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Let BYT assign you some weekend homework. Don’t worry, it’s good homework. You’ll like this homework.

All week our staff scours the Internet for good Internets. Here are some good Internets in the written form. Long form pieces we’ve read, enjoyed and want to spread around. Read up. You’ll be better at parties.

  • Founder Svetlana Legetic

The State of American Beer by John Tierney from The Atlantic

Do you like beer? Do you know people who like beer? (I think that should cover pretty much anyone who reads this site, right?) Then you should peruse this.

It’s a world in which old standbys are faltering (case sales of Miller High Life were down almost 10 percent in 2013 from the prior year). Mexican labels are dominant (Corona, Modelo, and Dos Equis, account for three of the top four imported beers). And a craft-beer company founded only 20 years ago is coming on strong (“Bartender, pour me a Lagunitas”).

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  • Founder/Events Manager Cale

The Fireplace Delusion by Sam Harris

In this eye opening short blog post, best selling author Sam Harris finds the perfect analogy for a heathen atheist like yourself to know what it feels like to be a true believer when confronted with rationality and science. To summarize: Fireplaces are actually bad. Like really really bad. See? You want to deny this. I want to deny this, and I’ve read this article like 5 times over the years. I want to believe that fireplaces are a good thing, and sometimes I still pretend they are, but now, deep down inside, I’m a fireplace atheist. Read this article and you will be too. Too bad it’s not this easy with the Christians.

Because wood is among the most natural substances on earth, and its use as a fuel is universal, most people imagine that burning wood must be a perfectly benign thing to do. Breathing winter air scented by wood smoke seems utterly unlike puffing on a cigarette or inhaling the exhaust from a passing truck. But this is an illusion.

  • Chief Graphic Designer Erik Lofton

The Murders at the Lake by Brian Hall from Texas Monthly

The sergeant got on his hands and knees and crawled under the branches. The victim, he could see, was just a boy, with a wispy mustache. He wore a pair of half-tinted aviator glasses, which were slightly cocked on his face. As Simons stood up, WPD detective Ramon Salinas showed him a photograph of an eighteen-year-old named Kenneth Franks, who had been reported missing earlier that day. The dead boy was clearly Kenneth, the men agreed, studying the photo. But there was more, said Salinas. Kenneth had last been seen with two girls from Waxahachie, a blond seventeen-year-old named Raylene Rice and a brunette seventeen-year-old named Jill Montgomery. They too were missing. 

Death And Anger On Everest by Jon Krakauer from The New Yorker

During the seventy-six years from the first attempt on Everest, in 1921, through 1996, when I was guided up Everest, a hundred and forty-four people died and the summit was reached six hundred and thirty times, a ratio of one death for every four successful ascents. Notably, over the eighteen years that have passed since 1996, a hundred and four people have died and the summit has been reached six thousand two hundred and forty-one times—one death for every sixty ascents. Furthermore, non-Sherpas accounted for only seventy-one of these deaths, which equates to just one death for every eighty-eight ascents.

  • D.C. Managing Editor Brandon Wetherbee

Lessons I’ve Learned From Being a Therapist by Emily V. Gordrom from The Toast

I’m Facebook friends with a lot of comics. A lot. Nearly 1,000. Not bragging. At all. It’s important to note my ‘friendship’ (comics, especially new ones, like to invite you to everything ever because bringer shows exist) because there’s very little consensus with 1,000 comics. One of the few things everyone seemed to praise in the last few months is the article Lessons I’ve Learned From Being a Therapist by Emily V. Gordon. Why? It’s actually helpful. It’s a listicle with applicable information that doesn’t cater to the lowest common denominator. I’ve Pocketed It (get Pocket, it’s fantastic), shared it and may print it out as a basic life guidebook. It’s doesn’t reinvent the wheel and there are no tricks. It’s simple, solid advice form a former therapist who happens to be the partner of one alt comedy’s favorite funny people.

7. Don’t take responsibility for other people’s choices, and don’t let people bully you into taking responsibility for their choices. We are all captains of our own ships and have enough to worry about keeping ourselves afloat- the minute you take on, as your duty, someone else’s joy/career/well being, you have entered into a codependent, unhealthy alliance with them. I have worked with many parents who are trying so force to make their children to be more “normal.” I have worked with many jilted lovers who are desperate to win their exes back. In both cases, by trying to convince yourself that you can somehow control the other person’s choices, you are only setting yourself up for frustration and disappointment. One of the scariest things in life is realizing how little control you have in this world. All you can really control, ever, are your own actions. That’s it.

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  • D.C. Assistant Editor Stephanie Breijo
You’d be hard pressed to find a better written, more thorough investigation into musical enigmas published any time this week, this month, or even this year. John Jeremiah Sullivan doggedly unearths the true story of two American blues-folk musicians whose identities and  pasts were murky as the few-and-far-between recordings of their songs that exist today. Not only do we uncover layer upon layer of intriguing personal life; Sullivan also paints a beautiful and long-forgotten picture of what race records and phonograph manufacturing were like, imagining as to how living through the ’20s and early ’30s might have felt on the cusp of both a reemerging musical genre and The Great Depression.Leslye Davis’s beautifully shot videos compliment Sullivan’s vivid storytelling with recordings, interviews and ambient b-roll which is all this piece needed to push it over the edge into my “Forever Favorites” category.

“He asked about everything, not just music but recipes, dances, games, ghost stories, and in his note-taking, he realized that the county itself, as an organizing geographical principle, had some reality beyond a shape on the map, that it retained in some much-diminished but not quite extinguished sense, the old contours of the premodern world…”

  • Staff writer and photographer Farrah Skeiky

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece by Brian Raftery from Wired

MST3K is celebrating the 25th anniversary of its release. Bryan Raferty and team Wired reminisce about the role MST3K played in their lives and reinforce the relevance of riff shows and movies. From the rotating writers and directors to the cast of familiar robots, the show has seen many lives and incarnations, and this oral history does an excellent job of explaining why each seemingly small change was crucial. We all need a reminder of how great this was and will ever be.

And the shit-saying on MST3K was brilliant. The show was awash in quick, smart wisecracks, not to mention cultural references that ran the gamut from Zsa Zsa Gabor to Miles Davis to Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp. Watching MST3K was like hanging out with a trio of underachieving-­genius best friends. At a time when depictions of geekery were limited mostly to Urkel and Comic Book Guy, the denizens of the Satellite of Love were brazenly brainy—which explains whyMST3K’s fan base reportedly included such meganerds as Al Gore and Patton Oswalt.

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