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Trump Ruins Irony, Too

Two weeks ago, Donald Trump tweeted that Barack Obama “had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower.” He has yet to produce evidence supporting the allegation, and last week, his press secretary, Sean Spicer, retreated from the claim by referring to “wiretapping” in air quotes. Because the mention of wiretapping in the tweet (in reality, just one of the mentions in a series of tweets) fell between quotation marks, he argued,
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What Biracial People Know

After the nation’s first black president, we now have a white president with the whitest and malest cabinet since Ronald Reagan’s. His administration immediately made it a priority to deport undocumented immigrants and to deny people from certain Muslim-majority nations entry into the United States, decisions that caused tremendous blowback. What President Trump doesn’t seem to have considered is that diversity doesn
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Microbes, a love story

This Valentine’s Day, as you bask in the beauty of your beloved, don’t just thank his or her genes and your good fortune; thank microbes. Research on the microbes that inhabit our bodies has progressed rapidly in recent years. Scientists think that these communities, most of which live in the gut, shape our health in myriad ways, affecting our vulnerability to allergic diseases like hay fever, how much weight we put
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Cashing In on Climate Change

You’ve saved your money and amassed a surplus. You’ve read a few books on investing and gleaned the basics — the importance of diversification, of investing for the long term, and of buying and holding rather than trying to beat the market. But you also know that human-caused climate change will (if it hasn’t already) start eroding economic output. Extreme weather, droughts and crop failures could mean mass migration
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The trouble with Tylenol and Pregnancy

If you’re a pregnant woman and have a backache or headache, or a fever, your options for over-the-counter treatment basically boil down to one medication: the pain reliever acetaminophen, better known as Tylenol. Doctors advise against using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen and aspirin, during late pregnancy because they can compromise fetal circulation and have other adverse consequences. But evidenc
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Hallucinogen therapy is coming

Three years later Daniel Kreitman still chokes up when he talks about what he saw, and how it changed him. Kreitman, an upholsterer by trade, had taken psilocybin, a hallucinogen derived from mushrooms, in a trial at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine for nicotine addiction. He was 52, and he’d smoked between one and two packs a day for nearly 40 years. After his first psilocybin session, his urge to smoke w
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Can (chemical) castration regrow the immune system?

The thymus is a pinkish-gray organ that sits just below the sternum. It functions as a school for your immune system’s T cells, creating them from blood stem cells, then educating them to seek and destroy infections such as viruses, bacteria and fungi as well as cancer cells. But the thymus naturally shrinks throughout life, and that largely corresponds with the body’s declining ability to fight off pathogens. Resear
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Why big scary predators are good for your health

Every year, at least 30,000 people — and possibly 10 times that — are infected with the bacterium that causes Lyme disease, most in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Symptoms can include fatigue, joint pain, memory problems and even temporary paralysis. In a small minority of cases, the malaise can persist for many months. So it’s worrisome that in recent decades, Lyme cases have surged, nearly quadrupling in Michigan
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How woodpeckers will save football — Nautilus

In 2007, David Smith, a doctor of internal medicine and founder of a company that makes wound dressings, gave a presentation at a medical conference in Maryland. Afterward an audience member, worried by mounting reports of traumatic brain injury from blasts among American soldiers, mentioned, of all things, woodpeckers. If someone could figure out how woodpeckers do it—they slam their beaks into trees thousands of ti
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