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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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
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Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

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Empathy. Compassion. Heart-to-heart human connection. These qualities of leadership may not be flashy or loud, but they speak volumes when we see them in action.

A clip of Joe Biden is going viral because it reminds us what that kind of leadership looks like. The video shows a key moment at a memorial service for Chris Hixon, the athletic director at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida in 2018. Hixon had attempted to disarm the gunman who went on a shooting spree at the school, killing 17 people—including Hixon—and injuring 17 more.

Biden asked who Hixon's parents were as the clip begins, and is directed to his right. Hixon's wife introduces herself, and Biden says, "God love you." As he starts to walk away, a voice off-camera says something and Biden immediately turns around. The voice came from Hixon's son, Corey, and the moments that followed are what have people feeling all their feelings.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
True

Glenda moved to Houston from Ohio just before the pandemic hit. She didn't know that COVID-19-related delays would make it difficult to get her Texas driver's license and apply for unemployment benefits. She quickly found herself in an impossible situation — stranded in a strange place without money for food, gas, or a job to provide what she needed.

Alone, hungry, and scared, Glenda dialed 2-1-1 for help. The person on the other end of the line directed her to the Houston-based nonprofit Bread of Life, founded by St. John's United Methodist pastors Rudy and Juanita Rasmus.

For nearly 30 years, Bread of Life has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS prevention, eliminating food insecurity, providing permanent housing to formerly homeless individuals and disaster relief.

Glenda sat in her car for 20 minutes outside of the building, trying to muster up the courage to get out and ask for help. She'd never been in this situation before, and she was terrified.

When she finally got out, she encountered Eva Thibaudeau, who happened to be walking down the street at the exact same time. Thibaudeau is the CEO of Temenos CDC, a nonprofit multi-unit housing development also founded by the Rasmuses, with a mission to serve Midtown Houston's homeless population.

Keep Reading Show less
via Witty Buttons / Twitter

Back in 2017, when white supremacist Richard Spencer was socked in the face by someone wearing all black at Trump's inauguration, it launched an online debate, "Is it OK to punch a Nazi?"

The essential nature of the debate was whether it was acceptable for people to act violently towards someone with repugnant reviews, even if they were being peaceful. Some suggested people should confront them peacefully by engaging in a debate or at least make them feel uncomfortable being Nazi in public.

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The English language is constantly evolving, and the faster the world changes, the faster our vocabulary changes. Some of us grew up in an age when a "wireless router" would have been assumed to be a power tool, not a way to get your laptop (which wasn't a thing when I was a kid) connected to the internet (which also wasn't a thing when I was a kid, at least not in people's homes).

It's interesting to step back and look at how much has changed just in our own lifetimes, which is why Merriam-Webster's Time Traveler tool is so fun to play with. All you do is choose a year, and it tells you what words first appeared in print that year.

For my birth year, the words "adult-onset diabetes," "playdate," and "ATM" showed up in print for the first time, and yes, that makes me feel ridiculously old.

It's also fun to plug in the years of different people's births to see how their generational differences might impact their perspectives. For example, let's take the birth years of the oldest and youngest members of Congress:

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