The Best Links 2004

posted by Jason Kottke Dec 22, 2004

In doing this site for the past six and a half years, I've grown quite fond of short form writing, especially nonfiction short form writing. Magazine articles, newspaper pieces, weblog posts, etc. As I've said before, I'd love to compile an end-of-the-year Best Online Writing book or do a monthly Reader's Digest-style magazine that compiles the best short-form writing from a variety of sources, but there's a lot of hassle to deal with (securing rights, working with publishers, killing trees).

Luckily, the magic of the Internet allows you to do things that aren't quite perfect but work well enough that it's worth the trade-off. In lieu of a book or magazine compilation of the best writing of 2004, here are some of the best things I linked to in the past year. The list consists mostly of magazine and newspaper articles with a few other types of media sprinkled in and is more objective than my favorite weblogs of 2004 list. If, unlike me, you've got a little bit of slack time at the end of the year at your place of employ, this should keep you busy for the rest of the day. Enjoy.

The Buddhabrot Set. An amazing universe of structure, spirituality, and mathematical intrigue.
Jared Tarbell, Gallery of Computation

Big and Bad. How the S.U.V. ran over automotive safety.
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

Victoria's Secret. A look at one of Prada's top saleswomen.
Mimi Swartz, The New Yorker

Street Smarts. Learning from JetBlue
Norm Brodsky, Inc. Magazine


The Way We Eat Now. Ancient bodies collide with modern technology to produce a flabby, disease-ridden populace.
Craig Lambert, Harvard Magazine

Microsoft Research DRM talk
Cory Doctorow, craphound.com

What the Bagel Man Saw. Honesty and breakfast.
Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt, The New York Times Magazine

The Decline of Fashion Photography. An argument in pictures.
Karen Lehrman, Slate

mashuga's Fotolog. Portraiture of the homeless.
Gary F. Clark, fotolog.net

Ikeaphobia and its discontents
Adam Greenfield, v-2 Organisation

Birnbaum v. Michael Lewis. Moneyball, Red Sox, journalism, and screenwriting.
Robert Birnbaum, The Morning News

A Corporation That Breaks the Greed Mold
Jim Hightower, AlterNet

New Details Surface. Dick Cheney and Pat Leahy throw down.
Paul Sims, The New Yorker

The Anarchist's Cookbook. John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods.
Charles Fishman, Fast Company

Week in Review. Hand drawn representations of the news.
Week in Review

Why don't we do it in the road? A new school of traffic design says we should get rid of stop signs and red lights and let cars, bikes and people mingle together.
Linda Baker, Salon

Discovery of Flores Man. It sounds too incredible to be true, but this is not a hoax.

The Searchers. Radiohead's unquiet revolution.
Alex Ross, The New Yorker

On the Record: David Neeleman, JetBlue Airways. Interview with the CEO of JetBlue
San Francisco Chronicle

How not to buy happiness. Can money make you happy?
Robert H. Frank, Daedalus

The Vice Guide to Everything. The DOs and DONTs of modern life.
Vice Magazine

Misinterpreted Movie Titles. Renaming movies with literal descriptions of their movie posters.
Something Awful

Blinded By Science. How 'Balanced' Coverage Lets the Scientific Fringe Hijack Reality.
Chris Mooney, Columbia Journalism Review

The True Story of Audion. How a piece of software got made.
Cabel Sasser, Panic

Something Borrowed. Should a charge of plagiarism ruin your life?
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

The Bell Curve. What happens when patients find out how good their doctors really are?
Atul Gawande, The New Yorker

Skeletal Systems. A character study of 22 present and past cartoon characters.
Michael Paulus, michaelpaulus.com

The Ketchup Conundrum. Mustard now comes in dozens of varieties. Why has ketchup stayed the same?
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

Decentralized Intelligence What Toyota can teach the 9/11 commission about intelligence gathering.
Duncan Watts, Slate

The way I rolled. A report on the Usher concert.
Mr. Sun, Mr. Sun!

Memory and Manipulation. The trials of Elizabeth Loftus, defender of the wrongly accused.
Sasha Abramsky, LA Weekly

Designs For Working. Why your bosses want to turn your new office into Greenwich Village.
Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker

Born of the Fourth of July. The statistics are not good for a baby born in the 24th and 6th day of gestation.
Eric C. Snowdeal III, snowdeal.org

John Stewart on Crossfire. You're as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.
CNN Crossfire

Neal Stephenson Responds With Wit and Humor. An interview with the noted SF author.

Fear Itself. Learning to live in the age of terrorism
Gene Weingarten, The Washington Post

Consider the Lobster. For 56 years, the Maine Lobster Festival has been drawing crowds with the promise of sun, fun, and fine food.
David Foster Wallace, Gourmet

Aerial Photography. Earth from above.
Yann Bertrand

Child Portraiture. Muted works of vibrant mundanity.
Loretta Lux, lorettalux.de

Food Without Fear. When it comes to food, Americans have the tendency to lose all reason.
Dan Barber, The New York Times