The company is intensifying formal partnerships with faith groups across the United States and shaping the future of religious experience

Illustration: Kate Dehler/The New York Times

By Elizabeth Dias

Months before the megachurch Hillsong opened its new outpost in Atlanta, its pastor sought advice on how to build a church in a pandemic.

From Facebook.

The social media giant had a proposition, Sam Collier, the pastor, recalled in an interview: to use the church as a case study to explore how churches can “go further farther on Facebook.”

For months Facebook developers met weekly with Hillsong and explored what the church would look like on Facebook and what apps they might create for financial giving, video capability or livestreaming. …

The auto giant bet on hydrogen power, but as the world moves toward electric the company is fighting climate regulations in an apparent effort to buy time

A person fuels their Toyota Mirai at a hydrogen fuel pump in Torrance, Calif., Oct. 22, 2020. The lack of refueling infrastructure for hydrogen vehicles, along with the cars’ high prices, has held them back. Photo: Philip Cheung/The New York Times

By Hiroko Tabuchi

The Toyota Prius hybrid was a milestone in the history of clean cars, attracting millions of buyers worldwide who could do their part for the environment while saving money on gasoline.

But in recent months, Toyota, one of the world’s largest automakers, has quietly become the industry’s strongest voice opposing an all-out transition to electric vehicles — which proponents say is critical to fighting climate change.

Last month, Chris Reynolds, a senior executive who oversees government affairs for the company, traveled to Washington for closed-door meetings with congressional staff members and outlined Toyota’s opposition to an aggressive…

As the world reeled, Silicon Valley supplied the tools that made life and work possible. Now tech companies are awash in money — and questions about what it means to win amid so much loss.

Illustration: Nicolas Ortega/The New York Times

By David Streitfeld

SAN FRANCISCO — In April 2020, with 2,000 Americans dying every day of COVID-19, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive and the world’s richest man, announced he was focusing on people rather than profits. Amazon would spend about $4 billion in the next few months “providing for customers and protecting employees,” he said, wiping out the profit the retailer would have made without the virus.

It was a typically bold Amazon announcement, a shrewd public relations move to sacrifice financial gain at a moment of misery and fear. Bezos said this was “the hardest time we’ve ever faced”

There are almost as many reasons for vaccine hesitancy and refusal as there are unvaccinated Americans. But this problem, not the variant, lies at the root of rising infection rates.

Photo: CDC

By Apoorva Mandavilli

After an all-too-brief respite, the United States is again at a crossroads in the pandemic. The number of infections has ticked up — slowly at first, then swiftly — to 51,000 cases per day, on average, more than four times the rate a month ago. The country may again see overflowing hospitals, exhausted health care workers and thousands of needless deaths.

The more contagious delta variant may be getting the blame, but fueling its rise is an older, more familiar foe: vaccine hesitancy and refusal, long pervasive in the United States. …

Down to his last rounds of ammunition, with bruises and a leg injury, the unidentified man was rescued by a helicopter crew that just happened by

A mining camp near Nome, Alaska, where a Coast Guard helicopter crew rescued a man who had been attacked by a bear that “kept coming back every night.” Photo: United States Coast Guard via The New York Times

By Neil Vigdor

He was sleep-deprived and nearly out of ammunition, alone in the wilderness of Alaska. Well, not really alone.

For several nights in a row, the man had fended off the tenacious advances of a grizzly bear that had attacked him a few days earlier at a mining camp some 40 miles outside Nome.

There was no way to phone for help. But then help found him.

En route to a mission Friday, the crew of a Coast Guard helicopter saw the man waving both hands in the air, a widely recognized distress signal, the helicopter’s pilot said…

As business at big city hotels still lags, the pandemic may permanently change the industry’s approach to services like housekeeping and check in. But employees fear for their jobs.

Nuris Deras Melos is a housekeeper at the Hilton Seattle. Despite what has been called a labor shortage in the hotel industry, she has only been called back part time as the pandemic has ebbed. Photo: Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

By Concepción de León

When Alex Diaz was furloughed last March, along with most of his colleagues, he did not expect to be back anytime soon.

“The feeling walking out the door that day was that this was going to be pretty drastic,” said Diaz, who had worked as a convention banquet bartender for the Red Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for 15 years.

But he thought that when he did return to work, he’d retain the seniority benefits he’d acquired, which would soon guarantee him a full-time job with health insurance.

Instead, this spring, he found himself…

With the suborbital flights made by Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson this month, the privatization of the space industry has crossed the point of no return

An image provided by NASA/Ben Smegelsky shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket soaring upward after launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on April 23, 2021. Photo: NASA/Ben Smegelsky via The New York Times

By David Streitfeld and Erin Woo

The anniversary of the Apollo moon landing marked one small step for space travel but a giant leap for space billionaires.

Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson vividly demonstrated this month that soaring up to the near reaches of the sky appeared safe and, above all, a lark. The planet has so many problems that it is a relief to escape them even for 10 minutes, which was about the length of the suborbital rides offered by the entrepreneurs through their respective companies, Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic.

But beyond the dazzlement was a deeper…

The vaccines are effective, but they are not a golden shield against the coronavirus, particularly not the Delta variant

A nurse administers COVID vaccines from a van in the Bronx, July 20, 2021. Photo: James Estrin/The New York Times

By Apoorva Mandavilli

A wedding in Oklahoma leads to 15 vaccinated guests becoming infected with the coronavirus. Raucous Fourth of July celebrations disperse the virus from Provincetown, Massachusetts, to dozens of places across the country, sometimes carried by fully vaccinated celebrants.

As the delta variant surges across the nation, reports of infections in vaccinated people have become increasingly frequent — including, most recently, among at least six Texas Democrats, a White House aide and an aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The highly contagious variant, combined with a lagging vaccination campaign and the near absence of preventive restrictions, is fueling…

Neural networks could give online education a boost by providing automated feedback to students

Illustration: Juan Bernabeu/The New York Times

By Cade Metz

This spring, Philips Pham was among the more than 12,000 people in 148 countries who took an online class called Code in Place. Run by Stanford University, the course taught the fundamentals of computer programming.

Four weeks in, Pham, a 23-year-old student living at the southern tip of Sweden, typed his way through the first test, trying to write a program that could draw waves of tiny blue diamonds across a black-and-white grid. Several days later, he received a detailed critique of his code.

It applauded his work but also pinpointed an error. “Seems like you have…

The disruption to child care could have long-term career costs, and the ones likeliest to pay are mothers

Maria Rapier, center with her husband, Beau Rapier, and their daughter Guinevere at home in Oakland, Calif. A mother of three, Ms. Rapier left a job to take a less demanding position. Photo: Carolyn Fong for The New York Times

By Claire Cain Miller

Millions of parents, mostly mothers, have stopped working for pay because of the pandemic child care crisis. But for many more who have held on to their jobs, child care demands have also affected their careers, often in less visible ways. They have worked fewer hours, declined assignments or decided not to take a promotion or pursue a new job.

Economists call this the intensive margin — how much people work, as opposed to how many are in the labor force — and it’s harder to quantify in official employment statistics. Yet there is evidence that…

The New York Times

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