Monthly Archives: November 2019

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When Twins Take Over the Town For one weekend each year, Twinsburg, Ohio, becomes the world capital of seeing double. Photo collage by Elizabeth Renstrom with photos courtesy Donald Hayes. Moses and Aaron Wilcox purchased the town now known as Twinsburg, Ohio, in the early 1800s. According to historical records, the identical twins, who were born on May 11, 1770, in Killingworth, Connecticut, were so alike in “feature, voice and manner” that even their closest friends couldn’t tell them apart. To receive the naming rights to their new plot of land, the Wilcox brothers donated six acres at the center of town for the public square, as well as twenty dollars for the foundation of a schoolhouse. They christened the town Twinsburg in 1819. The Wilcox brothers were inseparable. They attended the same school, worked as business partners and married sisters, Mabel and Huldah Lord, who were not twins. They each […]

How to Find Time Start by asking yourself if time is really the issue. There’s never enough time. You want to exercise, eat well and be healthy. But the day slips by and you don’t go to the gym. You eat that muffin for lunch, instead of the salad you thought you would. You want to do great work, advance your career, produce something meaningful. But your email inbox is overflowing. A coworker drops by to, “ask a quick question.” Soon the working day is done, and you’re exactly where you were the day before. You want to learn a language, guitar, to paint or martial arts. If you could just put time in consistently, you could make it happen. But it stops more than it starts, and years go by while it remains just a notion. Where to Find Time The first thing to realize is that time is […]

Wisława Szymborska on How Our Certitudes Keep Us Small and the Generative Power of Not-Knowing “Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’” “Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion,” the great painter Richard Diebenkorn counseled in his ten rules for beginning creative projects. “One doesn’t arrive — in words or in art — by necessarily knowing where one is going,” the artist Ann Hamilton wrote a generation later in her magnificent meditation on the generative power of not-knowing. “In every work of art something appears that does not previously exist, and so, by default, you work from what you know to what you don’t know.” What is true of art is even truer of life, for a human life is the greatest work of art there is. (In my own life, looking back on […]

A journey to the underwater volcanoes where life may have erupted. A black smoker spews hot, mineral-laden fluid. The containers on the right collect samples of the hydrothermal fluid and any microbes present. Photograph from It was nearly midnight aboard the research vessel Atlantis. The ship was about a thousand miles west of Costa Rica, where she’d sailed from, hovering over a hydrothermal vent field in the eastern Pacific. Rutgers microbiologist Costantino Vetriani, seated a few feet away from me in the dark control room, radiated energy despite the hour. He peered intently through his glasses at dozens of monitors, occasionally running a hand over his shaved head. On the live video feed from the remotely operated submersible on the bottom, we watched thick black smoke with a scorching temperature of over 350 degrees Celsius billow from a rocky tower a mile beneath us. It was a stunning sight, […]

How a woke brand is made. Convincing 100 women to show up at a warehouse and take photos of their chests is no easy feat. Convincing them through a Craigslist ad is nearly impossible. But that’s what lingerie company ThirdLove did in 2013 while developing a proprietary app that was designed to predict better bra sizes. “The app was problematic, to say the least,” said a former engineer we’ll call Ben. “It basically only worked if the photos were good.” When people tried out the at-home instructions exactly — take two pictures in front of a full-length mirror in good lighting while wearing a tight tank top, making sure the phone is at waist-height — the results were reliably accurate. But getting people to do that was difficult. “The app was problematic, to say the least” Then there was the matter of data security. Co-CEO David Spector told Inc the […]

The Inside Story of How McDonald’s Innovated the Quarter Pounder In a change that has been as seismic for McDonald’s as the drive-through window, the chain has reintroduced its signature burger with fresh—never frozen—beef. And that’s just the start. A cryptic missive went out in the spring of 2018 to all 3.6 million people who follow McDonald’s on Twitter. The tweet read, simply: “100% Fresh Beef + John Goodman = ASMR(ish)” and included a link to a video. In the split-screen clip, the Big Lebowski and Roseanne star stares into the camera and—somewhat unnervingly—whispers a carnal ode to the fast-food giant’s Quarter Pounder burger, accompanied by the sounds and visuals of an appetizing-looking patty sizzling on the grill. “Hey, you,” Goodman murmurs intently. “McDonald’s new fresh-beef Quarter Pounder is hotter and juicier. It’ll leave you speech-less. I can almost feel that juice sizzling…. Oh baby, the melted cheese is hugging […]

Netflix or Hulu? HBO or Showtime? Disney Plus or HBO Max? Here’s help LookingLooking at the apps on my Roku TV marketplace — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Apple TV Plus, and Crunchyroll, just to name a few — I’m overwhelmed at the veritable avalanche of streaming services available to me. Disney Plus is under a week away, while HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock are not far behind. The streaming wars, ushered in by an era of Peak TV, are in full effect. No one can watch everything; money and time are finite resources, after all. To make it a little easier on you (and your wallet), we here at Polygon broke down nearly every streaming service — how much it costs, what to watch, and who should subscribe — from the big guys like Netflix to niche collections like Mubi. A word of advice: If you’re going to […]

How To Wipe a Computer of All Your Personal Data And also recycle it once you’re done. Whether you’re selling it, trashing it, or reusing it, that old computer of yours has a bunch of extremely private data stored inside. And there’s a good chance that tossing files in the recycling bin and hitting factory reset won’t protect you. If a hacker finds the pattern your computer used to move those 0s and 1s around, they can reverse engineer the original state of your computer and pull out the goods. This guide will take you through how to factory reset your computer or take a step beyond that by hiring a professional company to ensure your data has been destroyed (or smash up the computer yourself). What Is a Factory Reset? A factory reset will definitely make it impossible for you to practically access programs or files on your computer. […]

This mental disorder gives us a unique insight into the digital age. We start with the case of a woman who experienced unbearable tragedy. In 1899, this Parisian bride, Madame M., had her first child. Shockingly, the child was abducted and substituted with a different infant, who soon died. She then had twin girls. One grew into healthy adulthood, while the other, again, was abducted, once more replaced with a different, dying infant. She then had twin boys. One was abducted, while the other was fatally poisoned. Madame M. searched for her abducted babies; apparently, she was not the only victim of this nightmarish trauma, as she often heard the cries of large groups of abducted children rising from the cellars of Paris. As if all this pain was not enough, Madame M.’s sole surviving child was abducted and replaced with an imposter of identical appearance. And soon the same […]