Joshua Roberts / Reuters

What We’re Following: Aftermath of a Deadly Airstrike

Over the weekend, a U.S. airstrike hit a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, killing 12 staff members and 10 patients. In the days after, the official explanation from the U.S. for the deadly bombing has evolved. On Saturday, the U.S. military would not confirm that the medical center was hit. On Monday, it said it was simply carrying out a strike requested by Afghan fighters in the area. And today, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said “the hospital was mistakenly struck.”

A Nobel for Neutrinos: Takaaki Kajita, of Japan, and Arthur McDonald, of Canada, were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery of neutrino oscillations, which show that the subatomic particles—the second-most abundant particles in the universe after photons—have mass. Why is this important? Because for decades, neutrinos—according to the Standard Model of particle physics, which classifies all known subatomic particles—were thought to be massless.

What Hath Snowden Wrought: A European court ruled that regulations allowing U.S. tech companies to handle the personal data of European Union citizens are invalid. The Safe Harbor rules, negotiated by the U.S. and the EU in 2000, allow Amazon, Facebook, Google, and others to transfer information about millions of people in the EU to the U.S., if they meet certain privacy protection requirements. The challenge to this agreement came from an Austrian graduate student who, as you might have guessed, is not a fan of the National Security Agency.


Photographer John Moran writes: “This effect is entirely natural but decidedly surreal as the swirling tannins of the Santa Fe River mix with clear spring water as Lesley Gamble begins her dive at Devil's Ear Spring in North Florida.” For more early entries to the 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest, visit The Atlantic Photo. (© John Moran / National Geographic Photo Contest)


Jill Tarter, an astronomer, on  searching for signs of extraterrestrial intelligence: “We worry, being in California, about all those post-graduates and Caltech students deliberately trying to fool us.”

Bruce Banerdt, of NASA, on planning a mission to Mars: “They’ve assured me it’s not magic. It’s science.”

Alan Chambers, a conservative Christian leader: “I look at gay and lesbian people who are in committed relationships and I believe they can reflect the image of God.”

News Quiz

1. Iran is threatening to boycott a _________ in Frankfurt where author Salman Rushdie is scheduled to give the opening keynote address.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2. A group of researchers determined people’s ________ based on their tweeting habits.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. According to The Economist’s quality-of-death index, the best place to die is ___________.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

Evening Read

Sophie Gilbert on the public shaming of Chrissie Hynde, who was criticized for taking “full responsibility” for her own sexual assault in a new memoir:

Outrage … enables people to tout their ethical impeccability to others while simultaneously being embraced into a vast and influential group. For such a negative emotion, it has a surprisingly warm and fuzzy effect—unless you’re the person on the receiving end.

In some cases, outrage can be productive. If reactions to a former hedge-fund manager gouging the most physically vulnerable people in society for corporate profit encourages more people to protest ridiculous prices on necessary drugs, that’s indisputably a positive. But the endorphin rush of expressing fury about something and seeing that opinion validated and shared by a significant number of others is presumably as addictive as any other high. After a certain point, as [journalist Jon] Ronson described, “it began to feel weird and empty when there wasn’t a powerful person who had misused their privilege.” And that means people like Hynde, who deserve sympathy as much as scrutiny, often suffer in the process.

Reader Response

A story about the stereotypes hidden in the term “primary caregiver” started a reader discussion about husbands who take the lead in parenting. One father laments:

As a dad, I’m generally assumed by the world to be less competent at parenting. When I’m out and have the kids with me, I often get compliments on the apparently enormous achievement of being a dad capable of shopping with children (I’m sure almost any dad can relate).

One extension of this unequal treatment that I don’t often see discussed is that other people (usually women) constantly question my knowledge or choices as a parent. I can’t tell you how many times someone has “corrected” a parenting choice, or said, “why don't you just ask mom” if I hesitate for even a second in answering a question to do with my children. They do not behave this way with my wife; they assume that she is innately capable because she’s a mom.

The wife of a stay-at-home dad has another point of view:

People complain a lot about the judgments that are lobbed at new mothers by well-meaning and not-so-well-meaning old ladies. But you boil it all down, and that childcare knowledge is transmitted to the next generation. My husband, on the other hand, had no one but me, and I wasn’t home full time with a baby, so I couldn’t possibly know.

On paper, we should have been equally (un)prepared for our firstborn; both of us were the youngest in our families, neither of us had changed more than five diapers in our lives before bringing a baby home. But I was constantly surprised by the things that nobody had ever told him … because why would a man need to know how to take care of a baby?

Read more perspectives, and share your own, here.


McDonald’s breakfast menu reviewed, Capitol Hill burger squabble revealed, cephalopods appreciated.


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