Small Talk Ammo: An Important New Oscar Category, Why the Strongest Athletes Aren’t Ripped, & Nachos from the Grill

Small Talk Ammo: An Important New Oscar Category, Why the Strongest Athletes Aren’t Ripped, & Nachos from the Grill

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. American movies just became a little bit less cool, as Robert Redford has announced his retirement after nearly six decades of acting. In his honor, we should all spend this weekend watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, and maybe Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
  2. Speaking of Avengers, the Academy has introduced a new Oscar: “Outstanding Popular Film,” with the goal of finally recognizing box office and audience favorites that are traditionally ignored by the awards show.
  3. Why do so many diners look like train cars? There’s actually one very simple and interesting answer.
  4. After being repeatedly denied the opportunity to play on existing teams, deaf soccer players in Somalia came up with a new strategy: a league of their own.
  5. Climate change is altering the Earth in many ways but the newest and most terrifying? Spiders are getting bigger.
  6. If you’re only using your grill for big slabs of meat and the occasional vegetable, you’re missing out on these fantastic 10-minute nachos.
  7. The latest project from incredible woodworker/maker Laura Kampf involves a boat she found at the bottom of a lake, a power drill, and a box of scraps.
  8. SOCIAL SKILL: Working in a group setting can be tricky — how can I readily contribute without becoming a pushover? These four tips will help navigate the fine line between being a great team player and being a doormat.
  9. Why are some car’s automatic transmission shifters zig-zaggy while others move in a straight line? A few experts try to get to the bottom of it.
  10. If you’ve ever watched Olympic powerlifting events or the World’s Strongest Man competition, you’ve probably noticed that these athletes — though incredibly strong — are not exactly shredded. That’s on purpose.
  11. Why is a killer whale dragging a boat around a harbor? Maybe it heard about the subpar conditions at Sea World.
  12. The fact that brothers Brent and Kyle Pease recently completed an Ironman triathlon together would be impressive and inspiring enough on its own but there’s one key distinction in their feat: Kyle is a quadriplegic born with cerebral palsy.
  13. Does modern ginger ale even contain ginger? Can something like that even be proven through testing? A recently filed lawsuit aims to find out.
  14. Forget extinguishers — the super cool new way for firefighters to safely put out a fire in an enclosed space takes less than a minute, doesn’t require that they even enter the space, and involves a device that uses water to cut through steel.
  15. If you’re struggling with self-control, try performing some meaningless rituals beforehand! A recent study discovered that these little arbitrary routines can create a feeling of self-discipline, which can then turn into actual self-discipline. Basically: fake it ‘til you make it.
  16. This week gave us reason to stand and salute because for the first time in over 12 years, Patrick Stewart is returning to his iconic role of Captain Jean-Luc Picard in a brand new Star Trek series.

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