Damian Konkoly

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The five ways we read online (and what publishers can do to encourage the “good” ones)

From skimming and scanning to (the ultimate) <i>reading</i>, a new paper by Nir Grinberg looks at the ways we read online and introduces a novel measure for predicting how long readers will stick with an article.<p>Grinberg, a research fellow at the Harvard Institute for Quantitative Social Science jointly …


The Year I Learned to Quit

This Sunday is the Big Sur Marathon, which I signed up for with my husband and father last July and have been training for since … and I’m not doing it. I got my long run up to 17 miles, but then it all went south, with searing pain in my left iliotibial band and aches in both knees.<p>I took two …


In Her New Work, a Public Poet Balances the Personal and Political

<b>WADE IN THE WATER</b> <b><br>Poems</b><br>By Tracy K. Smith<br>83 pp. Graywolf Press. $24.<p>Tracy K. Smith’s previous collection of poems, “Life on Mars,” was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2012. With an ambition and range unequaled among her contemporaries, that book more than realized the promise of two earlier, somewhat …


The Soul-Crushing Student Essay

Last August, as college started up again, I hadn’t quite finished my beach read, William Finnegan’s “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” so I brought it to my freshman writing class. I tried reading a few passages aloud to break the ice. I thought my students might relate to one in which the writer …


Are Today’s Teenagers Smarter and Better Than We Think?

Today’s teenagers have been raised on cellphones and social media. Should we worry about them or just get out of their way?<p>A recent wave of student protests around the country has provided a close-up view of Generation Z in action, and many adults have been surprised. While there has been much …

Middle School

‘When I See Racial Disparities, I See Racism.’ Discussing Race, Gender and Mobility

After we wrote last week about a sweeping new study of income inequality in the United States, we heard from hundreds of readers. Here is a selection of their questions, with responses from reporters, authors of the study and experts in the field.

United States

I Tried to Befriend Nikolas Cruz. He Still Killed My Friends.

PARKLAND, Fla. — My first interaction with Nikolas Cruz happened when I was in seventh grade. I was eating lunch with my friends, most likely discussing One Direction or Ed Sheeran, when I felt a sudden pain in my lower back. The force of the blow knocked the wind out of my 90-pound body; tears …

Nikolas Cruz

How Researchers Learned to Use Facebook ‘Likes’ to Sway Your Thinking

Perhaps at some point in the past few years you’ve told Facebook that you like, say, Kim Kardashian West. When you hit the thumbs-up button on her page, you probably did it because you wanted to see the reality TV star’s posts in your news feed. Maybe you realized that marketers could target …


Living in a sea of false signals: Are we being pushed from “trust, but verify” to “verify, then trust”?

<b>Editor’s note</b>: Craig Silverman — the indefatigable BuzzFeed journalist who specializes in misinformation, disinformation, and all things fake news — recently gave testimony at the Miami meeting of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and Democracy, which is charged with examining “the causes and …

2,300 Miles to Work

As our world grows increasingly fast-paced, it can be hard to find the time to stop, observe and record the changes happening around us. Trying to do just that, I teamed up to make this documentary film with the “reportage illustrator” George Butler, who has made it his work to depict some of the …


The Tyranny of Convenience

Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today. As a driver of human decisions, it may not offer the illicit thrill of Freud’s unconscious sexual desires or the mathematical elegance of the economist’s incentives. Convenience is boring. But boring is not the …

The Follower Factory

Everyone wants to be popular online. Some even pay for it. Inside social media’s black market.

Social Media

Thanksgiving Gratitude for a Father’s Lesson

Many years ago, I committed an offense for which famous men are now being publicly, and rightly, shamed. I patted an office secretary on her behind. I won’t offer the usual lame defense that I didn’t know my advance was unwanted or that social attitudes were different back then.<p>My only excuse is …

Codes of Conduct

The Mind of John McPhee

When you call John McPhee on the phone, he is instantly John McPhee. McPhee is now 86 years old, and each of those years seems to be filed away inside of him, loaded with information, ready to access. I was calling to arrange a visit to Princeton, N.J., where McPhee lives and teaches writing. He …


How to Tell if Someone Is Lying and 8 More Conversation Tips

The staring contest lasted 14 seconds before Amanda de Cadenet, best known for interviewing bold women with boldfaced names, broke the silence with “I can’t take it anymore!” She was delivering instruction in an interview technique: It is sometimes important to keep quiet, and even to stare down …

Domestic Violence

The Dying Art of Disagreement

<i>This is the text of a lecture delivered at the Lowy Institute Media Award dinner in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday, Sept. 23. The award recognizes excellence in Australian foreign affairs journalism.</i><p>Let me begin with thanks to the Lowy Institute for bringing me all the way to Sydney and doing me …

University of Chicago

Teaching Teenagers to Cope With Social Stress

Almost four million American teenagers have just started their freshman year of high school. Can they learn better ways to deal with all that stress and insecurity?<p>New research suggests they can. Though academic and social pressures continue to pile on in high school, teenagers can be taught …


The Word Choices That Explain Why Jane Austen Endures

Two hundred years after her death, Jane Austen commands a cultural empire — fan fiction, adaptations, merchandise — with her six novels at the center. It raises the question: Why her, as opposed to someone else?<p>Franco Moretti, founder of the Stanford Literary Lab, which applies data analysis to the …


The ‘Rewilding’ of a Century-Old Cranberry Bog

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — The alewife, a type of river herring, wriggled against the current, a 10-inch streak that disappeared from view as it rounded a bend in the stream.<p>It was a normal springtime pilgrimage for the fish, which lives in the ocean but swims upstream to spawn. But this time it was …

Cape Cod

17 Personal Essays That Will Change Your Life

Think essays are just something boring you write for class? These masterpieces will make you totally reconsider.


Men Can Be So Hormonal

“Does being over 40 make you feel like half the man you used to be?”<p>Ads like that have led to a surge in the number of men seeking to boost their testosterone. The Food and Drug Administration reports that prescriptions for testosterone supplements have risen to 2.3 million from 1.3 million in just …


How HyperDocs Can Transform Your Teaching

Listen to my interview with Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis, authors of The HyperDoc Handbook (transcript):<p><b>In many classrooms, a</b> …

The Little-Known Statistician Who Taught Us to Measure Teachers

Students enroll in a teacher’s classroom. Nine months later, they take a test. How much did the first event, the teaching, cause the second event, the test scores? Students have vastly different abilities and backgrounds. A great teacher could see lower test scores after being assigned unusually …


The Best of Our Lives Column

Since 1996, The Times Magazine has published the Lives column, a series of incisive, 800-word essays or as-told-to accounts that highlight small moments in real people’s lives. While a number of well-known writers have contributed to this column — including Nora Ephron, Michael Pollan, Karen …

Ho Chi Minh City

We Know What Works in Teaching Composition

Just because it doesn’t work in your classroom doesn’t mean it doesn’t work.


One Man’s Quest to Change the Way We Die

First, the back story, because, B.J. Miller has found, the back story is unavoidable when you are missing three limbs.<p>Miller was a sophomore at Princeton when, one Monday night in November 1990, he and two friends went out for drinks and, at around 4 a.m., found themselves ambling toward a …

San Francisco