When President Trump chose to trust Putin over the United States' own intelligence agencies on live TV, it was arguably the most abnormal moment in a presidency rife with them.

Trump's statements in Helsinki have received swift and, so far, sustained condemnation. But the summit is just one in a series of Trump controversies that would have ended another presidency. And despite how shockingly and indisputably out of the norm Trump's comments were, the public may struggle to grasp their enormity and could soon move on, if history is any guide.

What's behind the collective tendency to normalize Trump's out-of-the-ordinary behavior and policies?

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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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