All posts tagged: consecutive days

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

Take Crossword Puzzles Seriously – The Atlantic

This past December, I threw a party to celebrate a major milestone in my life: the 1,000th day of my New York Times crossword-solving streak. My friends, none of them fellow cruciverbalists, poured in wearing their black-and-white best, armed with outsize praise for my presumed intelligence: How smart I must be to complete the Times puzzle every day! Their comments affirmed that the crossword—and particularly the Times one—carries a certain mystique. For 1,000 consecutive days, I had passed this bourgeois aptitude test, proving my linguistic and cultural acumen in my guests’ eyes. Since its invention in 1913, the modern American crossword puzzle has undergone something of a reputational shift, from frivolous distraction to status symbol. In reality, the crossword is many things: a site of play, a cultural forum, a daily pleasure. And, because it traffics in language—the stuff people use to form identity, signal belonging, and ostracize others—it’s also a political entity. The writer and crossword constructor Anna Shechtman knows that casting such a pastime as political might sound ridiculous. As she writes in …

When Does Snow Start Irreversibly Disappearing?

When Does Snow Start Irreversibly Disappearing?

In January 1995, when The Atlantic published “In Praise of Snow,” Cullen Murphy’s opus to frozen precipitation, snow was still a mysterious substance, coming and going enigmatically, confounding forecasters’ attempts to make long-term predictions. Climate change registered to snow hydrologists as a future problem, but for the most part their job remained squarely hydrology: working out the ticktock of a highly variable yet presumably coherent water cycle. “We still don’t know many fundamental things about snow,” Cullen wrote. “Nor do we understand its relation to weather and to climate—the dynamics of climate being one of the perennials on the ‘must figure out’ list of science.” In January 2023, at long last, someone has figured out a formula of sorts for how snow reacts to climate change, and the answer is: It reacts nonlinearly. Which is to say, if we think snow is getting scarce now, we ought to buckle up. Nonlinear relationships indicate accelerated change; shifts are small for a while but then, past a certain threshold, escalate quickly. In a paper published Wednesday in …

81 Things That Blew Our Minds in 2023

81 Things That Blew Our Minds in 2023

Where The Atlantic’s Science, Technology, and Health reporters found wonder this year By The Atlantic Science Desk Illustration by The Atlantic. Sources: Getty. December 27, 2023, 7 AM ET Over the past year, the writers on The Atlantic’s Science, Technology, and Health desk have learned about the dynamics of the cosmos and tiny microbes, the nature of the human brain and artificial intelligence. We’ve also covered some of the most pressing issues facing the planet: the climate crisis, infectious-disease outbreaks, a new wave of transformative weight-loss drugs. Along the way, our reporting has revealed some fascinating, sobering, and unusual facts. We wanted to share some of the most intriguing tidbits we’ve stumbled across, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do. Mars has seasons, and in the winter, it snows. Bats are arguably the healthiest mammals on Earth. Mammal milk changes depending on the time of day, a baby’s age and sex, the mom’s diet, and more. The genetic mutation behind “Asian glow” might help protect people against certain pathogens—including tuberculosis. The …

A Quieter, Gentler Music Festival

A Quieter, Gentler Music Festival

This is an edition of The Atlantic Daily, a newsletter that guides you through the biggest stories of the day, helps you discover new ideas, and recommends the best in culture. Sign up for it here. I was skeptical of music festivals. Then I went to Newport. First, here are four new stories from The Atlantic: The Music Goes Gently I had always assumed that music festivals were not for me. Music festivals, I thought, were for hot people who like electronic dance music and pulling all-nighters. They’re for rolling on cool new recreational drugs with strange names. They’re for wearing bras as shirts. But there was something nice about Newport. Two weekends ago, against the backdrop of Narragansett Bay, Folk Festival–goers sat on picnic blankets and slathered themselves with mineral sunscreen. They were dorky dads in Life Is Good T-shirts, old ladies wearing wide-brimmed hats, and babies sleeping peacefully in strollers. Sure, some people were probably on drugs—but they were chill drugs, the kind that I’d heard of. The vibes? They were excellent. All …