The Magazine
April 5, 2021
“Delayed,” by R. Kikuo Johnson.
Reporting
Annals of Astronomy
The Collapse of Puerto Rico’s Iconic Telescope
The uncertain future of the Arecibo Observatory, and the end of an era in space science.
By Daniel Alarcón
Dept. of Science
Why Animals Don’t Get Lost
Birds do it. Bees do it. Learning about the astounding navigational feats of wild creatures can teach us a lot about where we’re going.
By Kathryn Schulz
Profiles
How Elizabeth Loftus Changed the Meaning of Memory
The psychologist taught us that what we remember is not fixed, but her work testifying for defendants like Harvey Weinstein collides with our traumatized moment.
By Rachel Aviv
Comic Strip
Visions of the Post-Pandemic Future (Revised)
Preparing to reënter the new-normal world, however weird we’ve become.
By Emily Flake
Our Local Correspondents
Fighting America’s Gun Plague
In 2020, shootings in New York City were up more than eighty per cent. Working with high-school students, Shaina Harrison is on a mission to stem the carnage.
By Ian Frazier
More Reporting
The Critics
Books
The Politics of Stopping Pandemics
Even before the COVID-19 crisis, global instability had caused a worrying rise in epidemics. Medical science alone won’t be able to turn the tide.
By Jerome Groopman
Books
Briefly Noted
“Zabor, or the Psalms,” “Milk Blood Heat,” “Why the Innocent Plead Guilty and the Guilty Go Free,” and “The Disordered Cosmos.”
Books
Sybille Bedford and the Unruly Art of the Origin Story
The writer kept returning to the events of her life, but she never pretended that her narrative cohered.
By Madeleine Schwartz
Podcast Dept.
The Rise of the Athlete Podcaster
How players began telling a new story about sports.
By Hua Hsu
The Art World
The Pioneering Feminism of Niki de Saint Phalle
The avant-garde artist was one of the late twentieth century’s great creative personalities, with traits that once shadowed and now halo her importance.
By Peter Schjeldahl
On Television
Michelle Obama’s Lesson to Kids: You Are What You Watch
According to “Waffles + Mochi,” Obama’s food-travelogue series for kids, being good means absorbing good, organic things, like fresh mushrooms and politically astute children’s programming.
By Doreen St. Félix
More Criticism
The Talk of the Town
Jonathan Blitzer on Biden and the border; from war to the writers’ room; so far no sofas; still Trump country; cooking up hits.
Comment
Biden and the Blame Game at the Border
The issues involved are nearly impossible to settle as long as policymakers regard decency as a political weakness rather than as a moral strength.
By Jonathan Blitzer
Second Acts
A Mullah Walks Into a Bar: From War-Torn Kabul to a Writers’ Room
Habib Zahori, an Afghan war reporter and interpreter, loves Seth Rogen and stoner humor; on the sitcom “The United States of Al,” he advises on Taliban jokes.
By Zach Helfand
On the Couch
Dude, Where’s My Couch?
When more than two hundred buyers of luxe sofas from ABC Carpet got a group e-mail about a delivery delay, the result was anger, frustration, commiseration, bad jokes, and matchmaking.
By Hannah Goldfield
Dept. of Naming
Will New York’s Legislature Cancel a MAGA Park?
A group of lawmakers are determined to change the name of Donald J. Trump State Park, the woodsy spot off the Taconic, once donated—as a tax writeoff—by the former President.
By Bruce Handy
Dept. of Sous-Chefs
How Benny Blanco Cooks Up Good Vibes
The recording artist and producer who has worked with Rihanna and Kanye West co-wrote “Lonely,” the keening Justin Bieber ballad, but prefers to be an unserious oasis in a serious world.
By Naomi Fry
More Talk of the Town
Shouts & Murmurs
Shouts & Murmurs
A Pandemic College Essay That Probably Won’t Get You Into Brown
Freshman year, I auditioned for “The Glass Menagerie.” I find it very ironic that now we see that life is as precious as those fateful glass figurines due to COVID-19.
By Michael Ian Black
More Shouts & Murmurs
Cartoons

“Hey! I’m takin’ my little walk here!”
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Fiction
Fiction
“Featherweight”
“Sometimes the irony is so great that the irony turns into cherry pie: I met Allie on the first day of Native American Heritage Month.”
By Sterling HolyWhiteMountain
More Fiction
Puzzles & Games Dept.
Crossword
The Crossword: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
A moderately challenging puzzle.
By Wyna Liu
Poems
Poems
“Peers”
“We were about to // inherit the world, and we had no idea / what to do with it.”
By Craig Morgan Teicher
Poems
“My Empire”
“My empire made me / happy because it was an empire / and mine.”
By Kaveh Akbar
More Poetry
Goings On About Town
Art
Alexander Calder and MOMA
The museum’s nine-decade relationship with the artist is explored with some seventy works, mostly from MOMA’s collection.
Tables for Two
At Tanabel, Feasts for Delivery Prepared by Middle Eastern Refugees
Hannah Goldberg’s food-and-events business empowers displaced women, from countries including Syria and Iran, by paying them a living wage while preserving their native food cultures.
By Hannah Goldfield
More Goings On About Town
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