—A 7.5-magnitude earthquake struck New Zealand early Monday morning, triggering a tsunami that threatens the country’s eastern coast.
—France marked the anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in Paris last year. President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo visited the sites targeted in the attacks, where the names of the victims were read aloud.
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Europe's Foreign Ministers Call Emergency Meeting to Talk About Trump
The head of the European Council has called an emergency meeting of the continent's foreign ministers to discuss the unexpected election of Donald Trump as the president of the United States, which has rattled European leaders.
Donald Tusk, the president of the council, scheduled the gathering in Brussels at the suggestion of Germany, The Guardian reported Sunday. The foreign ministers will meet Sunday night, with the exception of Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary and one of the leaders of the campaign for Brexit, who is boycotting the meeting.
The ministers will "exchange notes on how far they believe Trump will follow through on his dramatic but sometimes inconsistent pledges to turn U.S. foreign policy upside down, including over Russia, Syria, Iran and NATO," The Guardian wrote. The ministers will also convene Monday for a regular meeting, so it’s unclear why Tusk called for another one the night before.
President Obama will try to reassure Europe about the next administration when he travels to Berlin this week to meet with the leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
New Zealand Downgrades Tsunami Threat After Earthquake
New Zealand has downgraded the tsunami warning issued after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck the country’s South Island shortly after midnight Monday.
New Zealand’s ministry of civil defense and emergency management said Monday fewer parts of the east coast are now at risk of dangerous waves. Here’s an earlier map, released at about 3 a.m. local time, showing the areas at most risk of a tsunami impact. The darker blue indicates areas that are most vulnerable:
Paris Marks Anniversary of Deadly Terrorist Attacks
France marked the anniversary of last year’s Paris terrorist attacks, which left 130 people dead at a concert hall, stadium, and several bars and restaurants.
Residents paid tribute to the victims on Sunday by placing flowers, candles, and notes at the sites that were targeted in the ISIS-directed attacks. French President Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo visited each of the six sites, where they unveiled commemorative plaques and the victims’ names were read aloud, according to the BBC. They released colorful balloons into the air outside the Bataclan, where assailants attacked during a concert, spraying the crowd with bullets. The music venue reopened Saturday night with a show by the singer Sting.
France has been under a state of emergency since the attacks. The state of emergency was extended in Juy after a man drove a truck into a crowd in Nice on Bastille Day, killing 84 people. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Saturday it would remain in place because of the risk of “attacks of the kind we saw in Nice.”
New Zealanders Seek High Ground After Powerful Earthquake
Tsunami warning sirens are ringing along New Zealand’s east coast after a powerful earthquake struck the country early Monday morning, sending residents into the streets and damaging some roads.
The 7.8-magnitude struck shortly after midnight on New Zealand’s South Island, 15 kilometers (nine miles) northeast of Culverden. About 45 aftershocks followed, the largest recorded at 6.2 magnitude, according to GeoNet, which monitors seismic activity in New Zealand. Strong quakes were felt in Wellington, the country’s capital.
No injuries have been reported, but power outages have hampered communication.
New Zealand’s ministry of civil defense and emergency management has issued a tsunami warning to the country’s entire east coast and urged residents to seek higher ground and avoid beaches. Waves between three and five meters (10 to 16 feet) are expected near the quake’s epicenter.
The ministry released a map showing the areas at most risk of a tsunami impact. The darker blue indicates areas that are most vulnerable:
The election of the elders of an evangelical church is usually an uncontroversial, even unifying event. But this summer, at an influential megachurch in Northern Virginia, something went badly wrong. A trio of elders didn’t receive 75 percent of the vote, the threshold necessary to be installed.
“A small group of people, inside and outside this church, coordinated a divisive effort to use disinformation in order to persuade others to vote these men down as part of a broader effort to take control of this church,” David Platt, a 43-year-old minister at McLean Bible Church and a best-selling author, charged in a July 4 sermon.
Platt said church members had been misled, having been told, among other things, that the three individuals nominated to be elders would advocate selling the church building to Muslims, who would convert it into a mosque. In a second vote on July 18, all three nominees cleared the threshold. But that hardly resolved the conflict. Members of the church filed a lawsuit, claiming that the conduct of the election violated the church’s constitution.
Claims about the drug are based on shoddy science—but that science is entirely unremarkable in its shoddiness.
Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, and a very good one. If you are infected with the roundworms that cause river blindness or the parasitic mites that cause scabies, it is wonderfully effective. It is cheap; it is accessible; and its discoverers won the Nobel Prize in 2015. It has also been widely promoted as a coronavirus prophylactic and treatment.
This promotion has been broadly criticized as a fever dream conceived in the memetic bowels of the internet and as a convenient buttress for bad arguments against vaccination. This is not entirely fair. Perhaps 70 to 100 studies have been conducted on the use of ivermectin for treating or preventing COVID-19; several dozen of them support the hypothesis that the drug is a plague mitigant. Twometa-analyses, which looked at data aggregated across subsets of these studies, concluded that the drug has value in the fight against the pandemic.
The James Webb Space Telescope, the long-awaited successor to Hubble, is mired in controversy over its namesake.
In 1999, Karen Knierman picked up a free mug at her first big astronomy conference, just before she started grad school. It bore the logo of an ambitious observatory, designed to peer at the most distant galaxies in the universe: NGST, short for Next Generation Space Telescope. The mug was on Knierman’s desk in 2002 when NASA made a surprise announcement: NGST was going to become JWST, after James Webb. Knierman sipped from her suddenly out-of-date mug and wondered, Who?
That was the prevailing reaction among scientists at the time. Webb, who died in 1992, was more of a behind-the-scenes manager than a space-science star; he had served as NASA’s second administrator, in the 1960s, during the run-up to the Apollo moon landings. But scientists went with the rebrand. Work on the telescope continued. Scientists got new merch, new mugs.
Midnight Mass is a morally urgent critique of how faith can fuel everyday cruelty and violence.
This story contains spoilers for the Netflix series Midnight Mass.
The Exorcist is a film I’ve long loved because it raised the bar not just for horror, but also for movies that explore questions of faith and doubt, good and evil, life and death. I know all of its beats by heart, but when I recently rewatched the 1973 classic, the ending hit differently. The movie concludes with an exorcism, naturally. Chris MacNeil has brought her daughter, Regan, to a host of medical professionals in a desperate attempt to save her from what turns out to be a demonic possession. But the only person who can save the girl, it seems, is a priest. The camera lingers on the mother’s exhausted face as two priests close the door to her daughter’s bedroom and go to work.
Being inclusive is important. But it’s not everything.
Who can get pregnant? It sounds like a trick question. For centuries, English speakers have talked about “pregnant women” without a second thought, but a vocal and growing movement wants to replace that phrase with the more inclusive pregnant people. And because the United States hasn’t yet found an issue it can’t turn into a polarized debate, a partisan divide has already formed. The received wisdom is now that a good liberal should always say “pregnant people,” if only because it upsets Tucker Carlson.
I disagree. Language evolves, and inclusion for transgender people matters. But for now I will keep using pregnant women in almost all circumstances.
Pregnant people is a relatively new phrase. Google’s Ngram viewer, which trawls English-language books dating back to 1800, finds absolutely no trace of it before 1978, and a sharp spike in the past decade. It now appears in CNN headlines, Planned Parenthood advice, Washington Postcolumns, and CDC guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination. Its usage reflects a growing awareness that not everyone who gets pregnant defines themselves as a woman—transgender men and nonbinary people can give birth too. (Nonbinary is itself a very recent coinage; the usage examples given in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary date back only to 2015.) Using more inclusive language, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy legal director, Louise Melling, recently told my colleague Emma Green, “should do a fair amount of work to help address discrimination. If we talk about ‘pregnant people,’ it’s a reminder to all of us to catch ourselves when we’re sitting in the waiting room at the GYN that we’re not going to stare at the man who’s there.”
You might have fewer antibodies now. But they’re better than the ones you started with.
In early March, Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunologist at the University of Arizona, celebrated a milestone: hitting the point of full vaccination, two weeks after getting his second Pfizer shot. Since then, he’s been watching the number of coronavirus antibodies in his blood slowly but surely decline.
The drop hasn’t been precipitous, but it’s definitely happening—regular checkups have shown his antibody levels, also known as titers, ticking down, down, down, from spring through summer, now into fall. The slump fits the narrative that countless reports have been sounding the alarm on for a while now: In the months after vaccination, our antibodies peace out, a trend that’s often been described as a “waning” of immunity, and evidence that we’re all in dire need of boosters to shore our defenses back up.
Thousands of pages of internal documents offer the clearest picture yet of how Facebook endangers American democracy—and show that the company’s own employees know it.
Before I tell you what happened at exactly 2:28 p.m. on Wednesday, January 6, 2021, at the White House—and how it elicited a very specific reaction, some 2,400 miles away, in Menlo Park, California—you need to remember the mayhem of that day, the exuberance of the mob as it gave itself over to violence, and how several things seemed to happen all at once.
At 2:10 p.m., a live microphone captured a Senate aide’s panicked warning that “protesters are in the building,” and both houses of Congress began evacuating.
At 2:13 p.m., Vice President Mike Pence was hurried off the Senate floor and out of the chamber.
At 2:15 p.m., thunderous chants were heard: “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”
At the White House, President Donald Trump was watching the insurrection live on television. The spectacle excited him. Which brings us to 2:28 p.m., the moment when Trump shared a message he had just tweeted with his 35 million Facebook followers: “Mike Pence didn’t have the courage to do what should have been done to protect our Country and our Constitution … USA demands the truth!”
A brilliant new account upends bedrock assumptions about 30,000 years of change.
Many years ago, when I was a junior professor at Yale, I cold-called a colleague in the anthropology department for assistance with a project I was working on. I didn’t know anything about the guy; I just selected him because he was young, and therefore, I figured, more likely to agree to talk.
Five minutes into our lunch, I realized that I was in the presence of a genius. Not an extremely intelligent person—a genius. There’s a qualitative difference. The individual across the table seemed to belong to a different order of being from me, like a visitor from a higher dimension. I had never experienced anything like it before. I quickly went from trying to keep up with him, to hanging on for dear life, to simply sitting there in wonder.
And why we’re failing to do the same things in America
Having grown up inGermany, I am skeptical of the popular notion that life is so much more rational and efficient in the country than it is anywhere else. Those who believe that Germans are incapable of irrationality should suggest imposing a speed limit on the country’s highways. And those who believe that Germans are incapable of inefficiency should learn how much time and money were spent to build Berlin’s new airport.
And yet I have, since returning to Germany about a month ago, been struck by how much more rational, efficient, and pragmatic the country’s handling of the late stages of the coronavirus pandemic has been. While the American response to COVID-19 has barely gone beyond the measures that were first adopted in the spring of 2020, Germany has phased in a series of additional policies over the past 18 months. None of them adds serious disruptions to daily life, and yet they collectively put the country in a much better position to contain the virus.
A new cookbook by the food journalist Priya Krishna and the chef David Chang emphasizes intuition and experimentation—and embraces the humble microwave.
Several years ago, I went on a somewhat fanatical quest to find a satisfying version of what I called a “metacookbook”—a book that doesn’t just list out recipe instructions, but also explains the thinking behind them.
The food journalist Priya Krishna and David Chang, the founder of the Momofuku family of restaurants, have together written a charming new entry in this subgenre, Cooking at Home: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Recipes (And Love My Microwave). The book’s “recipes-that-aren’t-really-recipes” tend to forgo precise measurements of ingredients and time, and instead emphasize intuition, personalization, and experimentation. Krishna and Chang provide a set of adaptable culinary blueprints for readers to iterate on—for instance, a general formula for cooking a cheap cut of meat or whipping up a vinegary condiment—and envision a recipe not as “a rigid instruction manual, but a Mad Lib.”