The human brain can’t contend with the vastness of online shopping.
In theory, Amazon is a site meant to serve the needs of humans. The mega-retailer’s boundless inventory gives people easy access to household supplies and other everyday products that are rarely fun to shop for. Most people probably aren’t eager to buy clothes hangers, for instance. They just want to have hangers when they need them.
But when you type hangers into Amazon’s search box, the mega-retailer delivers “over 200,000” options. On the first page of results, half are nearly identical velvet hangers, and most of the rest are nearly identical plastic. They don’t vary much by price, and almost all of the listings in the first few pages of results have hundreds or thousands of reviews that average out to ratings between four and five stars. Even if you have very specific hanger needs and preferences, there’s no obvious choice. There are just choices.
The president directed his attorney general to declassify information—raising the prospect of selective disclosures.
President Donald Trump can only escalate. He cannot help it.
On Thursday night, he spread from his own presidential account a video of the speaker of the House, edited to splice together moments when she stumbled over her words, in an apparent effort to deceive people into thinking her drunk or ill. In 2016, Trump’s Russian supporters performed this service for him with faked videos of Hillary Clinton. Now he seems to have decided that if you want a dirty-tricks campaign done right, you must do it yourself.
At the same time, he has put the declassification powers of the presidency to work as part of a larger campaign of cover-up.
Trump directed his attorney general to declassify documents in an effort to depict Trump’s campaign as a victim of improper surveillance in 2016. Trump tweeted that the attorney general had “requested” these powers. That may even be true. But Trump has been demanding such an investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies since long before William Barr got the top law-enforcement job. Barr is compliant and complicit, but the idea is all Trump’s.
A Georgia principal has been fired after making questionable remarks at a graduation ceremony last week.
Less than a week after her contentious outburst went viral, a Georgia principal has been fired from her post. The incident marks the latest high-profile and racially charged controversy to shake up the education world. Nancy Gordeuk is the founder and former principal of the TNT Academy—a private secondary school that offers “non-traditional” education and independent-study opportunities to capture “the needs of public school students that are bored in a classroom and are starting to get into trouble,” its website says. She became infamous last weekend after a video featuring her speech and subsequent comments at the academy’s graduation ceremony spread across the Internet.
The British prime minister, who said she will resign on June 7, had one job: to deliver Brexit. She failed to do it.
British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Friday that she “will shortly leave the job that has been the honor of my life to hold.”
The long-anticipated address, outside Downing Street, confirms that May will step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7. She will remain prime minister until the party chooses a new leader, a process that will take approximately six weeks.
In many ways, May’s announcement marks a solemn end to a profoundly weak yet surprisingly stable premiership. But if the past three turbulent years of parliamentary deadlock, infighting, and division have demonstrated anything, it’s that May’s leadership ended a long time ago.
Her premiership didn’t begin that way. When May succeeded David Cameron as prime minister in July 2016, she inherited a parliamentary majority and a 20-point lead in the polls over the opposition Labour Party. She was dubbed the “New Iron Lady,” in a favorable nod to the country’s only other female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. But she also inherited a policy challenge of historic proportions: to deliver on a referendum result she didn’t support, and take Britain out of the European Union.
As their goosebumps have long suggested, women perform better on tests of cognitive function at toastier room temperatures.
If “I told you so” had a sensation, it would be the sweet cocoon of an 80-degree workspace. For years, women have been saying that the AC is on too damn high. We’ve dragged not one but two sweaters to the office in the summer: one for our slowly numbing legs, and one for our shivering shoulders. Scientific studies have already shown that offices are set for men’s frostier preferred temperatures.
Now a new paper confirms what many of us have long suspected. Women don’t just prefer warmer office temperatures. They perform better in them, too.
For the study, published today in the journal PLOS One, the researchers Tom Chang and Agne Kajackaite had 543 college students in Berlin take different types of tests in a room set to various temperatures between 61 and 91 degrees Fahrenheit. First, the participants had to answer logic problems, like the one about a bat costing $1 more than a ball. Then, the students were asked to add up two-digit numbers without a calculator. Finally, they had to form German words out of the letter scramble ADEHINRSTU.
An ancient faith is disappearing from the lands in which it first took root. At stake is not just a religious community, but the fate of pluralism in the region.
he call came in 2014, shortly after Easter. Four years earlier, Catrin Almako’s family had applied for special visas to the United States. Catrin’s husband, Evan, had cut hair for the U.S. military during the early years of its occupation of Iraq. Now a staffer from the International Organization for Migration was on the phone. “Are you ready?” he asked. The family had been assigned a departure date just a few weeks away.
“I was so confused,” Catrin told me recently. During the years they had waited for their visas, Catrin and Evan had debated whether they actually wanted to leave Iraq. Both of them had grown up in Karamles, a small town in the historic heart of Iraqi Christianity, the Nineveh Plain. Evan owned a barbershop near a church. Catrin loved her kitchen, where she spent her days making pastries filled with nuts and dates. Their families lived there: her five siblings and aging parents, his two brothers.
Refreshingly free of stereotype, Olivia Wilde’s wonderful film Booksmart should easily join the teen-movie canon.
There’s a whiff of topicality to the premise of Booksmart, given the mounting scandals around elite-college admissions of late. Olivia Wilde’s new comedy follows the high-school pals Amy (played by Kaitlyn Dever) and Molly (Beanie Feldstein), who’ve stayed out of trouble for their entire academic career so that they could get into the best colleges. But when graduation week rolls around, Amy and Molly discover that all their hard-partying peers got into the same big-name institutions as them, so the girls resolve to have as much fun as they can before summer arrives. What better reason to cut loose than realizing the whole system is broken?
Booksmart, Wilde’s directorial debut, is firmly planted in the “one crazy night” subgenre of the teen-film canon. It owes a debt to generational classics such as American Graffiti, Dazed and Confused, Can’t Hardly Wait, and Superbad—movies about high schoolers running wild as they edge up to adulthood and obsess over the specter of an uncertain future. A blazingly funny and energetic romp, Booksmart seems destined for instant cult status, retaining the adolescent anxieties of its forebears while updating its worldview for the weary ranks of Generation Z.
As a driver must survey the damage upon barreling into a pothole, so too must I reevaluate the jagged gaps in my reporting.
As I write this, my heart crumbles—much like our nation’s infrastructure.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Hadn’t I just written that, when it came to the ongoing joke that is Infrastructure Week, the tide was turning? Hadn’t I argued that, for the first time in his presidency, Donald Trump looked serious about working with Congress to revamp America’s highways and bridges and tunnels? Indeed, I had. But like a New Jersey citizen who believed that the upper level of the George Washington Bridge was once closed because of a traffic study, I was wrong.
I should have expected as much when reporters started sharing photos on Wednesday morning from the Rose Garden, where Trump was scheduled to deliver an update on his negotiations with Democratic leaders on a massive infrastructure package. Two years in, infrastructure has made for one of the longest-running punch lines of Trump’s tenure: Whenever the White House announced an upcoming week dedicated to the issue, an agenda related to almost anything but infrastructure was soon to follow.
The spider Hyptiotes reinvented the concept of the web, building an extraordinary, spring-loaded trap.
Almost 150 years ago, on an October afternoon, Burt Green Wilder was strolling through the woods outside Ithaca, when he stumbled across a strange spider web attached to a hemlock branch. It was triangular, as if a wedge had been cut from a full web. And “instead of hanging loosely from the twigs, it was upon the stretch, as if constantly drawn by a power at one or the other end,” Wilder later wrote.
Wilder had many talents: He was a Civil War surgeon, a pioneering neuroscientist famous for his vast collection of preserved brains that included, eventually, his own, and a zoologist whose fondness for spiders led him to create a device that milked them for silk. Upon encountering a bizarre triangular web, such a person was almost guaranteed to prod it.
As an ideology, Hindu nationalism is not even 100 years old—but it has dramatically reshaped politics in India, with Narendra Modi’s help.
VARANASI, India—The seven pandits draped in cloth of gold are clearly competing against the five in saffron. In front of thousands of assembled pilgrims, each bevy of priests furiously recites Sanskrit chants, deftly swinging pyramids of flaming oil lamps, banging on bells and blowing on conch shells, wafting thick clouds of incense over the moonlit waters of the limpid, unlistening Ganges. The celebration of Ganga Aarti has taken place daily at this spot for hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of years.
This is Hinduism. But it is not Hindutva, the creed of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). And the difference between them—between the practices of faith and politics—may determine the future of what will soon be the largest nation on Earth.