Each week our editors gather their favorite finds from around the internet and recommend them to you right here. These are not articles about watches, but rather outstanding examples of journalism and storytelling covering topics from fashion and art to technology and travel. So go ahead, pour yourself a cup of coffee, put your feet up, and settle in.
Frances Arnold Turns Microbes Into Living Factories – The New York Times
If you've ever wondered what it takes to win a Nobel Prize, you've probably imagined that it takes long years of dedication and a lot of grinding hard work before you get to buy that ticket to Stockholm. Dr. Frances Arnold has certainly worked hard, and for many years, but she won the Nobel Prize in part, for figuring out (in a sense) how to do less. Arnold, a chemical engineer, specializes in designer organic molecules, but instead of painstakingly crafting them from scratch, she harnesses the power of a technique called "directed evolution" in which successive generations of bacteria are selected and mutated to bring out better and better performance from a given gene. With this method, she's been able to coax E. coli to synthesize molecules hitherto not found in nature (including organic molecules containing carbon and silicon). Find out how Arnold got to Stockholm by working not just hard, but smarter, at the New York Times.*
– Jack Forster, Editor-In-Chief
Atomic Veterans Were Silenced for 50 Years. Now, They're Talking – The Atlantic *(YouTube)
A quick heads up, this one is intense. But it's also incredibly impactful. From 1946 to 1992, the U.S. military conducted more than 1,000 nuclear tests, during which American troops were unwittingly exposed to vast amounts of radiation. Sworn to silence and threatened with treason should they speak out, their stories have gone unheard for decades. In this video from The Atlantic, you'll hear the "Atomic Veterans" describe in their own words what they experienced during these tests. “It haunts me to think of what I had witnessed,” says a man in the film, “and not realized at the time the importance of what we were doing … serving as guinea pigs.”*
– Grey Korhonen, Producer
One Shot - The Observatory Muyshondt
As a deep fan of all things over engineered and incredibly thoughtful, you won't find me straying too far from home without a Muyshondt flashlight in my bag. As you might expect, the mind behind a brand that makes (very) high-end flashlights is one of myriad fascinations – including old Land Rovers, watches, film photography, and even tacos. Produced for the brand's in-house blog, this is a gorgeous story of traveling to West Texas to shoot a 1940s Graflex Crown Graphic camera. The photos are lovely, the story is fun, and each shot costs about $20 (so pick carefully). It's a colorful lesson in patience, quality, and wide open spaces, so don't miss the slideshow at the bottom of the page.*
– James Stacey, Senior Writer*
Nice Try! Podcast – Curbed
My podcast diet is pretty abundant these days, to the point where adding a new show to my feed is a laborious negotiation with myself. Do I really need to be listening to this? While my latest addition might not be required listening, strictly speaking, it's a fantastic break from the political maelstrom that sometimes overtakes my "New Releases" queue. Nice Try! Utopian is a brand new show from Curbed that's hosted by 99 Percent Invisible's Avery Trufelman, and it's all about failed utopian experiments in history. It's equal parts social history and design history, and the core mission is to understand how striving for perfection can sometimes create less-than-perfect results. There's only one episode out so far, and it covers the Jamestown colony (you know, of Pocahontas fame). If this is a taste of what's to come over the next six weeks – there will be seven episodes total – this show is going to become my new Thursday morning ritual.
–*Stephen Pulvirent, Managing Editor
This Japanese Toaster Costs $270. It Only Makes One Slice at a Time – Bloomberg
In a typical Japanese fashion (in which obsession is equal to appreciation and craft is everything), a new toaster has arrived with the promise of creating a perfect piece of toast; one slice at a time. Offered by Mitsubishi Electric, the new TO-ST1-T bread oven seals off a single slice of bread inside a metal box and heats up the slice up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. “We wanted to focus on the single slice, and treat it with respect”, said Akihiro Iwahara, who oversaw the technical development of this awesome toaster. You just have to ask yourself one question, "How badly do you want a perfect slice of toast?"
– Andy Yang, Director of Marketing