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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

'Sleep should be prescribed': what those late nights out could be costing you

Matthew Walker has learned to dread the question “What do you do?” At parties, it signals the end of his evening; thereafter, his new acquaintance will inevitably cling to him like ivy. On an aeroplane, it usually means that while everyone else watches movies or reads a thriller, he will find …

Immune System

The Real Reason the U.S. Has Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

The basic structure of the American health care system, in which most people have private insurance through their jobs, might seem historically inevitable, consistent with the capitalistic, individualist ethos of the nation.<p>In truth, it was hardly preordained. In fact, the system is largely a …

Health Care

The Power Of Compounding: You Can Achieve Anything, If You Stop Trying To Do Everything

Do you have a long list of goals, desires, and wants for your life? Do you want to learn more? Earn more? Improve your skills? Get the most out of …

Stop pretending you really know what AI is and read this instead

You’ve probably heard the news: AI is going to take your job. Wait, no: It’s going to create a new job for you. AI is going to kill us all! Wait, no it’s not. AI is already totally smarter than us at, like, all the smart things. But that probably doesn’t matter? Neural networks. Machine learning. …

Why George Guidall Is the Undisputed King of Audiobooks

Early in his career as a narrator of audiobooks, George Guidall received a note from a truck driver in Montana. The man had been so absorbed in listening to Mr. Guidall’s eloquent recording of “Crime and Punishment” that he drove off the road. He was writing from his hospital bed to thank Mr. …

Books

The Dark Side of Resilience

Resilience, defined as the psychological capacity to adapt to stressful circumstances and to bounce back from adverse events, is a highly sought-after personality trait in the modern workplace. As Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant argue in their recent book, we can think of resilience as a sort of …

America, Home of the Transactional Marriage - The Atlantic

Over the last several decades, the proportion of Americans who get married has greatly diminished—a development known as well to those who lament marriage’s decline as those who take issue with it as an institution. But a development that’s much newer is that the demographic now leading the shift …

Economics

Julian Assange, a Man Without a Country

From his tiny sanctum in London, the founder of WikiLeaks has interfered with the world’s most powerful institutions.<p>I.<p>The Ecuadorian Embassy in London is situated at the end of a wide brick lane, next to the Harrods department store, in Knightsbridge. Sometimes plainclothes police officers, or …

Donald Trump has no grasp of what it means to be president

DEFENDERS of President Donald Trump offer two arguments in his favour—that he is a businessman who will curb the excesses of the state; and that he …

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis.<p>One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an …

Parenting

Trump Is A 19th-Century President Facing 21st-Century Problems

Since President Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, commentators have asked whether he really understands the office. Over the last few tumultuous …

What Trump's Generation Learned About the Civil War

History textbooks used in New York City during the president’s childhood called the Klan “patriotic,” and downplayed the role of slavery in “the War Between the States.”<p>In March, President Trump visited the Hermitage, a former slave plantation in Tennessee once owned by Andrew Jackson, to pay …

The Cold War and America’s Delusion of Victory

The Cold War as a system of states ended on a cold and gray December day in Moscow in 1991, when Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Soviet Union out of existence. Communism itself, in its Marxist-Leninist form, had ceased to exist as a practical ideal for how to organize society.<p>“If I had to do it over …

Geopolitics

The “free” economy comes at a cost

FACEBOOK, whose users visit for an average of 50 minutes a day, promises members: “It’s free and always will be.” It certainly sounds like a steal. …

How Hurricane Harvey Became So Destructive

Scientists say the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which has been stalled over the Texas Gulf Coast since Friday and dumped more than 20 inches of rain in some areas, were worsened by a lethal confluence of meteorological events: warm water in the Gulf of Mexico that intensified the rainfall, and a …

Extreme Weather

The Biggest Misconception About Today’s College Students

You might think the typical college student lives in a state of bliss, spending each day moving among classes, parties and extracurricular activities. But the reality is that an increasingly small population of undergraduates enjoys that kind of life.<p>Of the country’s nearly 18 million …

College & University

How YouTube perfected the feed

Google Brain gave YouTube new life<p>Sometime late last year, as I was playing a video game named <i>Dishonored 2</i>, I did a routine YouTube search about how to beat a tricky section of the game. As usual, I found a video to answer my question. But on my next YouTube visit, the site offered me even more …

Social Media

Google Critic Ousted From Think Tank Funded by the Tech Giant

WASHINGTON — In the hours after European antitrust regulators levied a record $2.7 billion fine against Google in late June, an influential Washington think tank learned what can happen when a wealthy tech giant is criticized.<p>The New America Foundation has received more than $21 million from …

European Union

The age of AI surveillance is here

For years we’ve been recorded in public on security cameras, police bodycams, livestreams, other people’s social media posts, and on and on. But even if there’s a camera in our face, there’s always been a slight assurance that strangers wouldn’t really be able to do anything that affects us with …

Machine Learning

This Email From Elon Musk to Tesla Employees Describes What Great Communication Looks Like | Inc.com

Throughout the years, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk has demonstrated the art of masterful communication.<p>The following is a perfect example: It's a copy of a previously unpublished email Musk sent to Tesla employees a few years ago. Sent with the subject line "Communication Within Tesla," it …

Tesla

This is probably the worst US flood storm ever, and I’ll never be the same

Neither will the fourth largest city in the country, Houston.<p>HOUSTON—Lightning crashed all around as I dashed into the dark night. The parking lot …

Extreme Weather

Ken Burns’s American Canon

Even in a fractious era, the filmmaker still believes that his documentaries can bring every viewer in.<p>Like Steven Tyler, of Aerosmith, Ken Burns has a summer house on Lake Sunapee, in New Hampshire. The property is furnished with Shaker quilts and a motorboat; every July 4th, a fifteen-foot-long …

It’s Okay to “Forget” What You Read

I write a lot about reading, and one of the most common questions I get is<p>“What’s the point of reading if I just forget it all anyway?”<p>Paul Graham, …

Could Trump’s blundering lead to war between China and Japan?

For news out of east Asia, it is difficult to compete with North Korea’s youthful, jocular despot, Kim Jong-un, and his near-daily threats to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at US territory. On Monday, Kim was pictured surrounded by his top generals mulling over maps with targets closer to home, in …

Geopolitics

We Are Nowhere Close to the Limits of Athletic Performance - Issue 51: Limits

For many years I lived in Eugene, Oregon, also known as “track-town USA” for its long tradition in track and field. Each summer high-profile meets …

University of Oregon

Chill: Robots Won’t Take All Our Jobs | WIRED

SCROLL DOWN<p>SCROLL DOWN<p>SCROLL DOWN<p>SCROLL DOWN<p>Last year, the Japanese company SoftBank opened a cell phone store in Tokyo and staffed it entirely with …

The Legion Lonely

On Thursday, July 13, 1995, a concentration of high pressure in the upper atmosphere above Midwest Chicago forced massive amounts of hot air to the …

Psychology

What Happened When I Ate The Best Brain Foods For A Week

This is what cutting out sugar and dairy and eating lots of fish and blueberries did to my productivity.<p>We know that there is a strong connection between your physical health and work performance. I thought I was doing pretty well. I consider myself a pretty healthy person: I try to run one half …

A million bottles a minute: world's plastic binge 'as dangerous as climate change'

A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and the number will jump another 20% by 2021, creating an environmental crisis some campaigners predict will be as serious as climate change.<p>New figures obtained by the Guardian reveal the surge in usage of plastic bottles, more …

Pollution