1. Stopping Climate Change Is Hopeless. Let’s Do It.
“Solving climate is going to be harder, and more improbable, than winning World War II, achieving civil rights, defeating bacterial infection and sending a man to the moon all together.”
2. Are You a Visual or an Auditory Learner? It Doesn’t Matter
“There’s no good scientific evidence that learning styles actually exist.”
3. Why Is Behavioral Economics So Popular?
“There is nothing wrong with achieving small victories with minor interventions. The worry, however, is that the perceived simplicity and efficacy of such tactics will distract decision makers from more substantive efforts — for example, reducing electricity consumption by taxing it more heavily or investing in renewable energy resources.”
4. The Prison ‘Old-Timers’ Who Gave Me Life
“We must seriously consider whether society would benefit by letting reformed offenders re-enter their community, and whether it’s economical and humane to punish solely for the sake of retribution. When I hear of all the gun violence on Chicago’s South Side, for instance, I can’t help wondering what would happen if Illinois’s many reformed old-timers, who hail from those neighborhoods, were granted parole with a mission of working to reduce the violence. It’s not unreasonable to think they’d have a better chance of reaching the younger generation than the local police or federal law enforcement.”
5. Introducing the Internet Bill of Rights
“Should American citizens get a new Bill of Rights for the internet?”
6. California’s Highway 1, With Memory Riding Shotgun
“The road was built in pieces starting about a century ago, partly with prison labor and explosives; pieces of it still close, for fires, for eroded bridges, for falling right into the ocean. Most recently, in July, a stretch south of Big Sur that had been impassable for more than a year was finally reopened, repaired after six million cubic yards of landslide buried it in its tumble toward the Pacific. In the most evocative parts of the drive, the drop, separated from your car by just a guardrail — or not — is hundreds of feet.”
7. When Guests Want to Check In With Firearms, What Can Hotels Do?
“Wary of criticism and liability, and operating under a patchwork of state and county firearms laws, hotels have crafted an inconsistent range of gun policies that can vary from door to door on the same street and location to location within the same chain.”
8. Inside the World of D.I.Y. Ammunition
“The average member in the Cast Bullet Association is a 55-year-old man, typically mathematically-inclined tinkerers from professions where they used their hands, such as dentists, mechanics or surgeons…. The members enjoy the engineering know-how and alchemy experimentation involved in a hobby that requires millimeter exactitude, tireless patience, and constant trial and error. In contrast, those interested in creating printable guns are often younger and more internet savvy.”
9. Estranged in America: Both Sides Feel Lost and Left Out
“Forty-seven percent of voters who approve of Mr. Trump say they feel like strangers in their own country, while 44 percent of those who disapprove of him say the same.”
10. Life in a For-Profit Lockup
“What is it like to work — or serve time — in a prison where nobody is in charge?”
11. New & Noteworthy
“Singer and Brooking cite research showing that, during a 2012 conflict with Gaza, Israel was so attuned to social media dynamics that ‘a sudden spike in online sympathy for Hamas more than halved the pace of Israeli airstrikes.’”
12. Big Boned
“As Prokopi’s financial situation becomes increasingly tenuous, these dinosaur bones become his only hope for avoiding ruin.”
13. How Do We Make the Long-Term Decisions That Matter?
“Your vision will always be blurry. But there’s no better corrective lens than a clear diagnosis of just how myopic you are. If you want to improve at predicting the future, start by recognizing how unpredictable it is.”
14. Letter of Recommendation: YouTube Travel
“Go on YouTube; type a place name and a year. Beijing 1970. Karachi 1990. Tashkent 1992. San Francisco 1995. Mumbai 1985. The algorithm will help guide your trip, the row of thumbnails on the right-hand side of the screen taking you back and back into the past.”
“Resist lane envy: Studies show that the perception that one lane is moving faster is often a psychological illusion.”
“She read Andy Warhol’s books and realized that what most people want, when they dream of fame, is not necessarily wealth or power but limitlessness: the ability to change. So many artists start out gritty and homegrown but calcify into hardened personae over time; when Lady Gaga adopted her new name (sometime around 2006, most likely from a Queen song), she decided to flip the formula. What if she began with the character, and the character was the physical embodiment of flux? What if she never wore the same outfit twice, or gave an interview out of costume, or claimed to be a paragon of creative authenticity?”
“The sitcom is arguably the defining commercial art form of the American 20th century. Here in the ugly adolescence of the 21st century, ‘The Good Place’ is using that old artistic form to take an honest moral accounting of the modern American soul. In doing so, it raises questions that have always been essential but that now glow with a special radioactivity.”
“The real-world and social-media combat we’ve been in for the past two years over what kind of country this is — who gets to live in it and bemoan (or endorse!) how it’s being run — have now shown up in our beefs over culture, not so much over the actual works themselves but over the laws governing that culture and the discussion around it, which artists can make what art, who can speak. We’re talking less about whether a work is good art but simply whether it’s good — good for us, good for the culture, good for the world.”