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The Fallacy of 'Giving Up'

AlexanderZam/Pupes/Shutterstock/The Atlantic At 30 years old, a person's brain weighs about three pounds.

The Rise and Fall (and Rise) of the Ukulele

Wikimedia With its chunk-a-chunk sound, whispery nylon strings, and diminutive body, the ukulele is having a moment.

The Death of Music Sales

Lucas Jackson/Reuters CDs are dead. That doesn't seem like such a controversial statement. Maybe it should be.

One Clip, Two Views of China

'Happy' song set in Shenzhen, southern China ( Youku via The Nanfang ) This item from The Nanfang, a site covering the big cities of southernmost China (nanfang, or 南方 = "southward"), does a nice job of conveying the discouraging and enlivening aspects of China that so often coexist.

How an ISIS Beheading Might Change Japan

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (R) speaks to the media at his official residence in Tokyo. (Kyodo/Reuters) A video released on Islamic State-affiliated Twitter accounts show the apparent beheading of Haruna Yukawa, a 42-year-old Japanese citizen who had been held captive by ISIS forces since last August.

Why the U.S. Is Stuck With Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah died on January 23 due to complications from a lung infection. (Zainal Abd Halim/Reuters) The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, who passed away Friday due to complications from a lung infection, elicited a series of gushing tributes from American leaders.

War Films and 'It' Girls: The Week in Pop-Culture Writing

Warner Bros. I Served in Iraq, and American Sniper Gets It Right. But It’s Still Not the War Film We Need.

How The Economist Chose Its First Female Editor-in-Chief

Matt Brown/Flickr Yesterday The Economist chose Zanny Minton Beddoes to be the first female editor-in-chief in its 171-year history.

SkyMall Remembered

The Releaf Neck Rest, available in SkyMall (SkyMall) SkyMall In-Flight Catalog Purveying bizarre inventions to captive, airborne, and potentially drunk consumers since 1989 Product Description: SkyMall In-Flight Catalog is a unique, revolutionary product that magically convinces people they need things that they didn’t know existed—or why!

Midazolam and the Supreme Court

Larry Downing/Reuters What changed? Last week, the state of Oklahoma executed Charles Warner after the Supreme Court refused to halt his execution while he appealed the constitutionality of the drugs used to kill him.

Why Can't Unions Keep Up With the Economy?

An SEIU rally in Los Angeles last fall (Nick Ut/AP) Last year may have been a banner year for job creation in U.S., but it was not a banner year for unions.

Two Young Officers on How the Country Let the Military Down, and Vice Versa

The Atlantic These letters are long, but I hope you'll find time to read and think about them. I'll save set-up comments for after the jump.

A Little Bot of Galactic Possibility

NASA The Andromeda Galaxy is so close, sometimes we mistake it for our own. Andromeda—or Messier 31, as it's known scientifically—is the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way.

A Deadly January in Ukraine

Manu Brabo/AP "Everything was agreed and signed in Minsk," Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, moments before he pushed for new sanctions against Russia.

The Blog Comment That Achieved an Internet Miracle

Nanny Snowflake/Flickr Last month, an improbable Internet exchange inspired many who noticed it to reconsider what's possible when debating politics online.

Who Deserves Credit for Lower Prices at the Pump?

Whitney Curtis/Reuters Washington can agree on one thing: People love low gas prices. But as prices continue to plunge even below the $2 level in some places, politicians are not jumping on the opportunity to take credit for the good news in the same way Republicans, for instance, criticized the White House when prices were twice as high.

Who Killed the Great American Songbook?

Riverhead Books/Wikimedia Commons It’s often considered the low point in Frank Sinatra’s career: the moment the singer growled, “Hot dog, woof!

Photos of the Week: 1/17-1/23

This week we have scenes of India's preparation for Republic Day, a new image of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, continued unrest in eastern Ukraine, a Chinese home-made mechanical horse, a yarmulke made of hair samples (to disguise it), K-Pop hopefuls in Seoul, a volcano that has been creating a new island near Tonga, and much more.

Why Musicians Disappear, Why They Come Back, and What Happens Next

Warp We're living in an era of musical miracles, with resurrections of messianic careers happening seemingly every few months.

Smart, Low-Income Students Who Shun Good Colleges

Beraldo Leal/Flickr When asked in a research survey why he didn’t apply to a selective U.S. college, one high-achieving, low-income student showed his misunderstanding of the commonly used term "liberal arts," which refers to schools that offer a broad range of arts and sciences: "I am not liberal," he wrote.