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A 'welfare mother' schools Mitt Romney. Plus, the best of the web this week.

A moving response to Mitt Romney from a mother who worked her way out of welfare. The biggest problem with the conservative movement. A powerful love story, told without a single word. A contest to determine the best word ever. And more! Enjoy.





Politics and World Affairs

I Was A Welfare Mother / Larkin Warren / The New York Times

Warren's personal story is a powerful and beautiful response to Romney's 47% comments.




Until Republicans Fix This Problem, They Can't Fix Any Problems / Conor Friedersdorf / The Atlantic

Highlights several honest and intelligent intellectual leaders within the GOP — and the broken discourse that prevents the party from absorbing their critiques and insights.




What Mitt Romney Doesn't Get About Responsibility / Ezra Klein / Bloomberg

"The problem is that he doesn’t seem to realize how difficult it is to focus on college when you’re also working full time, how much planning it takes to reliably commute to work without a car ... The working poor haven’t abdicated responsibility for their lives. They’re drowning in it."




The Incredibly Dumb Political Spending of 2012 / Ben Smith and Ruby Cramer / BuzzFeed

The effect of Citizens United and free-flowing PAC money may be the most important question of the 2012 campaign. So far, at least, the answer appears to be: less than anticipated.




Arts and Culture

A Love Story In 22 Pictures / TxBlackLabel / BuzzFeed

A powerful, powerful photo essay. Worth your time.




Best Word Ever: The Elite Eight / Ted McCagg / Questionable Skills

A brilliant idea: using a tournament bracket to decide the best word ever. From the comments section: "Phlegm over akimbo, what an upset!" I agree, Jacky. I agree.




The Spark File / Steven Johnson / Medium

One of my favorite writers shares a simple yet ingenious technique for capturing the fragments of ideas you have every day and turning them into truly meaningful ideas.




Architects Are The Last People Who Should Shape Our Cities / Jonathan Meades / The Guardian

An entertaining and often perceptive screed: "Architecture, the most public of endeavours, is practiced by people who inhabit a smugly hermetic milieu which is cultish."




Business and Economics

What Business Is Wall Street In? / Mark Cuban / Blog Maverick

Cuban isn't the first to argue that high-frequency trading and short-term ownership are damaging to capitalism. But he does so engagingly and offers both interesting perspective and policy proposals.




Startup = Growth / Paul Graham

A lucid explanation of why not all new companies are startups, and some very interesting practical advice on how to effectively grow a startup in its early days.




If I Ruled The World / Michael Sandel / Prospect

"If I ruled the world, I would rewrite the economics textbooks. This may seem a small ambition, unworthy of my sovereign office. But it would actually be a big step toward a better civic life."




An Empire Built On Short-Armed Shirts / Mel and Patricia Ziegler / Bloomberg

Fun story of how Banana Republic was founded, told by the founders.




Science and Technology

How Much Tech Can One City Take? / David Talbot / San Francisco

Excellent piece on the unintended consequences of the tech industry's success in San Francisco, and on the uneasy relationship between new wealth and old ways of life.




50 Years Of The Jetsons: Why The Show Still Matters / Matt Novak / Smithsonian

Fascinating post on how the cartoon, launched in a time of "techno-utopianism and Cold War fears," "has had a profound impact on the way that Americans think and talk about the future."




Friends You Can Count On / Stephen Strogatz / The New York Times

Ever seem like your friends on Facebook have more friends than you do? They do. Here's the simple arithmetic that explains why. (via Sarah)




Inside Paul Allen's Quest To Reverse Engineer The Brain / Matthew Herper / Forbes

A "mouse laser," a $100 million map of how the human brain works, and other elements of Allen's quest to understand the brain and unlock new advances and cures.




Power, Pollution, And The Internet / James Glanz / The New York Times

An investigation finds that data centers are using billions of watts of electricity — and wasting up to 90 percent of it, leading to major environmental costs for an industry with a reputation for being environmentally friendly. (via Lauren)




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The Prince Charles Cinema/Youtube

Brendan Fraser dressed as Rick O'Connell.

Brendan Fraser might be making the greatest career comeback ever, racking up accolades and award nominations for his dramatic, transformative role in “The Whale." But the OG Fraser fans (the ones who watch “Doom Patrol” solely to hear his voice and proudly pronounce his last name as Fray-zure, for this is the proper pronunciation) have known of his remarkable talent since the 90s, when he embodied the ultimate charming, dashing—and slightly goofball—Hollywood action lead.

Let us not forget his arguably most well known and beloved 90s character—Rick O’Connell from the “Mummy” franchise. Between his quippy one-liners, Indiana Jones-like adventuring skills and fabulous hair, what’s not to like?

During a double feature of “The Mummy” and “The Mummy Returns” in London, moviegoers got the ultimate surprise when who should walk in but Brendan Fraser himself, completely decked out in Rick O’Connell attire. The brown leather jacket. The scarf. Everything.

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This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

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"You can’t just say, 'I want to be a dentist,'” judge Simon Cowell told the duo.

Back in 2014, cello-playing brothers Emil and Dariel wowed "America’s Got Talent" audiences with their cello rendition of Jimi Hendrix’s "Purple Haze," even becoming finalists for the season.

After getting invited back to participate in "America’s Got Talent: All Stars," the duo once again rocked the house with an epic cover of "Take On Me." This classic A-ha tune has been covered a lot, so the fact that these two gave it fresh new life is no easy feat.

However, judge Simon Cowell remained unimpressed.

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Joy

A woman treats her miniature pig like a toddler and it even 'talks' with electronic buttons

Merlin will tap buttons that say “eat,” “outside” and “ice cream.”

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash

A woman treats her pig like a toddler and the internet can't get enough.

Pigs are cute. Well, piglets are cute, but they usually don't stay those tiny little snorting things very long. That is unless you get a mini pig and name it something majestic like Merlin. (I would've gone with Hamlet McBacon, but no one asked me.)

Mina Alali, a TikTok user from California, has been going viral on the internet for her relationship with Merlin, her miniature pig. Of course, there are plenty of folks out there with pigs—mini pigs, medium pigs, pigs that weigh hundreds of pounds and live in a barn with a spider named Charlotte. But not everyone carries their pig around on adventures like it's their child.

Alali's videos of her sweet interactions with her little pig have gotten a lot of people wanting their own piggy, but training Merlin wasn't always easy. According to Yahoo Finance, the 25-year-old told SWNS that she has wanted a pig her whole life and finding Merlin was a "dream come true," but she wasn't expecting how challenging it would be to train him. If you've never been around pigs, then you may not know that they squeal—a lot—and unless you're living on an actual farm, that could be a problem.

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Democracy

More than seven thousand people shared their best ideas to stop mass shootings. Here are the best.

Everyone agrees mass shootings need to end. But what can really be done?

A makeshift memorial after the 2019 El Paso mass shooting.

As of January 24, 2023, at least 69 people have been killed in 39 mass shootings across the United States . The deadliest shooting happened on January 21 in Monterey Park, California, when a 72-year-old man shot 20 people, killing 11. On January 23, a 66-year-old man killed 7 people and injured another in a shooting in Half Moon Bay, California.

It’s hard to see these stories in the news every few weeks—or days—and not get desensitized, especially when lawmakers have made it clear that they will not do anything substantive to curb the availability of assault weapons in the U.S.

After the assault weapons ban, which had been in effect for 10 years, lapsed in 2004, the number of mass shootings tripled.

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Pop Culture

People rally behind a 12-year-old actress who was 'humiliated' with a 'Razzie' nomination

The parody awards show has now enforced an age limit rule to its nominations.

Ryan Kiera Armstrong in the 2022 film 'Firestarter'

Since the early 80s, the Golden Raspberry Awards, aka the "Razzies," has offered a lighthearted alternative to the Oscars, which, though prestigious, can sometimes dip into the pretentious. During the parody ceremony, trophies are awarded to the year’s worst films and performances as a way to "own your bad," so the motto goes.

However, this year people found the Razzies a little more than harmless fun when 12-year-old actress Ryan Kiera Armstrong was nominated for "Worst Actress" for her performance in the 2022 film "Firestarter." She was 11 when the movie was filmed.

Sadly, this is not the first time a child has received a Razzie nom. Armstrong joins the ranks of Jake Lloyd, who played young Anakin Skywalker in "Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace," as well as Macaulay Culkin, who was nominated three times.

Armstrong's nomination resulted in a flood of comments from both industry professionals and fans who felt the action was cruel and wanted to show their support for the young actress.

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