His real name was Theodore Geisel, but his millions of fans will always remember him as Doctor Seuss. Over the course of his career he wrote and illustrated upwards of sixty books, many of which rank among the most beloved children's stories of all time. His work has sold over 600 million copies and has been translated into more than twenty languages. Countless children the world over have learned their ABCs, 1-2-3s, and dubious (but beloved) recipes with the help of his whimsical creations.

But Doctor Seuss has a lot more to teach us than just the alphabet. His often-overlooked early work as a political cartoonist, which he did well before the world was introduced to the Cat in the Hat or Green Eggs and Ham, is especially resonant in today's increasingly volatile political climate.

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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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