Articles from The Atlantic

The People Named for Fictional Characters

Once upon a time, there were three sisters named Meg, Jo, and Amy, but they’re not the sisters you’re thinking of. For starters, the oldest sister’s name is actually Laurie Jo (full name Laurie Jo Lesser Hodgson), while Meg (Lesser Roberts) and Amy (Lesser Courage) are twins. They are not the characters from Louisa May Alcott’s famous book about sisters, Little Women, but they were named for those characters, in a roundabout fashion.

The Most Exciting Films at Sundance Were Made by Women

A few days into my movie-crammed expedition to the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, I had an idle thought that I realized was a surprising one: I had yet to watch a film directed by a man. That’s the result of careful and inclusive programming efforts from America’s premiere independent film festival, which has been a crucial launchpad for many filmmakers and stars over the decades.

The Outsize Influence of Your Middle-School Friends

Early in 2010, the year we moved to Hong Kong, our three boys were 11, eight, and six. When we sat them down to tell them we’d be moving there for a few years, we tried to sell it as a challenging adventure. Their responses were mixed. Jake was anxious. Alex, our baby, was excited. But Matthew, our middle son, was inconsolable. He was having none of it.

“What about my friends!” he cried.

We tried to reassure him.

“You’ll be back … you’ll have your family … you’ll make new friends.”

In a Global Crisis, Maybe Don’t Turn to Twitter

A few minutes before 11 p.m. on January 20, Eric Fiegl-Ding was pretty much just another guy on the internet. Sure, he is a Harvard-affiliated public-health researcher who lives in Washington, D.C. and has two Ph.D.s, but his account was nothing special. He had about 2,000 followers—a modest count on the scale that reaches into the millions—and his average tweet got around one retweet and five likes.

Due-Process Rights Don’t Apply in an Impeachment Trial

Of all the arguments of President Donald Trump’s impeachment defense, one of the least compelling is the claim that impeachment proceedings have violated his right to due process.

Trump’s lawyers hammered away at this theme both in the response to articles of impeachment they filed with the Senate on January 20 and during their opening remarks in the Senate trial over the weekend.

The Deceptively Simple Number Sparking Coronavirus Fears

When a new disease emerges, health organizations turn to a seemingly simple number to gauge whether the outbreak will spread. It’s called the basic reproduction number—R0, pronounced R-nought—and though useful for decision makers, it’s a nightmare for public communication. In brief, R0 is the average number of people who will catch the disease from a single infected person, in a population that’s never seen the disease before.