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Nearly a decade after the average American retires from their careers and choose to live a more leisurely life, Dr. Anthony Fauci was battling a deadly disease outbreak. And he wasn't just acting as the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (which was his actual job), or sitting at a desk crunching numbers and making models. He was suiting up to treat an a patient with Ebola—a disease with a mortality rate of around 50%—for two hours a day, even though he didn't have to.

Why did he do it? Because he wanted to show his staff that he wouldn't ask them to do anything he wasn't willing to do himself. He also told Science, "I do believe that one gets unique insights into disease when you actually physically interact with patients."

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When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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