The Atlantic Daily: Disastrous Effects

Hurricane Matthew made it harder to get to the polls, Syrians struggled to survive the siege, climate change threatened Arctic communities, and more.

Phelan Ebenehack / Reuters

What We’re Following

Wreck the Vote? A federal judge in Florida has extended the state’s voter-registration deadline by six days as a result of Hurricane Matthew, which caused power outages for a million people and forced evacuations for 1.5 million. Governor Rick Scott had previously said he wouldn’t extend the October 11 deadline, but the Florida Democratic Party sued, arguing the storm pitted citizens’ safety against their fundamental right to vote. Florida is a key swing state, but this isn’t just about party politics: Across several states, disruptions to city infrastructure could exacerbate structural barriers to voting in the low-income and minority communities that already struggle with turnout.

Speaking of Structural Barriers: Donald Trump in Sunday’s presidential debate repeated his assumptions that African Americans live in “the inner cities” and suffer from extremely high poverty rates—when in fact the majority of them live outside the city and above the poverty line. This doesn’t mean there aren’t still inequalities to combat, and as Obama’s presidency comes to an end, some voters are reflecting on what his legacy will be for black Americans. Meanwhile, a more global perspective comes from readers who are sharing stories of what it’s like to be black living abroad.

Surviving the War: “Sieges destroy the body—as was clear in Bosnia then and in Syria now,” writes Janine di Giovanni, who spent three years reporting on the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s. “But once again, what’s far more damaging is the annihilation of the soul.” To fight that damage, she and other survivors of Sarajevo reached out to Syrians in besieged Aleppo and Daraya, sharing survival advice via WhatsApp. (If you’ve lived through a siege, we’d like to hear from you: Meanwhile, the effects of war reverberate even for those who escaped: Many Syrian students in Turkey are struggling to continue their educations.


A “tusker” in Siberia carries an illegally mined woolly-mammoth tusk. The tusk, which weighed 65 kilograms, was eventually sold for $34,000. See more photos here. (Amos Chapple / Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)

Evening Read

Brian Castner on Arctic life in the time of climate change:

Wilfred [Jackson] has lived in and around Fort Good Hope for his entire life. The town of barely 500 people sits on a bluff above the flood-prone Mackenzie River, known to the Dene [First Nation] as the Deh Cho, or “Big River,” overlooking a valley so vast it seems untamable. The Arctic Circle is only a few miles to the north; to the south, the Ramparts, a series of sheer limestone cliffs. To the east and west stretch endless boonies of black spruce and mosquito-clogged muskeg, the land of Wilfred Jackson and his ancestors. This is a place defined by the virtual absence of man: The Northwest Territories is nearly as big as Alaska, but only 40,000 people live there, and Edmonton, the closest city of any size, lies 1,000 miles away.

I had come north to canoe the Mackenzie River, the second-longest in North America, and meet some of the indigenous nations most vulnerable to climate change. This inaccessible corner of the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, but Wilfred and many of his kin still look to the land for sustenance. “Our culture is the land. Take that away, we go away,” as one elder told me.  

Keep reading here.

What Do You Know?

1. About 40 percent of Millennials have at least one tattoo, compared with about ____________ percent of people in the U.S. overall.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. In the past 15 years, the rate of National Hockey League games with fights decreased from ____________ percent to 23 percent.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. Two scientists have found a way to make portable vaccine factories by ____________ pieces of living cells.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Reader Response

How do you respond when a stranger tells you to smile? One reader writes:

Long ago, I was out at a bar with some friends when a Nice Guy decided to be cute with me. My attention had wandered and this, apparently, was unacceptable. So Mr. Nice Guy grabbed me by both shoulders, shook me, and yelled “Hey! Smile!”

This happened a month or two after I had been sexually assaulted. I’ve never liked being touched without my consent, and that was particularly true at this point in my life. I reacted instinctively and pulled back to lay Mr. Nice Guy out flat. I stopped myself before my fist connected with his face, but—too late.

Read the rest here, along with other stories. We’re hoping to broaden this discussion of gender and power dynamics: Are you a man who’s told a woman to smile and now regrets it, or has complicated feelings about it? Are you a lesbian or bisexual woman who’s told a woman to smile? Let us know:

Look Back

On this day in 1892, students across the U.S. recited the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time as part of a 400th-anniversary celebration of Columbus Day. In our May 1964 issue, Frances Duncan described how the pledge was first published in a children’s magazine, the Youth’s Companion, between 1889 and 1892:

Continuing its drive for patriotism and subscriptions, the Companion announced the coming of a patriotic page, to be made up of contributions from its readers. For any contribution used, verse or prose, the magazine would pay five dollars. It was in response to this offer that the “Salute to the Flag” made its first appearance; it was entered in the competition by a young Canadian, Francis Bellamy, then living in Rome, New York. As printed in the Youth’s Companion, the salute read, ‘I pledge allegiance to my Flag, and to the Republic for which it stands; one Nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.’” And Mr. Bellamy undoubtedly received his five dollars.

Read more about the history of flag salutes here, and find out here how American students today are navigating patriotism and protest at school. Though we unfortunately can’t offer the five dollars, we too, like the Youth’s Companion, value reader contributions: If you’re a student in grades K-12 with a story of how you choose to express patriotism at school, tell us about it via


History GIFed, sharing overrated, weight over-weighted, fashion police polled.

Answers: 20, 42, freeze-drying

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