This Week’s 5 Best Long-Reads That Aren’t About Joe Biden

We've got the NFL draft, American jewelers, hand dryers, corals and John Belushi

1999 NFL Draft
A Raiders fan at the 1999 NFL draft. (Ezra O. Shaw/ Allsport)
Getty Images

Another Democrat entered the 2020 Presidential race a few days ago, but we’re skipping past that. This week includes long, hot takes on the 1999 NFL draft, discrimination and harassment at Sterling Jewelers Inc., the war over hand drying methods, corals that are, yes, still dying and John Belushi — also long dead.

Diamond bracelet
A famous jeweler discriminated against its female employees. (Getty)
Getty Images

One of the larger purveyors of love in America, Sterling Jewelers Inc., had women working under abhorrent conditions for years — 14 at least. Employees told the New York Times that they weren’t paid as much as their male counterparts and had to deal with instances of blatant sexism, verbal and sexual harassment. If they name doesn’t ring a bell, maybe one of the companies it owns will, like Kay, Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, Osterman, J.B. Robinson and Zales, among a dozen others. 

Bleached coral
Bleached, dead coral. (Reinhard Dirscherl/ Getty)
ullstein bild via Getty Images

When coral reefs die, they smell like rotting flesh. The once rich colors fade quickly from yellows and reds to a ghostly white as the coral breaks off into crumbled pieces. Corals live in symbiosis with a type of algae; each feeding off the other to survive in harmony. Just 1 °C of ocean warming can break down this coral-algae relationship and after prolonged episodes of bleaching in the heat, they die from the stress. This is just a piece of UCLA scientistHolly Jean Buck’s upcoming book that was shared by MIT Technology Review in which she details a tiny portion of what will happen if the world’s ocean’s don’t cool down.

1999 NFL Draft
A Raiders fan at the 1999 NFL draft. (Ezra O. Shaw/ Allsport)
Getty Images

The draft was this week and one of ESPN’s ways of commemorating the event was to look back at the annual NFL spectacle’s most wild year. “The epic, chaotic 1999 NFL draft had it all,” ESPN senior writer David Fleming wrote, “Quarterback busts galore. Historic, massive trades involving three teams and 15 picks. Thunderous boos, double-crosses, late-night deals, green-room tears, prayer circles, internal franchise revolts, Mike Ditka in a dreadlocks wig, a Hall of Fame cornerback, a Heisman Trophy winner in a wedding dress and several juicy secrets that have just now come to light.”

Towels and hand dryers
There’s a war between towels and hand dryers. (Getty)
Getty Images

It should come as little-to-no surprise that electric hand dryers in public bathrooms market themselves as far more sanitary and less harmful to the environment than paper towels — which, of course, argue the reverse. What’s perhaps not as widely known is the battle that wages between the two in the war to dry your hands. “It’s almost like the cola wars,” one expert told the Guardian. “You have Pepsi v Coke, and you have hand dryers v paper towels. Expect to be lied to a lot.” But don’t worry, the site broke it down for you.

John Belushi
John Belushi performs live in 1978 in San Francisco. (Getty)
(Richard McCaffrey/ Michael Ochs Archive/ Getty Images)

In 1982, John Belushi died way too early at the Chateau Marmont. Now, over three decades later, a new book has been written with never-before-known details of the actor’s fateful final days. “When he checked in at the front desk on the night of Feb. 28, 1982, John Belushi was a time bomb, a waste site, a mess,” Shawn Levy wrote of the comedian and actor, who appeared “worn to a stump at the age of 33” just a few days before his fatal overdose. A long sampling of Levy’s book, The Castle on Sunset: Death, Love, Art, and Scandal at Hollywood’s Chateau Marmont was published this week by The Hollywood Reporter.

The InsideHook Newsletter.

News, advice and insights for the most interesting person in the room.