Briefings: Oak Ridge, Smokeable Books, Hormone Therapy, Saveur’s Las Vegas, and an App for Local Events

This week is mainly about things we like to know about but are fairly comfortable observing from afar: a formerly secret town in eastern Tennessee where the government enriched uranium; Snoop Dogg’s new book/package of rolling papers; and new developments in the world of hormone replacement therapy, which, well, we’re glad to know it’s there…

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 Peruse | Photos of Oak Ridge

A Continuous Lean has a link to the Department of Energy’s Flickr account for Oak Ridge, Tennessee, (not too far from our editor’s hometown, Knoxville) the secret World War II-era town where the U.S. government enriched uranium for the Manhattan Project. Between 1942 and 1945 the town grew from 3,000 people to 75,000 and changed from a rural community to a fully-planned city complete with 10 schools, 7 theaters, and a symphony orchestra. The photographs were taken by Ed Westcott and, according to ACL, mostly staged. We’ll let you know when the Area 51 Instagram is live.

2. What to Smoke | Books

We’re interested in this book, Rolling Words, less for its use-value and more for its cultural significance and contribution to Snoop Dogg’s extensive body of work—a treasure trove that includes Doggystyle, countless appearances as himself in movies, and endorsements for malt liquor and zero calorie Pepsi. In fact, it’s no so much a book as an ornate package of rolling papers, each with song lyrics written on it, the whole thing actually an endorsement for his own brand of king size rolling papers. The man knows how to merchandise.

3. What to Read | Cheating Death with Hormones

The way most of us deal with the aches and pains that come with age, denial, turns out not to be the most sophisticated approach: Esquire’s very good feature story this month is about hormone replacement therapy, a growing field of research and practice that believes andropause—the condition of decreasing testosterone production in aging men—can be safely treated with creams, injections, skin patches, and gels. Long associated with steroid users (and, in the late 19th century, a French doctor who injected himself with a mixture of water, blood, semen, and juice extracted from crushed dog testicles), synthetic hormones are made by pharmaceutical companies and prescribed by doctors to treat the battery of symptoms associated with lower testosterone—things like loss of energy and concentration, depression, and impotence.

4. What to Consult | Saveur: Guide to Vegas

Much like the eastern tiger salamander, the Las Vegas prime rib of beef au jus for under $10 is an endangered species. Let’s call it the upscaling of Las Vegas, and unless you plan on settling for a bachelor party in Atlantic City or rescheduling that trade association conference for Macau—it’s the standard destination for American hooliganism. Fortunately, the upshot is that the food in LV is quite good, and Saveur’s issue this month is equal parts travel guide and cultural history, everything from where to get the best huaraches to an inside look at the menu for high rollers at the MGM Grand. There are even recipes so you can create a little Vegas at home. On second thought, don’t do that.

5. What to Use | Time to Enjoy App

There are many apps for organizing your schedule, but fewer good ones for filling it up. A new app for iPhone called Time to Enjoy uses third-party data aggregators as well as, we assume, lots of legwork, to find events and activities with a bias for location and time. It then syncs with your calendar and offers the option to share with friends via social channels. If you’re in New York or San Francisco, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to roll right out of work and find a Scotch tasting or street food festival; if you’re in Toksook Bay, Alaska, there’s a good chance you already know what’s going on and you can skip this one.