Weekend Reading: A Desert Ghost Town, Burning PCs and Fertility Drugs For Cars

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One of the reasons I love the weekend is you get a little time to yourself (if you are lucky) and you can sink into a good book or magazine article, or maybe catch up on some reading that you didn’t have time for during the week. I’m always looking for interesting things to read, so I reached out to the Twittersphere for some recommendations, and I went through my Instapaper account too, because that’s where I save articles and blog posts that I want to read later. I thought I would post them here, in case you are looking for a good read to pass the time — and if you have any suggestions of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.

  • A Desert City That Didn’t Fan Out: The LA Times has a fascinating look at a lonely outpost called California City — a town that developer Nathan Mendelsohn hoped would become a vast oasis when he bought 82,000 acres of desert in 1958. All that is left is a sleepy desert town with miles of unpaved streets, waiting for homes that were never built.
  • Free Parking Comes at a Price: Wouldn’t it be great if we had more free parking? Well no, it wouldn’t — at least, not if you look at the economic and behavioral spin-off effects that would likely result. An urban planner did just that and came to the conclusion that free parking is “like a fertility drug for cars.”
  • The Internet: Is It Changing the Way We Think? Author and blogger Nick Carr recently started (or reignited) a debate over whether the Internet and the always-on nature of social media is changing the actual way our brains work (which we wrote about here). The Guardian asked a number of prominent authors, educators and psychologists for their thoughts on the issue.
  • Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s: The benefits of an open approach to data are well known in the technology arena, but the New York Times has an inspiring story about how being open with data helped advance medical research on Alzheimer’s.
  • Our Daughter Isn’t a Selfish Brat, Your Son Just Hasn’t Read Atlas Shrugged: If you’re in the mood for a laugh — or at least a McSweeney’s-type smirk — this letter of explanation from a parent about their offspring’s antipathy towards sharing on the playground might do it.
  • A Global Graveyard For Dead Computers: It’s for looking rather than reading, but this slide-show from the New York Times magazine is thought-provoking nevertheless, in a terrible kind of way. It looks at a slum in Ghana where scavengers burn and tear apart computers — most of which have been donated by better-off countries — so they can sell the precious metals inside.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of The New York Times

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Manav Singh

Thanks for the list.
I took your suggestion, couldn’t go through the whole list (i think that is not even possible with only two days in hand) but last two, i liked them.

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