The narrowing of the conservative mind. Plus, the best of the web this week.

How the Republican Party forgot its roots. The dark side of Thomas Jefferson. A Chinese innovator who builds skyscrapers like Legos. Why you should get ready for driverless cars. And more! Enjoy.


Politics and World Affairs

The Conservative Mind / David Brooks / The New York Times

Good piece on how the Republican Party has allowed economic conservatism to overpower traditional conservatism, and in doing so, "has abandoned half of its intellectual ammunition."




Imagination Interface / Scott Adams / The Scott Adams Blog

A very interesting take on how "economies are driven by imagination" and how great leaders are skilled at inspiring/manipulating expectations for the future.




The Lie Factory / Jill Lepore / The New Yorker

The amazing story of the world's first political consulting firm, which invented and perfected in the 1930s many of the dirty tricks and deceptions that continue to win elections today. (via Stephen)




My Name Is Joe Biden And I'll Be Your Server / Bill Barol / The New Yorker

Very funny: "If [my mom] was here you know what she'd say? ... She'd say, 'Joey, I hope your friends saved some room for dessert, because the Molten Chocolate Explosion Cake with Burnt-Caramel Gelato is outta this world, Joey. It is literally out of this world.'"




Arts and Culture

Who Wants To Eat Jellyfish Omelets? Dolphin Meatballs? Mouse-On-Toast? These Guys / Aaron Birk and Robert Krulwich / NPR

A look at two of history's most adventurous eaters, and the extraordinary lengths they went to in the name of culinary experimentation.




The Dark Side Of Thomas Jefferson / Henry Wiencek / Smithsonian

Excellent piece on how a simple financial calculation helped persuade the man who gave us the phrase "all men are created equal" to reverse his antislavery position.




The Surprisingly Colorful Spaces Where The World's Biggest Decisions Get Made / T.A. Frail / Smithsonian

A slideshow featuring the interiors of several interesting organizations, from the French Communist Party (which, let's be honest, is probably not making the world's biggest decisions) to the New School to the United Nations.




Know Your States / Jim's Pages

Test your knowledge of American geography in this fun and deceptively simple game.




Business and Economics

Meet The Man Who Built A 30-Story Building In 15 Days / Lauren Hilgers / Wired


Engaging profile of Zhang Yue, the ambitious businessman who has developed a way to build skyscrapers quickly and cheaply ... and now plans "to erect the world's tallest building in just seven months."




How Do They Make Their Money? / Seer Interactive

Clear visualization of the business models of dozens of different tech firms.




How Families Spend In Brazil, Russia, China, Egpyt, India, Turkey, Indonesia, And Saudi Arabia / Derek Thompson / Quartz

Charts show stark differences in how family budgets differ in a wide range of countries around the world.




A Trans-Atlantic Trip Turns Kafkaesque / Gary Shteyngart / The New York Times

"You, American Airlines, should no longer be flying across the Atlantic."




Science and Technology

Who's Behind The Wheel? Nobody. / Dan Neil / The Wall Street Journal

The Journal's automotive critic on why driverless cars are inevitable, and why that's a good thing. The opening paragraphs are very well done.




Glass Works: How Corning Created The Ultrathin, Ultrastrong Material Of The Future / Bryan Gardiner / Wired

Fascinating story of how Corning invented Gorilla Glass — featuring a cameo from Steve Jobs — and on how it approaches innovation more broadly.




Seven Ways Mobile Phones Have Changed Lives In Africa / Tolu Ogunlesi / CNN

Useful perspective on how quickly things are changing and improving. (via Lauren)




Explore The Ocean With Google Maps / YouTube

Apparently, organizing the world's information includes underwater information.




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If you've never seen a Maori haka performed, you're missing out.

The Maori are the indigenous peoples of New Zealand, and their language and customs are an integral part of the island nation. One of the most recognizable Maori traditions outside of New Zealand is the haka, a ceremonial dance or challenge usually performed in a group. The haka represents the pride, strength, and unity of a tribe and is characterized by foot-stamping, body slapping, tongue protrusions, and rhythmic chanting.

Haka is performed at weddings as a sign of reverence and respect for the bride and groom and are also frequently seen before sports competitions, such as rugby matches.

Here's an example of a rugby haka:

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True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.

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via Budweiser

Budweiser beer, and its low-calorie counterpart, Bud Light, have created some of the most memorable Super Bowl commercials of the past 37 years.

There were the Clydesdales playing football and the poor lost puppy who found its way home because of the helpful horses. Then there were the funny frogs who repeated the brand name, "Bud," "Weis," "Er."

We can't forget the "Wassup?!" ad that premiered in December 1999, spawning the most obnoxious catchphrase of the new millennium.

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via Good Morning America

Anyone who's an educator knows that teaching is about a lot more than a paycheck. "Teaching is not a job, but a way of life, a lens by which I see the world, and I can't imagine a life that did not include the ups and downs of changing and being changed by other people," Amber Chandler writes in Education Week.

So it's no surprise that Kelly Klein, 54, who's taught at Falcon Heights Elementary in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, for the past 32 years still teaches her kindergarten class even as she is being treated for stage-3 ovarian cancer.

Her class is learning remotely due to the COIVD-19 pandemic, so she is able to continue doing what she loves from her computer at M Health Fairview Lakes Medical Center in Wyoming, Minnesota, even while undergoing chemotherapy.

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