and killed in Brownsville Sunday said some of the baby’s last moments were spent laughing and hopping on a bed.

In a tearful interview near her home on Riverdale Avenue Tuesday, Cherise Miller said that on Sunday evening she found her boy, Antiq Hennis, bouncing happily on a bed.

“He’s jumping on the bed,” Miller said. “I was just sitting there. I didn’t yell at him. I just sat and watched him.”

Read the rest at DNAinfo, and check out all my pieces for them.

Founder of Marinos Italian Ices Dies at 97

Marinos Vourderis came to New York from Greece with little money and no education in the early 1940s, but in the years that followed, he founded a company whose name became synonymous with New York City summers: Marinos Italian Ices.

Vourderis died of natural causes last Tuesday in his Jamaica Estates home, surrounded by his large family. He was 97.

“He ws able to come here and live the American Dream,” Margaret Hackford, Vourderis’s 57-year-old daughter, said of her father.

[…]

“My father’s greatest saying was that, ‘look at how much I’ve accomplished with frozen sugar and water,’” Hackford said.

Read the rest at DNAinfo, and check out all my pieces for them.