We all know the feeling. You're sleepless in the sad hours of the night or stumbling around early on a hazy weekend morning in need of something to read, and that pile of unread books just isn't cutting it. Why not take a break from the fire hose of Twitter and RSS and check out our weekly roundup of essential writing from around the web about technology, culture, media, and the future? Sure, it's one more thing you can feel guilty about sitting in your Instapaper queue, but it's better than pulling in vain on your Twitter list again.
Grab this all as a Readlist.
On Y Combinator
Nathaniel Rich follows several teams through the preparation and pitching sessions for the stressful Demo Day of famed startup accelerator Y Combinator.
The New York Times: Nathaniel Rich - Silicon Valley’s Start-Up Machine
"We’re in the early days of the Internet," Buchheit said. "Every other industry will be eaten by tech." This conviction, more than any other, explains the feeding frenzy that occurs on Y.C.’s Demo Day. If there’s going to be another Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and anyone can be Sergey and Larry, then it’s only logical for investors to bet on as many founders as possible. You can’t win the game unless you ante up.On cinema
The Deadline team has director Steven Soderbergh's full keynote at the recent San Francisco International Film Festival.
Deadline Hollywood: Steven Soderbergh’s State Of Cinema Talk
Well, how does a studio decide what movies get made? One thing they take into consideration is the foreign market, obviously. It’s become very big. So that means, you know, things that travel best are going to be action-adventure, science fiction, fantasy, spectacle, some animation thrown in there. Obviously the bigger the budget, the more people this thing is going to have to appeal to, the more homogenized it’s got to be, the more simplified it’s got to be. So things like cultural specificity and narrative complexity, and, god forbid, ambiguity, those become real obstacles to the success of the film here and abroad.On tacos
Austin Carr has the story on the handshake agreement that let to the Doritos cheese-dusted Taco Bell taco synergy.
Fast Company: Austin Carr - Deep Inside Taco Bell's Doritos Locos taco
Like any serious renovation, Taco Bell’s started with a trip to Home Depot. It was April 2009. To show executives how the companies could fuse the flavor of Doritos with taco shells, the dev teams "basically went out to Home Depot to buy a paint-spray gun, and then sprayed [Doritos] flavoring onto our existing yellow corn tacos," recalls Creed, with a chuckle. "It was pretty funny watching people from behind glass spraying our tacos with a paint gun. But it was enough for us to know conceptually that we had a big idea."On the Y-12 intrusion
Dan Zak writes the story of how three peace activists (a nun, a drifter, and a house painter) penetrated the defenses of US nuclear-weapons facility Y-12, the "Fort Knox of Uranium."
The Washington Post: Dan Zak - The Prophets of Oak Ridge
And now there she was, an old lady in sturdy shoes, reaching the limits of her mortal energy at the top of Pine Ridge with Greg, about 90 minutes into the mission. There was the vista over which the Prophet of Oak Ridge had prayed more than a century before, where a national security complex now winked in the darkness.On spaceship Baltimore
Ron Miller describes the history behind Baltimore's Robert Condit and the rocket he built in 1928.
io9: Ron Miller - The Great Baltimore Space Program of 1928
The Baltimore rocket was fueled with 50 gallons of gasoline with eight steel pipes for engines. The several layers of sailcloth that covered the rocket were impregnated with varnish making an airtight shell "as brittle as glass." The nose section unscrewed to allow the rocket’s single passenger ingress. Have any favorites that you'd like to see included in next week's edition? Send them along to @thomashouston or share in the comments below.