NASA Finds Autumn in Space

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#EarthArt autumn leaves remind me of the good things that come with change. Happy #FirstDayofFall! #YearInSpace #autumn #leaves #earth #change #fall #space #spacestation #iss #photo
A photo posted by Scott Kelly (@stationcdrkelly) on Sep 23, 2015 at 10:41am PDT
Today is the first day of fall, the season of football, sweaters, and everything pumpkin. Soon the days will grow shorter. With less sunlight, trees will stop making chlorophyll for their leaves (goodbye, green), allowing carotenoids to peek through (hello, yellow and orange). It’s all going to look very pretty, and astronaut Scott Kelly, who won’t experience autumn this year, seems to have found his own version of it in Earth’s terrain.
More Notes From The Atlantic Orbital View: The Gaping Maw of Mir 1:59 PM ET What We're Following This Afternoon 12:24 PM ET A Baby Panda Gets A Name 11:59 AM ET The Obscure-Seeming ExIm Bank Furore Is a Window Into the... 11:47 AM ET An Inconvenient Truth for VW 11:39 AM ET Notes Home Most Popular On The Atlantic Mike Blake / Damir Sagolj / Reuters / alessandro0770 / Shutterstock / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War? Graham Allison In 12 of 16 past cases in which a rising power has confronted a ruling power, the result has been bloodshed.

When Barack Obama meets this week with Xi Jinping during the Chinese president’s first state visit to America, one item probably won’t be on their agenda: the possibility that the United States and China could find themselves at war in the next decade. In policy circles, this appears as unlikely as it would be unwise.

And yet 100 years on, World War I offers a sobering reminder of man’s capacity for folly. When we say that war is “inconceivable,” is this a statement about what is possible in the world—or only about what our limited minds can conceive? In 1914, few could imagine slaughter on a scale that demanded a new category: world war. When war ended four years later, Europe lay in ruins: the kaiser gone, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, the Russian tsar overthrown by the Bolsheviks, France bled for a generation, and England shorn of its youth and treasure. A millennium in which Europe had been the political center of the world came to a crashing halt.

Continue Reading Jason Reed / Reuters The Resignation of John Boehner Russell Berman “It is my view ... that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.”
Updated September 25, 2015 1:36 p.m.

John Boehner will resign as speaker of the House at the end of October and leave Congress, choosing to end his tumultuous tenure rather than fight a conservative revolt against his leadership.

Boehner had battled conservatives aligned with the Tea Party for most of his nearly five years as speaker, and in recent weeks they had threatened to try to oust him from power if did not pursue a strategy of defunding Planned Parenthood that would have likely led to a government shutdown. Conservatives said that if Boehner failed to fight on the government spending bill, they would call up a procedural motion to “vacate the chair” and demand the election of a new speaker. Facing the likelihood that he would need Democrats to save him , Boehner instead chose to step down. In one of his last acts as speaker, Boehner is now expected to defy conservatives by bringing up a funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown beginning next week but that would not cut money from Planned Parenthood.

Continue Reading Jonathan Ernst / Reuters It's Democrats Who'll Miss Boehner Most David A. Graham Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid lament the speaker’s retirement while Republicans exult. How long will that last?
The way that partisans of both stripes reacted to John Boehner’s departure goes a long way toward explaining his decision to step down as speaker and leave the House.

“Speaker John Boehner is a decent, principled conservative man who tried to do the right thing under almost impossible circumstances,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the presumptive next Democratic leader of the Senate, said in a statement . “ He will be missed by Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Current Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid—whom Boehner once instructed to do something unprintable during a heated feud—was positively gushy: “To say that I will miss John Boehner is a tremendous understatement.”

Even Boehner’s opposite number in the House, Nancy Pelosi, declined to express any pleasure about his resignation. Who says politics is too polarized?

Continue Reading Eliana Aponte / Reuters The Dark Side of Empathy Paul Bloom How caring for one person can foster baseless aggression towards another.
I’m not usually in favor of killing, but I’d make an exception for the leaders of ISIS. I’d feel a certain satisfaction if they were wiped off the face of the Earth. This is a pretty typical attitude, shared even by many of my more liberal friends, even though, intellectually, it’s not something that we’re comfortable with or proud of.

Where does this malice come from? Psychologists have standard explanations for murderous feelings towards groups of strangers, but none of them apply here. I don’t think ISIS is a threat to me or my family or my way of life; I’m not driven by disgust and contempt; I don’t dehumanize them; I don’t think of them as vermin or dogs.

Rather, I am motivated by more respectable sentiments, by compassion, love, and empathy. Not for ISIS, of course, but for their victims. I have seen the videos of decapitations and crucifixions and have read accounts of rape, slavery, and torture. If I were less invested in the suffering of their victims, I would be more receptive to a balanced discussion of different options. But because I care, I really just want them to pay.

Continue Reading Mario Anzuoni / Reuters Sam Smith’s Radically Wimpy James Bond Theme Spencer Kornhaber “Writing's on the Wall” subverts the lavish virility of the 007 franchise to offer an emotional appeal to the heart.
“Every Bond song establishes a relation between Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger’ and the year of its film’s release—differently, depending on the sensibilities, age, and styles of the artists involved, as well as the particularities of that year’s top-40 pop,” write Adrian Daub and Charles Kronengold in their new book The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism . “ … Bond songs are about the early ’60s, yes, but they’re also about how their own moment differs from the ’60s.”

This is true for “Writing’s on the Wall,” Sam Smith’s newly released theme for the forthcoming Spectre , though Smith and his producers may want it to seem otherwise. In a promotional video , Smith said that instead of making a “big pop song” he wanted to have listeners say, “That’s Bond, that sounds like a Bond theme.’” Accordingly, there has perhaps never been a more defiantly retro title song in the history of the franchise, which is saying something. In fact, “Writing’s on the Wall” hearkens to a time before “Goldfinger,” before Bond on screen, or at least to a tradition that has run parallel to the Bond sonic universe: that of music without rock-and-roll influence, music where no one craves propulsion, rhythm, or groove.

Continue Reading Greg Kahn The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration Ta-Nehisi Coates American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.
By his own lights, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, ambassador, senator, sociologist, and itinerant American intellectual, was the product of a broken home and a pathological family . He was born in 1927 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but raised mostly in New York City. When Moynihan was 10 years old, his father, John, left the family, plunging it into poverty. Moynihan’s mother, Margaret, remarried, had another child, divorced, moved to Indiana to stay with relatives, then returned to New York, where she worked as a nurse. Moynihan’s childhood—a tangle of poverty, remarriage, relocation, and single motherhood—contrasted starkly with the idyllic American family life he would later extol.
Continue Reading The Atlantic American Slavery, Reinvented Whitney Benns The Thirteenth Amendment forbade slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
Crops stretch to the horizon. Black bodies pepper the landscape, hunched over as they work the fields. Officers on horseback, armed, oversee the workers.

To the untrained eye, the scenes in Angola for Life: Rehabilitation and Reform Inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary , an Atlantic documentary filmed on an old Southern slave-plantation-turned-prison, could have been shot 150 years ago. The imagery haunts, and the stench of slavery and racial oppression lingers through the 13 minutes of footage.



The film tells two overlapping stories: One is of accomplishment against incredible odds, of a man who stepped into the most violent maximum-security prison in the nation and gave the men there—discarded and damned—what society didn’t: hope, education, and a moral compass. Burl Cain, the warden of Angola Prison, which is in Louisiana, has created a controversial model for rehabilitation. Through work and religion, they learn to help each other, and try to become better fathers to their children on the outside. Perhaps the lucky few even find redemption.

Continue Reading A New Caption That Works for Every New Yorker Cartoon Robinson Meyer None
In 2006, a blogger named Charles Lavoie argued that every New Yorker cartoon—from bears-waiting-in-an-elevator to two-old-businessmen-playing-with-dolls—could be aptly captioned “Christ, what an asshole!” Lavoie was correct: They totally could. He documented the rewritten cartoons on his blog for many years .



Sometime later, the artist Cory Arcangel suggested a different universal caption: “What a misunderstanding!” He, too, preserved re-captioned cartoons on a blog, itself titled “What a misunderstanding!”




Heretofore, science has discovered only these two universal New Yorker cartoon captions. But now it has supplied us with a third. This afternoon, the designer Frank Chimero proposed a new addition:
Continue Reading Andrew B. Myers / The Atlantic The Coddling of the American Mind Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.
S omething strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.

Continue Reading The Atlantic What Does It Mean to Lament the Poor Inside Panem? Emma Green Pope Francis praised Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton before a Congress stacked with millionaires.
Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton: These were the four Americans Pope Francis picked to talk about at his speech to Congress on Thursday. John Allen Jr. at Crux called them “the fantastic four”: Out of all the figures in history whom he admires, Francis “ chose Americans, which was a way of saying that he realizes he doesn’t just have something to teach the United States—he, and the rest of the world, can learn from it as well.”

The first two names are probably familiar to most Americans, but Day’s and Merton’s might not be. Both were Catholic converts who lived messy lives before turning to the Church, and even after: Day went through an abortion and several love affairs, while Merton fathered an illegitimate child and later had an apparently non-consummated affair with a nursing student after he had taken vows as a Trappist monk. In the eyes of the Church, these were sinners, but they were also advocates. In 1933, Day co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement, a non-violent organization dedicated to the homeless and working poor, and she edited a newspaper, the Catholic Worker , for roughly five decades. Merton, who lived a contemplative life in the Abbey of Gethsemani for the latter part of his life, wrote frequently about non-violence and civil rights in the mid-20th century.

Continue Reading Latest Notes Orbital View: The Gaping Maw of Mir What We're Following This Afternoon A Baby Panda Gets A Name The Obscure-Seeming ExIm Bank Furore Is a Window Into the Heart of Today's Politics An Inconvenient Truth for VW More Most Popular On The Atlantic Mike Blake / Damir Sagolj / Reuters / alessandro0770 / Shutterstock / Zak Bickel / The Atlantic The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War? Graham Allison In 12 of 16 past cases in which a rising power has confronted a ruling power, the result has been bloodshed.

When Barack Obama meets this week with Xi Jinping during the Chinese president’s first state visit to America, one item probably won’t be on their agenda: the possibility that the United States and China could find themselves at war in the next decade. In policy circles, this appears as unlikely as it would be unwise.

And yet 100 years on, World War I offers a sobering reminder of man’s capacity for folly. When we say that war is “inconceivable,” is this a statement about what is possible in the world—or only about what our limited minds can conceive? In 1914, few could imagine slaughter on a scale that demanded a new category: world war. When war ended four years later, Europe lay in ruins: the kaiser gone, the Austro-Hungarian Empire dissolved, the Russian tsar overthrown by the Bolsheviks, France bled for a generation, and England shorn of its youth and treasure. A millennium in which Europe had been the political center of the world came to a crashing halt.

Continue Reading Jason Reed / Reuters The Resignation of John Boehner Russell Berman “It is my view ... that prolonged leadership turmoil would do irreparable damage to the institution.”
Updated September 25, 2015 1:36 p.m.

John Boehner will resign as speaker of the House at the end of October and leave Congress, choosing to end his tumultuous tenure rather than fight a conservative revolt against his leadership.

Boehner had battled conservatives aligned with the Tea Party for most of his nearly five years as speaker, and in recent weeks they had threatened to try to oust him from power if did not pursue a strategy of defunding Planned Parenthood that would have likely led to a government shutdown. Conservatives said that if Boehner failed to fight on the government spending bill, they would call up a procedural motion to “vacate the chair” and demand the election of a new speaker. Facing the likelihood that he would need Democrats to save him , Boehner instead chose to step down. In one of his last acts as speaker, Boehner is now expected to defy conservatives by bringing up a funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown beginning next week but that would not cut money from Planned Parenthood.

Continue Reading Jonathan Ernst / Reuters It's Democrats Who'll Miss Boehner Most David A. Graham Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid lament the speaker’s retirement while Republicans exult. How long will that last?
The way that partisans of both stripes reacted to John Boehner’s departure goes a long way toward explaining his decision to step down as speaker and leave the House.

“Speaker John Boehner is a decent, principled conservative man who tried to do the right thing under almost impossible circumstances,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the presumptive next Democratic leader of the Senate, said in a statement . “ He will be missed by Republicans and Democrats alike.”

Current Senator Minority Leader Harry Reid—whom Boehner once instructed to do something unprintable during a heated feud—was positively gushy: “To say that I will miss John Boehner is a tremendous understatement.”

Even Boehner’s opposite number in the House, Nancy Pelosi, declined to express any pleasure about his resignation. Who says politics is too polarized?

Continue Reading Eliana Aponte / Reuters The Dark Side of Empathy Paul Bloom How caring for one person can foster baseless aggression towards another.
I’m not usually in favor of killing, but I’d make an exception for the leaders of ISIS. I’d feel a certain satisfaction if they were wiped off the face of the Earth. This is a pretty typical attitude, shared even by many of my more liberal friends, even though, intellectually, it’s not something that we’re comfortable with or proud of.

Where does this malice come from? Psychologists have standard explanations for murderous feelings towards groups of strangers, but none of them apply here. I don’t think ISIS is a threat to me or my family or my way of life; I’m not driven by disgust and contempt; I don’t dehumanize them; I don’t think of them as vermin or dogs.

Rather, I am motivated by more respectable sentiments, by compassion, love, and empathy. Not for ISIS, of course, but for their victims. I have seen the videos of decapitations and crucifixions and have read accounts of rape, slavery, and torture. If I were less invested in the suffering of their victims, I would be more receptive to a balanced discussion of different options. But because I care, I really just want them to pay.

Continue Reading Mario Anzuoni / Reuters Sam Smith’s Radically Wimpy James Bond Theme Spencer Kornhaber “Writing's on the Wall” subverts the lavish virility of the 007 franchise to offer an emotional appeal to the heart.
“Every Bond song establishes a relation between Shirley Bassey’s ‘Goldfinger’ and the year of its film’s release—differently, depending on the sensibilities, age, and styles of the artists involved, as well as the particularities of that year’s top-40 pop,” write Adrian Daub and Charles Kronengold in their new book The James Bond Songs: Pop Anthems of Late Capitalism . “ … Bond songs are about the early ’60s, yes, but they’re also about how their own moment differs from the ’60s.”

This is true for “Writing’s on the Wall,” Sam Smith’s newly released theme for the forthcoming Spectre , though Smith and his producers may want it to seem otherwise. In a promotional video , Smith said that instead of making a “big pop song” he wanted to have listeners say, “That’s Bond, that sounds like a Bond theme.’” Accordingly, there has perhaps never been a more defiantly retro title song in the history of the franchise, which is saying something. In fact, “Writing’s on the Wall” hearkens to a time before “Goldfinger,” before Bond on screen, or at least to a tradition that has run parallel to the Bond sonic universe: that of music without rock-and-roll influence, music where no one craves propulsion, rhythm, or groove.

Continue Reading Greg Kahn The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration Ta-Nehisi Coates American politicians are now eager to disown a failed criminal-justice system that’s left the U.S. with the largest incarcerated population in the world. But they've failed to reckon with history. Fifty years after Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family” tragically helped create this system, it's time to reclaim his original intent.
By his own lights, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, ambassador, senator, sociologist, and itinerant American intellectual, was the product of a broken home and a pathological family . He was born in 1927 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but raised mostly in New York City. When Moynihan was 10 years old, his father, John, left the family, plunging it into poverty. Moynihan’s mother, Margaret, remarried, had another child, divorced, moved to Indiana to stay with relatives, then returned to New York, where she worked as a nurse. Moynihan’s childhood—a tangle of poverty, remarriage, relocation, and single motherhood—contrasted starkly with the idyllic American family life he would later extol.
Continue Reading The Atlantic American Slavery, Reinvented Whitney Benns The Thirteenth Amendment forbade slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.”
Crops stretch to the horizon. Black bodies pepper the landscape, hunched over as they work the fields. Officers on horseback, armed, oversee the workers.

To the untrained eye, the scenes in Angola for Life: Rehabilitation and Reform Inside the Louisiana State Penitentiary , an Atlantic documentary filmed on an old Southern slave-plantation-turned-prison, could have been shot 150 years ago. The imagery haunts, and the stench of slavery and racial oppression lingers through the 13 minutes of footage.



The film tells two overlapping stories: One is of accomplishment against incredible odds, of a man who stepped into the most violent maximum-security prison in the nation and gave the men there—discarded and damned—what society didn’t: hope, education, and a moral compass. Burl Cain, the warden of Angola Prison, which is in Louisiana, has created a controversial model for rehabilitation. Through work and religion, they learn to help each other, and try to become better fathers to their children on the outside. Perhaps the lucky few even find redemption.

Continue Reading A New Caption That Works for Every New Yorker Cartoon Robinson Meyer None
In 2006, a blogger named Charles Lavoie argued that every New Yorker cartoon—from bears-waiting-in-an-elevator to two-old-businessmen-playing-with-dolls—could be aptly captioned “Christ, what an asshole!” Lavoie was correct: They totally could. He documented the rewritten cartoons on his blog for many years .



Sometime later, the artist Cory Arcangel suggested a different universal caption: “What a misunderstanding!” He, too, preserved re-captioned cartoons on a blog, itself titled “What a misunderstanding!”




Heretofore, science has discovered only these two universal New Yorker cartoon captions. But now it has supplied us with a third. This afternoon, the designer Frank Chimero proposed a new addition:
Continue Reading Andrew B. Myers / The Atlantic The Coddling of the American Mind Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt In the name of emotional well-being, college students are increasingly demanding protection from words and ideas they don’t like. Here’s why that’s disastrous for education—and mental health.
S omething strange is happening at America’s colleges and universities. A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. Last December, Jeannie Suk wrote in an online article for The New Yorker about law students asking her fellow professors at Harvard not to teach rape law—or, in one case, even use the word violate (as in “that violates the law”) lest it cause students distress. In February, Laura Kipnis, a professor at Northwestern University, wrote an essay in The Chronicle of Higher Education describing a new campus politics of sexual paranoia—and was then subjected to a long investigation after students who were offended by the article and by a tweet she’d sent filed Title IX complaints against her. In June, a professor protecting himself with a pseudonym wrote an essay for Vox describing how gingerly he now has to teach. “I’m a Liberal Professor, and My Liberal Students Terrify Me,” the headline said. A number of popular comedians, including Chris Rock, have stopped performing on college campuses (see Caitlin Flanagan’s article in this month’s issue). Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Maher have publicly condemned the oversensitivity of college students, saying too many of them can’t take a joke.

Continue Reading The Atlantic What Does It Mean to Lament the Poor Inside Panem? Emma Green Pope Francis praised Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton before a Congress stacked with millionaires.
Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr., Dorothy Day, and Thomas Merton: These were the four Americans Pope Francis picked to talk about at his speech to Congress on Thursday. John Allen Jr. at Crux called them “the fantastic four”: Out of all the figures in history whom he admires, Francis “ chose Americans, which was a way of saying that he realizes he doesn’t just have something to teach the United States—he, and the rest of the world, can learn from it as well.”

The first two names are probably familiar to most Americans, but Day’s and Merton’s might not be. Both were Catholic converts who lived messy lives before turning to the Church, and even after: Day went through an abortion and several love affairs, while Merton fathered an illegitimate child and later had an apparently non-consummated affair with a nursing student after he had taken vows as a Trappist monk. In the eyes of the Church, these were sinners, but they were also advocates. In 1933, Day co-founded the Catholic Worker Movement, a non-violent organization dedicated to the homeless and working poor, and she edited a newspaper, the Catholic Worker , for roughly five decades. Merton, who lived a contemplative life in the Abbey of Gethsemani for the latter part of his life, wrote frequently about non-violence and civil rights in the mid-20th century.

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