I'm on vacation, in an island paradise, and I'm sorely tempted to skip my end-of-the-month "Cool Sh*t" post. I want to just hang out on the beach and watch the waves roll in. But I don't want to disappoint the hordes of readers eagerly anticipating my picks. (I mean, look at all the "Likes" and comments my past "Cool" posts have gotten.) So I've come up with a compromise. Below are my monthly picks, but without the usual annotative blather.

"With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy," a report by Human Rights Watch, July 28.

"Beyond Energy, Matter, Time and Space," by George Johnson, New York Times, July 21.

"The Tao of Terence: Beyond Existentialism," by Tao Lin, VICE, July 8.

"When These Experts Savage U.S. Drone Policy, It's Time to Worry," by Connor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic, July 9.

"A Challenge to American Doctors," by Arnold Relman, New York Review of Books, August 14.

"Zoo Animals and Their Discontents," by Alex Halberstadt, New York Times Magazine, July 3.