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The Atlantic: Science and Technology

The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete

The Fax Is Not Yet Obsolete

Nicole Follmann arrived at the Brooklyn House of Detention last spring to post bail by fax. This is how it works: You can post someone’s bail from any jail or courthouse, but you have to send a fax to
How to Almost Learn Italian

How to Almost Learn Italian

Late one chilly evening last September, I excused myself from a small group huddled around a campfire to peck at and mumble into my phone.No way was a camping trip going to make me miss my Italian
The Next Data Mine Is Your Bedroom

The Next Data Mine Is Your Bedroom

It’s a familiar feeling: Type something into Google’s search bar, and then start seeing ads for it everywhere. Sometimes, you don’t even need to search—Google’s already triangulated your desires based
How Sheryl Sandberg Lost Her Feminist Street Cred

How Sheryl Sandberg Lost Her Feminist Street Cred

Back in 2013, many women of a certain ideological stripe and geographic location (D.C., New York, or basically any big city) wanted to be just like a woman most of us had only recently heard of:
How Hackers Are Stealing High-Profile Instagram Accounts

How Hackers Are Stealing High-Profile Instagram Accounts

In early October, a publicist received an irresistible message via email. The publicist’s client is a top “influencer”—someone who leverages a social media following to exert influence and, usually,
When the Tech Mythology Collapses

When the Tech Mythology Collapses

Think back a few years, before the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes, before Susan Fowler’s viral blog post, before the #MeToo movement, before the 2016 election. Across the nation, Silicon Valley was the crown
When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home

When Elon Musk Tunnels Under Your Home

Vicky Warren feels like she’s been attacked from all sides lately. Across the street from her rental apartment in the working-class Los Angeles County city of Hawthorne, noisy planes take off and land
Kim Kardashian’s Private Firefighters Expose America’s Fault Lines

Kim Kardashian’s Private Firefighters Expose America’s Fault Lines

As multiple devastating wildfires raged across California, a private firefighting crew reportedly helped save Kanye West and Kim Kardashian’s home in Calabasas, TMZ reported this week. The successful
Gadgets for the Climate Hellscape

Gadgets for the Climate Hellscape

As the red sun hung in the smoke-filled air outside, as the exhaust from the Camp Fire swept over the Bay Area, I was inside, looking at my phone, like everyone else. I was dying to go running, but
Amazon’s HQ2 Will Only Worsen America’s ‘Great Divergence’

Amazon’s HQ2 Will Only Worsen America’s ‘Great Divergence’

On the long list of things that New York City desperately needs—money for the subway, for affordable housing, for schools and public hospitals and universal pre-K—more high-paying, high-skilled jobs
Custom Photo Filters Are the New Instagram Gold Mine

Custom Photo Filters Are the New Instagram Gold Mine

“Influencers” are people who have established credibility in a specific realm or industry, and who leverage a social-media following to exert influence and, usually, make money. Scroll through many of
The Homeless Can’t Escape San Francisco’s Smoke-Ridden Air

The Homeless Can’t Escape San Francisco’s Smoke-Ridden Air

The deadliest fire in California’s history continues to burn, and San Francisco is filled with smoke and ash. On Tuesday, for the fifth day in a row, air throughout Northern California contained high
What Vets Think of ‘23andMe for Dogs’

What Vets Think of ‘23andMe for Dogs’

When Mars Petcare launched its first DNA test for dogs, in 2007, you could only get it through a vet. The breed-mix test required a blood draw, and Mars thought vets could help interpret the results
The Problem With Feedback

The Problem With Feedback

After a recent Uber ride, I hesitated between offering the four-star rating that captured my adequate ride and the five-star rating that I knew the driver expected. Eventually I tapped five stars and
Video Doesn’t Capture Truth

Video Doesn’t Capture Truth

The White House has revoked the press pass of Jim Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, after a testy exchange between the reporter and President Trump at a news conference on Wednesday.
Every City Should Have a Toy Library

Every City Should Have a Toy Library

On July 30, 1942, then–New York City Mayor Fiorello La Guardia was uptown in Harlem, playing with toys.“Harlem Gets First Toyery,” announced a Paramount newsreel heralding the opening of the
How YouTube’s Algorithm Really Works

How YouTube’s Algorithm Really Works

Of all the videos posted to YouTube, there is one that the platform recommends more than any other right now, according to a Pew Research study published Wednesday. That video is called “Bath Song |
The Striking Way Trump Changed Election Night

The Striking Way Trump Changed Election Night

Journalists don’t like being wrong, or even wavering in the vicinity of not right. And in the run-up to Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, many of us were very wrong. Carefully designed visualizations
The Voting-Sticker Thirst Trap Is Here

The Voting-Sticker Thirst Trap Is Here

As Election Day progresses, voting selfies are dominating Instagram. Almost every user has likely encountered at least one from a celebrity or friend, urging other users to perform their civic duty.
Denver Says Not So Fast, Amazon

Denver Says Not So Fast, Amazon

Arlington, Virginia, and New York City are doing a victory lap after The New York Times reported Monday that Amazon plans to split its second headquarters, called HQ2, between the two cities, bringing