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Weekend Reads, Jan. 15

Our special guest this week is BuzzFeed UK science writer Tom Chivers, talking about some of his favorite pieces he’s read recently.

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I really love Slate Star Codex, a wonderfully nerdy blog about rationality and science and medicine and stuff, but it’s horribly unreadable on mobile. Luckily, though, one of his best essays is available on the New Statesman website here. It's about — well, it's about a lot of things, but at its heart it's about why people are so angry all the time online. Especially on Tumblr.

I was asked to send over “your favorite things from this week” for this edition of weekend reads. I said, does it have to be, like, PRECISELY this week? Can it be from, say, eight years ago? And they said OK. So here's an incredible read in the New Yorker about a woman who got an itch so relentless that she scratched all the way through her skull to her brain. It's disgusting, but it's also a fascinating insight into the science of sensation. What exactly *is* an itch?

Do you know how close we came to nuclear annihilation on one particular day in 1983? This close. The world should celebrate Stanislav Petrov Day every year. And Vasili Arkhipov Day as well, actually: two men who may have saved billions of lives.

And finally, a full-fat, maximum-sugar, high-caffeine meal of pure geek fodder: You know it's bad for you, but it tastes so good. Vulture put together 50 of the best Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire fan theories. Spoilers, OBVIOUSLY.