ICYMI 2.6.15 - All About Matter / by Michael Epstein

 Logo via  Matter

Logo via Matter

Instead of posting stuff from a wide array of outlets, we're going to pick out a few recent highlights from single outlet that's been particularly great recently. Matter, new science magazine that became one of Medium's original in-house publications last year, has been producing some of my favorite stories for months now.

Both the imprint and Medium's professional publishing shop seem poised to grow, so hopefully there will more stories like these going around. For now, here are a few recent example of the fun weirdness that makes them special:

Love in The Time of Bae

The first part of a serialized longform narrative, which Matter says will be priority for them in 2015, introduces Charlotte, a girl whose romantic and emotional life takes shape through veils of internet abstraction. Frantic and fast-paced, Charlotte discovers new things about herself at a breakneck speed that only a modern teen could.

It's only just begun, but this is the first piece of writing in a long time that really left me wanting more.

Photo Battle: Hilary versus Allison

Another first entry in what I hope will be a recurring series, Photo Battle is a neat photo essay experiment. Two journalism professionals with similar jobs — Allison McCann makes infographics for FiveThirtyEight. Hilary Parker analyzes user data for Etsy — were charged with sending each other random photos for a week.

While the result are kind of mundane, I see the potential for some really interesting, wacky stories as time goes on. There are definitely ways it could improve... (For example, I think it would be better if the ladies' comments were interspersed throughout the piece, rather than held until the end.)

Let's Go Eat a Goddamn Snack: The NFL Cleanse

I'm pretty sure that the stories I've chosen do not properly represent Matter, which does a lot of incredible longform journalism about serious science, but I don't care. This is hilarious. Freelancer Ruth Baron eats every single food item advertised during the Super Bowl, and records her experience in the style of Gawker's Caity Weaver, whose day-in-the-life of a person eating nothing but Friday's Mozzerella Sticks remains the gold standard in modern food journalism.

It took Baron more than a week and at times the resulting story sounds like a sci-fi parable about processed food, but it made me laugh... So definitely worth it, right?

Are You Internet Sexual?

If you have any doubt that the internet is affecting the way people think about and engage with their own sexuality, you won't after you read this piece on sex chat culture.

You're 16. You're a Pedophile. You Don't Want to Hurt Anyone. Now What do You do?

One of Matter's two ASME-nominated stories—that's the National Magazine Awards—is pretty much self-explanatory. The story alternates between the science behind pedofiliac pathology and the story of a man named Adam who has spent most of his life wrestling with sexual attraction to children. It's brutal and terrifying and it will break your heart... Which is exactly why you have to read it.