President & Editor in Chief
Managing Editor, Magazine
Deputy Editor, Magazine
Deputy Editor, TheAtlantic.com
Literary Editor, Magazine
Managing Editor, TheAtlantic.com
Yoni Appelbaum, David Barber (Poetry), Chris Bodenner, C. Michael Curtis (Fiction), Emily Anne Epstein, Richard Florida, David Frum, Sophie Gilbert, James Hamblin, Kate Julian, Denise Kersten Wills, Corby Kummer, Adrienne LaFrance, Christopher Orr, Yvonne Rolzhausen, Rebecca J. Rosen, Jennie Rothenberg Gritz, Alan Taylor, Derek Thompson
Washington Editor at Large; Editor, AtlanticLIVE
Senior Associate Editors
Janice Cane (Chief), Karen Ostergren
Associate Art Director
Director: John Kefferstan
Executive Staff Manager
Marc Ambinder, Peter Beinart, Ian Bogost, Kate Bolick, David Brooks, Andrew Cohen, Wayne Curtis, Ross Douthat, Gregg Easterbrook, Garrett Epps, David H. Freedman, Lori Gottlieb, Michael Hirschorn, Nancy Jo Iacoi, Wendy Kaminer, Robert D. Kaplan, Mary Louise Kelly, Toby Lester, Sandra Tsing Loh, Alexis C. Madrigal, Thomas Mallon, Charles C. Mann, B.R. Myers, Moisés Naím, P.J. O'Rourke, James Parker, Virginia Postrel, Jonathan Rauch, David Rohde, Jeffrey Rosen, Eric Schlosser, Ellen Ruppel Shell, Burt Solomon, Sage Stossel, Jeffrey Tayler, Chuck Todd, Robert Vare, Leon Wieseltier, Graeme Wood
Executive Producer: Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg
Senior Associate Producer: Sam Price-Waldman
Associate Producer: Paul Rosenfeld
Animator & Designer: Jackie Lay
Fellow: Nadine Ajaka
Editor: Sommer Mathis
President & Chief Operating Officer
Vice President & Publisher
Vice President & President, AtlanticLIVE
Margaret Low Smith
Vice President of Marketing
William P. Mulvihill
Executive Director, Revenue Operations
Executive Creative Director, Integrated Marketing
Executive Director, Integrated Marketing
Integrated Advertising Sales
Advertising Director, Midwest: Liz Aslanian Lorenzoni, email@example.com
Advertising Director, East: Cassidy Nasello, 646-539-6728, CNasello@theatlantic.com
Advertising Director, EMEA: Helen Davies, +44 (0)20 3574 4519, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Integrated Sales Director: Jill Mullan, 646-539-6726, email@example.com
Integrated Sales Director, Northeast: Deirdre O'Connor, 646-539-6719, firstname.lastname@example.org
Integrated Account Director: Katie Milot, 646-539-6720, email@example.com
Integrated Account Manager: Courtney Kelly, 646-539-6718, firstname.lastname@example.org
Integrated Sales Director, Southeast: Chesley Neubauer, email@example.com
Integrated Sales Director, Detroit: Linda Ramsey, 248-865-1175, firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Ad Director, Pacific Northwest: Moira McDonald, 415-291-8072, email@example.com
Integrated Sales Director, Los Angeles: Jennifer Grace, 310-867-0499, firstname.lastname@example.org
Integrated Sales Manager: Chloe Bender, email@example.com
Book Publishing: Gloria Bruere, 718-275-0482, firstname.lastname@example.org
Direct Response and Emporium: Marie Isabelle, Manager, 800-280-2069, email@example.com
Associate: Susan Boucher
Director, Strategic Business and Planning Operations: Jesse Waldele
Director, Ad Operations and Yield Optimization Strategy: Jeffrey Griffin
Ad Operations Manager: Kareen Ludford
Senior Sales Planner: Courtney Cunningham
Assistant to the Vice President & Publisher: Sarah Champ
Sales Planner: Alexandra Bellows, Samantha Kiersey
Fellow: Michelle Edelman
Associate Director: Jeremy Elias
Associate Director: Isaac Brody
Content Lead: Max Levy
Senior Program Manager: Katie Vanderhoff
Program manager: Mary McGee
Marketing Managers: Sarah Devlin, Brad Girson, Sarah Sherman
Product Manager: Jennifer Sun
Brand Strategist: Dana Tom
Art Director: Dante Meick
Digital Designer: Devin Rochford
Designer: Emily Guez
Senior Director: Anna Bross
Communications Manager: Sydney Simon
Director: David Bergeman
Manager: Lisa Littman
Operations Coordinator: Carson Trobich
Managing Director, Business Development: Emily Akhtarzandi
Senior Director, Operations: Lyndsay Polloway
Senior Director, Business Development & Marketing: Frank Roda
Senior Producer: Suzanne Smalley
Director, Business Development: Patrick Garrigan
Director, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships: Jean Namkung
Program Director, National Events: Noelle Thorn Rinner
Associate Director, National Events: Ashley Bolding
Associate Director, Custom Programs: Logan Elsass
Associate Director, Audience Development: Anna Greene
Associate Directors, Business Development: Lauren Evans, Annie Hudson, Melodie Brown Thomas
Events Managers: Vanessa Finnie, Casey Pallenik, Eleni Savopoulos
Program Manager: Sherene Joseph
Marketing Manager: Miranda Kaufman-Waldron
Associate Producers: Lauren Kiel, Michelle Timmerman
Assistant Producer: Margaret Barthel
Designer: Matthew Moses
Executive Assistant: Michael Bloom
Business Development Coordinator: Ricki Eshman
Events Coordinators: Maddie Hilbrant, Jessica Spiegel
Fellows: Megan Devlin, Michelle Dimino, A.J. Tomiak
Digital Products & Technology
Vice President and General Manager, The Atlantic Digital: Kimberly Lau
Senior Product Director: Betsy Ebersole
Product Director: Clarissa Matthews
Product Manager: Delaney Chambers
Digital Design Director: Libby Bawcombe
Senior Web Developer and Technical Lead: Josh West
Senior Web Developer and Interactive Lead: Frankie Dintino
Developers: Chris Barna, Jason Goldstein, Carl Johnson, Paul Nicholsen, Oakland Peters
Web Designer: Desmond Jackson
Fellow: Jess Remington
Associate Director, Digital Analytics: Adam Felder
Analyst, Digital Analytics and Business Development: David Williams
Atlantic Media Company
Jay Lauf, Senior Vice President and Group Publisher; Publisher, Quartz
The Art of Staying Focused in a Distracting World
The tech-industry veteran Linda Stone on how to pay attention
A longtime tech executive, Linda Stone worked on emerging technologies at Apple and then Microsoft Research in the 1980s and ’90s. Fifteen years ago, she coined the term continuous partial attention to describe the modern predicament of being constantly attuned to everything without fully concentrating on anything. Since then, she has frequently written and lectured about the challenges of living in an always-on, hyperconnected world.
James Fallows: You’re well known for the idea of continuous partial attention. Why is this a bad thing?
Linda Stone: Continuous partial attention is neither good nor bad. We need different attention strategies in different contexts. The way you use your attention when you’re writing a story may vary from the way you use your attention when you’re driving a car, serving a meal to dinner guests, making love, or riding a bicycle. The important thing for us as humans is to have the capacity to tap the attention strategy that will best serve us in any given moment.
Study: Why Pot Smokers Are Skinnier
Marijuana users had smaller waists and scored higher across several measures of blood sugar regulation.
PROBLEM: "Marijuana use is associated with an acute increase in caloric intake," goes the clinical jargon for popular lore. Still despite eating more while high (by some measures, over 600 extra calories per day), marijuana users' extra intake doesn't seem to be reflected in increased BMI. Indeed, studies have identified a reduced prevalence of obesity in the pot smoking community.
METHODOLOGY: Researchers at the University of Nebraska, the Harvard School of Public Health, and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of over 4,600 adults. About 12 percent of the participants self-identified as current marijuana users, and another 42 percent reported having used the drug in the past. The participants were tested for various measures of blood sugar control: their fasting insulin and glucose levels; insulin resistance; cholesterol levels; and waist circumference.
What It Takes to Pursue an NFL Dream
"I have every intention of playing football again, and I really believe that it's gonna happen."
What Good Is Thinking About Death?
We're all going to die and we all know it. This can be both a burden and a blessing.
In the heart of every parent lives the tightly coiled nightmare that his child will die. It might spring at logical times—when a toddler runs into the street, say—or it might sneak up in quieter moments. The fear is a helpful evolutionary motivation for parents to protect their children, but it's haunting nonetheless.
The ancient Stoic philosopher Epictetus advised parents to indulge that fear. “What harm is it, just when you are kissing your little child, to say: Tomorrow you will die?” he wrote in his Discourses.
Some might say Epictetus was an asshole. William Irvine thinks he was on to something.
“The Stoics had the insight that the prospect of death can actually make our lives much happier than they would otherwise be,” he says. “You’re supposed to allow yourself to have a flickering thought that someday you’re going to die, and someday the people you love are going to die. I’ve tried it, and it’s incredibly powerful. Well, I am a 21st-century practicing Stoic.”
The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race: A Cheat Sheet
Martin O'Malley jumped into the race for the Democratic nomination on Saturday, giving Hillary Clinton another challenger.
For months, it looked like Martin O’Malley might be the only person brave enough to challenge Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination. Between her dominance and the Clintons’ legendarily long memory for slights, she seemed to have convinced most potential rivals not to bother.
But the Democratic field that the former Maryland governor joined on Saturday doesn’t look quite like what was expected. Yes, Clinton still has a comfortable lead over all rivals. But the rest of the ballot is more crowded. Jim Webb seems set to run. Lincoln Chafee is slated to announce a run on June 3. Most of all, Senator Bernie Sanders has become an unexpected force in the race.
The Sanders ascendancy is a challenge for O’Malley, who seemed to be aiming for the territory to Clinton’s left; O’Malley has criticized the former secretary of state over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Another challenge is the recent unrest in Baltimore. Critics charge that data-based policing tactics that O’Malley ushered in as mayor helped create the tension between police and citizens that boiled over after the death of Freddie Gray. By announcing his campaign in Baltimore, O’Malley signaled that he intends to take that criticism on head-on. In statements since rioting and protests, he has suggested that such tensions are in fact exactly why he feels compelled to run.
What ISIS Really Wants
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse. Here’s what that means for its strategy—and for how to stop it.
What is the Islamic State?
Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.
How Comedians Became Public Intellectuals
People look to Amy Schumer and her fellow jokers not just to make fun of the world, but to make sense of it. And maybe even to help fix it.
This week, in a much-anticipated sketch on her Comedy Central show, Amy Schumer staged a trial of Bill Cosby in “the court of public opinion.” Schumer—her character, at any rate—played the role of the defense. “Let’s remind ourselves what’s at stake here,” she argued to the jury. “If convicted, the next time you put on a rerun of The Cosby Show you may wince a little. Might feel a little pang. And none of us deserve that. We don’t deserve to feel that pang.”
Her conclusion? “We deserve to dance like no one’s watching, and watch like no one’s raping.”
Ooof. This is the kind of thing that gets Inside Amy Schumer referred to as “the most feminist show on television,” and her act in general called, in a phrase that reveals as much about her craft as about Schumer herself, “comedy with a message.” But while Schumer’s work is operating at the vanguard of popular comedy, it’s also in line with the work being done by her fellow performers: jokes that tend to treat humor not just as an end in itself, but as a vehicle for making a point. Watch like no one’s raping.
The Cost of an Adjunct
The plight of non-tenured professors is widely known, but what about the impact they have on the students they’re hired to instruct?
Imagine meeting your English professor by the trunk of her car for office hours, where she doles out information like a taco vendor in a food truck. Or getting an e-mail error message when you write your former biology professor asking for a recommendation because she is no longer employed at the same college. Or attending an afternoon lecture in which your anthropology professor seems a little distracted because he doesn’t have enough money for bus fare. This is an increasingly widespread reality of college education.
Many students—and parents who foot the bills—may assume that all college professors are adequately compensated professionals with a distinct arrangement in which they have a job for life. In actuality those are just tenured professors, who represent less than a quarter of all college faculty. Odds are that students will be taught by professors with less job security and lower pay than those tenured employees, which research shows results in diminished services for students.
Scenes From Underground
Caves and tunnels have always been part of human life.Caves and tunnels have always been part of human life. We've grown more adept at shaping these underground shelters and passages over the millennia, and today we dig for hundreds of reasons. We excavate to find both literal and cultural treasures, digging mines and unearthing archaeological discoveries. We use caverns for stable storage, for entertainment, and for an effective shelter from natural and man-made disasters. And as the planet's surface becomes ever more crowded, and national borders are closed, tunnels provide pathways for our vehicles and for smugglers of every kind. Collected below are more recent subterranean scenes from around the world.
Chinese Democracy Isn't Inevitable
Can a political system be democratically legitimate without being democratic?
The flaws in China’s political system are obvious. The government doesn’t even make a pretense of holding national elections and punishes those who openly call for multiparty rule. The press is heavily censored and the Internet is blocked. Top leaders are unconstrained by the rule of law. Even more worrisome, repression has been ramped up since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, suggesting that the regime is increasingly worried about its legitimacy.
Some China experts—most recently David Shambaugh of George Washington University—interpret these ominous signs as evidence that the Chinese political system is on the verge of collapse. But such an outcome is highly unlikely in the near future. The Communist Party is firmly in power, its top leader is popular, and no political alternative currently claims widespread support. And what would happen if the Party’s power did indeed crumble? The most likely result, in my view, would be rule by a populist strongman backed by elements of the country’s security and military forces. The new ruler might seek to buttress his legitimacy by launching military adventures abroad. President Xi would look tame by comparison.
A Rational Defense of Sleeping Alone
Imagine a world where everyone sleeps well, because no one sleeps together.
An Animated History of 20th Century Hairstyles
From the poodle cut to the mohawk, a century of follicle fashion
A Brief Visual History of Weapons
An illustration of mankind's creativity when it comes to killing