The Atlantic Daily: Health-Care Pitfalls and Digital Downfalls

A new repeal-and-replace effort in the works, French populism, Yahoo's demise, and more

Aaron Bernstein / Reuters

What We’re Following

Health Complications: The GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is back: Paul Ryan says a new bill is nearly done, President Trump is pushing Congress to pass it, and some reports say conservatives and moderates have reached a tentative agreement. But congressional staffers are skeptical, and the proposal comes with a long list of pitfalls. Health care, as Trump infamously declared last month, is complicated—and so are the host of other issues whose complexity he’s marveled at in his first few months as president. His learning curve is unnerving to critics, but if it helps his supporters understand how hard it is to govern, it might be an unexpected public service.

European Populism: France’s upcoming presidential election showcases a growing international trend: Traditional left-right politics are falling apart, making room for populism to gain power. In Britain, such a resurgence led to the country’s vote to leave the European Union, and Brexit, in turn, has given new momentum to the cause of Scottish independence.

Computer Crashes: This week, Yahoo filed its last quarterly earnings report, marking the company’s exit from public trading. The former internet giant has been struggling for years, but its final failure is rooted in a lack of advertising revenue—and serves as a warning to online news organizations. More on the web: Google Books once promised to create a universal library of almost every book ever published, and got as far as creating a database of tens of millions of texts. But a court decision stopped the project from going public. Here’s how that happened.


Demonstrators rally against Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas on April 19, 2017. See more photos from the demonstrations here. (Christian Veron / Reuters)

Evening Read

Jerry Useem on how companies jack up or yank down the prices of items online:

The price of a can of soda in a vending machine can now vary with the temperature outside. The price of the headphones Google recommends may depend on how budget-conscious your web history shows you to be, one study found. For shoppers, that means price—not the one offered to you right now, but the one offered to you 20 minutes from now, or the one offered to me, or to your neighbor—may become an increasingly unknowable thing. “Many moons ago, there used to be one price for something,” [marketing professor Robert] Dolan notes. Now the simplest of questions—what’s the true price of pumpkin-pie spice?—is subject to a Heisenberg level of uncertainty.

Which raises a bigger question: Could the internet, whose transparency was supposed to empower consumers, be doing the opposite?

Keep reading here, as Useem explains how online shopping makes suckers of us all.

What Do You Know?

1. Naked mole-rats can survive up to ____________ minutes without oxygen.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. The Arctic Ocean is clogged with approximately _____________ tiny pieces of floating plastic.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. While marijuana sold at legal dispensaries is usually about 15 percent THC, strains grown by the government and used in medical research average about ____________ percent.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Answers: 18, 300 billion, 5

Urban Developments

Our partner site CityLab explores the cities of the future and investigates the biggest ideas and issues facing city dwellers around the world. Gracie McKenzie shares three of today’s top stories:

On the flip side of the brick-and-mortar “retail apocalypse,” the surge of delivery trucks from the e-commerce boom is threatening to choke cities with traffic. But not everyone agrees on what to do about it.

Speakeasies might draw to mind New York City, Detroit, or New Orleans during Prohibition, but the term was actually first used decades earlier ... in Pittsburgh.

What might the future landscape of U.S. passenger rail look like? A side-by-side data visualization shows what Amtrak routes look like today—and what would happen under Trump’s proposed budget.

For more updates from the urban world, subscribe to CityLab’s daily newsletter.

The World by Air

After our reader Bob suggested we go global with our aerial photo series, many others sent in snapshots from around (and above) the world. Here’s one from Jim Withrow:

I took this picture of the snow-covered Dolomite mountains on a flight from Paris to Venice, right after awakening from a long-needed nap.

See our “America by Air” archive here, and send your own photos to (see the guidelines here).

Reader Response

After Kaveh Waddell wrote about how airlines get away with bad customer service—especially for lower-paying passengers—a reader emailed the story of her own nightmarish flight. The trouble began because her boyfriend was seated in business class and she was seated in coach:

We decided my BF would come to my seat later to watch a film together after a meal. When I was going to enter the business section to pick him up, the … flight attendant stopped me, saying my BF was asleep and I couldn’t get in the business area since I didn’t have a business ticket. He even said I shouldn’t bother my BF and shut a curtain in my face.

So, I complained about this flight attendant’s rude attitude, but nobody was decent and I started to cry. My BF came and he also told them that the flight attendant was very mean to me. All of a sudden, an announcement was made to be seated, so we went back to our seats. Later I would learn that the captain decided to make an emergency stop to kick us out. We were handcuffed.

Read the rest here.


Supernova spotted, stardom subverted, author invented, Glowing Plant goes dark.

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