Shireesh Bhalerao

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A Few Too Many

Is there any hope for the hung over?<p>Of the miseries regularly inflicted on humankind, some are so minor and yet, while they last, so painful that one wonders how, after all this time, a remedy cannot have been found. If scientists do not have a cure for cancer, that makes sense. But the common …

How David Beats Goliath

When underdogs break the rules.<p>When Vivek Ranadivé decided to coach his daughter Anjali’s basketball team, he settled on two principles. The first was that he would never raise his voice. This was National Junior Basketball—the Little League of basketball. The team was made up mostly of …

Redwood City

Big Med

Restaurant chains have managed to combine quality control, cost control, and innovation. Can health care?<p>It was Saturday night, and I was at the local Cheesecake Factory with my two teen-age daughters and three of their friends. You may know the chain: a hundred and sixty restaurants with a …

Medicine

Food Fighter

Does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. know what’s best for you?<p>John Mackey, the co-founder and chief executive of Whole Foods Market, refers to the company as his child—not just his creation but the thing on earth whose difficulties or downfall it pains him most to contemplate. He also sees himself as a “daddy” …

Marin County

Don’t!

The secret of self-control.<p>In the late nineteen-sixties, Carolyn Weisz, a four-year-old with long brown hair, was invited into a “game room” at the Bing Nursery School, on the campus of Stanford University. The room was little more than a large closet, containing a desk and a chair. Carolyn was …

Psychology

How Today's Computers Weaken Our Brain

At 10 <i>P.M.</i> on September 22, 1912, Franz Kafka, then a twenty-nine-year-old lawyer, sat down at his typewriter in Prague and began to write. He wrote and wrote, and eight hours later he had finished “Das Urteil” (“The Judgment”).<p>Kafka wrote in his diary, “I was hardly able to pull my legs out from …

The Apostate

Paul Haggis vs. the Church of Scientology.<p>On August 19, 2009, Tommy Davis, the chief spokesperson for the Church of Scientology International, received a letter from the film director and screenwriter Paul Haggis. “For ten months now I have been writing to ask you to make a public statement …

Religion

Auto Correct

Has the self-driving car at last arrived?<p>Human beings make terrible drivers. They talk on the phone and run red lights, signal to the left and turn to the right. They drink too much beer and plow into trees or veer into traffic as they swat at their kids. They have blind spots, leg cramps, …

Anthony Levandowski

How Chris McCandless Died

Twenty-one years ago this month, on September 6, 1992, the decomposed body of Christopher McCandless was discovered by moose hunters just outside the northern boundary of Denali National Park. He had died inside a rusting bus that served as a makeshift shelter for trappers, dog mushers, and other …

The Song Machine

The hitmakers behind Rihanna.<p>On a mild Monday afternoon in mid-January, Ester Dean, a songwriter and vocalist, arrived at Roc the Mic Studios, on West Twenty-seventh Street in Manhattan, for the first of five days of songwriting sessions. Her engineer, Aubry Delaine, whom she calls Big Juice, …

Carole King

The Mark of a Masterpiece

The man who keeps finding famous fingerprints on uncelebrated works of art.<p>Every few weeks, photographs of old paintings arrive at Martin Kemp’s eighteenth-century house, outside Oxford, England. Many of the art works are so decayed that their once luminous colors have become washed out, their …

Slow Ideas

Some innovations spread fast. How do you speed the ones that don’t?<p>Why do some innovations spread so swiftly and others so slowly? Consider the very different trajectories of surgical anesthesia and antiseptics, both of which were discovered in the nineteenth century. The first public demonstration …

The Tweaker

The real genius of Steve Jobs.<p>Not long after Steve Jobs got married, in 1991, he moved with his wife to a nineteen-thirties, Cotswolds-style house in old Palo Alto. Jobs always found it difficult to furnish the places where he lived. His previous house had only a mattress, a table, and chairs. He …

Bay Watched

How San Francisco’s new entrepreneurial culture is changing the country.<p>The way to meet up with Johnny Hwin, one of the best-connected kids in San Francisco, is to stand at the garage door of a small repair shop in the iffy section of the Mission District and dial his cell phone until it stops …

Cheap Words

Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books?<p>Amazon is a global superstore, like Walmart. It’s also a hardware manufacturer, like Apple, and a utility, like Con Edison, and a video distributor, like Netflix, and a book publisher, like Random House, and a production studio, like Paramount, …

First Impressions

What does the world’s oldest art say about us?<p>During the Old Stone Age, between thirty-seven thousand and eleven thousand years ago, some of the most remarkable art ever conceived was etched or painted on the walls of caves in southern France and northern Spain. After a visit to Lascaux, in the …

Swingers

Bonobos are celebrated as peace-loving, matriarchal, and sexually liberated. Are they?<p>On a Saturday evening a few months ago, a fund-raiser was held in a downtown Manhattan yoga studio to benefit the bonobo, a species of African ape that is very similar to—but, some say, far nicer than—the …

The Interpreter

Has a remote Amazonian tribe upended our understanding of language?<p><i>Correction appended</i>.<p>One morning last July, in the rain forest of northwestern Brazil, Dan Everett, an American linguistics professor, and I stepped from the pontoon of a Cessna floatplane onto the beach bordering the Maici River, a …

The Hunt for El Chapo

How the world’s most notorious drug lord was captured.<p>One afternoon last December, an assassin on board a K.L.M. flight from Mexico City arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. This was not a business trip: the killer, who was thirty-three, liked to travel, and often documented his journeys around …

The Story of a Suicide

Two college roommates, a webcam, and a tragedy.<p>Dharun Ravi grew up in Plainsboro, New Jersey, in a large, modern house with wide expanses of wood flooring and a swimming pool out back. Assertive and athletic, he used “<i>DHARUNISAWESOME</i>” as a computer password and played on an Ultimate Frisbee team. …

We Are Alive

Bruce Springsteen at sixty-two.<p>Nearly half a century ago, when Elvis Presley was filming “Harum Scarum” and “Help!” was on the charts, a moody, father-haunted, yet uncannily charismatic Shore rat named Bruce Springsteen was building a small reputation around central Jersey as a guitar player in a …

The Pink Panthers

A tale of diamonds, thieves, and the Balkans.<p>On May 19, 2003, a man in his late twenties walked along New Bond Street, in London, and stopped outside the flagship store of Graff, which proudly claims to sell “the most fabulous jewels in the world.” The man, whose image, captured by surveillance …

Crime

Battleground America

One nation, under the gun.<p>Just after seven-thirty on the morning of February 27th, a seventeen-year-old boy named T. J. Lane walked into the cafeteria at Chardon High School, about thirty miles outside Cleveland. It was a Monday, and the cafeteria was filled with kids, some eating breakfast, some …

The Mark

The F.B.I. needs informants, but what happens when they go too far?<p>Last January, Michael Grimm, a forty-year-old United States congressman from Staten Island, sat for an interview in his Washington office with Greta Van Susteren, of Fox News. Grimm, a freshman representative who had recently been …

Taken

Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing?<p>On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her …

The Jefferson Bottles

How could one collector find so much rare fine wine?<p>The most expensive bottle of wine ever sold at auction was offered at Christie’s in London, on December 5, 1985. The bottle was handblown dark-green glass and capped with a nubby seal of thick black wax. It had no label, but etched into the glass …

Brain Gain

The underground world of “neuroenhancing” drugs.<p>A young man I’ll call Alex recently graduated from Harvard. As a history major, Alex wrote about a dozen papers a semester. He also ran a student organization, for which he often worked more than forty hours a week; when he wasn’t on the job, he had …

The Curse of Reading and Forgetting

Recently, a colleague mentioned that she had been rereading Richard Hughes’s “A High Wind in Jamaica,” which was first published in 1929 and is about a group of creepy little kids who become the unwanted wards of sad, listless pirates. She praised it, and her recommendation sent me to Amazon. The …

X-Rayed Toys by Brendan Fitzpatrick | Colossal

<p>Photographer Brendan Fitzpatrick whose floral x-rays we first featured back in 2012, just released three new collections of x-ray photos including …

The Possibilian

What a brush with death taught David Eagleman about the mysteries of time and the brain.<p>When David Eagleman was eight years old, he fell off a roof and kept on falling. Or so it seemed at the time. His family was living outside Albuquerque, in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. There were only …