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should you buy the new iphone xs?

the new iphone xs is expensive. like last year’s iphone x, it costs $999. the larger xs max costs $100 more—and if you opt for additional storage capacity, its price could reach nearly $1,500. with the days of carrier-subsidized hardware purchases but a shiny memory, that’s a lot of money to pay out of pocket. it makes the question “should i buy this year’s iphone?” all the more important. for some, the answer is a resounding no. unless you’re the most devoted apple aficionado, purchasers of the 2017 iphone x don’t need to upgrade. with apple’s first $1,000 iphone, the company set the stage for devices meant to last longer than the old two-year renewal cycle. the device has an excellent camera, speedy processor, and s...




will christine blasey ford testify on monday? here’s the current state of play.

in response to christine blasey ford’s allegation of sexual assault against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh, senate republicans offered the california professor a slot to testify this coming monday about the incident that took place when they were both teenagers. at first, this appeared to be a welcome inclusion of ford’s experience into the public accounting of kavanaugh’s confirmation, one that republicans did not seem certain to allow at first, but the strategic ground quickly shifted leaving a cat’s cradle of motives, requirements, and ultimatums from all involved that has left ford’s participation at the monday hearing in doubt. as of wednesday evening, here’s what the key players want and where they stand. after he...




professor convicted of using carbon monoxide-filled yoga ball to murder wife, daughter

a professor in a high-profile murder trial in hong kong has been found guilty of murdering his wife and daughter by poisoning them with a carbon monoxide-filled yoga ball. on wednesday, a jury concluded that khaw kim-sun, an anesthesiology professor at the chinese university of hong kong, had intentionally placed the deadly yoga ball in the car three years ago, killing his wife, wong siew-fing, 47, and daughter lily li-ling khaw, 16. khaw, 53, had been having an affair with a student at the time. according to the new york times, khaw and the student had been working on an experiment to test the effect of carbon monoxide on rabbits at the time. he was seen filling two yoga balls with the lethal gas, and one of the balls was found, still...




democratic candidate “iron stache” randy bryce’s own brother attacked him in a nasty campaign ad

last summer, union steelworker and congressional hopeful randy bryce became a progressive folk hero with the help of his mother, who starred in his opening campaign ad that went viral. now, the man known as the “iron stache” is on the defensive because of another family member: his brother james bryce, a milwaukee police officer. oof. james never utters his brother’s name in his 30-second testimonial—the on-screen graphics do that work for him—but it’s nonetheless a brutal blow. “i don’t think people want to be represented by someone who’s shown contempt for those in law enforcement,” james tells the camera before endorsing his brother’s republican opponent in wisconsin’s 1st congressional district, which is curre...




why the feud between asia argento and rose mcgowan is so incredibly dispiriting

two of the biggest names in the #metoo movement are in the middle of a very public feud. for weeks, asia argento and rose mcgowan, both of whom accused harvey weinstein of sexual assault last fall, have been sending out tweets and press releases accusing one another of civil and criminal offenses. it started when mcgowan announced that her partner, model rain dove, had shared with law enforcement officials possible evidence of argento’s alleged sexual abuse of a 17-year-old boy in 2013, when argento was 37. on tuesday, argento announced she was suing mcgowan and dove for “deception, fraud, coercion, and libel.” the argento-mcgowan friendship, short-lived as it was, had been forged in the crucible of shared trauma. since coming out a...




why is tiger woods even here?

it was on tiger woods’ seventh hole, or somewhere around his second or third shirt of the opening round of the bmw championship, that i knew i’d shown up for the right tournament. after hitting his drive in the fairway on the par 5, he hit a 3-iron approach from 230 yards. the ball, which wasn’t easy to track through the haze, faded toward the pin for about a second before it became clear that it was on a perfect line. it would settle just over 5 feet from the cup. a few minutes later, he rolled it in for an eagle. roars accompanied each stroke. the golfer, soaked, was pleased. this eagle brought woods to 5-under through seven holes. after his ninth hole, which he also birdied, a gaggle of writers decided to leave the pleasantly ai...




return to sender: no more mailing books to inmates in pennsylvania

on sept. 5, the pennsylvania department of corrections announced a host of new restrictions on the way its inmates can interact with the outside world as part of what corrections secretary john wetzel called an “all-hands-on-deck approach” to prison safety. part of that “all-hands-on-deck approach”: banning direct book donations to inmates. previously, approved organizations on the outside could mail books or other publications directly to inmates, subject to inspection and approval by corrections officials. (for example, officials could deny publications they determined to be obscene, “racially inflammatory,” or potentially dangerous.) now, no such direct donations are permitted. instead, the department of corrections says i...




coal over climate

listen to slate’s the gist: slate plus members: get your ad-free podcast feed. listen to the gist via apple podcasts, overcast, spotify, stitcher, or google play. on the gist, the latest in inane trump statements. climate change is bigger than any one of us, including the president of the united states. given his backward policies and denials of scientific fact, he deserves his share of criticism in the aftermath of hurricane florence. climate scientist andrea schumacher explains which aspects of hurricane sea...




sesame street proves bert and ernie aren’t gay—proves it—by posting “the ding along song”

sesame street’s latest move in a controversy over whether bert and ernie are gay was to passive-aggressively post a music video containing the two characters titled, “bert and ernie sing the ding along song!” on their youtube channel. bert and ernie have come to be seen as gay icons for some, even appearing snuggling on a couch together on a 2013 new yorker cover after the fall of the defense of marriage act, a federal law that had previously outlawed gay marriage, but sesame street has insisted in the past that the characters are just friends. however, in a recent interview with queerty, mark saltzman, who joined sesame street as a writer in 1984, told the blog that he had always conceptualized the characters as a couple, saying, ...




the great endumbening

in november, the european tv channel arte aired an hourlong documentary, demain, tous crétins?—tomorrow, everyone’s an idiot?—on a topic that would seem to be of great importance. it starts with a london-based researcher, edward dutton, who has documented decades-long declines in average iqs across several western countries, including france and germany. “we are becoming stupider,” announces dutton at the program’s start. “this is happening. it’s not going to go away, and we have to try to think about what we’re going to do about it.” the same documentary has also been released in the u.s., with the less provocative title brains in danger?. (it’s now available for streaming on amazon prime.) american consumers have ...




what if james corden, not constance wu, was the star of crazy rich asians?

henry golding’s ascent to superstardom over the course of just a couple of months has been fascinating to watch. first, he had a breakout role in crazy rich asians as gallant heartthrob nick young, followed by a part in paul feig’s delightfully bonkers a simple favor. and he already has his next two projects lined up: next year, he’ll play the lead in hong khaou’s monsoon, and then he’ll star alongside emilia clarke in a holiday romance, again directed by feig. that’s great news for golding, but not such great news for james corden, who encountered an unexpected obstacle to getting an interview with the newly minted movie star on the late late show: his mother. in a behind-the-scenes sketch, corden tries to persuade michelle y...




3d-printing gun pioneer cody wilson charged with sexual assault of a minor

for years now, cody wilson has been known as the notorious pioneer of the homemade gun movement for fighting the u.s. government for the right to publish instructions for 3d-printed firearms online. on wednesday, he made headlines for another reason: he was charged with sexual assault of an underage girl whom he allegedly came into contact with on the website sugardaddymeet.com. according to the arrest warrant, wilson met the girl at a coffee shop in austin, texas, before taking her to a hotel, where he allegedly sexually assaulted her and then paid her $500. wilson is 31, and while we don’t know the exact age of the girl, the warrant says she is under 17. the car wilson picked up the girl in is registered to his homemade gun business, ...




sen. jeff flake calls donald trump jr.’s joke about brett kavanaugh’s accuser “sickening”

donald trump jr. is, unofficially, his father’s liaison to crude, internet-based “alt-right” trump supporters. in this role, he made the following instagram post about the letter that christine blasey ford sent to sen. dianne feinstein accusing supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school:* ha ha ha! one person who’s not amused is republican sen. jeff flake: flake is still probably going to vote to confirm kavanaugh if ford doesn’t agr...




paul manafort’s lawyers may have broken the law

last week, paul manafort signed a cooperation agreement with special counsel robert mueller and pleaded guilty to charges that included conspiracy related to his lobbying on behalf of a pro-russian ukrainian political party without registering with the united states government. one fascinating and underexplored thread that has emerged from the agreement is the apparent role his attorneys from skadden, arps, slate, meagher & flom llp played in aiding his criminal conspiracy. cnn reported on friday that mueller had referred an investigation into work done by skadden lawyers—including greg craig, who served as white house counsel under president barack obama—to the u.s. attorney’s office for the southern district of new york. we don’t ...




miss peggy and kermit the frog are the a star is born remake team we’ve been waiting for

oh, the internet, how it baffles and delights in almost equal parts. twitter user @kevintporter—a writer and comedian who runs the good christian fun podcast, which their website describes as exploring the “strange upside-down world of christian pop culture”—posted this gem of internet pop culture: yes, that’s a mashup of the audio from the trailer of bradley cooper’s directorial debut, a star is born, with a collage of muppet productions memorabilia, coming together to create the amazingly weird and extremely delightful a star is boar. obviou...




tech barons are the new media barons

listen to if then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via apple podcasts, overcast, spotify, stitcher, or google play. on this week’s if then, will oremus and april glaser talk about a literal moonshot. spacex ceo elon musk has announced the first private customer who is signed up for a trip around earth’s moon, possibly as early as 2023. he’ll be bringing along some surprising passengers. meanwhile, the justice department is investigating musk’s other company, tesla, over an ill-advised tweet. next, will and april discuss a new twitter feature that brings back the classic reverse-chronological timeline. the hosts are then joined by margaret sullivan, the media columnist for the washington pos...




searches for “toad” porn have skyrocketed following the trump penis revelation

the saga of a porn star comparing president trump’s penis to “the mushroom character in mario kart” continues to unfold with an exciting and yet somehow entirely predictable new development: people are going looking for toad porn now. a representative from porn-sharing website youporn tells slate that since the, uh, evocative description of trump’s penis from stormy daniels’ memoir became public, searches for the adult film actress have increased by 477 precent, which is to be expected. but the site has also experienced a 310 percent increase in searches for the term toad. this begs the question: how many people were searching for “toad” pornography before daniels’ revelation? i have reached out to youporn’s communica...




the angle: cowering men edition

running scared: lili loofbourow wonders when the subtext of conversations about sexual assault—that we care much more about men’s suffering than women’s, that we don’t really mind if rape happens—became so glaringly obvious. “i never imagined it would get this explicit,” she writes—and sees the shift as evidence that men are terrified. keep your belief: because so many huge things have happened and donald trump is still president (and hasn’t yet ...




republicans are getting away with it

listen carefully enough from any point within the beltway, and you’ll hear a faint smacking sound in the distance as senate republican staff repeatedly exchange leaping high-fives. their plan to pretend to vet christine blasey ford’s sexual assault allegation against supreme court nominee brett kavanaugh is working. they said they looked forward to hearing her public testimony—they didn’t—and on a partisan basis determined a process: in one week, with prepared testimony due by friday morning, with only two witnesses called, and without outside investigation of the allegations ahead of time. in other words, giving her a chance “to be heard” while keeping within the schedule and bounds of their political interests. the rushed...




i’m not totally freaked out by trump’s trade war with china—yet

donald trump’s trade war with china is escalating, and fast. to briefly recap this week’s plot developments: on monday, the white house announced that it would place tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of chinese imports, on top of the $50 billion it has already hit. incensed, officials in beijing to vowed to retaliate with tariffs of their own and hinted that they might cancel a planned round of trade negotiations. our president then warned that if the chinese retaliated, he’d hit another $267 billion of the country’s goods with tariffs. “we don’t want to do it, but we’ll probably have no choice,” trump said, a bit unconvincingly (he clearly wants to do it). and to think, it’s only wednesday. china sells jus...