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Street art in Paris. Credit: Eduardo Skinner.

Fiction is the most powerful method to experience what it’s like to live in someone else’s shoes—and such an experience is vital to citizenship, compassion, and a healthy society.

Our year in fiction: Announcing the long list for the 2017 Tournament of Books.
↩︎ The Morning News

It is the writer who is meant to be the naive child, but I maintain that people who believe in fundamental and irreversible changes in human nature are themselves ahistorical and naive.

Zadie Smith, on optimism and despair, proving again she's among the best nonfiction writers working.
↩︎ New York Review of Books

Float away, Peter

Remember Peter Thiel's Randian rich-dude "fellowship" to entice teens to drop out of school, move to San Francisco (probably displacing an artists' collective or family in the process), and become "founders?" 

What it actually looks like now is more of "a kid version of the Young Presidents’ Organization," a network of 120 or so rich twentysomethings, most of whom had already achieved what most human beings would describe as "success."

Maybe they can all leave us alone and go seasteading together.

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“I guess some cops are just good at shooting. They’re probably good shots.”

Filipino police forces—funded, in large part, by millions of State Department aid dollars—have a near-perfect kill rate, exposing the government's line that police only fire when fired upon and suggesting an official practice of extrajudicial drug killings.


Cheerleading has received provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee. A brief history of what's becoming considered a sport in its own right.

Your job is to get patients

An investigation into the country's largest chain of psychiatric hospitals (an unnerving descriptor) reveals a culture designed around profit, not treatment.

Employees were pressured to "exaggerate people’s symptoms or twist their words to make them seem suicidal," and then essentially keep them locked up until their insurer stops paying out.


Gout goes to Israel

Your morning conversational tidbit: a "SufganiKing" is Burger King's new hamburger-jelly-donut hybrid, to be sold in Israel.

As the company says, it's a “hamburger in a donut, only for Hanukkah.” So, not quite a "Luther Burger," but close.


Clash over Appalachian demographics

An economist writes a response to a Krugman assertion that East Germany is more depopulated than Appalachia. The response is long but interesting and full of odd facts.

The rest of the US includes the huge unpopulated or lightly populated areas west of the Mississippi and east of the Sierra Nevada. This area blasts national density metrics to kingdom-come. Tellingly, just 7 states in the US have population densities over 400 people per square mile.

And then Krugman goes and takes it way too personally.


If you have in-laws who love Boston basketball, or just Larry Bird, this is the video they're emailing you right now—and for good reason.

More Features at TMN