SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft approaches the International Space Station.NASA

What We’re Following

U.S. federal education law is overdue for an update—2008 was the last time lawmakers reauthorized the Higher Education Act, making this the longest stretch it’s gone without any tweaks. A lot is at stake, as a potential overhaul of the HEA could help rework the FAFSA (the Free Application for Federal Student Aid), as well as Pell Grants for low-income students, or ease regulations so that colleges can more easily test out new initiatives. Ahead of hearings next week, the House Committee on Education and Labor released a report reaffirming the value of a college degree. The findings come amid ballooning tuition costs nationwide and schools facing closure or reductions in courses offered to students.

More hospitals are investing in smart speakers. At Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, the pilot fleet of Amazon Echos will help play music, change the TV channel, or alert caregivers when a patient needs help. Staff at Boston Children’s are using them to ask for administrative information, such as bed availability. The hospital has also built an app for Echos in homes, allowing parents to consult KidsMD about their children’s symptoms. What could go wrong in all these new use cases?

Paul Manafort has been sentenced to 47 months for bank and tax fraud. The former chair of Donald Trump’s campaign now awaits another sentencing hearing next week over his Ukrainian lobbying. “He has lived an otherwise blameless life,” the judge declared Thursday evening at the sentencing, an assertion that Franklin Foer argues doesn’t stack up with Manafort’s long history of behaving with impunity. The lighter sentence also seems to be a blow to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team—the sentencing guidelines had put forth 19 to 24 years. Yet even with the sentencing complete, the same mysteries remain: What was Manafort’s real relationship with Oleg Deripaska? Who exactly was Konstantin Kilimnik? Why, given that he could’ve cooperated fully with Mueller and lightened his sentence, did Manafort instead choose to obscure?

Shan Wang


Weekend Read

Ta-Nehisi Coates: The Case for Reparations

(Carlos Javier Ortiz)

U.S. presidential candidates, from Kamala Harris to Bernie Sanders, have in recent weeks fielded questions about whether they’d support reparations. The New York Times columnist David Brooks recently wrote that he had reversed his opposition to them, five years after reading the Ta-Nehisi Coates essay “The Case for Reparations” from The Atlantic’s June 2014 issue. Take a moment to read the piece here. You can also listen to the audio version, if that’s your preferred medium.


Our Critic’s Picks

Read: Under the Lights and in the Dark: Untold Stories of Women’s Soccer, by Gwendolyn Oxenham, captures the complexities of a chronically undervalued side of the sport through riveting portraits of young players. (Read it while you take in the latest news: On Friday, the United States women’s soccer team sued the U.S. Soccer Federation for gender discrimination.)

Watch: The many acts of Luke Perry—from playing Beverly Hills, 90210’s main heartthrob to Archie Andrews’s dad on Riverdalewho in his career both defied and embraced the iconic role that made him famous. Or you can give Captain Marvel, which just opened in theaters, a shot.

Listen: When I Get Home, from Solange Knowles (and its film accompaniment), which draws on the sounds and spirit of Knowles’s birth city—Houston—as well as one of Stevie Wonder’s most unusual works, Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants.


Poem of the Week

The 54th Anniversary of the start of the Selma to Montgomery civil-rights march

(Steve Schapiro)

This week marked the anniversary of the civil-rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. Here is an excerpt from the poem “Martin Luther King Jr. Mourns Trayvon Martin,” by Lauren K. Alleyne, from a 2018 special issue of The Atlantic:

For you, son,
I dreamed a childhood
unburdened by hate;
a boyhood of adventure—
skinned knees and hoops,
first loves and small rebellions;
I dreamed you whole

→ Read the rest


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