gone fishing (down rabbit holes).

gone fishing (down rabbit holes).

A few recs from our editor while the work is on hiatus. Don’t worry – we’ll be back next week.

If you’d been expecting some new views of the universe in 2018, think again.

NASA delays launch of the world’s most powerful space telescope, again

Thuy Ong

“NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has experienced another delay. The telescope will now launch between March and June of 2019, instead of the previously planned launch of October 2018. The space agency made the announcement after a new scheduled assessment, noting that the delay was due to the component integration and testing taking longer than expected.”


For those of us starting to feel morally icky watching football, the 2017-2018 NBA season is just about a month away.

Six Things to Know About Steve Ballmer, Youth Basketball Coach

Zach Schwartz

“Three years ago I heard that my old basketball coach was getting back into the sport. Under most circumstances, this wouldn’t be something worth discussing, but in third grade, my Boys & Girls Clubs basketball team in Bellevue, Washington, was coached by Clippers owner and then–Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. Long before he was the animated (and sweaty) character raving around courtside at Staples Center, he was the animated (and sweaty) coach of the Bellevue Beavers.”


They head down rabbit holes at the New Yorker, too…

The Repressive, Authoritarian Soul of “Thomas the Tank Engine & Friends”

Jia Tolentino

“When I was a child, I could spend all day at Shining Time Station, the fictive train depot with its own eponymous TV show, where Thomas the Tank Engine and all his plate-faced locomotive friends worked and lived. To my undeveloped brain, each episode seemed like a beautiful daydream, in which an orderly, magical, trance-inducing universe ticked on under bluebird skies. For company, there was the Conductor, voiced first by Ringo Starr and later by George Carlin, and then the trains: gentle blue Edward, moody green Henry, big strong Gordon, little red James, and, of course, Thomas, with his pointed eyebrows and perpetual smile. The show, which included segments that had first aired on a British show called “Thomas & Friends,” began airing on PBS in 1989, and each episode opened with a Joe Cocker-ish theme song: “Reach for the steam, reach for the whistle, go where the railway runs/ Reach for the words, reach for the story, follow the rainbow sun.” I would hum along. How could I possibly have imagined that, decades later, I would get lost in obscure corners of the Internet where people interpret the show—at length—as a depiction of a premodern corporate-totalitarian dystopia?”


In the new podcast from Gimlet Media, co-hosts Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings gleefully explore all the beautiful, complicated dimensions of Black life.

The Nod’s “I Want That Purple Stuff”

Brittany Luse and Eric Eddings

“Jolly Ranchers. Skittles. Gatorade. No matter what, Eric always goes for the purple stuff. This week, he uncovers the deliciously deep roots of his love for grape flavor. Plus, Eric challenges Brittany to eat an unhealthy amount of peanut butter… all for the culture.”


Saturday Night Live returns for its 43rd season this Saturday:

header image: "engineers clean mirror with carbon dioxide snow," nasa goddard space flight center / flickr

this is not a gimmick

this is not a gimmick

forget the real world, long live "the real world"

forget the real world, long live "the real world"