This week's roundup includes sex, violence, and truffles—the last of which is not unlike the drug trade, with a surprisingly shady underside. So, without further ado, here's this week's R-rated landscape reads.
Mud as a weapon of war
The supply line for guerrilla fighters in Southern Vietnam included hundreds of miles of dirt roads nicknamed the Ho Chi Minh Trail—so the U.S. military, with all of its sophisticated technology, decided it would simply weaponize mud. In one mission, warplanes experimented with cloud seeding, hoping to kick off artificially-induced rainstorms that would turn these unpaved trails into a dangerous and impassable swamp. [War is Boring on Medium]
Sex and the public park
Elizabeth Royte looks for used condoms—or, rather, she picks up the ones littering her local park, a popular spot for cruising. Royte is also a journalist who writes about trash, so it's no surprise that she can spin a story about used condoms into a meditation on much more. [Medium]
How we created the age of the wildfire
"Our species power is literally firepower," writes Stephen Pyne in his piece about humanity's long relationship with fire. As wildfires rage in California in January—usually one of the wettest months of the year—it's a fitting time to reflect on how humans have made wildfires so much worse. [Aeon Magazine]