Extra Credit: Our pick of stories from around the web that bridge the gap between news and scholarship. Brought to you each Tuesday from the editors of JSTOR Daily.
Flossing, and the difficulty of really knowing anything (Wired)
By Matt Simon
You’ve probably heard the news that there’s no good evidence for flossing. But, if you review studies on the subject, you see the question isn’t about flossing, it’s about the incredible hassle of proving any health claim.
Should there be a permanent Olympic city? (The Atlantic)
by Uri Friedman
Hosting the Olympics is a point of pride for many countries. But it’s also expensive, and typically not good for the local economy in the long run. Two academics suggest a solution—one that goes back to the ancient Olympics: hold the games in the same city every time.
The slavery economy (Pacific Standard)
by Tasha Williams
The line in Michelle Obama’s DNC speech noting that the White House was built by slaves drew criticism from some quarters. But the historical truth is that the United States’ dominant position on the world stage, and the power of many of our most significant institutions, are largely a product of the enormous wealth that the labor of enslaved people represented.
The story of a famous brain (New York Times)
By Luke Dittrich
The amnesiac known as H.M. was the subject of volumes of important brain research. The story of the man, his brain, and the researchers who studied him is far from a straightforward tale of scientific progress.
Data mining the body (The Washington Post)
by Steven Overly
Engineers have implanted tiny sensors in the muscles and nerves of rats that can deliver data about the details of their body functions. The new technology could eventually help treat neurological disorders, control prosthetics in new ways, or just make your Fitbit work way, way better.
Have you seen a story online that does a good job of bridging the gap between the news and scholarship? Or something that seems particularly well-researched? Let us know and we may include it in next week’s roundup. Email us at jstordaily_submissions (at) jstor (dot) org.