here’s what happened at work today.

first, we had a company meeting. i brought bagels.

then we got a package in the mail from grub hub. it was full of swag.


you’re supposed to pass these things around to your colleagues, but i decided to volunteer as Grub Hub’s New Official Brand Ambassador.


after our exciting morning, we ordered lunch through my new favorite website, Grub Hub. i had dumplings. when our food arrived i was concerned i was accidentally eating someone else’s food, but it turns out i wasn’t. i had the right dumplings all along. over all, they were warm and soft. a little crispy on the outside. they even came with soy sauce.

unfortunately i spilled it all over my new backpack.


well that wouldn’t do. i needed a new backpack, and i needed it say “grub hub” in bold red lettering, otherwise what’s the point?

i started a social media campaign to fix this.



others joined in my campaign, a chorus of pleading voices:




i grew desperate.


i waited and waited for an answer from Grub Hub’s dutiful social media team. i was distracted, and i wisely decided i couldn’t do any work until i heard an answer back from them.

luckily that took literally seconds:


sweet victory! fingers crossed i’ll have a new backpack in no time. 


in the meantime, i’m going to keep using my soy sauce backpack.

what a day! work was over an hour later.




by jenn bane

you’d be amazed at how many people don’t know how to write customer service emails. that’s OK, no one’s perfect. if you have a problem with a thing you ordered online, here is how to get that problem fixed as quickly as possible. 

let’s say you ordered a yo-yo and it arrived broken.

first, make sure you’re emailing the customer service department and not the CEO of the yo-yo company, although that would be pretty funny.

then write your email as follows:


  • be concise. use short sentences. no, shorter than that.
  • immediately communicate what you need. “hello, my yo-yo arrived damaged and i’d like to replace it.” (if possible, attach a photo of the damaged yo-yo.)
  • include all relevant information. “i ordered on 9/1/2014 and my order number is 69420.”
  • confirm the shipping address. “if possible, can i have a replacement yo-yo sent to the following address?”
  • format the address correctly. use line-breaks, as if you were writing the address on an envelope yourself. someone might have to copy and paste that shipping address & fixing your mistakes sucks. 
  • say thanks.
  • be patient.


  • bury your lead. say right away what you need and don’t include any unnecessary filler. “hello and good day to you. my name is george, i live in england and i’ve been married thirty years and i’m the proud father to four beautiful boys. it was snowing in the year of 1978 that i ordered your fine product, the yo-yo … “
  • scream at anyone.
  • type in all-caps.
  • write a wall of text. 

now do me a favor: print this out and give it to your parents and grandparents in preparation for the holidays.



The 11th Avenue resident in Oakland’s Eastlake neighborhood was simply feeling hopeful in 2009 when he went to an Ace hardware store, purchased a 2-foot-high stone Buddha and installed it on a median strip in a residential area at 11th Avenue and 19th Street.

He hoped that just maybe his small gesture would bring tranquillity to a neighborhood marred by crime: dumping, graffiti, drug dealing, prostitution, robberies, aggravated assault and burglaries.

What happened next was nothing short of stunning. Area residents began to leave offerings at the base of the Buddha: flowers, food, candles. A group of Vietnamese women in prayer robes began to gather at the statue to pray.

And the neighborhood changed. People stopped dumping garbage. They stopped vandalizing walls with graffiti. And the drug dealers stopped using that area to deal. The prostitutes went away.

I asked police to check their crime statistics for the block radius around the statue, and here’s what they found: Since 2012, when worshipers began showing up for daily prayers, overall year-to-date crime has dropped by 82 percent. Robbery reports went from 14 to three, aggravated assaults from five to zero, burglaries from eight to four, narcotics from three to none, and prostitution from three to none.

"I can’t say what to attribute it to, but these are the numbers," a police statistician told me.


“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.”


Andy Warhol (via DaringFireball)




Our panel at PAX Prime 2014. Photos by Andrew Ferguson.

i was so proud to hold the mic while this lady explained turkish oil wrestling.


Hey friends, there’s just a little over 20 hours remaining on my new game, Slap .45.

Slap .45 is a fast-paced Wild West slap duel for three to seven players - it’s one of the most fun tabletop games I’ve ever played.

Kickstarter backers also get two special event cards that they can mix into the game:

  • The Throwing Knife is a card that you literally throw at the player that you’d like to damage. 
  • Gagged and Tied forces a moment of silence into the game - the first player to talk takes damage.

“By the end of the century, the world may well have to accommodate ten billion inhabitants—roughly the equivalent of adding two new Indias. Sustaining that many people will require farmers to grow more food in the next seventy-five years than has been produced in all of human history. For most of the past ten thousand years, feeding more people simply meant farming more land. That option no longer exists; nearly every arable patch of ground has been cultivated, and irrigation for agriculture already consumes seventy per cent of the Earth’s freshwater.”


Michael Specter on Vandana Shiva’s crusade against genetically modified crops. I rarely read something that changes my opinion as quickly and completely as this article.


New York Times:

The idea of putting a mind-altering drug in the drinking water is the stuff of sci-fi, terrorist plots and totalitarian governments. Considering the outcry that occurred when putting fluoride in the water was first proposed, one can only imagine the furor that would ensue if such a thing were ever suggested.

The debate, however, is moot. It’s a done deal. Mother Nature has already put a psychotropic drug in the drinking water, and that drug is lithium. Although this fact has been largely ignored for over half a century, it appears to have important medical implications.

Lithium is a naturally occurring element, not a molecule like most medications, and it is present in the United States, depending on the geographic area, at concentrations that can range widely, from undetectable to around .170 milligrams per liter. This amount is less than a thousandth of the minimum daily dose given for bipolar disorders and for depression that doesn’t respond to antidepressants. Although it seems strange that the microscopic amounts of lithium found in groundwater could have any substantial medical impact, the more scientists look for such effects, the more they seem to discover. Evidence is slowly accumulating that relatively tiny doses of lithium can have beneficial effects. They appear to decrease suicide rates significantly and may even promote brain health and improve mood.


The scientific story of lithium’s role in normal development and health began unfolding in the 1970s. Studies at that time found that animals that consumed diets with minimal lithium had higher mortality rates, as well as abnormalities of reproduction and behavior.

Researchers began to ask whether low levels of lithium might correlate with poor behavioral outcomes in humans. In 1990, a study was published looking at 27 Texas counties with a variety of lithium levels in their water. The authors discovered that people whose water had the least amount of lithium had significantly greater levels of suicide, homicide and rape than the people whose water had the higher levels of lithium. The group whose water had the highest lithium level had nearly 40 percent fewer suicides than that with the lowest lithium level.

Almost 20 years later, a Japanese study that looked at 18 municipalities with more than a million inhabitants over a five-year period confirmed the earlier study’s finding: Suicide rates were inversely correlated with the lithium content in the local water supply.

More recently, there have been corroborating studies in Greece and Austria.


Lithium has been known for its curative powers for centuries, if not millenniums. Lithia Springs, Ga., for example, with its natural lithium-enriched water, appears to have been an ancient Native American sacred site. By the late 19th century Lithia Springs was a famous health destination visited by Mark Twain and Presidents Grover Cleveland, William Howard Taft, William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.


Some scientists have, in fact, proposed that lithium be recognized as an essential trace element nutrient. Who knows what the impact on our society would be if micro-dose lithium were again part of our standard nutritional fare? What if it were added back to soft drinks or popular vitamin brands or even put into the water supply? The research to date strongly suggests that suicide levels would be reduced, and even perhaps other violent acts. And maybe the dementia rate would decline. We don’t know because the research hasn’t been done.

For the public health issue of suicide prevention alone, it seems imperative that such studies be conducted. In 2011, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Research on a simple element like lithium that has been around as a medication for over half a century and as a drink for millenniums may not seem like a high priority, but it should be.

I’m so happy ‘cause today I’ve found my friends…


Jenn gets me.




The very first fucking card

nostalgia pack



I like cards against humanity because it’s offensive and because this is an actual review on their website they chose to publish:



“When I started [Infinite Jest] the only idea I had is I wanted to do something about America that was sad but wasn’t just making fun of America. Most of my friends are extremely bright, privileged, well-educated Americans who are sad on some level, and it has something, I think, to do with loneliness. I’m talking out of my ear a little bit, this is just my opinion, but I think somehow the culture has taught us or we’ve allowed the culture to teach us that the point of living is to get as much as you can and experience as much pleasure as you can, and that the implicit promise is that will make you happy. I know that’s almost offensively simplistic, but the effects of it aren’t simplistic at all. I don’t have children but I’m sort of obsessed with the idea of what my children will think of me, of what we’ve done with what we’ve been given, and why we are so sad.”


“[eBooks] aren’t books. You can’t hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. A computer does not smell. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. A book has got to smell. You have to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and you walk with it. And it stays with you forever. But the computer doesn’t do that for you. I’m sorry.”


Ray Bradbury, on the Kindle


“I often use the metaphor of Perseus and the head of Medusa when I speak of science fiction. Instead of looking into the face of truth, you look over your shoulder into the bronze surface of a reflecting shield. Then you reach back with your sword and cut off the head of Medusa. Science fiction pretends to look into the future but it’s really looking at a reflection of what is already in front of us. So you have a ricochet vision, a ricochet that enables you to have fun with it, instead of being self-conscious and superintellectual.”


The Atlantic:

Nutritional disparities between America’s rich and poor are growing, despite efforts to provide higher-quality food to people who most need it. So says a large study just released from the Harvard School of Public Health that examined eating habits of 29,124 Americans over the past decade. Diet quality has improved among people of high socioeconomic status but deteriorated among those at the other end of the spectrum. The gap between the two groups doubled between 2000 and 2010. That will be costly for everyone.


Access to high-quality food is also important from a public health point of view because in low socioeconomic status groups, the burden of diet-related diseases is disproportionately high. “With deterioration in diet quality over time,” Hu said, “this may actually even increase disparities in obesity and other diet-related conditions.”

The research paper is not wanting for a politicized call to action. The authors write: “Collective actions, such as legislation and taxation, that aim toward creating an environment that fosters and supports individuals’ healthful choices are more effective at reducing dietary [disease] risk factors than actions that solely depend on personal responsibility.”