Small Talk Ammo: They Just Found the World’s Oldest Beer, Industry Insiders Who Don’t Use Their Own Products, and The Actual Reason America is Obese

Small Talk Ammo: They Just Found the World’s Oldest Beer, Industry Insiders Who Don’t Use Their Own Products, and The Actual Reason America is Obese
Everything you need for great conversations this weekend.

Twice a month, we'll provide a bevy of ideas behind compelling headlines, stories, facts, tips, and tricks to help you nail the many various social interactions you'll encounter. Equipped with this information, you should be able to deftly navigate any conversation, no matter the subject or company.

  1. The world was left without the Queen of Soul when Aretha Franklin passed away at the age of 76 and one of the most fitting tributes to her talent and influence is this New Yorker profile from 2016. (And if you’d like to celebrate her life by playing some more obscure entries from her extensive catalog, try these four Beatles covers she recorded in the 1960s and 70s.)
  2. If you’ve ever tried to break a strand of spaghetti in half, you know it never happens — you’re always going to get several pieces. But why does spaghetti behave this way? And is the mythical “two piece break” even possible at all? A Ph.D. student went looking for answers.
  3. A major new study revealed that a low-carb diet can be just as likely to cause early death as a high-carb diet. So probably just order those french fries, anyway.
  4. It hasn’t taken to the skies yet but the newest, largest airplane in the world was recently spotted on a runway in California. It weighs over 1 million pounds, has six engines, and will be used to launch spaceplanes.
  5. If you’ve struggled with back pain and haven’t discovered a solution that works for you, have you considered simply changing the way you sit?
  6. American history is littered with harrowing tales of incredibly dangerous controlled substances and there is probably none more insane than that of Four Loko, the outrageous, fruit-flavored malt liquor/energy drink hybrid.
  7. Steve Jobs didn’t let his kids use an iPad. Whether it’s unhealthy food or addictive technology, if the people who make and sell a certain product won’t admit to regularly consuming that product themselves, it’s a pretty good indication that consumers probably shouldn’t either.
  8. SOCIAL SKILL: You probably need to break a lengthy silence via email with at least one person, right now. Whether it’s a long overdue response, a request for a favor, or just to reestablish contact for networking purposes, the process can seem daunting. Let the Harvard Business Review teach you how to email someone you haven’t talked to in forever.
  9. Conde Nast Traveler has released its annual ranking of the ten most livable cities in the world and I won’t spoil the entire ending but only five countries made the cut and America isn’t one of them.
  10. Turns out, the Toys R’ Us didn’t just go extinct — it was eaten by vultures!
  11. Though it sounds like the plot of a romantic comedy I would absolutely see on opening weekend, apparently Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves may have actually been married for 25 years without really knowing it.
  12. With the theatrical release of “Crazy Rich Asians” being met with box office success and universal praise for its representation, it’s a perfect time to dive deep into the oral history of the 2002 film “Better Luck Tomorrow”, an overlooked indie crime drama similarly centered around young Asian-Americans which helped launched the careers of blockbuster director Justin Lin and star John Cho (with an assist from MC Hammer, of all people).
  13. What’s behind the modern obesity epidemic in America? The truth may not be as simple as you think.
  14. If this summer seemed especially warm to you, it wasn’t just in your head — the National Weather Service just announced that May-July 2018 was the hottest recorded 3-month period in the history of the continental United States.
  15. Archaeologists have found the oldest beer in the world and no, it wasn’t in the back of your fridge.

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Justin Brown is an artist and writer living in Virginia. He channels most of his enthusiasm into making things for his online art shop, Artness! by Justin Brown. You can keep up to date with him, his worldly adventures, and his dogs by following him on Instagram and on Facebook