We should expect eco-fascism to grow as pressure on resources mixes with ethnonationalism.
Something you may not know: The NSA sponsors summer camps where kids unmask hackers and construct underwater vehicles.

Voting is not the same as democracy. Ruling is not the same as electing. Competence is not the same as suffrage. Governing is not the same as lawmaking. And appointing, even by election, is not the same as representing.

Some think democracy is having a midlife crisis. New books suggest we don’t even know what democracy is.

↩︎ Tablet

From Jonah Jeng's highly informed survey of the last decade’s best action scenes, including scenes from many movies you've never heard of.

It is a moment that flirts with ridiculousness but—on account of Rajamouli’s willingness to go big at every level, from the radiant colors to the outsized emotions to the widescreen-worthy shots of digital multitudes—lands on the side of the sublime.

“We’re sitting in front of a problem.” A Hollywood master of deepfakes says even he can't tell between the best shams.

We have entered a dizzying hermeneutical circle: the original is made to look like a copy of the copy in order to convince a sceptical audience that it is original.

An engrossing look into the sale of a supposed da Vinci “Salvator Mundi” and the (not-disinterested) management of the art canon.

↩︎ The Times Literary Supplement
New "soft exosuits" use algorithms to accurately determine the wearer's gait and help with locomotion.
"The ideal woman is always optimizing." Jia Tolentino on athleisure, cyborgs, and women who obey Instagram.
Ships used to have red hulls because copper oxides kept stuff from growing on the bottom. Now it's just tradition.

“All Barnard students are most urgently warned not to have any dealings with a man named Alexander Jessup, who, from time to time, offers to students opportunities for literary work.”

Two stories of swindling suggest that as long as there are writers hoping to publish, there are people attempting to rob them.

↩︎ Literary Hub
UPS confirms that autonomous trucks have been carrying its cargo from Tucson to Phoenix for months.
From a 2005 study, but still fun: men are more likely to believe in extraterrestrials, women are more likely to believe in ghosts.
A little old, but still valuable: Miles Klee outlines the differences between bloomers, gloomers, and doomers.

How the former voice of Ronald McDonald became one of America’s most successful gay pornographers.

A podcast episode for your weekend: David Weinberg meets Rob Navarro, who became a top maker of gay porn with "the help of a few good men from the US Marine Corps."

This year is stocked with police officers being shot by people who were not legally allowed to possess guns.

The 1619 Project from the New York Times Magazine.

A special issue of the New York Times Magazine, the 1619 Project, observes the 400th anniversary of American slavery, when the first enslaved Africans arrived at Point Comfort in the British colony of Virginia in August 1619.

You should read the entire issue, but here are three to get you started:

Nikole Hannah-Jones: Our democracy’s founding ideals were false when they were written. Black Americans have fought to make them true.

Many white Americans saw black men in the uniforms of America’s armed services not as patriotic but as exhibiting a dangerous pride. Hundreds of black veterans were beaten, maimed, shot and lynched. We like to call those who lived during World War II the Greatest Generation, but that allows us to ignore the fact that many of this generation fought for democracy abroad while brutally suppressing democracy for millions of American citizens. During the height of racial terror in this country, black Americans were not merely killed but castrated, burned alive and dismembered with their body parts displayed in storefronts. This violence was meant to terrify and control black people, but perhaps just as important, it served as a psychological balm for white supremacy: You would not treat human beings this way. The extremity of the violence was a symptom of the psychological mechanism necessary to absolve white Americans of their country’s original sin. To answer the question of how they could prize liberty abroad while simultaneously denying liberty to an entire race back home, white Americans resorted to the same racist ideology that Jefferson and the framers had used at the nation’s founding.

Matthew Desmond: In order to understand the brutality of American capitalism, you have to start on the plantation.

Slavery was undeniably a font of phenomenal wealth. By the eve of the Civil War, the Mississippi Valley was home to more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States. Cotton grown and picked by enslaved workers was the nation’s most valuable export. The combined value of enslaved people exceeded that of all the railroads and factories in the nation. New Orleans boasted a denser concentration of banking capital than New York City. What made the cotton economy boom in the United States, and not in all the other far-flung parts of the world with climates and soil suitable to the crop, was our nation’s unflinching willingness to use violence on nonwhite people and to exert its will on seemingly endless supplies of land and labor. Given the choice between modernity and barbarism, prosperity and poverty, lawfulness and cruelty, democracy and totalitarianism, America chose all of the above.

Jeneen Interlandi: Why doesn’t the United States have universal health care? The answer has everything to do with race.

Professional societies like the American Medical Association barred black doctors; medical schools excluded black students, and most hospitals and health clinics segregated black patients. Federal health care policy was designed, both implicitly and explicitly, to exclude black Americans. As a result, they faced an array of inequities—including statistically shorter, sicker lives than their white counterparts. What’s more, access to good medical care was predicated on a system of employer-based insurance that was inherently difficult for black Americans to get. “They were denied most of the jobs that offered coverage,” says David Barton Smith, an emeritus historian of health care policy at Temple University. “And even when some of them got health insurance, as the Pullman porters did, they couldn’t make use of white facilities.”

In the shadows of this exclusion, black communities created their own health systems. Lay black women began a national community health care movement that included fund-raising for black health facilities; campaigns to educate black communities about nutrition, sanitation and disease prevention; and programs like National Negro Health Week that drew national attention to racial health disparities. Black doctors and nurses—most of them trained at one of two black medical colleges, Meharry and Howard—established their own professional organizations and began a concerted war against medical apartheid. By the 1950s, they were pushing for a federal health care system for all citizens.


And I asked him what he wanted to be doing in 15 years: Do you want to be collecting money on your investments, or do you want to be in front of an audience? And he said he wanted to be in front of an audience, singing.

Legendary music publicist Howard Bloom has good advice for big decisions.

↩︎ Quartz

A fantastic music video for Jimmy Stofer's "The Trembling Giant," which takes its name from an aspen grove of 47,000 trees in Utah that share a single root system.

A year after Texas struck down a plastic bag ban, littering is as bad as ever—and the bags are contributing to livestock deaths.