A tip for writers: how I maximize productivity with 3 monitors

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When people find out I work with three monitors, they’re always curious. Here’s how that works for me and why I think it makes me a more productive writer and editor. The three-monitor setup First, the basics. I have a brand new MacBook Pro 16-inch, replacing one that I had used since 2013. (None of … Continued

Matt Gaetz throws a tantrum

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After the State of the Union speech Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped up her copy — on camera. This has incensed Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, who wants her investigated for destroying documents. His letter is one of the dumbest things ever to come from a federal election official. Analyzing the Gaetz letter Here’s what … Continued

About that Iowa caucus . . .

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You: Can you believe what happened in Iowa? Me: A bunch of people voted in the Democratic caucus. That’s what was supposed to happen. You: No. I mean that epic screwup with the app so we still don’t know who won. Me: Doesn’t matter. You: Doesn’t matter? Be serious. This is a total disaster. Me: … Continued

Truth, science, and herd immunity

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In epidemiology, “herd immunity” is the essential concept that prevents the spread of deadly viruses. Now that disinformation and fake news are viral, we need to start thinking about herd immunity for the health of the nation’s perception of reality. When it comes to actual viruses, here’s how herd immunity (also known as community immunity) … Continued

Cheering for laundry and other reflections on loyalty

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Our team loyalties are unshakable. That’s what makes events like the Super Bowl enjoyable — we know who love, and we know who we hate. But loyalty ought to have limits. As Jerry Seinfeld memorably explained, we’re just rooting for laundry. The players change, the teams move, but we know who we like. Why are … Continued

Shameless

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Yes, this is a political post. If you don’t like those, don’t read it. In fact, it could very well offend every single one of my readers. Based on news reports, it now seems likely that the Senate will call no witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump. The Senate could vote not to … Continued

“American Dirt” publisher steps in it, and admits mistakes

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American Dirt is an Oprah-recommended novel about Mexicans fleeing violence to find asylum in America. It’s also hugely controversial. The publisher and author are dealing with the blowback. It’s instructive to see how they’ve written about that experience. The unexpected challenge here is coming from Latino communities, some of whom feel that the author Jeanine … Continued

Death as a PR opportunity

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I got a pitch email the day after Kobe Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash. It was from a PR person, offering me the opportunity to interview and get quotes from a trauma expert. I found it ghoulish and appalling. But it made me wonder: there is so much death and so … Continued