By Megan Garber
On Tuesday evening, at the start of his Fox News show, Tucker Carlson shared the results of an investigation that he and his staff had conducted into a well-known agent of American disinformation. “We spent all day trying to locate the famous QAnon,” Carlson said, “which, in the end, we learned is not even a website. If it’s out there, we could not find it.” They kept looking, though, checking Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter feed and “the intel community,” before coming to the obvious conclusion: “Cable news” and “politicians talking on TV,” Carlson said, must be responsible…
This article is part of “Inheritance,” a project about American history and Black life.
By Adam Harris
Granddaddy’s voice was raspy; love laced his hello. His throne, a maroon recliner, filled the corner of the den in his ranch-style home. On a typical summer afternoon — during one of our weeklong sojourns back to Montgomery, Alabama, from wherever the Air Force took my dad — my cousins and I would be sprawled across the floor, keeping up a ruckus.
In the evening, Granddaddy would fumble with the remote, his hands worn from years working on the telephone lines for South…
By Rachel Gutman
The past 11 months have been a crash course in a million concepts that you probably wish you knew a whole lot less about. Particle filtration. Ventilation. Epidemiological variables. And, perhaps above all else, interdependence. In forming quarantine bubbles, in donning protective gear just to buy groceries, in boiling our days down to only our most essential interactions, people around the world have been shown exactly how linked their lives and health are. …
By Arthur C. Brooks
For years, I was haunted by a fear of failure. I spent my early adulthood as a professional French hornist, playing in chamber-music ensembles and orchestras. Classical music is a perilous business, relying on absolute precision. Playing the French horn, prone as it is to missing notes, is a virtual high-wire act in every concert. I could go from hero to goat within a few mistakes during a solo. I lived in dread, and it made my life and work misery.
By Elaine Godfrey
Dozens of Texans are dead because of the state’s energy crisis last week. Some froze in their bed or their living room. Others suffocated in their idling car, poisoned by carbon monoxide. A few perished in house fires while trying to keep their family warm. And millions spent days without heat or running water. Gaming out the electoral ramifications of an event when it’s still causing pain may seem crass. But the politics of the energy crisis are inextricable from the event itself. Many Texans blame the collapse of the power grid — the impetus for all…
By Marina Koren
The descent of a little rover from the top of the Martian atmosphere to the surface is one of the most notoriously stressful occasions in space exploration. When NASA’s newest rover, Perseverance, took the plunge last week, the engineers at mission control braced themselves. They knew just how much had to go right — and how much could go terribly wrong — in the next seven minutes.
By Zephyr Teachout
Big Tech companies are facing an existential crisis, but they are doing everything they can to resist it and keep things just as they are. Facebook and Google, in particular, want to keep playing three roles: essential infrastructure, publisher, and targeted-ad mogul. They want to be perceived as neutral platforms, while also being perceived as civically responsible, while also maximizing surveillance and the targeting of ads. That’s impossible — so the government has to force them to choose a new business model; or, rather, it has to choose for them.
Facebook and Google occupy an unprecedented political…
By Andrew Exum
The great winter storm of 2021 has terrorized Texans, overwhelmed our energy grid, and made a mockery of our politicians and our much-vaunted independence.
Here in Dallas, my family and I have intermittently been without power for three days. On Monday night, the coldest night on record in three decades, we were without power for 12 long hours. I pitched a tent in my children’s bedroom, and all of us — Mom, Dad, three kids, Scout the dog — huddled together for warmth under sleeping bags and heavy blankets.
Most houses in Texas are poorly insulated, to…
By Michel Paradis
Last March, I contracted COVID-19. Like many people, I lost my sense of smell. I assumed at the time that it would return reasonably quickly. But nearly a year later, it has not.
I do not feel debilitated the way I would if I had lost my sight or my hearing. But the absence nags at me nonetheless and has, if anything, become more difficult to accept over time. Memory, emotion, and intuition all have a direct line to the sense of smell. Without it, the world is a very different place.
I caught COVID-19 earlier than…
By Arthur C. Brooks
“I think I may have met my future wife,” I told my father on the phone, “but there are a few issues.” To be precise: I met the woman in question on a weeklong trip to Europe, she lived in Spain, we’d only been on a couple of dates, and we didn’t speak a word of the same language. Obviously, I told my amused father, “she has no idea I plan to marry her.” But I was 24 and lovestruck, and none of that stopped me from embarking on a quixotic romantic adventure. …