What We’re Following

San Francisco’s out-of-control housing crisis is about to get a lot worse. The hub of Silicon Valley’s tech giants is swimming with rich people pushing up housing costs. But this year, a slew of major companies headquartered in the city—from Uber to Lyft to Pinterest—are expected to go public, injecting the city with a yet another crop of millionaires. One software engineer found that, among the many thousands of workers at seven San Francisco-based companies expected to hold IPOs this year, just 37 bought houses in 2018—meaning many of these employees could soon be looking to buy property, pushing housing prices even higher.

Saturday marks two decades since the Columbine school shooting, in which two students shot and killed 12 students and a teacher, before turning the guns on themselves, in what was then the deadliest high-school shooting in history. Columbine was among the first to turn into a nationwide media spectacle—and became a blueprint for would-be shooters. The tragedy also changed the experience of being a teenager in America, as once-rare safety measures like school-shooter drills became the norm across the country. Students who survived Columbine are now in their mid-30s, many with kids of their own. Some of them struggle with how to talk to their kids about the trauma of gun violence.

Joe Biden has finally made up his mind. The former vice president plans to announce his candidacy next Wednesday in what will be his third bid for the White House (or seventh, depending on what you count). Biden leads in most polls, showing that he’ll be a formidable challenger to the dozens of other Democrats eyeing the White House, and his campaign is plotting a path to the nomination with a base of more moderate voters. But Biden will also have to grapple with heightened scrutiny of his long record as a senator.

—Saahil Desai


This Week in Numbers

🌎 A committee of researchers are voting next week to determine whether the Anthropocene, the period of time in which human activity has become the dominant influence on the climate, should be codified as an official geological era. The turning-point year under consideration is surprisingly recent.

🎓 From 2002 to 2017, around 50,000 people earned Ph.D.s each year, according to the latest data from the National Science Foundation—and in 2017, only a tiny percent were black. And in more than a dozen academic fields, not a single black student was awarded a doctorate.

🌎 1950 | 🎓 5.4 percent


Our Critics’ Picks

Beyoncé’s Black-Intellectual Homecoming

(Mazur / Getty / Katie Martin / The Atlantic)

Watch: FilmStruck might be gone, much to the sorrow of cinephiles, but the Criterion Collection now at long last has an online hub for a wide range of classic films. “I think we’re going to try and show things because we think they’re important to be shown,” the Criterion’s president told David Sims.

Listen: Beyoncé’s new Netflix documentary, Homecoming, and the companion live album, is intricate, virtuosic, and a celebration of African American scholarly history.

Read: Richard Powers’s The Overstory, which won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction this week, is a remarkable piece of climate fiction “that approaches trees and the threats facing them with wonder, reverence, and an urgency that could be enough to change minds.”

Weekend Read

Why Easter and Passover Don't Always Line Up

Passover and Easter are both springtime holidays that share themes of liberation and triumph, and this year they overlap (Passover begins on the night of April 19, while Easter falls on Sunday, April 21). But why does that happen only 15 percent of the time? Blame the moon, and some ancient math.

Read the rest


Poem of the Week

This Friday, an excerpt from “Brief Life,” by William Carlos Williams, from our November 1982 issue.

Pray
pay
no attention to my greatness

You
too
could do as well as

I

→ Read the rest


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