The Atlantic Daily: Nobody Enjoys Recounts. But Here’s Why They’re Important.

Plus un-adoptions, the kilogram gets redefined, what to read and listen to while traveling, and more

A worker holds up ballots before a ballot recount in Florida on November 12, 2018. (Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

What We’re Following

Delayed Gratification: Confused about the recounts ongoing for the Senate and agricultural-commissioner races in Florida? First, know that recounts, however painful, are a legitimate part of the electoral process, and it’s rare that recounts reverse the initial result—though such reversals have happened. Speaking of things that are ongoing: Democratic candidates have been flipping some seats in red districts across the U.S. all this week.

Backlash Backlash: Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “very nice” outfit suddenly became a controversy this week. The controversy itself was tedious and predictable, but in this incident, there was a lesson about newcomers to old halls of power. Elsewhere in D.C., protestors arrived at the doorstep of Tucker Carlson’s home last week—“corrosive methods” that crossed a line, Peter Beinart argues.

What’s in a Kilo?: A huge change is coming for the kilogram. Scientists from dozens of countries around the world agreed on a new method for defining this humble unit of measurement, updating it for the 21st century. Here’s the history of the bitter class struggle behind how the kilogram got its weight.

Read, Watch, and Listen: The phenomenon of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, which trace a tumultuous female friendship through the decades, comes to HBO in a strikingly faithful adaptation. How is Mariah Carey’s first new album in four years? And if you’ll be on the road this coming week, here are some fitting book recommendations to accompany you during your travels.


Midterms and the future of climate change
“It’s entirely possible that, for Americans who care about climate change, it was the best Tuesday since November 8, 2016,” writes Robinson Meyer on the midterm elections last week. So how far is the U.S. now from passing sweeping climate legislation? (Illustration by The Atlantic)

Evening Read

Somewhere between 1 and 5 percent of adoptions in the U.S. end up being legally dissolved, and some children are put up for adoption a second time:

According to a now-deleted public post on Second Chance Adoptions’ Facebook page, the girl, who the agency calls “Reese” to protect her privacy, is 10 years old, and she has been a member of her family since she was born—first in foster care, then legally adopted just before her first birthday. She loves to laugh, her adopted mom says, and she smiles all the time. She loves pink. She has no special needs. But she needs a new home.

In other posts with more pictures, the reader learns that Reese is the youngest of four daughters; the other three are the biological children of her parents. She gets straight A’s. She loves her parents and her sisters. She grumbles only when her siblings ask her to clean her room. She rarely lies and loves to wear skirts and dresses and listen to music. But according to the information provided by her parents, “This family has drastically changed their lifestyle and have left their faith and extended family for a quiet, secluded life.”

Read on.

What Do You Know … About Culture?

1. Timely Comics, the pulp publishing arm of the publisher Martin Goodman, was where this industry legend got his start in 1939.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

2. Portrait of an Artist (Pool With Two Figures) by this artist sold for a record $90 million at auction on Thursday.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

3. On Saturday Night Live last weekend, Pete Davidson reconciled with this Texas Republican congressman-elect, whose appearance he insulted in a riff on SNL a week earlier.

Scroll down for the answer, or find it here.

Poem of the Week

Here is a portion of “Bullet” by Darcie Dennigan, from our June 2007 issue:

It was like a really heavy seed, so I thought, Plant it.
No soil, so I swallowed it.

How to make it not the thrown stone, not the grape of wrath.
Make it not the animal’s eye gleaming at the attack.

Read the rest.

Looking for our daily mini crossword? Try your hand at it here—the puzzle gets more difficult through the week.

We’re always looking for ways to improve The Atlantic Daily. Concerns, comments, questions, typos? Email Shan Wang at

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