Over all, the data reveal that “sex can be considered, at times, a significant exercise,” Karelis said, worth encouraging in people who otherwise balk at working out. Ninety-eight percent of Karelis’s volunteers reported that sex felt more fun than jogging. The other 2 percent, I suspect, will be back in the dating market soon.
—Gretchen Reynolds, The New York Times, “Sex As Exercise”
Objective data show that insomnia medications, on average, provide a gain of only ten or twenty minutes in total sleep time. But a patient’s perception of improved sleep is also a recognized part of clinical data. Indeed, most people with prescriptions never visit a sleep lab, trusting their own assessment of a sleep deficit. This emphasis on the subjective also makes the amnesiac effect of sleep drugs oddly advantageous to those who manufacture them: the drugs inhibit people from creating memories of waking during the night.
—Ian Parker, The New Yorker, “The Big Sleep”
The biggest [art] dealers are like Ice Age mega-glaciers, leaving behind vast moraines of work they’d borne aloft and finally deposited in mansions and museums before melting away.
—Nick Paumgarten, The New Yorker, “Dealer’s Hand”
Because he’s constantly scrutinizing his traffic to figure out why certain posts do well and others don’t, Mr. Zimmerman also keeps a running list of “hot” themes in his head. “It might be that right now, people don’t care about stories about cats that much, and instead, sloths are more popular,” he says. “So I’ll have a rule—cats are out, sloths are in, focus on sloths because that’s going to be your meal ticket.”
The whole process happens very quickly. “Within 15 seconds, I know whether an item is going to work,” Mr. Zimmerman says. He usually has a headline ready to go a few seconds after that. “It’s a biological algorithm,” he says. “I’ve put myself into the system—I’ve sort of become the system—so that when I see something I’m instantly thinking of how well it it’s going to do.” Indeed, Mr. Zimmerman says he can no longer tell the difference between stories he finds interesting and stories that will be popular. “If it’s not worth posting then I’m not interested,” he says.
—Farhad Manjoo, The Wall Street Journal, “Why Everyone Will Totally Read This Column”