Briefings: The SAT, Don Johnson vs. Atlantic City, 110 Best DIY Tips, Earth + Stars, and Conversation

As spring has commenced, we thought we’d honor the new season, warm weather in New York, cherry blossoms in DC, and people generally wearing a lot less clothing by sharing some stories that offer a fresh look at topics we may already know a thing or two about.

It’s a big and complicated world. We’re at tips [at] if you think there’s something we should know about.

1. What to Revisit | The SAT

Standardized tests didn’t entirely disappear from our lives after high school and college; anyone who’s applied for a few jobs has probably taken some sort of aptitude battery or psychological exam. The difference is we’re no longer young and lazy or stoned. On the other hand, we used to know how to do math. A 35-year-old Deadspin writer revisits the SAT reasoning test to find out if wisdom really does come with age.

2. What to Mimic | Don Johnson vs. Atlantic City

We’re not talking about detective Sonny Crockett here, though we’re pretty sure he’d break Atlantic City over his knee, too. This Don Johnson took Atlantic City for no less than $15 million playing high stakes blackjack, using a combo of skill and negotiations for better odds at the table. “When casinos started getting desperate, Johnson was perfectly poised to take advantage of them. He had the money to wager big, he had the skill to win, and he did not have enough of a reputation for the casinos to be wary of him.” A good American story. We like it.

3. What to DIY | Answer: Most Things. The 110 Best DIY Tips Ever.

Popular Mechanics just turned 110. We know of few things that live that long and still have their wits about them—actually lobsters are all that come to mind. In honor of the anniversary, the editors have compiled 110 of their best DIY tips from the last century plus: fortifying studs (thanks, but we’re fine), amping a radio with a jar, making a bottle opener with a nail and some wood, leveling a billiard table, waterproofing matchbooks with parrafin, and so on. More tinkering, less time at the computer.

4. What to Watch | Earth + Stars

Wired has a groovy time-lapse video of the earth and stars from the perspective of the International Space Station. The video was made by photographer Alex Rivest using publicly available content from NASA and some real mellow tunes by London PM. Best view with noise-canceling headphones and a scotch & soda.

5. What to Talk About | Conversation

We know the scene well: a conversation slows down, people start reaching for their phones instead of picking up the slack, somebody mumbles a few words about a YouTube video with slip-and-fall accidents. It’s increasingly the way things are, but it’s not inexorable. The FT’s John McDermott takes a look at the art of conversation, including enrolling in a class about it, and wonders if it’s doomed. “But I suspect my classmates were after that most basic thing, human connection,” he writes. “Whatever it was – technology, break-up, bereavement – that made them attend, all wanted stronger relationships. They just weren’t sure how.” Worth a read. We don’t think you need a class, though.