The Atlantic Daily: A Pause in Refugees, Abaaoud Confirmed Dead, Clinton vs. ISIS

The House votes to limit Syrian refugees, France identifies a suspected terror ringleader’s body, and Hillary Clinton vows to “smash” the Islamic State.

Gary Cameron / Reuters

What We’re Following: A “Pause” in Refugees

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to “pause” admissions of Syrian refugees into the country on Thursday as public debate surrounding the program intensifies. Critics allege that the current program’s safeguards are insufficient to prevent ISIS members from infiltrating the United States. Forty-seven Democrats voted for the Republican-led bill, which passed in a 289-137 vote. President Obama has vowed to veto the legislation if it reaches his desk.

Abaaoud Dead: French police said on Thursday that Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected organizer of the Paris terror attacks, had been killed during a Wednesday morning raid in a Parisian suburb. Born in Belgium, Abaaoud traveled to Syria to fight alongside ISIS, then reportedly faked his own death and returned to Europe to plot attacks. His body had to be identified with fingerprints after an intense firefight. A woman also died in the raid after detonating her suicide vest.

‘Smash the Would-Be Caliphate’: In a major foreign-policy address at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton called on using “every pillar of American power, including our values, to fight terror.”* Clinton outlined her plan to defeat ISIS and stabilize a fractured Middle East after fielding tough questions about her four-year tenure as Secretary of State under President Obama during last weekend’s presidential debate.


Members of the Rocky Mountain Glee Club, 1864-1869. For more scenes from the American West, 150 years ago, visit The Atlantic Photo. (Andrew J. Russell / Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


Dorothy Twining Globus, a dollhouse docent: “New York is too expensive for dolls.”

Francesco Femia, who studies the security risks of climate change: “We can’t pick and choose whether we deal with climate change or ISIS or Russia, we have to deal with all of those problems.”

Jonathan Eisen, a medical microbiology professor: “There are lots of examples of how adding something unnatural can modify behavior: Opium. Rabies. Caffeine. Why not a microbe?”

News Quiz

1. The NSA’s sprawling data center in the Utah desert uses ____________ every day.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

2.  A new study suggests that men will eat nearly double their ordinary portions in order to ______________.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

3. If progress remains steady, the gender wage gap will close in _________.

(See answer or scroll to the bottom.)

Evening Read

Olga Khazan on the plight of the funny female:

Since most people don’t go to bars with their completed Sudoku puzzles pinned to their chests, we rely on humor as a proxy for intelligence. On average, women tend to use their laughter to lure in potential mates, while men use their jokes to attract as many women as they can.

I know what you’re thinking. “But I, a man, desire women with a good sense of humor above all else!” #Notallmen.

For decades, this response stumped psychologists. When they would ask men and women what they looked for in their long-term partners, both genders would say they wanted someone “with a good sense of humor.” It was only when researchers pressed their subjects on what they meant, specifically, by “sense of humor,” that the sex difference became clear. Women want men who will tell jokes; men want women who will laugh at theirs.

Reader Response

Taylor Chiu, a former Palo Alto High School student who spoke about her 2002 suicide attempt in our December cover story, writes:

The overarching message I’m hearing from Palo Alto’s community leaders, parents, and even students themselves is: “We’ve done all the research. We’re finding solutions. We’ve got it. Leave us alone.” Even the pre-emptive letter to the community by Dr. Durbin that you posted implies as much. So, what new perspective does Hanna add to the mix? Humility. … We just don’t know the answers. …

Palo Alto is a unique, fascinating, troubling, marvelous place, both extraordinary and extraordinarily mundane; remarkable, and remarkably normal. Let that confuse you. … Your children will benefit to hear you admit you don’t know. Your students will learn as they watch you develop an opinion, and then re-evaluate it, and then acknowledge its potential flaws. They will grow comfortable with being wrong sometimes. They’ll learn to live, even happily, with not having all the answers.

Watching you, they will become adept at admitting hardship, and it won’t be as daunting each time they do. They will develop resilience. They will not flinch from hard questions. And they will move forward.

Read the full letter here.


El Nino strengthening, genetically modified salmon approved, research chips retire.

Answers: 1.7 million gallons of water, impress women, 118 years.

*This article originally stated that Hillary Clinton spoke in Washington. We regret the error.