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Yao Ming's Quest to Save Africa's Elephants, XKCD on Colbert and More Morning #Mustreads

The ex-NBA star's fight to stop China from using so much ivory and yet another satisfying Colbert interview.

DarioEgidi via Getty

Happy Friday!

Here’s some of the best stuff on the Web, fresh out of the oven, brought to you by Re/code:

  1. Ex-NBA star Yao Ming is embarking on a campaign to get China to reduce its ivory usage in order to save African elephants. Some of the challenges, via the Washington Post: The National Rifle Association and the 5,000-year-old Chinese carving trade.
  2. Randall Munroe, creator of the delightfully sarcastic and popular science webcomic XKCD, made for a great interview on Stephen Colbert’s show the other night. Promoting his new book (“What If? Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions”), Munroe fielded a bunch of absurd Colbert-like questions, including “the weight of Canada” and what it’s like to hit a baseball traveling at near the speed of light. Here’s the Salon write-up, video included.
  3. Much like “digital detox” essays or “Eat, Pray Love, Self-Indulge”-style memoirs, “Why I’m Leaving New York” articles are almost always bad. But there are exceptions! Like this Awl interview conducted by Alex Balk with Mary HK Choi, for example. A selection: “Like, I fucking earned leaving New York. But I’m also not convinced I won’t be back. I think the real move is doing both.”
  4. The Wall Street Journal has an interview up with director David Fincher, focusing on the musical “dream team” of Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, the Oscar-winning duo who’ve scored Fincher’s last few movies, as well as the upcoming “Gone Girl.” Fincher talks about his work with Ross and Reznor (the latter being the brains behind Nine Inch Nails), and the unlikely origins (massage parlors, for one) of some of their sounds.
  5. If you haven’t heard about the upcoming Simpsons-Futurama crossover episode, get excited. To help you get ready, the AV Club has details on what the story, and some of the jokes, will look like.

If you see any stories you’d like to send our way (or have any questions/comments about stories we’ve recommended), feel free to shoot an email to

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