Weekend reads: Dollhouse murder mysteries, record-breaking colleges, the place where nudges aren't working

Kristin Tyndall's read

The world's largest smoothie, game of dodgeball, and Macarena dance all happened at colleges and universities. After we reported on Youngstown State University's record-breaking penguin costume parade, a reader sent us his own recent roundup of Guinness World Records set by campuses worldwide, published by the UK's Wonkhe. As he points out in his article, you can also search the Guinness World Records site to find more records from colleges and universities. I stand in awe of the collaboration and creativity some of these must have required—how did they possibly get 2,387 people into one chair?

What should we read next weekend? Let us know here!

Seren Snow's reads

About two-thirds of medication-related hospital admissions are a result of patients failing to comply with their physicians' drug intake recommendations, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine. This includes drugs for high blood pressure, H.I.V., and mental illnesses. A separate study tried using financial incentives, social support, nudges, health care system resources such as an engagement advisor, and various other behavioral economics best practices—to no avail. Physicians still don't have a perfect or inexpensive way of ensuring patients comply with their prescriptions, indicating that additional studies are probably necessary.

Every toddler in the nation's capital has access to a book a month, every month. The D.C. Public Library runs the initiative through a program called Books from Birth, whose mission is to eliminate the literacy gap between low-income children and children of means. A study from the 1990s found that low-income children can exposed to 30 million fewer words by age 3 than their wealthier peers. Similar programs are expanding into remote communities across the country. "Parents can understand it, communities can understand it, it's low cost, scalable and the impacts are clearly demonstrated", says Jeff Conyers, executive director of the Dollywood Foundation, a similar program founded by Dolly Parton.

Kathleen Escarcha's reads

Most offices are awful places to grow a plant. Blame low lighting and poor ventilation, writes gardening expert, Adrian Higgins. But as the owner of a very beige cubicle, I’m still tempted to adopt a plant despite the low survival rate. For other aspiring cubicle gardeners, Higgins recommends resilient flora, like the Pothos or Dracaenas.

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death offers onlookers a chance to puzzle through unsolved cases that have bewildered investigators since the 1950's. Frances Glessner Lee, who established Harvard University’s department of legal medicine, recreated crime scenes into meticulously crafted dioramas to train law enforcement. Lee’s recreations offer no easy answers, but getting to exercise your sleuthing skills is worth the frustration!


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