The Morning News The Editors' Longreads Picks
A room wallpapered in (presumably unread) New Yorkers. Credit: lars_o_matic.
“We’re dancing with the devil here.” Neurochemical events may underlie the placebo effect—which suggests it's manufacturable.
Isaiah Berlin's pluralist rejection of ultimate solutions remains a great argument for liberalism.
Rosecrans Baldwin spent a month on a "life cleanse" in L.A. Getting his personality reprogrammed was never part of the plan.

I had read the Didion essay, had imagined being her there, or being the friend the people owed at a party, or having been so impractical as to have my sheets blowing in the wind outside my window, and it was easy to imagine her past as my future.

Alexander Chee on learning to live in—and love—New York.

↩︎ Longreads
Socialists could be more vocal about their ability to incorporate innovation—and even the market—into a mixed economy.
Oregon's cannabis legalization has gone off script, plagued by overproduction, ecological threats, and inaccurate reporting.
The sometimes-real, sometimes-imagined war between America and atheism is as old as America itself.

Those who have lived their entire lives in functioning democracies may find it hard to grasp how easily minds can be won over to the totalitarian dark side. We assume such a passage would require slow, laborious persuasion. It does not. 

Democracy is a hard-won, easily rolled back state of affairs—“from which many secretly yearn to be released.”

↩︎ The New York Review of Books
Evidence shows that literature can reshape a reader's mind—even perhaps when thoughts aren't overtly expressed or described.

I was glad I wasn’t wearing a wire, but mostly I was thinking, “If this gets bad, just claw your way over that fence to the street! Don’t let yourself fall to the ground with a hundred guys trying to stomp you with steel-toed boots.”

Confessions of an ATF agent who infiltrated one of Los Angeles’s worst motorcycle gangs.

↩︎ Los Angeles Magazine
An investigation into "a new and incendiary business: militarized contract killing, carried out by skilled American fighters."

He sent colleagues an email with video of the near-collision. Its subject line was “Prius vs. Camry.” He remained in his leadership role and continued taking cars on non-official routes.

A longread on Google’s overambitious former head of autonomous cars makes you wonder whether self-driving cars are worth the hype.

↩︎ The New Yorker

Walking around the Upper East Side, where I live, I find it striking how many of the establishments still standing among the many darkened windows are hair salons, nail salons, facial salons, eyebrow places, and restaurants. 

Manhattan is a wealthy ghost town, empty but for places selling things that Amazon can’t provide.

↩︎ The Atlantic
The self-help movement has "a startling paucity of theories" about the self. To be precise: It has one.

Because some guests still stumble in by chance while others make reservations months ahead, the clientele is notably eclectic: bow hunters and backpackers, Paul Simon and Scarlett Johansson and Jamaica Kincaid. 

Two chefs found success in one of the unlikeliest places in Utah. Now they’re doing “hand-to-hand combat” with the White House.

↩︎ The New Yorker
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