The Failure of Digital Humanities

First came the debacle of the high-priced “Ada” algorithm, the control center of Hillary Clinton’s ill-fated operation. Next ESPN wonk Nate Silver, after flubbing the 2016 election forecast, defended his numbers by claiming that he was not more wrong than every other statistical predictor since 1968. Finally, consider the kerfuffle over Cambridge Analytica, the British company whose … Continued


Political Correctness in the Book Review World

Like many of the most comical clashes, the one involving a hotly disputed review of the forthcoming young-adult book American Heart is an intra-Left donnybrook. If you don’t share the paranoid Left’s fear, as expressed in the book, that Muslims are about to be rounded up and put in internment camps, the fight between this … Continued


How to End a TV Series

It’s a muggy Atlanta afternoon, and Lee Pace is filming what will become the final shot of the final episode of the AMC drama Halt and Catch Fire. He has to deliver just one line: “Let me start by asking a question.” It calls back to the series’ very first episode, when Pace’s character, Joe, first met … Continued


Is Rotten Tomatoes Killing Movies?

Last weekend, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, a drama about the creator of the famed comic-book character, became the latest mid-budget casualty. It was marketed on the back of its connection with Wonder Woman, one of the biggest hits of the year. It received a moderately wide release and got strong reviews, but its three-day box-office total was just … Continued


The Great Stories Technology Would’ve Ruined

echnology makes life easier. Great stories need a conflict. These truths acknowledged everywhere, even in space, mean that most of the world’s classic stories would be ruined with the addition of an iPhone 6. Here’s how 25 of the world’s greatest tales would be destroyed by dastardly tech. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote … Continued


Are We Suffering from ‘Dream Deprivation?’

My mom keeps odd hours. Around 9:30 p.m. every night, she goes to bed; after that, she goes exploring. Once, in a dream, she ran through dewy grass, jumped into the moonlit sky, and cleared the roof of a barn. Once her dream self walked to a mall just to people-watch. Another time she dreamt … Continued


The Future of GPS

As a young reporter, I lived in Managua, Nicaragua. The city had been leveled by an earthquake in 1972 and never rebuilt. It was still a bit of a moonscape. It’s different now, but back then few streets had names and the houses had no addresses — not as we know them, anyway. If you … Continued


Remembering, Not Erasing, the Past

n a pervasive modern view, which seems to most people so obviously true that they can think in no other way, the past is a burden that must be shed in order that a new kind of life can come into being. Modern human beings are always in transit to another place, which seems only … Continued


Cracking Down on Fake Service Dogs

Chris Slavin was in an elevator a couple years ago with Earle, her yellow lab service dog, sitting calmly beside her wheelchair. The elevator doors opened and in walked a woman holding a purse. In the purse was a teacup poodle the color of apricots. The doors closed just as the poodle spotted Earle. That’s … Continued


How We Talk About Evil

In the days following the Las Vegas shooting—as its horror has faded from news coverage behind revelations of wildfires and sexual assault and humanitarian disasters—two ideological scripts have emerged. Many conservatives have argued that the shooting is a sign of inherent evil in the world: President Trump, for example, described it as “an act of pure evil.” And a number of Republican … Continued