It’s time to end the LeBron James-Michael Jordan debate Another title and James’ accomplishments outside of basketball have elevated his stature in the pantheon of Black athlete activists By winning his fourth NBA title, LeBron James has not only just leaped into history, he’s also leaped over Michael Jordan in the heated, ongoing debate over which player is greatest. James scored 28 points and had a triple-double Sunday to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to the franchise’s 17th NBA title. There has not been another NBA superstar to lead three different teams to a championship: not Jordan, not Magic Johnson, not Kobe Bryant. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Milwaukee Bucks to a title and then helped the Lakers win five, but no one has matched James. And none of them had to compete in the bizarre atmosphere of a bubble. This NBA championship has been like no other and has been […]

Life, in Dog Years My father always pampered his pets. So when he fell ill and moved in with us, it was no surprise that his corgi came to rule our home. What I didn’t expect was for Trilby to care for me after Dad was gone. Trilby at the author’s Houston home on February 25, 2019. Photo by Matt Rainwaters. My father came to live with my husband, John, and me when he was 86, after he took a tumble on our stairs and broke his hip on Thanksgiving Day 2013, just before 26 of our friends were set to arrive for dinner. The fall was probably fortuitous, because his memory was already slipping, and leaving him alone in his apartment was becoming increasingly challenging. John, who often knows me better than I know myself, noted that we were facing down one of life’s toughest choices: either I could […]

Are Aliens Hiding in Plain Sight? Several missions this year are seeking out life on the red planet. But would we recognize extraterrestrials if we found them? ‘You can’t hunt for something if you have no idea what it is.’ In July, three unmanned missions blasted off to Mars – from China (Tianwen-1), the US (Nasa’s Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover) and the United Arab Emirates (Hope). The Chinese and American missions have lander craft that will seek signs of current or past life on Mars. Nasa is also planning to send its Europa Clipper probe to survey Jupiter’s moon Europa, and the robotic lander Dragonfly to Saturn’s moon Titan. Both moons are widely thought to be promising hunting grounds for life in our solar system – as are the underground oceans of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Meanwhile, we can now glimpse the chemical makeup of atmospheres of planets that orbit […]

This Overlooked Variable Is the Key to the Pandemic There’s something strange about this coronavirus pandemic. Even after months of extensive research by the global scientific community, many questions remain open. Why, for instance, was there such an enormous death toll in northern Italy, but not the rest of the country? Just three contiguous regions in northern Italy have 25,000 of the country’s nearly 36,000 total deaths; just one region, Lombardy, has about 17,000 deaths. Almost all of these were concentrated in the first few months of the outbreak. What happened in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in April, when so many died so quickly that bodies were abandoned in the sidewalks and streets?* Why, in the spring of 2020, did so few cities account for a substantial portion of global deaths, while many others with similar density, weather, age distribution, and travel patterns were spared? What can we really learn from Sweden, […]

Obituary: Toots Hibbert – the man who coined the word reggae Toots Hibbert, frontman of the legendary reggae band Toots and the Maytals, has died at the age of 77. One of Jamaica’s most influential musicians, he helped popularise reggae in the 1960s with songs like Pressure Drop, Monkey Man and Funky Kingston. He even claimed to have coined the genre’s name, on 1968’s Do The Reggay. Hibbert’s family said he had died on Friday. The cause was not disclosed, but he had recently been taken to hospital with Covid-like symptoms. The musician was later placed in a medically induced coma, and a spokesman said the musician was “fighting for his life.” It is with the heaviest of hearts to announce that Frederick Nathaniel "Toots" Hibbert passed away peacefully tonight, surrounded by his family at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica… pic.twitter.com/zOb6yRpJ7n — Toots & The […]

Catastrophic wildfires are spewing smoke all over the West Coast. This website lets you track the respiratory crisis in real time—with a few caveats. WHEN I WOKE up on Wednesday morning, I thought my phone was wrong when it showed the time as 7:45. So I checked my watch and my microwave—both 7:45. It was nearly dark out and not because it was dawn, but because the San Francisco sky was choked with wildfire smoke, turning the landscape a Blade Runner dark orange. As I’ve done first thing every morning for the past several weeks during California’s unprecedented outbreak of wildfires, I checked the website PurpleAir—my rock in this summer’s churning Sea of General Awfulness. Drawing crowdsourced data from air quality sensors it sells to the public—ranging between $200 and $300—PurpleAir builds maps that show in real time just how bad a neighborhood like mine is suffering from particulate matter (PM) 2.5 pollution, the particles […]

What Lockdown 2.0 Looks Like: Harsher Rules, Deeper Confusion Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is becoming a case study in handling a second wave of infections. There are lots of unanswered questions. Australia’s second-largest city, Melbourne, is grappling with a spiraling coronavirus outbreak that has led to a lockdown with some of the toughest restrictions in the world — offering a preview of what many urban dwellers elsewhere could confront in coming weeks and months. The new lockdown is the product of early success; the country thought it had the virus beat in June. But there was a breakdown in the quarantine program for hotels. Returning travelers passed the virus to hotel security guards in Melbourne, who carried the contagion home. Even after masks became mandatory in the city two weeks ago, the spread continued. And now, as officials try to break the chain of infections, Melbourne is being reshaped by sweeping […]

The DHS Prepares for Attacks Fueled by 5G Conspiracy Theories The claim that 5G can spread the coronavirus has led to dozens of cell-tower burnings in Europe. Now, the US telecom industry is on alert as well.  THE DEPARTMENT OF Homeland Security is reportedly issuing alerts to wireless telecom providers and law enforcement agencies about potential attacks on cell towers and telecommunications workers by 5G/coronavirus conspiracy theorists. The DHS warned that there have already been “arson and physical attacks against cell towers in several US states.”ARS TECHNICA This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED’s parent company, Condé Nast. The preposterous claim that 5G can spread the coronavirus, either by suppressing the immune system or by directly transmitting the virus over radio waves, led to dozens of tower burnings in the UK and mainland Europe. Now, the DHS “is preparing to advise the […]

The 3 Stages of Failure in Life and Work (And How to Fix Them) One of the hardest things in life is to know when to keep going and when to move on. On the one hand, perseverance and grit are key to achieving success in any field. Anyone who masters their craft will face moments of doubt and somehow find the inner resolve to keep going. If you want to build a successful business or create a great marriage or learn a new skill then “sticking with it” is perhaps the most critical trait to possess. On the other hand, telling someone to never give up is terrible advice. Successful people give up all the time. If something is not working, smart people don’t repeat it endlessly. They revise. They adjust. They pivot. They quit. As the saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again […]

Reduce Your Stress in Two Minutes a Day Bill Rielly had it all: a degree from West Point, an executive position at Microsoft, strong faith, a great family life, and plenty of money.  He even got along well with his in-laws!  So why did he have so much stress and anxiety that he could barely sleep at night? I have worked with Bill for several years now and we both believe his experience could be useful for other capable, driven individuals. At one time, no level of success seemed enough for Bill. He learned at West Point that the way to solve problems was to persevere through any pain. But this approach didn’t seem to work with reducing his stress. When he finished his second marathon a few minutes slower than his goal, he felt he had failed. So to make things “right” he ran another marathon just five weeks […]

The police want your phone data. Here’s what they can get — and what they can’t. Phones hold gigabytes of potential evidence, but the government’s ability to access them depends on a patchwork of court decisions and laws that predate the technology. Our lives are in our phones, making them a likely source of evidence if police suspect you’ve committed a crime. But as we’ve seen in recent cases of suspected terrorists with passcode-protected iPhones that Apple refused to help the FBI unlock, it’s not always as simple as getting a warrant and breaking down a metaphorical door. When the key to unlock your phone is in your own mind or on the tip of your finger, it becomes a legal question that judges have to rely on decades-old, pre-modern-technology precedent to answer. And in many places, this question hasn’t yet been answered. Here are some of the main ways […]

Everything You Don’t Know About Chocolate The beloved bar has come a long way in quality and complexity. Here’s a primer on how it’s made, and how to choose the best and most ethically produced. You probably think you already know everything you need to know about chocolate. For instance: The higher the percentage of cacao, the more bitter the chocolate, right? The term “single origin” on the label indicates that the chocolate expresses a particular terroir. And wasn’t the whole bean-to-bar movement started by a couple of bearded guys in Brooklyn? Wrong; not necessarily; and definitely not. Americans spend $21 billion on chocolate every year, but just because we eat a lot of it doesn’t mean we know what we’re eating. And misunderstandings at the store can make it especially hard for chocolate lovers to figure out which of the myriad, jauntily wrapped bars crowding the shelves are the […]

Pure Magic: The Oral History of Prince’s Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show As the heavens opened up and rain poured down, the Purple One ran through a handful of covers and some of his own songs, delivering an iconic set on the biggest stage possible and only expanding his legend By Alan Siegel Jan 29, 2020, 6:30am EST Share this story Share this on Facebook (opens in new window) Share this on Twitter (opens in new window) Share All sharing options OnOn February 4, 2007, heavy rain fell over Miami—and for those planning the Super Bowl XLI halftime show, so did a sense of dread. It’s one thing to play a football game in a storm. It’s another to put on an intricately staged concert in one. “It was the most scared I was in my life,” says executive producer Charles Coplin, then the NFL’s head of programming. “And I’m […]

An update to a 37-year-old digital protocol could profoundly change the way music sounds A lot of big things happened in music in 1983. It was the year Michael Jackson’s album Thriller hit number one across the world, compact discs were first released in the US, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers formed. Yet there was one obscure event that was more influential than all of them: MIDI 1.0 was released. MIDI stands for “Musical Instrument Digital Interface” and, after 37 years, it has finally received a major update. MIDI 2.0 is live, and it could mean the end of the keyboard’s dominance over popular music. Whether you know it or not, MIDI has changed your music listening life. MIDI is the protocol by which digitized information is converted into audio. When a musician plays into a MIDI-enabled device, like a synthesizer or drum machine, MIDI is used to digitize the […]

Here’s Even More Evidence That Plant Protein Is Better for You Than Animal Protein Sorry, steak fans. Yum, looks like a brain! It’d be great if a burger-a-day diet was healthy. Don’t get me wrong—it’s not the worst. You’ve got protein in there and hopefully some veggies on top (and on the side) , and even some fiber from the roll (you used whole grain, right?). Unfortunately, study after study shows that meat as a protein source just isn’t that healthy. It’s far better to get that necessary protein from plants. Generally speaking, diets heavy on plant matter tend to be healthier. One study found that those eating the most fruit-and-veg-dense diets had a 31 percent lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and a roughly 20 percent lower risk of overall mortality than those eating animal-focused diets. That study didn’t look specifically at protein, but participants consumed the other […]