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Why Adoption May Be Easier for Gay Men
This post is part of Outward, Slate’s home for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and culture. Read more here.
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The Top 10 Science Papers of 2018 Are an Apocalyptic Nightmare
It’s Top 10 season at Slate, with all the usual enumerations. We’ve got lists of the year’s 10 best books, 10 best jazz albums, 10 best TV shows, 10 best movies, 10 best albums that might or might not be jazz, and so forth. Today, I’d like to call attention to a different sort of list, a profoundly disturbing and depressing one. I mean, of course, it’s time to look at the top 10 scientific papers of 2018.
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Hollywood (and Major League Baseball!) Pay Tribute to A League of Her Own Director Penny Marshall
Penny Marshall, the director of Big, A League of Their Own, and more, has died, the Los Angeles Times has confirmed. A spokesperson for Marshall’s family said that her death on Monday was the result of complications from diabetes. She was 75.
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The Cost of Deciding When to Be the Loud Black One at Work
Before one of my very first job interviews, I called my grandmother. After her typical glowing praise and assurances that they’d be fools not to hire me, she posed a question I’d known to expect: Had I straightened my hair? I was disappointed, though I knew why she asked. She was afraid that whatever white person interviewed me—for there was little doubt that they would be white—wouldn’t think I “looked the part” if I showed up to the interview with natural hair. And while I wanted to explain to her that I wouldn’t want to work anywhere that thought me unprofessional for refusing to change my hair, I knew that she’d spent her life straightening her hair to preemptively ward off suspicions of unworthiness.
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Cate Blanchett Disappears in the Trailer for Where’d You Go, Bernadette
What’s the fastest way to get a mom to pull a disappearing act? Tell her she’s required to go on a trip to Antarctica.
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Spider-Ham’s Very Unkosher Journey From Joke to Spider-Verse Star
“After December 14, we will live in a world where everyone knows Peter Porker,” says comics writer Dan Slott. “Laymen on the street. Kids with their lunch boxes and onesies. Everyone is gonna know who Spider-Ham is.” He pauses. He laughs at the ridiculousness of it all. “What a world.”
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Former Top-Ranking Security Official in U.S. Admits Under Withering Questioning That He Knew Lying to the FBI Is Bad
In late 2017, former national security adviser Michael Flynn agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI about his phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 presidential transition period.
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A Judge Sentenced a Poacher to Watch Bambi Once a Month for a Year. Can He Really Do That?
A Missouri judge ordered a 29-year-old man to watch the movie Bambi once a month during his year behind bars, authorities announced on Monday. David Berry Jr. had pleaded guilty to the “illegal taking of deer” in what the Missouri Department of Conservation is calling “one of the state’s largest-ever poaching investigations.” Berry is also serving a 120-day sentence for violating his felony firearms probation.
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Cardi B Helps James Corden Find His Own Signature Sound on Carpool Karaoke, Okurrr?
Cardi B brought her distinctive trills and sound effects to Carpool Karaoke, but host James Corden will need her guidance tif he ever wants to find his own. During a car ride around Los Angeles, the Late Late Show host was fine rapping along to two of Cardi’s biggest hits, “Bodak Yellow” and “Bartier Cardi.” But despite trying twice, Corden was unable to mimic her favorite catchphrase, “okurrr,” which she has described as “a cold pigeon in New York City.” Instead, he’ll have to settle for the one Cardi assigned him, which is better suited to his skill set.
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Twitter Has Finally Made It Easy to Set Your Timeline to Reverse-Chronological
lmost three years ago, Twitter introduced one of the most controversial changes in its history. It began using a ranking algorithm to decide what tweets people would see at the top of their timeline. Until then, it had (with some exceptions) simply shown users all the tweets from everyone they follow in reverse-chronological order.
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Come On, It’s Fine for UPS to Joke About Shredding Kids’ Letters to Santa
UPS is a multibillion-dollar corporation, but because it is the year 2018, the company also has a Twitter account for its retail arm, the UPS Store, that has nurtured a zanier internet persona. On Monday, that account caused a brief holiday-related hullabaloo when it joked about shredding children’s letters to Santa.
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New Senate Reports Are an Indictment of the White House’s Inaction on Disinformation
The Senate Intelligence Committee has just released two new reports on Russian disinformation, revealing in unusually rich detail the scope of Russia’s interference not only in the 2016 U.S. presidential election but also in our day-to-day democratic dialogue since. One report was prepared by New Knowledge and the other by the University of Oxford and Graphika. Each report’s specific findings are well worth close study by anyone concerned with foreign interference in U.S. elections and our broader democratic processes; so is an excellent summary offered by New Knowledge’s co-founder Renée DiResta. (Full disclosure: Renée and I both serve on the editorial board of Protego Press.)
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What Can the Women Who’ve Conquered Space Teach Silicon Valley?
The tech industry has long struggled to shed its bro-y culture. But women have attained impressive leadership roles across one of the more traditionally macho STEM fields: space. More than one-third of NASA’s active astronaut roster are women, and women run four of the five largest aerospace and defense companies. At a Dec. 11 event called Not So Hidden Figures: What the Women Who’ve Conquered Space Can Teach Silicon Valley, Future Tense—a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University—convened a panel of female leaders in space exploration and aerospace to discuss the advances women have made in the industry, the challenges that remain, and the lessons that Silicon Valley can learn.
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Fat Nation Changed How I Talk to My Patients About Obesity
A couple of years ago, I wrote a purposely provocative post for the New York Times’ Well blog arguing that it was reasonable for physicians to discuss serious health issues with their patients without first asking permission to do so. Unfortunately, the editors titled the piece, “Can We Talk About Your Weight?” which perhaps implied that the only people in need of such paternalistic directions were those who were overweight (this was not my intention). I have written about many controversial medical topics, including euthanasia, lobotomy, and mammography, but have never been so savaged in a comments section. Readers accused me of being arrogant, thoroughly insensitive to my overweight patients, and blind to the “humanity around me.” One wrote she was “really glad you’re not my doctor.” Doctors like me had no business lecturing their heavy patients about what they should and should not do—as these individuals likely knew more than I did anyway.
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Aquaman Owes a Lot to H.P. Lovecraft. It’s Also His Worst Nightmare.
Early in Aquaman, the first big-screen solo adventure for DC Comics’ long-running undersea superhero, a battle breaks out in the home of lighthouse keeper Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison). It’s a chaotic struggle between Atlanna (Nicole Kidman), a princess of Atlantis, and those trying to force her to return home against her will. Her heart belongs to Thomas and their young child, Arthur, but tradition and history have other plans for her, and ultimately pull her away from her family to some unknown fate back in the world of her birth—a place with clearly defined notions of who belongs where and who should associate with whom. (Well, eventually the movie reveals that fate, but let’s call it unknown for now, for the sake of spoilers.)
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This Two-Ingredient Italian Almond Brittle Recipe Calls for a Potato—but Why?
When people ask for my favorite recipe from Genius Desserts—the cookbook I spent two years researching and testing and writing with a whole lot of help from all of you—first, I momentarily freeze. Then, I equivocate. Define “favorite.” Then, I tell them this one.
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The Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers
It can be tricky to find the best gift for a coffee lover, even if you do consider yourself a serious coffee snob. You don’t want to accidentally give them a different version of a coffee maker that they already own, or a version of a pour-over dripper or French press that’s so last-season—but you also want to make sure your present is actually useful, something that will make their coffee-making routine a little easier.
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Roma Is Only the Latest Movie From a Latin American Director About His Family’s Domestic Worker
According to Alfonso Cuarón, Roma is the movie he was always meant to make, and most critics (including Slate’s own) agree. The story of a live-in housekeeper based on the writer-director’s childhood nanny, Roma is intensely, even obsessively, personal, with Cuarón apparently determined to put as much of his early years as possible on screen, down to the mounted dog heads at a vacation hacienda and the make and model of his father’s car. But we can also consider Roma as something other than a work of introspection.
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Why Mick Mulvaney Is So Disgustingly Good at Working for Donald Trump
While many of his colleagues in Trump world have been racking up personal indignities, Mick Mulvaney has has been busy racking up job titles. Last week, the White House announced that the former congressman from South Carolina would become the president’s acting chief of staff, replacing John Kelly, who is slated to step down at the end of this year after enduring about a year and a half in the world’s most crushing babysitter’s gig. This will be Mulvaney’s third high-profile assignment within the administration. He joined as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position he technically still holds and will retain in name, while handing over its actual responsibilities to an underling. Until recently, he also served as acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he was largely responsible for undermining its stated mission of protecting consumers from financial services companies.
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Don’t Trust the Stars
Listen to Slate’s The Gist:
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It’s Impossible to Imagine Anyone Beating Trump in a GOP Primary
A significant slice of Donald Trump supporters are just fine with the president getting primaried in 2020. A new Des Moines Register poll found that while two-thirds (67 percent) of registered Republicans in Iowa say they would “definitely” vote to re-elect Trump if the election were held today, nearly as many (63 percent) say their party should “welcome” challengers in the state’s first-in-the-nation GOP nominating contest 14 months from now.
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Watch Pixar’s Bao, Which Just Made the Oscar Shortlist
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released its 2019 shortlist on Monday, and although the big winner was that weird musical cue from Annihilation, some other films were also recognized. One of those was director Domee Shi’s Bao, the Pixar short that played with Incredibles 2, which was one of ten films to make the shortlist for “Animated Short Film.” To celebrate the news, Pixar opened their bamboo steamer basket (copyright restrictions, droit d’auteur, and so on) to reveal a delicious dumpling (the short film Bao, in digital video form at a variety of resolutions) resting on a leaf of lettuce (YouTube.com), which they’re bringing to the table (unclear what this means) to serve to their whole family (also unclear) while simultaneously using the food (Bao, I guess?) as a way to bankroll paralyzing guilt in their children’s minds to cash in later (it seems like this metaphor is only tangentially about Bao at this point so we’re stopping it here). Slate’s Inkoo Kang was moved to tears by the film’s sensitive and astutely observed portrait of the immigrant experience, and now you can be too, anywhere you have the internet:
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Les Moonves Will Not Get His $120 Million Payout After All
It seems Leslie Moonves will not get his $120 million payout after all—at least, not without a fight. The former CBS chairman and CEO was forced to resign in September following a months-long investigation into multiple sexual harassment and assault allegations. Now the company says it will deny Moonves his severance package because of his alleged conduct.
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Trump Tweeted About a “Military Hero” Charged with Murder. Here’s What We Know About the Bizarre Case.
On Sunday, President Trump tweeted that he would “be reviewing the case of a ‘U.S. Military hero’” charged with murder.
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Last Week Tonight Recruits Gilbert Gottfried to Read Obscure Brexit Provisions and Bigfoot Erotica
Consider yourself warned, because whatever the opposite of ASMR is, this video contains it. Last year, Last Week Tonight ran a segment dedicated to checking in on how Brexit negotiations were going, but fans in the U.K. weren’t permitted to watch the same material that their American counterparts were. That’s because the segment in question used footage from the House of Commons, and the U.K. has strict rules that limit that kind of footage to use in news and similarly factual programs only. Per the BBC guidelines, the footage “must always be kept separate from musical, fictional, or humorous items.”
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The Latest Ruling Against Obamacare Is a Bridge Too Far—Even for SCOTUS
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor declared the entire Affordable Care Act unlawful on Friday, concluding in a widely panned ruling that Congress destroyed the law by zeroing out the individual mandate in 2017. Here are the two things you need to know about this decision: There is slim to no chance it will stand on appeal, and it should not affect your life at all.
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The Holland Tunnel Christmas Decorations Fiasco: Not a Feel-Good Story
I’ve been driving through the Holland Tunnel around Christmastime every year for a quarter-century or so to visit my grandparents in New Jersey, and for as long as I can remember, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bi-state fiefdom that runs everything from the region’s airports to the PATH subway to the trans-Hudson car crossings, has hoisted the same set of asinine Christmas decorations on the tunnel’s stately, po-mo Jersey City tollbooth.
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The Angle: Zany Cheney Edition
Inherent vice: Adam McKay’s latest film is a black-comedy biopic of Dick Cheney, arriving at a time when the zany, nightmarish years of the Bush II administration seem like forever ago. But does it work as an effective evocation of the era? Both Dana Stevens and Fred Kaplan argue it doesn’t; Stevens finds it too stylistically overwrought, while Kaplan claims the film fails as both history and satire.
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Help! My Husband Told an Internet Forum That I Cheated on Him. I Didn’t.
Daniel Mallory Ortberg is online weekly to chat live with readers. Here’s an edited transcript of this week’s chat. 
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Idris Elba Proves It’s Not Actually That Difficult to Support the #MeToo Movement
While some male actors have been criticized for their comments about sexual harassment in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein fallout, one has shown an unusual combination of empathy and good sense. In a recent interview to promote the upcoming season of his hit show Luther, Idris Elba had the perfect response when asked about the #MeToo movement, the crusade started by Tarana Burke to give voice to those who have experienced sexual assault. The Sunday Times asked Elba “how hard it is to be a man in Hollywood now, with #MeToo raging.”
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The Racist Rewriting of the Life and Death of Lupe Vélez
Mexican actress Lupe Vélez was the victim of one of Kenneth Anger’s cruelest invented stories. His fabrication of her manner of death lays bare vicious racism in addition to Hollywood Babylon’s usual sexism. In this episode, we sort out the fact of Vélez’s life from Anger’s fiction and consider the star of the Mexican Spitfire series as a comedian ahead of her time.
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How the DOJ’s Indictment of Michael Flynn’s Business Partners Fits Into the Larger Russia Collision Story
Two business partners of former national security adviser Michael Flynn have been indicted for failing to register as agents of the Turkish government while carrying out an influence campaign that Flynn took part in just before the 2016 election, an unsealed filing from federal court in Virginia revealed Monday.
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How Progressive Activists Killed New Jersey Democrats’ Gerrymandering Scheme
New Jersey Democrats’ gerrymandering proposal is dead—killed not by Republican backlash, but by a near-universal opposition from grassroots progressives activists who bucked the Democratic Party to defend voting rights.
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Vice Misunderestimates Its Subject
There must be a dozen ways to make a movie about the life, times, and outsize influence of Dick Cheney, and adopting the style of a Mad magazine satire may be one of them, but Vice—writer-director Adam McKay’s wayward stab at that approach—doesn’t make a plausible case.
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Vice Tries (and Fails) to Give Dick Cheney a Heart
During the long and awful years of the George W. Bush presidency—and no comparison to our current, more flamboyantly destructive regime will make those years any less long or any less awful—there was one question that used to come up again and again in my conversations with friends: What did the machinations of the Bush II White House look like behind closed doors? How many layers deep would one have to penetrate into the inner circles of power before all pretense of public service or sound conservative governance dropped away, and all that was left were the victors dividing the spoils?
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Are Trump’s Immigration Policies Literally Making Us Sick?
After years of relative quiet, the past year brought a cluster of incidents—three outbreaks of E. coli in romaine lettuce and a 12 million–pound beef recall thanks to salmonella. The obvious question: Why are all these outbreaks happening now?
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The Government Should Have Prosecuted AMI
When a Manhattan judge sentenced Michael Cohen to three years in prison, the Justice Department issued what appeared to be a standard press release trumpeting the events. The announcement, however, carried an unexpected subhead, stating that the Justice Department had also entered into a nonprosecution agreement with American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer. The news was a powerful example of the strength of the government’s investigation—making clear the severity of the potential campaign finance case against President Donald Trump and securing an unusual admission of electoral interference by a national corporation. But it also exposed the Justice Department’s weakest quality—its inability to impose significant (or in this case any) penalties on corporations. While its message to Trump is strong, the case tells America’s corporate entities that they can do what they want—they have little to fear from DOJ.
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Louisiana Police Officers Charged After Slamming Black Teenager to the Ground at a Middle School
A Louisiana grand jury indicted a former police officer seen in a video from October aggressively slamming a black teenager to the ground twice in an administrative office of a Brusly, Louisiana, middle school, local media reported Friday.
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Why Wikipedia’s “Nuclear Option” Is the Right Call
At this year’s WikiConference North America, Kevin Li, a 17-year-old freshman at Stanford, told me that Wikipedia administrators like him have three special powers. They can 1) block and unblock users, 2) protect articles from persistent vandalism, and 3) hide changes from the project’s editorial history. Administrators receive this bundle of high-level technical abilities after they pass a thorough community review process.
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One Fewer Space for #GirlsLikeUs
This post is part of Outward, Slate’s home for coverage of LGBTQ life, thought, and culture. Read more here.
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The Expensive-Looking Things I Put in the DIY Gourmet Gift Basket I Send to Friends
Gift baskets are always a solid choice for holiday giving, but all those premade versions can be pricey and uninspired—and the basket is usually the first thing to get tossed. I love the sentiment, but not the execution.
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I Feel Guilty About Sending One Kid to Private School When I Can’t Afford to Send the Others
Care and Feeding is Slate’s parenting advice column. Have a question for Care and Feeding? Email careandfeeding@slate.com or post it in the Slate Parenting Facebook group.
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Happy Bad Choices Day!
I’m not sure what it’s like growing up in most Jewish homes, but in mine, once December arrived, it would begin to feel a lot like Christmas. Up went the tree, the advent calendar, and the braided straw angels. As the 12 days ticked down, the rest of the crew arrived: four stockings hanging, three Santas grinning, two garlands blinking, and a sullen teen sulking upstairs. This was me, furious that we were doing this yet again, forsaking 5,000 years of history for some presents and candy canes even though we were Jewish.
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Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire
The debut episode of The Simpsons aired on this day in 1989. You may use the comment thread on this page to discuss the animated sitcom that has since become the longest-running scripted television show in American history, or to pursue other points of off-topic, freewheeling discourse.
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Orange Is the New Black’s Yael Stone Accuses Geoffrey Rush of Sexual Misconduct
Actress Yael Stone has accused actor Geoffrey Rush of sexual misconduct ranging from sending her inappropriate texts to spying on her in the shower, the New York Times reports. Stone and Rush starred together in an Australian theatrical adaptation of Nicolai Gogol’s short story “Diary of a Madman” in 2010 and 2011. Rush said in a statement that the allegations were “incorrect and in some instances have been taken completely out of context.”
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Ethics For Seven-Year-Olds
Carthaginians do it.
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Russia’s Pro-Trump Disinformation Campaign Used Every Major Social Media Platform
The Washington Post got its hands on a study compiled for the Senate Intelligence Committee that describes in lots of detail just how extensive Russia’s efforts were to help get President Donald Trump elected. According to the report, which has not been endorsed by the Senate yet, the pro-Trump operation used every major social media platform to a much broader extent than previously believed. It makes clear that the disinformation campaign went beyond Facebook and also targeted users on YouTube, Instagram, Google+, Tumblr, and even Pinterest.
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The Patriots Look Shaky. Is that Even Allowed?
What is going on with the Patriots? After falling to the Pittsburgh Steelers 17-10 on Sunday, New England has lost two games in a row and is in the midst of an uncharacteristic late-season slump. The Pats are currently the AFC’s 3-seed—impressive for most franchises but a peculiar spot for Bill Belichick’s squad. Should the standings stay like this, the Patriots won’t have a first-round playoff bye for the first time since 2009.
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