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The Atlantic
Syndicated stories from The Atlantic
Image: Matt Chase / The Atlantic

By Derek Thompson

As the Age of Delta scrambles back-to-office timelines, I find myself wondering what offices are good for in the first place.

I am pro-office. I miss a good eavesdropping, the promise of midday gossip, the “quick random question” that blooms into a half-hour conversation, and, theoretically, the magical combustion of creativity forged by these connections.

These things aren’t what I’m directly paid to do when I’m in the office, and they’re not what I’m annually evaluated for doing. Instead, they’re what I think of as “soft work.” “Hard work,” for me, is reading, researching, calling people, transcribing…

Photo: Mara Truog / 13 Photo / Redux

By Elaine Godfrey

About six months ago, a colleague asked me to guess what percentage of Americans were still working from home. I was still spending eight hours a day making calls just a few feet from my fridge. So were most of my friends. Maybe 40 percent? I guessed. I was off by half. Twenty-one percent of Americans were still teleworking as of March 2021; the other 79 percent were leaving their home like the old days.

This was a case of beltway bias on my part, and I should have known better. My parents, in Iowa, had gone…

Image: The Atlantic

By Katherine J. Wu, Ed Yong, and Sarah Zhang

For nearly two years now, Americans have lived with SARS-CoV-2. We know it better than we once did. We know that it can set off both acute and chronic illness, that it spreads best indoors, that masks help block it, that our vaccines are powerful against it. We know that we can live with it — that we’re going to have to live with it — but that it can and will exact a heavy toll.

Still, this virus has the capacity to surprise us, especially if we’re not paying attention…

Photo: Lars Tunbjörk / Agence VU / Redux

By Ed Zitron

America has too many managers.

In a 2016 Harvard Business Review analysis, two writers calculated the annual cost of excess corporate bureaucracy as about $3 trillion, with an average of one manager per every 4.7 workers. Their story mentioned several case studies — a successful GE plant with 300 technicians and a single supervisor, a Swedish bank with 12,000 workers and three levels of hierarchy — that showed that reducing the number of managers usually led to more productivity and profit. And yet, at the time of the story, 17.6 percent of the U.S. …

Image: Getty; The Atlantic

By Alyse Burnside

My first exposure to the strange, inoculated world of “cozy mysteries” came during a long road trip with my older sister. We were driving through Niagara Falls, New York, past vendors hawking Falls souvenirs, when our conversation hit a lull and she turned on an audiobook called Triple Chocolate Cheesecake Murder. It was the 27th installment of a series called the Hannah Swensen Mysteries, by Joanne Fluke. My sister had read them all: Blueberry Muffin Murder, Lemon Meringue Pie Murder, Peach Cobbler Murder.

Photo: Tim Mosenfelder / Getty

By David Sims

Norm Macdonald, the brilliant and lacerating stand-up comedian who died yesterday of cancer, once told one of the best jokes about the disease that I’ve ever heard. “In the old days, they’d go, ‘Hey, that old man died.’ Now they go, ‘Hey, he lost his battle.’ That’s no way to end your life!” he said. “I’m pretty sure if you die, the cancer also dies at exactly the same time. So that, to me, is not a loss; that’s a draw.” True to form, many news stories yesterday referred to Macdonald’s “battle” with the disease over the…

Image: Getty / The Atlantic

By Ian Bogost

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 are awful.

If you hate ebooks like I do, that loathing might attach to their dim screens, their wonky typography, their weird pagination, their unnerving ephemerality, or the prison house of a proprietary…

Image: Justin Paget / Getty; The Atlantic

By David Zweig

At least 12,000 Americans have already died from COVID-19 this month, as the country inches through its latest surge in cases. But another worrying statistic is often cited to depict the dangers of this moment: The number of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the United States right now is as high as it has been since the beginning of February. It’s even worse in certain places: Some states, including Arkansas and Oregon, recently saw their COVID hospitalizations rise to higher levels than at any prior stage of the pandemic. …

Illustration by Danielle Del Plato*/The Atlantic

This article is part of “Inheritance,” a project about American history and Black life.

By Hannah Giorgis

I. “You Can Hear a Pin Drop”

Carl Winslow, the protagonist of the ’90s sitcom Family Matters, wore his badge with honor. On the show, about a middle-class Black household in Chicago, Winslow (played by Reginald VelJohnson) loved being a police officer almost as much as he hated seeing the family’s pesky neighbor, Steve Urkel (Jaleel White), popping up in his home. Carl was a quintessential TV-sitcom cop, doughnut clichés and all. In one scene, he announces that he’s just had the worst day of his life: “I was in…

Glenn Vogt, photographed outside his restaurant in Tarrytown, New York, in September 2021. Photo: Devin Oktar Yalkin/The Atlantic

By Tim Alberta

On the evening of September 4, 2021, one week before the 20th anniversary of 9/11, Glenn Vogt stood at the footprint of the North Tower and gazed at the names stamped in bronze. The sun was diving below the buildings across the Hudson River in New Jersey, and though we didn’t realize it, the memorial was shut off to the public. Tourists had been herded behind a rope line some 20 feet away, but we’d walked right past them. As we looked on silently, a security guard approached. …

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