The Atlantic Daily: Reaching an Impasse

Russia announced a ceasefire in Syria, married couples disagreed on Trump, bullies targeted LGBT teens, and more.

Abdalrhman Ismail / Reuters

What We’re Following

Stymied Aid: Russia has announced a 48-hour ceasefire so that humanitarian workers can enter Aleppo, but it hasn’t guaranteed those workers’ safety, meaning that aid still hasn’t been delivered. Last month, an aid convoy was apparently bombed by Russian forces after a ceasefire negotiated by Russia and the U.S. fell through. Apart from such negotiations, the U.S. has avoided intervening in Syria—even as civilian deaths approach 500,000—as part of a “first, do no harm” policy on military force. But given the nation’s position as a global superpower, the continued refusal to act may do its own kind of harm.

A Chilling Effect on Women: This year’s deeply divisive, remarkably ugly presidential election has split Americans along lines of race, class, gender—and now marriages. In the past, husbands and wives have tended to agree over candidates, but this year’s polling says women are overwhelmingly backing Clinton, even if their husbands are supporting Trump. One of the biggest reasons women are rejecting Trump is the long list of sexual-assault allegations—one of which got the support of six witnesses today. But as Trump continues to lash out publicly against his female accusers, advocates for assault survivors worry that his precedent will silence women he’s never even met.

Speaking of Bullies: A new report shows that LGBT students are disproportionately harassed by their peers, to the point where they’re twice as likely as other students to skip class because they feel unsafe. Teachers are important allies, but they’re often not trained to help—either by offering guidance to students or reducing the likelihood of bullying by discussing LGBT issues in the classroom. Teachers are also under-trained in a wide variety of mental-health issues—something that needs to change, since they’re often among the first people whom troubled students ask for help.


Children play in polluted waters in Les Cayes, Haiti, on October 17, 2016. In the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, over a million Haitians have been left in urgent need of clean water, food, medicine, and shelter. More photos here. (Rebecca Blackwell / AP)


“I mean, if you had no flesh on your face, you probably wouldn’t be adorable either.” Melissa Wilson Sayres, who studies Gila-monster genetics, on the skull of one of the reptiles, which she also describes as “lovable” and “chill”

“The problem … is we think technology can only be new.” David Edgerton, a historian, on why it’s normal for the U.S. military to keep using Cold War-era planes

“When you talk about having 17 weeks to generate 40, 50, or 60 percent of your annual revenue, that’s stressful.” Sharron Cirillo, a public accountant in Middletown, Delaware, on tax season

Evening Read

Novelist Jonathan Lethem on his favorite passage from literature:

When I first read Kafka’s The Castle, I think I was fifteen. ... I was right in the middle of a phase where I just wanted to read as many novels of as many kinds as I could. I had no compass. I was just trying to read everything, and I was hot on the trail of Kafka. I’d been reading science fiction, and I’d already discovered Borges, and in a certain way I associated Kafka with these things—I’d gotten the hint that if I liked morbid, fantastical things, gothic stuff, that he might work for me. So I read The Castle, read it fast and in a fury, to find out what happened at the end. ... I was with K., every inch of every paragraph, waiting for revelation. And when the story falls off the cliff at the end, I was enraged. I wanted my money back. (Except I hadn’t spent any money.) I couldn’t believe there could be a famous book that was so radically unsatisfying. I remember thinking, how can he even be a famous author if he fucks you over this badly? It just seemed like a disaster.

And then—at some point not shortly after this violent sensation of having been misused by the book—I guess I wanted more. I needed to be in that headspace again. So I read The Trial.

Read more here, as Lethem explains how Kafka shaped his writing and his life. Is there a literary passage that’s influenced the way you see the world? Tell us about it via, and check out many examples from readers here.

What Do You Know?

1. In a recent study, law-firm hiring managers were most impressed by fake résumés from male applicants who enjoyed activities like ____________.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. According to some scientists, the most cost-effective way to build shelter on Mars will be ____________ materials from Martian clay.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. The disco band ____________ has been nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 11 times.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Reader Response

What if Donald Trump is the one “rigging” the election? That’s the worry for reader Joe:

Reading the latest entries about Trump’s habit of projection and his latest assertions that the election is “rigged,” I can’t help but draw a horrifying extrapolation: What if Trump’s allegations about Democrats and the media rigging the election are themselves projection?

Is it so hard to imagine that Trump himself might want to rig the election? Or, more likely, that he could believe that Roger Stone or WikiLeaks or Putin’s Kremlin have a plan to do it for him? I’m not sure I believe this, or even that Trump believes it, but it does present a cautionary illustration.

Read more here, along with many other smart takes from readers on the effect Trump is having on the American political system and culture.

Look Back

On this day in 1851, the first edition of Moby-Dick was published in Britain under the title The Whale. In November 2013, Megan Garber explained how it happened:

Two days after he sent his novel’s final proofs to [printer Richard] Bentley, Melville decided to dedicate the book to his friend Nathaniel Hawthorne. The author informed Bentley of this, along with his last-minute decision to change the novel's title from The Whale to Moby-Dick. By the time he received the update, Bentley was able to insert the dedication into the book; he was not able, however, to change the book’s title.

Alas, the dedication was somewhat ill-fated as well. As W. Somerset Maugham wrote in our June 1948 issue:

The letter [Hawthorne] wrote after reading the book no longer exists, but from Melville’s reply it looks as though he guessed that Hawthorne did not like it.

Read more about the first edition of Moby-Dick here.


Scammers foiled, ghosts dialed, roller derby rolled out, Colbert meets his muse, Trump’s future foreseen.

The Atlantic Daily is written by Rosa Inocencio Smith. To contact us, email