Derek Thompson
Derek Thompson
Staff writer @TheAtlantic. Host of "Plain English" podcast @Ringer. Mondays on NPR's @hereandnow. Writing a book about progress.Source
Washington, DC
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The Difference Between the Rich and the Poor in 1 Graph

The Difference Between the Rich and the Poor in 1 Graph

Each year, the U.S. government tells Americans how much money the country spends on stuff, like houses, cars, and alcohol. Organizing this information by income, at The Wall Street Journal produces this nice chart of spending on food, health care, and other categories.Share of Spending on Certain Categories, by Income GroupTwo clear stories. To the far left: The richest 10 percent spend much less of their income on food. To the far right: The richest 10 percent spend much more of their income on insurance (and relatively more than all but the very poorest on education).When you have money,...

December 28, 2017
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How Ukraine’s New Offensive Could Win the War Against Russia

How Ukraine’s New Offensive Could Win the War Against Russia

Filed under:Paul Poast of the University of Chicago returns to the podcast to break down Ukraine’s extraordinary counteroffensiveof the Ukraine-Russia war. Paul Poast of the University of Chicago returns to the podcast to break down Ukraine’s extraordinary counteroffensive. He explains why this counterattack is reminiscent of D-Day, why President Vladimir Putin continues to struggle to achieve his objectives, and whether the end of the war could be within sight.If you have questions, observations, or ideas for future episodes, email us at . You can find us on TikTok atIn this excerpt, Poast...

Sep 12
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Can Medieval Sleeping Habits Fix America’s Insomnia?

Can Medieval Sleeping Habits Fix America’s Insomnia?

Updated at 11:23 a.m. ET on January 28, 2022..A awake. The room is dark and still. I grab my phone and scan sports scores and Twitter. Still awake. A faceless physician whispers in my mind: To overcome middle-of-the-night insomnia, experts say you ought to get out of bed … I get out of bed. I pour a glass of water and drink it. I go back to bed. Still awake. Perhaps you know the feeling. Like millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people around the world, I suffer from so-called mid-sleep awakenings that can keep me up for hours.One day, I was researching my nocturnal issues when...

Jan 27
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The Curious Case of Florida’s Pandemic Response

The Curious Case of Florida’s Pandemic Response

I with a clear thesis: Florida is having a moment. To the extent that winning a pandemic is possible, Florida seemed to be winning the pandemic.Despite criticism from liberals for its laissez-faire approach to COVID-19, Florida has been “booming,” according to , and the state’s success is “a vindication for their policies.” Governor Ron DeSantis that Florida drew a straight flush of pandemic outcomes: “open schools, comparatively low unemployment, and per capita COVID mortality below the national average.” If you tracked the digital murmurings of Silicon Valley elites, no city in the United...

March 23, 2021
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How Civilization Broke Our Brains

How Civilization Broke Our Brains

This article was published online on December 13, 2020.S, I got into a long discussion with a colleague about the origins of the “Sunday scaries,” the flood of anxiety that many of us feel as the weekend is winding down and the workweek approaches. He said that the culprit was clear, and pointed to late-stage capitalism’s corrosive blend of performance stress and job insecurity. But capitalism also exists Monday through Saturday, so why should Sunday be so uniquely anxiety-inducing?The deeper cause, I thought, might have something to do with the modern psychology of time. Imagine the...

December 13, 2020
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Hygiene Theater Is Still a Huge Waste of Time

Hygiene Theater Is Still a Huge Waste of Time

Six months ago, I that Americans had embraced a backwards view of the coronavirus. Too many people imagined the fight against COVID-19 as a land war to be waged with sudsy hand-to-hand combat against grimy surfaces. Meanwhile, the science suggested we should be focused on an aerial strategy. The virus spreads most efficiently through the air via the spittle spray that we emit when we exhale—especially when we cough, talk loudly, sing, or exercise. I called this conceptual error, and the bonanza of pointless power-scrubbing that it had inspired, “hygiene theater.”My chief inspiration was an...

February 8, 2021
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The Deep Story of Trumpism

The Deep Story of Trumpism

A resident, President Donald Trump is a goner. But his stranglehold on the GOP seems as tight as ever: say they believe their man won the 2020 election. Can the GOP channel the energy of his most fervent supporters and advance a sort of Trumpism without Trump? The answer depends on what Trumpism is—a populist prototype, a personality cult, or something stranger.To some, Trumpism marks the beginning of a new Republican Party. Four years ago, Trump created a coalition that was more blue-collar and less white in previous elections by combining an anti-immigration and protectionist message with...

December 29, 2020
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Why Big-City Dominance Is a Problem for Democrats

Why Big-City Dominance Is a Problem for Democrats

Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the 2020 election by rebuilding the “blue wall,” not around any particular geographical region, but around every major U.S. metropolitan area. America’s biggest cities and their largest suburbs are now Jerichos of the Democratic Party, walled fortresses for the future of liberalism.Biden won all of the 20 largest cities in America. He dominated on the coasts, racking up more than 80 percent of the vote in Manhattan, Boston, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. He won metro Atlanta by about 800,000 votes and took the four major metro areas of Texas—Houston,...

November 26, 2020
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The Most Important Divide in American Politics Isn’t Race

The Most Important Divide in American Politics Isn’t Race

Updated on November 10, 2020 at 11:08 a.m. ET.T to define the 2020 election results we’ve seen so far—and also build on a decade or more of political developments: the depolarization of race and the polarization of place.Democrats have historically won about 90 percent of the Black vote and more than 65 percent of the Latino vote. But initial returns suggest that Joe Biden might have lost ground with nonwhite voters.The most obvious drift is happening among Latinos. In Florida, Biden , especially Miami-Dade County, whose Cuban American population seems to have turned out for Donald Trump....

November 7, 2020
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We Live in a Potemkin Autocracy Now

We Live in a Potemkin Autocracy Now

The Trump administration named New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, “anarchist jurisdictions” on Sunday, threatening to slash federal funding due to protests against police brutality and property damage. The announcement built on that accused several cities of “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction”—but the three that made the final cut aren’t among the nation’s leaders in crime.An American president seizing the fallout of political protests to defund cities seems rather terrifying. Sources I spoke with, however, said the move reflects a kind of , where the appearance of...

September 22, 2020
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