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The Atlantic covers breaking news, analysis, opinion around the hard and soft sciences, innovation, and technology on the official site of the Atlantic Magazine.

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Tucker Carlson Makes a Play for the Barbz

Nicki Minaj appears to be taking a break from Twitter. The rapper, who has more than 22 million followers on the platform and is known for spending nearly every day joking and bickering with them, has been uncharacteristically silent for the past week. The last entry in her feed is from September 15—a retweet of a fan’s post reading, in part, “When...

The Al Capone Approach to Anti-vaxxers

At the end of August, Reddit users told the company’s leadership they had blood on their hands. As part of an organized protest, the moderators of dozens of large subreddits, or forums on the site, shared a letter condemning Reddit for failing to act on the “rampant” spread of COVID-19 misinformation and allowing conspiracy-minded anti-vaccine subreddits...

You Can Wait for Your New Couch

At this point, the maddeningly unpredictable Delta variant has changed the expected course of the coronavirus pandemic so much that it can be hard to know exactly what you’re waiting for, or if you should continue waiting at all. Is something like before-times normalcy still coming, or will Americans have to negotiate a permanently changed reality?...

It Has Come to Subscription Tacos

I like to think of America’s fast-food chains as a bunch of dysfunctional family members. McDonald’s is the golden boy, the kid who’s good at everything and won’t shut up about it. Burger King is the jealous younger brother. KFC is perhaps the cousin who still wears cargo shorts. And then, there’s Taco Bell: fast food’s problem child.The purveyor of...

Ebooks Are an Abomination

Perhaps you’ve noticed that ebooks are awful. I hate them, but I don’t know why I hate them. Maybe it’s snobbery. Perhaps, despite my long career in technology and media, I’m a secret Luddite. Maybe I can’t stand the idea of looking at books as computers after a long day of looking at computers as computers. I don’t know, except for knowing that ebooks...

The Third Revolution in Warfare

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, against the backdrop of the rushed U.S.-allied Afghanistan withdrawal, the grisly reality of armed combat and the challenge posed by asymmetric suicide terror attacks grow harder to ignore.But weapons technology has changed substantially over the past two decades. And thinking ahead to the not-so-distant future, we must...

Twitter Users Do Not Need to Know ‘What’s Happening’

#NoPawsLeftBehind. Last Tuesday, I glanced at the “What’s happening” sidebar on Twitter and saw that nearly 32,000 people were tweeting about this topic; therefore, it was “trending.” A description of the trend, presented just beneath the hashtag, explained that it was  “commemorating the service dogs left behind following the withdrawal of American...

You’re Not a Bot, but You’re Acting Like One

If you search the phrase i hate texting on Twitter and scroll down, you will start to notice a pattern. An account with the handle @pixyIuvr and a glowing heart as a profile picture tweets, “i hate texting i just want to hold ur hand,” receiving 16,000 likes. An account with the handle @f41rygf and a pink orb as a profile picture tweets, “i hate texting...

People Liked Malls

Since 2005, Amazon has changed how virtually every American shops. That February, the company launched Prime, the first-of-its-kind, lightning-fast subscription delivery service that now has an estimated 147 million members in the United States. Along the way, Amazon invented its own shopping holiday, assembled an army of couriers schlepping your packages...

Pfizer Gang Is Pfinished

In April, Nicholas was stoked to have gotten Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, the “status vaccine,” which was also the vaccine for “hot people,” and the vaccine that got a person conditionless admission to the “Pfizer Gang.” He made a new forum on Reddit—r/pfizergang, obviously—where people like him could engage in celebration and memes and funny jokes about...

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