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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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Tony Trapani discovers a letter his wife hid from him since 1959.

Tony Trapani and his wife were married for 50 years despite the heartache of being unable to have children. "She wanted children,” Trapani told Fox 17. "She couldn't have any. She tried and tried." Even though they endured the pain of infertility, Tony's love for his wife never wavered and he cherished every moment they spent together.

After his wife passed away when Tony was 81 years old, he undertook the heartbreaking task of sorting out all of her belongings. That’s when he stumbled upon a carefully concealed letter in a filing cabinet hidden for over half a century.

The letter was addressed to Tony and dated March 1959, but this was the first time he had seen it. His wife must have opened it, read it and hid it from him. The letter came from Shirley Childress, a woman Tony had once been close with before his marriage. She reached out, reminiscing about their past and revealing a secret that would change Tony's world forever.

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Photo by Bambi Corro on Unsplash

Can flying to college twice a week really be cheaper than renting?

Some students choose to live at home while they go to college to save money on living expenses, but that's generally only an option for families who live in college towns or cities with large universities where a student can easily commute.

For University of British Columbia student Tim Chen, that "easy commute" is more than 400 miles each way.

Twice a week, Chen hops on a flight from his home city of Calgary, flies a little more than an hour to Vancouver to attend his classes, then flies back home the same night. And though it's hard to believe, this routine actually saves him approximately $1,000 a month.

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Family

Dad takes 7-week paternity leave after his second child is born and is stunned by the results

"These past seven weeks really opened up my eyes on how the household has actually ran, and 110% of that is because of my wife."

@ustheremingtons/TikTok

There's a lot to be gleaned from this.

Participating in paternity leave offers fathers so much more than an opportunity to bond with their new kids. It also allows them to help around the house and take on domestic responsibilities that many new mothers have to face alone…while also tending to a newborn.

All in all, it enables couples to handle the daunting new chapter as a team, making it less stressful on both parties. Or at least equally stressful on both parties. Democracy!

TikTok creator and dad Caleb Remington, from the popular account @ustheremingtons, confesses that for baby number one, he wasn’t able to take a “single day of paternity leave.”

This time around, for baby number two, Remington had the privilege of taking seven weeks off (to be clear—his employer offered four weeks, and he used an additional three weeks of PTO).

The time off changed Remington’s entire outlook on parenting, and his insights are something all parents could probably use.

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Internet

Man goes out of his way to leave tip for a server after realizing he grabbed the wrong receipt

Instead of just brushing it off and moving on, the man wrote out a note explaining what happened with a sincere apology along with a $20 cash tip and delivered it to the restaurant.

Man goes out of his way to leave forgotten tip for server

Being in the service industry can be hard. People have to spend long hours on their feet, deal with repetitive movements that can create pain and sometimes interact with not so nice customers. When you rely on tips for survival on top of everything else, it can feel like a bit of a gut punch when someone decides not to leave you one despite how good your service was.

One customer must've realized the disappointment that can occur after not receiving a tip when serving tables because he went out of his way to give one. In a post shared on Reddit, a customer revealed in a letter that he realized he took the wrong receipt after leaving. Instead of taking the blank one, he took the merchant's copy which holds the tip amount and his signature.

The error was discovered when he was checking his bank account and saw the amount taken off of his card was not the amount he expected. That's when he decided to check the receipt from that day and saw the error.

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Science

Scientists have finally figured out how whales are able to 'sing' underwater

The physical mechanism they use has been a mystery until now.

Baleen whales include blue, humpback, gray, fin, sei, minke whales and more.

We've long known that baleen whales sing underwater and that males sing in tropical waters to attract females for mating. What we haven't known is how they're able to do it.

When humans make sound underwater, we expel air over through our vocal chords and the air we release rises to the surface as bubbles. But baleen whales don't have vocal chords, and they don't create bubbles when they vocalize. Toothed whales, such as sperm whales, beaked whales, dolphins and porpoises, have an organ in their nasal passages that allows them to vocalize, but baleen whales such as humpback, gray and blue whales don't.

Whales are notoriously difficult to study because of their size and the environment they require, which is why the mechanism behind whale song has remained a mystery for so long. It's not like scientists can just pluck a whale out of the ocean and stick it in an x-ray machine while it's singing to see what's happening inside its body to create the sound. Scientists had theories, but no one really knew how baleen whales sing.

Now, thanks to researchers at the University of Denmark, that mystery has been solved.

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You can learn a lot by alayzing faces.

There are countless situations in life where we have to figure out how someone really feels, but they have a good poker face that keeps their feelings well-hidden. According to body language expert Terry Vaughan even the most deceptive people in the world have a tell: the left and right sides of their face don’t usually match.

So, which side do we believe? Vaughan says the left.

“The reason this is a powerful hack is because the left side of the face is more likely to reveal the ‘true emotion’ or the ‘dominant’ emotion if there’s a mix,” Vaughan says. The reason? “The right hemisphere of our brain does more heavy lifting in dealing with processing emotions. The left hemisphere…is a little more analytical or ‘strategic.’”

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