Entrepreneur
3 min read
Tech

This 25-Year-Old Entrepreneur Is Trying to Do the Impossible: Make Sense of the Government

By age 19, Tim Hwang had worked as a field organizer for Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and served as an elected official on Maryland’s Montgomery County Board of Education. Now he’s 25 and the co-founder and CEO of FiscalNote, a Washington, D.C.-based tech startup that’s trying to do the impossible: Make sense of the government.  Related: How This Startup Helps People Find Common Political Ground What attracted you to politics? When I was young, politics seemed like a really big opportunity to take a small amount of your time and aggregate it into a larger impact. Whether it’s local politics or
The New York Times
7 min read
Society

Undercover With the Alt-Right

A SWEDISH GRADUATE STUDENT INFILTRATED FAR RIGHT GROUPS IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPE. THIS IS WHAT HE SAW. Last September, Patrik Hermansson, a 25-year-old graduate student from Sweden, went undercover in the world of the extreme right. Posing as a student writing a thesis about the suppression of right-wing speech, he traveled from London to New York to Charlottesville, Va. — and into the heart of a dangerous movement that is experiencing a profound rejuvenation. Mr. Hermansson, who was sent undercover by the British anti-racist watchdog group Hope Not Hate, spent months insinuating himsel
The New York Times
8 min read
Society

What the Rich Won't Tell You

“THERE’S NOBODY WHO KNOWS HOW MUCH WE SPEND. YOU’RE THE ONLY PERSON I EVER SAID THOSE NUMBERS TO OUT LOUD.” Over lunch in a downtown restaurant, Beatrice, a New Yorker in her late 30s, told me about two decisions she and her husband were considering. They were thinking about where to buy a second home and whether their young children should go to private school. Then she made a confession: She took the price tags off her clothes so that her nanny would not see them. “I take the label off our six-dollar bread,” she said. She did this, she explained, because she was uncomfortable with the inequa
The Atlantic
5 min read
Entrepreneurship

Before Vibrators Were Mainstream

Nowadays, sex-positivity is mainstream: Amazon sells vibrators for as little as a few dollars, and the honest, open-minded sex-advice podcast Savage Love is consistently at the top of downloads charts. There was a time, not all that long ago, when such things were not quite so out in the open. In her new book, Vibrator Nation: How Feminist Sex-Toy Stories Changed the Business of Pleasure, Lynn Comella traces the link between the contemporary adult-toy industry and the small groups of feminist retailers who, starting in the 1970s, started their own vibrator stores explicitly for women. In the b
NPR
3 min read
Psychology

Can A Machine Tell Whether You Are Gay?

Drawing on databases of images collected from an online dating site, a new study conducted at Stanford University concludes that faces carry information about sexual orientation. This information is not available to visual inspection by ordinary perceivers. But it can be extracted by powerful, pattern-recognizing machines ("deep neural networks" or DNNs). According to the study, which has also been reported here , here and here, a DNN was 91 percent accurate in determining sexual orientation from photos of men and 83 percent accurate with woman. Humans, given the same images to inspect, had a
The Atlantic
3 min read
Society

What Crime Most Changed the Course of History?

Benjamin Percy, writer, Green Arrow and Teen Titans If the Sons of Liberty, in defiance of the Tea Act, hadn’t boarded those ships in Boston Harbor in 1773 and heaved overboard shipments from the East India Company, then the British Parliament wouldn’t have responded with the Intolerable Acts. The American Revolution might not have erupted into all-out war, and the Constitution might not have been written. Tana French, author, The Trespasser Gavrilo Princip’s assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, precipitated World War I, which reshaped large parts of the world politi
Bloomberg Businessweek
4 min read
Society

L’Oréal’s Problem With Men

Laura Colby In his first assignment for L’Oréal, Rob Imig spent 10 months pitching a shu uemura lipstick to beauty editors across the country. The editors—all women—often reacted with confusion or amusement. “The reaction was a bit startled sometimes,” says Imig, now a 13-year veteran of the company. “The beauty business is dominated by women. They thought it a bit odd that a guy named Rob was coming to show them a new lipstick.” While big companies around the world are striving to improve the gender balance of their workforces, most are focusing on hiring more women. But for L’Oréal, balanc
The Guardian
3 min read
Society

'I Will Have My Boat Stolen': Final Days of British Kayaker Killed in Brazil

Posting on social media on 10 September, Emma Kelty joked about a warning she had been given about the stretch of the Amazon river she was about to enter. “So in or near Coari (60 miles) I will have my boat stolen and I will be killed too,” she wrote. “Nice.” Two days later, Kelty, who was canoeing the length of the Amazon, said she was “in the clear”. But hours later she posted again, describing an encounter with armed men. “Turned corner and found 50 guys in motor boats with arrows!!! My face must have been a picture!! (Town was uber quiet... too quiet!!) all go ... “OK 30 guys ... but eithe
Literary Hub
8 min read
Society

Life As A Trans Man In Turn-of-the-Century America

In 1902, 33-year-old Harry Gorman was hospitalized in Buffalo, New York, after he suffered a serious fall that broke one of his legs. While on the surface this event sounds inconsequential, it prompted a firestorm of media coverage. Indeed, on his hospital bed, it was revealed that Gorman lacked the anatomy generally associated with maleness—despite having lived as a man for more than 20 years. This revelation drew attention from newspapers across the nation, from Tucson to Boston and Fort Worth to New York City. Gorman explained that his decision to dress as a man had been made in his youth,
The New York Times
4 min read
Society

In El Salvador, 'Girls Are a Problem'

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador — I don’t want to go back to El Salvador. I felt afraid as a woman there more than in any other country in Latin America. I realized I had entered hostile territory while chatting with the taxi driver who picked me up at the airport, the first Salvadoran man I met. He told me he had a baby, a little darling called JJ, and showed me a photo. When I asked him if he’d like more children, he said yes, but only boys. “You know you can’t choose,” I said. “I know, but I don’t want a girl,” he answered. “Girls are a problem.” Girls are indeed considered a problem in a country
The Guardian
2 min read
Society

Model Fired by L'Oreal for Racism Remarks Will Be Face of Rival Campaign

A transgender model fired by L’Oreal for making comments about systemic racism on social media has been chosen as the face of a new campaign by a rival beauty brand. Munroe Bergdorf was sacked by the French company last month after making the comments on Facebook in the wake of events in Charlottesville. On Wednesday the British firm Illamasqua announced she was fronting its new campaign based around gender fluidity. In a statement Illamasqua said: “Munroe embodies diversity and individuality; she is not scared to be truly herself. But Munroe doesn’t just stop there. She speaks out about the i
The New York Times
5 min read
Society

The Founders Didn't Plan on This

THE CONSTITUTION HAS LASTED 230 YEARS, BUT IT DIDN’T FORESEE TRUMP OR THIS ECONOMY. Exactly 230 years ago, on Sept. 17, 1787, a group of men in Philadelphia concluded a summer of sophisticated, impassioned debates about the fate of their fledgling nation. The document that emerged, our Constitution, is often thought of as part of an aristocratic counterrevolution that stands in contrast to the democratic revolution of 1776. But our Constitution has at least one radical feature: It isn’t designed for a society with economic inequality. There are other things the Constitution wasn’t written for,
Bloomberg Businessweek
6 min read
Society

Why Wages Aren’t Growing profits salaries

The very first thing any college freshman learns in Economics 101 is the law of supply and demand. When people desire more of something but its availability is limited or constrained, its price goes up. There may not be another economic rule more basic and logical. Yet Japan, that land of eternal economic mystery, is apparently defying this most sacred principle. The problem is wages. Japan’s labor market is the tightest it’s been in decades. The unemployment rate has sunk to only 2.8 percent, the lowest in 23 years, while the number of available jobs compared with applicants has reached leve
Bloomberg Businessweek
3 min read
Politics

A Cake Dispute Rises To the Highest Court

Greg Stohr When the U.S. Supreme Court reconvenes on Oct. 2, it will begin a term full of potential blockbuster cases. Disputes over partisan gerrymandering, cell phone privacy, and Donald Trump’s travel ban are already on the docket. Showdowns over public-sector union fees, antigay job discrimination, and voter-ID laws might be close behind. Out of all of them, the case that could be the most passionately fought is one that began as a brief discussion about a wedding cake in Colorado and has grown into a Supreme Court clash between free speech and equality. On one side are Charlie Craig and
Bloomberg Businessweek
2 min read
Society

Don’t Silence the Sound of Gunfire

“Pop, pop, pop, pop—it’s a sound I’ll never forget.” That’s how Representative Mike Bishop of Michigan described the scene in June when a gunman attacked members of Congress practicing for a baseball game in suburban Washington. That sound allowed some people at the scene to take cover—yet Bishop and his fellow Republicans now seem prepared to pass legislation that would make it harder for anyone similarly threatened to have warning. A bill working its way through the House would remove silencers from the list of devices regulated by federal authorities under the 1934 National Firearms Act.
Bloomberg Businessweek
4 min read

This Hospital Operator Needs A Prescription

David Welch and John Lauerman Four doctors from Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, Ind., showed up at parent company Community Health Systems Inc. in May with a message for Chief Executive Officer Wayne Smith and his board. Physicians were in widespread revolt, they said. Facilities were cash-strapped and crumbling. Powerful locals wanted CHS to reinvest or leave. The doctors urged Smith to sell the eight-hospital Lutheran Health Network to their physician group, which already owned a 20 percent stake, and an investor partner, for $2.4 billion—triple CHS’s current market value. The combative 7
TIME
9 min read
Politics

Bigots, Boosted by the Bully Pulpit

Nearly alone among the nation’s elected leaders, President Trump saw a nobility of purpose in the fiery procession that began a weekend of street fights in Charlottesville, Va. White nationalists hoisted tiki torches that recalled the horrifying imagery of the Ku Klux Klan. They revived an old Nazi chant—“Blood and Soil”—which had been silenced in 1945 with American blood on German soil. And they mixed in a new anti-Semitic taunt, “Jews will not replace us,” meant to declare unity of the white race. But to the President, those details did not tell the whole story. Marching with the racists, f
The New York Times
4 min read
Society

The Book That Made Us Feminists

BETTY FRIEDAN POINTED OUT THE PROBLEM THAT HAD NO NAME. IN “SEXUAL POLITICS,” KATE MILLETT NAMED IT AND EXPLAINED ITS CAUSE. I was 19 years old when I bought a first edition of “Sexual Politics”in 1970. Kate Millett’s first book, published the year before, was that unlikeliest phenomenon — a dissertation heard around the world. What I remember most about that year was the dizzying experience of reading Millett, who died on Wednesday, and the new theories of her sister feminists that came in its wake. Like one of Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Rooms,” my consciousness, and that of the women I knew, g
Popular Science
3 min read
Society

Infections During Pregnancy May Help Autism Develop—and Scientists Are Finally Figuring Out Why

A cluster of E. coli bacteria in the gut. Wikimedia Commons The immune system is a complex beast. It often does a fantastic job of fighting dangerous pathogens, preventing microbes from infecting and harming you. But it’s not infallible. Cancer cells can squeeze past undetected, for example. And sometimes the immune system can go into overdrive: In an attempt to fight whatever infection you have, it over produces certain proteins and chemicals that can harm healthy cells. During pregnancy, there’s even more at stake. This overwhelming response can affect a developing fetus, and some research s
STAT
4 min read
Society

6 Things That Happen at TV Hospitals That Don’t Happen in Real Life

Medical storylines have riveted television viewers since the earliest days of the medium — and for just as long, TV writers and directors have had to navigate the age-old tension between truth and storytelling. One early solution, beginning in the 1950s, was a group of doctors who advised television producers directly. The group, known as the Physician’s Advisory Committee (PAC) on Television, Radio, and Motion Pictures, reviewed scripts, helped find props, and showed actors how to properly hold a scalpel. Both medicine and television have changed a lot since then. Production companies now hir
TIME
4 min read
Politics

What White America Must Do Next

Saturday, Aug. 12, will go down as a dark day for America. In Charlottesville, Va., young and old donned swastikas. White militia, many openly carrying weapons, set out to “protect” the demonstrators. Angry men and women screamed vile and racist slogans. Violence broke out with counterprotesters. Then, according to authorities, James Alex Fields Jr. plowed his car into a peaceful crowd protesting the racist spectacle. Heather Heyer was killed, and 19 people were injured. Cornel West, who joined the counterprotests with a group of clergy, witnessed it all and told me, “I have never seen this k
Literary Hub
6 min read
Society

Cheryl Strayed is Fed Up with Memoir-Bashing

Cheryl Strayed is a feminist phenomenon, what with her dazzling, bestselling memoir Wild, and her wildly popular Dear Sugar advice column, which is now a bestselling book and a NY Times podcast. But unlike many famous authors who hit it big and immediately forget about everyone coming up behind them, Cheryl goes out of her way to support emerging literary feminists. Case in point, she recently signed on to judge the annual Memoir Award for Kore Press an innovative publisher of vital feminist work in my own gritty, wild, literary home town of Tucson Arizona. I sat down recently to talk to Chery
The Atlantic
4 min read
Society

Is It Unethical To Pose as an Alt-Righter?

The hidden-camera videos released this week by Patrik Hermansson show creepy people at their creepiest. White supremacists spoke to Hermansson, a 25-year-old Swede who first approached them a year ago, as if he were one of their own. To them, he presented an irresistible recruitment target: a real Aryan, with impeccable pigmentary credentials, studying white supremacists for a master’s project. The racists lapped up his presence, like alley-cats around a saucer of milk. He found roughly what you’d expect. The racists are racist, “to the point of being genocidal,” Hermansson told me—and they ar
Literary Hub
9 min read
Society

Attica Locke on the Rise of the Aryan Brotherhood, and Never Quite Leaving East Texas

Attica Locke knows that her new book, Bluebird, Bluebird, is going to take on a life of its own. That’s what happens your novel about a black Texas Ranger investigating a pair of murders in a small town run by white nationalists comes out after a summer when neo Nazis marched on Charlottesville and Confederate statues across the country were either removed or very pointedly not removed, when tensions came to a boil and the President made it clear, once again, whose side he was on. For Locke, dark as the summer of 2017 was, the pivotal moment came much earlier. “The second Trump was elected, my
The Wall Street Journal
7 min read
Society

Bored? Underworked? You’re an Ideal Candidate for a Company Struggling to Find New Staff

RICHMOND, Va.—Pressed for workers, a New Jersey-based software company went hunting for a U.S. city with a surplus of talented employees stuck in dead-end jobs. Brian Brown, chief operating officer at AvePoint, Inc., struck gold in Richmond. Despite the city’s low unemployment rate, the company had no trouble filling 70 jobs there, some at 20% below what it paid in New Jersey. New hires, meanwhile, got more interesting work and healthy raises.Irvine, Calif.-based mortgage lender Network Capital Funding Corp. opened an office in Miami to scoop up an attractive subset of college graduates—those
Literary Hub
7 min read
Society

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on How to Write and How to Read

Believe it or not, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie—acclaimed novelist, famous feminist, certified genius—turns 40 today. In recent years, Adichie has become an international authority on feminism, and her TEDx talk “We should all be feminists” and the resulting book version have become so iconic that the sloganized title is gracing t-shirts everywhere these days. (Some of those t-shirts are made by Dior, and the whole designer feminist t-shirt thing is a complex issue that I won’t get into here, but remember that buying things does not actually make you more feminist.) But while I am grateful for Adi
The Atlantic
5 min read
Society

Five Questions About the Manafort Investigation

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Paul Manafort, the onetime Trump campaign chairman, appears to be moving far more aggressively than any other part of the sprawling Russia investigation. On Monday night, The New York Times reported new details about the July raid on Manafort’s Virginia home. Federal investigators broke into his house in the early morning hours, seizing documents and computer files about his extensive business dealings. The Times also reported that Mueller’s team told Manafort that he would soon be indicted, the first indication to date that the former FBI di
Popular Science
3 min read
Society

Female Orgasms Aren't All That Mysterious

Look at how confused this man is about female orgasms. Depositphotos We’ve somehow gotten it into our heads, societally speaking, that femininity is an enigma. If men are dogs, then women are cats—fickle, inscrutable, and liable to swat at you if you touch them wrong. Turns out, though, it's pretty clear what women like, sexually. All it takes to figure it out is a partner who's willing to pay attention. So listen up. A new study surveyed over 1,000 women about their sexual preferences, and it turns out they’re pretty consistent. Most people with vulvas and vaginas enjoy direct clitoral stimul
NPR
3 min read
Society

Teen Wants A Tattoo? Pediatricians Say Here's How To Do It Safely

Ariana Marciano is adding to her collection of about 75 tattoos at the Body Electric Tattoo and Piercing Studio on trendy Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. "I think they're so cool and I think they're visually really nice to look at," she says. There's a ram's head, an elk, a green-and peach colored praying mantis, a love bug and a moth. Today she's getting a ladybug. "I love bugs," Marciano, 23, says. "I think they're kind of overlooked." In about 20 minutes, with dots on its back and a bit of rusty orange, a small ladybug takes its place on her elbow. Marciano is part of a trend; 38 percent of mi
The Guardian
2 min read
Society

Canada Introduces Gender-Neutral 'X' Option on Passports

Canadians are able to identify as gender neutral on their passports from Thursday under changes that have been enthusiastically welcomed by rights campaigners. Canada becomes the first country in the Americas to allow its citizens to use an “X” category, joining those in Australia, Denmark, Germany, Malta, New Zealand and Pakistan. India, Ireland and Nepal are among the countries that provide various third-options. “All Canadians should feel safe to be themselves, live according to their gender identity and express their gender as they choose,” immigration minister Ahmed Hussen said in a state