Inside the mind of a 6-year-old shooter

By Erin Snodgrass and Andrea Michelson The fear was palpable in the small town of Newport News, Virginia, on the afternoon of January 6 as reports rolled in of a shooting at Richneck Elementary School. As the dust settled — the children all accounted for, the lone adult victim on her way to the hospital — the police identified an unlikely perpetrator: a 6-year-old boy, accused of deliberately shooting his first-grade teacher. Officials said the boy, whom they’ve not named because of his age, shot Abigail Zwerner through her hand and into her upper chest as she taught a classroom of about 20 children. The officials said … Continue reading Inside the mind of a 6-year-old shooter

You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week

What is our hidden consumption of microplastics doing to our health? BY KATHARINE GAMMON Martin Wagner was annoyed that his colleagues were always talking about microplastics in the ocean. It was 2010 and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch had been headline news. Here was this massive gyre, formed by circular ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean, reportedly brimming with plastic particles, killing sea turtles and seagulls. Wagner, a professor of biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, whose lab focuses on the impact of plastics on human and ecosystem health, felt like scientists were pointing to marine systems … Continue reading You Eat a Credit Card’s Worth of Plastic Every Week

How privacy became a forgotten virtue

Dave Eggers book, “The Circle,” uses satire to illuminate how privacy is fast becoming a lost virtue in the digital age. by Jonny Thomson KEY TAKEAWAYS In Dave Eggers’ book, “The Circle,” we are told to imagine a world where “secrets are lies, sharing is caring, and privacy is theft.”  We live in a world where sharing our most intimate moments, as well as our day to day banality, is the norm. Openness is a virtue while privacy is on the decline.  But privacy is essential to who we are as human beings. It’s a virtue we need to bring … Continue reading How privacy became a forgotten virtue

Spotify Has Made All Music Into Background Music

Is the collapse of genre boundaries and the erosion of fervent musical loyalties a good thing? By Jack Hamilton Ispent much of my youth in sprawling record stores, drifting through aisles marked by signs that said things like rock, r&b, hip-hop, and—it was the ’90s—alternative. Anyone who grew up in or near a city in the later decades of the 20th century probably remembers the dial locations of classic rock, country, modern rock, “urban.” (Of course, there were also the catchall behemoths of Top 40 and adult contemporary; young snobs like me looked down on them as the presets of dilettantes.) But these days, to … Continue reading Spotify Has Made All Music Into Background Music

A Homeless Amazon Warehouse Worker in New York City Tells Her Story

“Jeff Bezos has no idea that his workers are homeless, especially in New York, and I’m not the only one.” By Lauren Kaori Gurley Natalie Monarrez’s commute to work at Amazon’s colossal warehouse in Staten Island, New York City, known as JFK8, is just a few hundred steps. Since 2019, she’s been homeless and has lived out of her SUV, camping out in the facility’s parking lot.  Being a homeless Amazon warehouse worker isn’t easy, but Monarrez has made it work. She has a membership at Planet Fitness, where she goes to shower and brush her teeth. She keeps a list … Continue reading A Homeless Amazon Warehouse Worker in New York City Tells Her Story

You Probably Have an Asymptomatic Infection Right Now

No, not COVID-19. Many, many viruses can infect humans without making us sick, and how they do that is one of biology’s deepest mysteries. by SARAH ZHANG One of the most perplexing and enduring mysteries of the pandemic is also one of the most fundamental questions about viruses. How can the same virus that kills so many go entirely unnoticed in others? The mystery is hardly unique to COVID-19. SARS, MERS, influenza, Ebola, dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, West Nile, Lassa, Japanese encephalitis, Epstein-Barr, and polio can all be deadly in one person but asymptomatic in the next.    But for most … Continue reading You Probably Have an Asymptomatic Infection Right Now


SO-CALLED ZOMBIE GENES MAKE BRAIN CELLS GROW BIGGER AND BIGGER FOR SEVERAL HOURS. by NEUROSCIENCE/BRAIN SCIENCE When you die, most of the cells in your brain will gradually flicker out. But some, according to a new study, will become extremely active, growing to new sizes for several hours after death. It’s morbid to think about your brain becoming more active after you’re gone, but the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) researchers behind the discovery stressed in a press release that it doesn’t mean people are conscious or that the so-called “zombie genes” that trigger this neural activity could do anything as dramatic as … Continue reading AFTER YOU DIE, SOME CELLS IN YOUR BRAIN BECOME MORE ACTIVE

Architecture has a racist past. These artists radically reimagined it

A new MOMA exhibit explores architecture and Blackness. BY NATE BERG It’s no revelation that Black Americans have been underserved by architects and urban planners. Systemic racism pervades the built environment–from segregated communities and freeways built on top of Black neighborhoods to prejudiced housing practices and a lack of Black representation in the development process. It doesn’t help that just 11% of architects identify as a racial minority. The question is not how this happened, but what to do about it. Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America is a new exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York that seeks to bring this question into new light. It focuses less … Continue reading Architecture has a racist past. These artists radically reimagined it

It’s Time To Cancel “Dr. Phil”

Dr. Do Nothing The popular daytime TV show seems to exploit the vulnerable people coming on the program for help. by Scaachi KoulBuzz In mid-February, Dr. Phil aired an episode about a 56-year-old woman named JoLynn with an alcohol addiction. But unlike other shows — or even an old Oprah episode — she isn’t coiffed or remotely prepared for the interview. She’s very clearly intoxicated, disheveled, and isn’t wearing any shoes. She rambles and at one point, starts to walk away from her chair. When Phil McGraw (more commonly known as Dr. Phil) asks her repeatedly where she’s going, she looks like a lost child. … Continue reading It’s Time To Cancel “Dr. Phil”

Texas freeze shows a chilling truth – how the rich use climate change to divide us

The Lone Star State is aptly named. If you’re not part of the Republican oil elite with Cruz and Abbott, you’re on your own. by Robert Reich Texas has long represented a wild west individualism that elevates personal freedom – this week, the freedom to freeze – above all else. The state’s prevailing social Darwinism was expressed most succinctly by the mayor of Colorado City, who accused his constituents – trapped in near sub-zero temperatures and complaining about lack of heat, electricity and drinkable water – of being the “lazy” products of a “socialist government”, adding “I’m sick and tired of … Continue reading Texas freeze shows a chilling truth – how the rich use climate change to divide us