No offense to novels and biographies and Scandinavian thrillers, but sometimes our attention span can’t handle a 400-page tome. Those times, we keep a running list of shorter articles to sate our craving for words without having to commit to a full-on book. From a history of those godforsaken “404” error messages to a touching meditation on post-wedding identity, here are eight of the best things we’ve read on the internet this week.
“The Instant Pot Understands the History of Women's Labor in the Kitchen” by Bee Wilson (Bustle)
In this excerpt from Women on Food: Charlotte Druckman and 115 Writers, Chefs, Critics, Television Stars and Eaters, British journalist, historian, food writer and author Bee Wilson uses her own experience with the Instant Pot to examine the historical relationships between kitchen appliances and feminism.
“The Name Change Dilemma” by Hannah Howard (Longreads)
To change your name or not to change your name? That’s the question faced by many women who struggle with the decision to take—or not take—their spouse’s surname after marriage. Howard’s essay considers tradition, identity and love as she navigates the decision whether to keep her name.
“How the 404 Error Created the World Wide Web” by Jesse Dunietz (Popular Mechanics)
Anyone who’s been on the internet is familiar with the beyond frustrating 404 error—a web server’s way of saying you’ve reached a dead end. But we had no idea how it came to be until we read this surprisingly fascinating history of the bane of many a user’s existence.
“Why Do People Hate Vegans?” by George Reynolds (The Guardian)
Q: How do you know if someone’s vegan? A: Don’t worry, they’ll tell you. Vegans get a bad reputation, but why? Reynolds’ article explores how vegans came to be portrayed as preachy and sanctimonious. It’s a necessary read for anyone who’s ever rolled their eyes at another person’s dietary choices (or ever been the subject of said eye rolling).
“Hysteria High: How Demons Destroyed a Florida School” by Jeff Maysh (Medium)
Halloween might be over, but it’s never a bad time for a spooky read. In this case, a nonfiction piece on the history of Miami Aerospace Academy, a private military school in Little Havana, Miami, where screaming students were said to be “possessed by spirits.”
“The Last Days of Carrie Fisher: An Exclusive Excerpt from the Bombshell Biography” by Sheila Weller (Los Angeles Magazine)
In this eye-opening excerpt from her brand-new biography of Fisher, Carrie Fisher: A Life on the Edge, Weller touches on Fisher’s untimely death in 2016, along with her inherited propensity for drug addiction, hushed-up overdose and major bipolar disorder.
“The Global Fertility Crash” by Andre Tartar, Hannah Recht and Yue Qiu (Bloomberg)
In order to ensure a stable population from generation to generation, women need to have at least two children each. In the 1960s, the fertility rate was five live births per woman. By 2017, it had fallen to 2.43 births per woman. As birthrates fall, this Bloomberg piece explores how countries will be forced to adapt or fall behind.
“The Dangerously Cheesy Collectible Cheetos Market” by Tove Danovich (The Outline)
As Danovich points out, dozens of “rare Cheetos,” shaped like everything from Donald Trump to a squirrel, are for sale on eBay. (Yes, seriously.) In this article, she takes a deep—if very quirky—dive into the Cheeto resale market. Do you need to know about it? Not really, but it’s excellent cocktail-party fodder.