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Damn, We Wish We’d Done These 6 Stories Last Month

At the end of every year, we’re jealous of Bloomberg’s “Jealousy List,” a collection of stories that staffers wish they had published. We’re so jealous that we’re making monthly lists of our own.

So here are six stories published by other journalists last month that made us envious. Hopefully, our jealousy will lead to your discovery.


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Family DNA Testing At The Border Would Be An Ethical Quagmire

By Megan Molteni, Wired

When 23andMe announced a plan to offer its DNA testing services to migrant parents trying to reunite with children taken from them as they crossed the border, my initial thought was to be very, very skeptical. Just a few of the potential issues: technical problems with what the testing can and cannot do, the fact that genetic links aren’t the only things that match kids and their guardians, and ethical and legal issues surrounding genetic data. This article did an excellent job of covering the breadth of the problems with this plan without sensationalizing its dangers.

— Maggie Koerth-Baker, senior science writer


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The Rise And Fall Of CrossFit’s Science Crusader

By Stephanie M. Lee, BuzzFeed

This deeply reported profile of CrossFit spokesperson Russell Berger is packed with drama and intrigue. Lee tells the story of Berger’s relentless protection of the CrossFit brand, his fight against rival fitness organizations, and his longstanding crusade against research misconduct and conflicts of interest in science. He was CrossFit’s public face until his bigotry against the LBGTQ community got him fired.

— Christie Aschwanden, lead science writer


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The Rockets rode 3-pointers from the highest of highs to the depths of Hell

By Jon Bois and Alex Rubenstein, SB Nation

In the cruel world of sports, sometimes the very strength that propels a team to greatness can turn into a weakness at the worst possible time. This video dives into how the Houston Rockets — who have revolutionized the modern NBA with the sheer number of 3-pointers they take — somehow managed to miss 27 consecutive threes with their season on the line.

— Neil Paine, senior sportswriter


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The best Mario Kart character according to data science

By Henry Hinnefeld, Civis Analytics

I’m only a casual Mario Kart fan, but this article is too fun not to highlight. The author uses a concept called Pareto efficiency, developed by an Italian economist in the early 1900s, to find the optimal combinations of character, kart and tires in the latest iteration of the game. None of it is going to teach me how to drift effectively or not fall off Rainbow Road, but it’s a start.

— Gus Wezerek, visual journalist


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Explained

By Vox

Vox’s new Netflix series, “Explained,” is intoxicating. In June, I was excited to watch an episode produced by Christine Laskowski, a former FiveThirtyEighter, on why diets fail. Americans apparently try around five diets in the course of a lifetime, according to the series. For women, it’s around seven. But if there’s little science backing fad diets, why do we even try? This episode tackled that question using a smart combination of science-ese, cultural references, data and real human interviews.

— Meena Ganesan, social editor


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Where killings go unsolved

By Wesley Lowery, Kimbriell Kelly, Ted Mellnik and Steven Rich, The Washington Post

A Washington Post analysis of 52,000 criminal homicides revealed some stark findings: In sections of dozens of U.S. cities, murder is common but arrests are rare. Even as violence has dropped to historic lows, 34 of 50 major cities have a lower homicide arrest rate than they did a decade ago. “Some cities, such as Baltimore and Chicago, solve so few homicides that vast areas stretching for miles experience hundreds of homicides with virtually no arrests,” the authors of this article wrote.

Not only have arrest rates dropped in many cities and neighborhoods, but there’s also a huge variation in homicide arrests rates depending on the race of the victim. The Post examined many of the factors involved, including communities who are afraid to cooperate with police, the role of gangs and fear of retaliation. The net result is communities all over the country where justice is all but out of reach.

— Anna Maria Barry-Jester, lead health writer

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