A technology lawyer named Paul Skallas argues we should be gleaning more wisdom from antiquity

Mr. Skallas taking his constitutional in Trouville on May 28. Photo: Roberto Frankenberg for The New York Times

By Ezra Marcus

In a tumultuous time, humanity looks to the ancient world for guidance and inspiration. It’s a dynamic at least as old as Petrarch, the 14th-century Italian poet whose scholarship on the Greeks and Romans helped kick-start the Renaissance.

Paul Skallas, a 36-year-old technology lawyer and writer, has picked up antiquity’s torch. He’s an evangelist for wisdom derived from the distant past, like, say, skip the mouthwash.

“Everyone tells you to do it,” he said during a Zoom call from Deauville, France, where he moved from New York City last fall to ride out the pandemic. “Your breath…

Democrats know that their election overhaul has no chance as long as the filibuster exists, but they are eager to show that all that stands in its way are Republicans

The alternative ideas put forward by Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia quickly gained traction with progressive Democrats and activists, including Stacey Abrams of Georgia. Photo: Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

By Carl Hulse

Democrats and progressive activists who have been working for months on a sweeping voting rights bill quickly embraced on Thursday a new, far narrower plan suddenly put forward by Sen. Joe Manchin, their party’s sole holdout on the issue.

Their decision to do so did nothing to improve the chances that the legislation could get through the Senate, but it reflected another significant goal for Democrats: uniting the party around what it has billed as its highest priority and showing that, were it not for Republican opposition and the filibuster, the elections overhaul would become law.


The birthrate is falling for American women in their 20s, especially in places where the local economy is booming

Photo: Stephen Speranza for The New York Times

By Sabrina Tavernise, Claire Cain Miller, Quoctrung Bui and Robert Gebeloff

PHOENIX — Luz Portillo, the oldest daughter of Mexican immigrants, has many plans. She is studying to be a skin care expert. She has also applied to nursing school. She works full time, too — as a nurse’s aide and doing eyelash extensions, a business she would like to grow.

But one thing she has no plans for anytime soon is a baby.

Portillo’s mother had her when she was 16. Her father has worked as a landscaper for as long as she can remember. …

Doug Guthrie, once one of America’s leading China bulls, rang the alarm on doing business there. He spoke about his time at Apple.

“Do you guys understand who Xi Jinping is?” Doug Guthrie said he had told Apple leaders. Photo: Erin Kirkland for The New York Times

By Jack Nicas

Doug Guthrie spent 1994 riding a single-speed bicycle between factories in Shanghai for a dissertation on Chinese industry. Within years, he was one of America’s leading experts on China’s turn toward capitalism and was helping companies venture East.

Two decades later, in 2014, Apple hired him to help navigate perhaps its most important market. By then, he was worried about China’s new direction.

China’s new leader, Xi Jinping, was leaning on Western companies to strengthen his grip on the country. Guthrie realized that few companies were bigger targets, or more vulnerable, than Apple. …

Amazon’s experimental approach to product design can hurt your wallet and the environment. Why does it need our help to figure out what it’s doing?

Illustration: Glenn Harvey/The New York Times

By Brian X. Chen

About four years ago, Paul Hollowell found out that Amazon was making a gadget he desperately wanted: a camera whose sole purpose was to photograph his clothes.

The oval camera, called the Echo Look, worked by photographing several clothing combinations and using artificial intelligence to highlight which outfit looked best. Hollowell, an entrepreneur and a frequent traveler from Dallas, usually spent hours picking clothes to pack for a trip and believed that the camera would help him decide. He ordered one for $200.

He was correct — the camera saved time. But what he didn’t predict…

Global warming has been fueling disasters in the region for years. Now, an early heat wave and severe drought are threatening lives and leaving water in perilously short supply.

The sunset over Phoenix, Ariz., tinted by smoke from nearby wildfires on Tuesday, when temperatures climbed to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Photo: Ash Ponders for The New York Times

By Brad Plumer, Jack Healy, Winston Choi-Schagrin and Henry Fountain

A heat dome is baking Arizona and Nevada, where temperatures have soared past 115 degrees this week and doctors are warning that people can get third-degree burns from the sizzling asphalt.

At Lake Mead, which supplies water for 25 million people in three southwestern states and Mexico, water levels have plunged to their lowest point since the reservoir was filled in the 1930s. In California, farmers are abandoning their thirstiest crops to save others, and communities are debating whether to ration tap water.

In Texas, electricity grids are under strain…

Lina Khan is the most progressive chair of the Federal Trade Commission in at least a generation

Lina Khan at the Federal Trade Commission in Washington in 2018. Photo: Lexey Swall for The New York Times

By David McCabe and Cecilia Kang

WASHINGTON — One of Lina Khan’s first projects as a new staff member at an antitrust think tank in 2011 was researching the history of the market for books, which had increasingly been dominated by Amazon. It was an early, unpublished entry in a body of work that has since established her as a major critic of the tech giants and corporate concentration.

She spent the next 10 years honing her arguments, becoming a leading figure in a growing movement that calls for more aggressive policing of Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

Now she’s…

The embattled lingerie giant is attempting the most extreme brand turnaround in recent memory: an effort not just to redefine itself but also the very idea of what “sexy” is

The VS Collective includes women famous for their achievements and not their proportions, like the soccer star and gender equality advocate Megan Rapinoe. Photo: Ryan Pfluger/Victoria’s Secret via The New York Times

By Sapna Maheshwari and Vanessa Friedman

The Victoria’s Secret Angels, those avatars of Barbie bodies and playboy reverie, are gone. Their wings, fluttery confections of rhinestones and feathers that could weigh almost 30 pounds, are gathering dust in storage. The “Fantasy Bra,” dangling real diamonds and other gems, is no more.

In their place are seven women famous for their achievements and not their proportions. They include Megan Rapinoe, the 35-year-old pink-haired soccer star and gender equity campaigner; Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier and soon-to-be Olympian; the 29-year-old biracial model and inclusivity advocate Paloma Elsesser, who was…

For contestants, it’s a pageant, yes, but also a place to celebrate Black sisterhood and promote a deeper understanding of a complex holiday

Kennedé Wallace, the 2019 Miss Juneteenth for Austin, Texas, earlier this month. “You never know when you’re going to have to put your crown on and be the queen of the moment, she said. “It gives you all the light, and you have to be prepared for that.” Photo: Cindy Elizabeth for The New York Times

By Tariro Mzezewa

This month, as celebrations to commemorate the Juneteenth holiday begin, dozens of Black girls and women across the country will be competing for a singular title: Miss Juneteenth.

Miss Juneteenth pageants have been held locally for decades but they have been growing in visibility as awareness of the holiday has increased. The first National Miss Juneteenth Pageant was held in 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee, with Saniya Gay, a previous Miss Juneteenth winner in Delaware, claiming the title.

Juneteenth, or Freedom Day, is rooted in emancipation for the enslaved, so it involves both the celebration of joy and…

The man who used television to help many North Americans start cooking Chinese food at home is as cheery as ever, but aware of some harsher truths

Martin Yan at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since he started cooking on TV in 1982, he has taught millions of people how to cook various Asian cuisines. Photo: Aya Brackett for The New York Times

By Priya Krishna

HILLSBOROUGH, Calif. — Live from his home kitchen in the San Francisco Bay Area, Martin Yan flashed a smile, raised his cleaver and chanted the catchphrase that the 150 or so people watching him online were clamoring to hear: “If Yan can cook, so can you!”

For Yan — who over a four-decade career has played the roles of television personality, cookbook author, restaurateur and now YouTube host — this longtime slogan is more than just a shtick. It’s a summary of all he believes in. …

The New York Times

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