All posts tagged: long term

Don’t panic about Russian space weapons

Don’t panic about Russian space weapons

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. A brief hubbub erupted in Washington this week over an unspecified “national security threat” that some sources now believe is related to a Russian plan to use nuclear weapons in space. The prospect is cause for concern but not panic. First, here are four new stories from The Atlantic: For All Mankind Yesterday, Representative Mike Turner, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, issued a cryptic request to President Joe Biden, asking him to declassify information regarding a “serious national security threat.” Turner’s statement angered some of the more extreme members of his own GOP caucus. Representative Andy Ogles claimed that Turner was just trying to whip up some fear about Russia, in part to help passage of a bill authorizing more aid to Ukraine, and he has asked Speaker Mike Johnson to begin an investigation into Turner’s public …

What If Your Best Friend Is Your Soulmate?

What If Your Best Friend Is Your Soulmate?

A lot of the language we use to describe the crucial phases of friendship is borrowed from romantic relationships: friend “crush,” for example, or friend “break up.” A friend can stick around longer than a spouse and be the key to your daily sanity, and still lack a satisfying title. “Best friend”? “Buddy”? “BFF”? All of those fail to convey the weightiness such a relationship deserves. And what if you do “break up” with a best friend? Where do you put your grief? What are the rituals of mourning? In her new book, The Other Significant Others, Rhaina Cohen imagines how life would be different if we centered it on friends. She explains the extremes of friendship—situations in which pairs describe each other as “soulmates” and make major life decisions in tandem. We talk with Cohen about the lost history of friendship and why she cringes when couples at the altar describe each other as their “best friend.” Listen to the conversation here: Subscribe here: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | YouTube | Google Podcasts | …

The Art of No Deal

The Art of No Deal

The Republicans who won’t take yes for an answer Kevin Dietsch / Getty Images February 6, 2024, 7 AM ET Sometimes, a negotiation produces a deal. Sometimes, a negotiation reveals the truth. Negotiators in the Senate have produced a draft agreement on immigration and asylum. The deal delivers on Republican priorities. It includes changes to federal law to discourage asylum seeking. It shuts down asylum processing altogether if too many people arrive at once. Those and other changes send a clear message to would-be immigrants: You’re going to find it a lot harder to enter the United States without authorization. Rethink your plans. The draft agreement offers little to nothing on major Democratic immigration priorities: no pathway to citizenship for long-term undocumented immigrants, only the slightest increase in legal immigration. The Democrats traded away most of their own policy wish list. In return, they want an end to the mood of crisis at the border, plus emergency defense aid for Ukraine and Israel. Yet Republicans in the House seem determined to reject the draft agreement. …

Take a Vacation From Therapy

Take a Vacation From Therapy

About four years ago, a new patient came to see me for a psychiatric consultation because he felt stuck. He’d been in therapy for 15 years, despite the fact that the depression and anxiety that first drove him to seek help had long ago faded. Instead of working on problems related to his symptoms, he and his therapist chatted about his vacations, house renovations, and office gripes. His therapist had become, in effect, an expensive and especially supportive friend. And yet, when I asked if he was considering quitting treatment, he grew hesitant, even anxious. “It’s just baked into my life,” he told me. Among those who can afford it, regular psychotherapy is often viewed as a lifelong project, like working out or going to the dentist. Studies suggest that most therapy clients can measure their treatments in months instead of years, but a solid chunk of current and former patients expect therapy to last indefinitely. Therapists and clients alike, along with celebrities and media outlets, have endorsed the idea of going to therapy for …

Long COVID Is Now the Biggest Pandemic Risk for Most People

Long COVID Is Now the Biggest Pandemic Risk for Most People

Compared with the worst days of the pandemic—when vaccines and antivirals were nonexistent or scarce, when more than 10,000 people around the world were dying each day, when long COVID largely went unacknowledged even as countless people fell chronically ill—the prognosis for the average infection with this coronavirus has clearly improved. In the past four years, the likelihood of severe COVID has massively dropped. Even now, as the United States barrels through what may be its second-largest wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections, rates of death remain near their all-time low. And although tens of thousands of Americans are still being hospitalized with COVID each week, emergency rooms and intensive-care units are no longer routinely being forced into crisis mode. Long COVID, too, appears to be a less common outcome of new infections than it once was. Read: The future of long COVID But where the drop in severe-COVID incidence is clear and prominent, the drop in long-COVID cases is neither as certain nor as significant. Plenty of new cases of the chronic condition are still appearing …

How Ukraine Must Change If It Wants to Win

How Ukraine Must Change If It Wants to Win

On December 29, Russia launched the largest missile attack against Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion. On January 2, another attack of the same magnitude hit schools, hospitals, and apartment blocks across Ukraine. Early yesterday morning—the day after Orthodox Christmas—the Russians hurled yet another missile barrage at Ukraine. Together, these attacks sent a message: Russian President Vladimir Putin is not interested in negotiations, cease-fires, or swapping land for peace. Although he cannot overwhelm Ukraine militarily, Putin now believes that he can keep up the pressure, destroy Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure, wait for Ukraine’s allies to grow tired, goad the Ukrainian public into turning against the government, and then win by default. Often, this new phase of fighting is described as a “war of attrition,” as if the only thing that will determine the outcome is the number of bullets. But although the number of bullets does matter, the war has an important narrative and psychological component too. Alongside the bombings, Kremlin officials are now telegraphing to everyone—to Western politicians and journalists, to Ukraine, to …

The Most Mysterious Cells in Our Bodies Don’t Belong to Us

The Most Mysterious Cells in Our Bodies Don’t Belong to Us

Some 24 years ago, Diana Bianchi peered into a microscope at a piece of human thyroid and saw something that instantly gave her goosebumps. The sample had come from a woman who was chromosomally XX. But through the lens, Bianchi saw the unmistakable glimmer of Y chromosomes—dozens and dozens of them. “Clearly,” Bianchi told me, “part of her thyroid was entirely male.” The reason, Bianchi suspected, was pregnancy. Years ago, the patient had carried a male embryo, whose cells had at some point wandered out of the womb. They’d ended up in his mother’s thyroid—and, almost certainly, a bunch of other organs too—and taken on the identities and functions of the female cells that surrounded them so they could work in synchrony. Bianchi, now the director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, was astonished: “Her thyroid had been entirely remodeled by her son’s cells,” she said. The woman’s case wasn’t a one-off. Just about every time an embryo implants and begins to grow, it dispatches bits of itself …

At COP, the Fossil-Fuel Industry Still Sees a Rosy Future

At COP, the Fossil-Fuel Industry Still Sees a Rosy Future

Like the draft agreement that came out yesterday at COP28, in Dubai—which softened language about phasing out fossil fuels to “reducing” them and “efforts towards” substituting “unabated” fossil fuels—Canada is awkwardly trying to live with two contradictory ideas about climate change. The world has to stop using fossil fuels, and yet, for a petrostate, letting go isn’t easy. During the United Nations’ climate meeting, Canada has been busy doubling down on its climate bona fides. Late last week, the environment minister, Steven Guilbeault, held an impromptu press huddle in the glaring sun outside the plenary halls, the national flags of dozens of countries fluttering around the gathered reporters. Canada had just been appointed by Sultan Al Jaber, the president of the conference, to push countries negotiating on fossil fuels to come to some sort of agreement, and Guilbeault said that Canada had already begun working with a number of delegations on that front. He also wanted to talk about the country’s announcement that it would put an old-fashioned emissions cap on its fossil-fuel sector, which …

The Fifth Circuit Is Making the Supreme Court Look Reasonable

The Fifth Circuit Is Making the Supreme Court Look Reasonable

Where to even start in cataloging the most ridiculous—and alarming—recent rulings to come out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit? There’s a case about whether a class action could go forward that boiled down to a dispute among three Fifth Circuit judges over the meaning of a Bible verse. There’s a case in which the Fifth Circuit allowed three doctors to sue the FDA over a tweet intended to discourage ivermectin use that read, “You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it.” There’s a case in which the Fifth Circuit barred the Biden administration from requiring Navy SEALs to be vaccinated against COVID, because the court’s conception of religious liberty supersedes the military’s need for frontline troops to be healthy. There’s a case in which the Fifth Circuit held that the way Congress funds the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (a mechanism Congress has regularly used since America’s founding) is unconstitutional because Congress only imposed a limit on the appropriation, rather than putting a precise dollar …

The juvenile viciousness of campus anti-Semitism

The juvenile viciousness of campus anti-Semitism

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. Many students who think they’re protesting against Israeli policy are actually engaging in anti-Semitism, spewing hatred in a way that will change them as people and alter their lives. First, here are four new stories from The Atlantic: Moral Rot Many of America’s college campuses are enduring a wave of anti-Semitism. Campus anti-Semitism is not new; this most recent round was spurred by the outbreak of war after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. But this new eruption of hatred in educational institutions is especially alarming. The students engaging in it are not only poisoning their campuses; they are embracing a moral stain that they will find, in later life, they can never expunge. I have taught many college students, in multiple institutions and in a variety of settings, over the almost 40 years of my academic career. I …