Podcasts Are the New Xanax
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Podcasts Are the New Xanax

Infolimets.bizXanax and distance running
5.16.2017 | Ashley Kendal
Xanax and distance running
Podcasts Are the New Xanax

The first time this happened, I was listening to a TED Radio Hour podcast about the nature of time, and woke up eight hours later. I’d taken sleeping pills on and off since entering my 40s. But once I started listening to podcasts before bed, I didn’t need the pills anymore.

On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Trump Jr. met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in early June 2016. Trump Jr. initially told the paper that the meeting had covered only a dispute over adoption related to the Magnitsky Act, an American law meant to punish the current Russian regime for human-rights abuses. But three unnamed White House aides briefed on the meeting later told the Times that Trump Jr. had taken the meeting after being promised damaging information about Clinton.

Why it's so hard to talk about the worst problem in the world.

The ashes filled a black plastic box about the size of a toaster. It weighed three and a half pounds. I put it in a canvas tote bag and packed it in my suitcase this past July for the transpacific flight to Manila. From there I would travel by car to a rural village. When I arrived, I would hand over all that was left of the woman who had spent 56 years as a slave in my family’s household.

My habit peaked in the months leading up to the U.S. election, when I switched to a roster of political podcasts. I was so anxious about the election, hearing people analyze the news was the only thing that calmed me down.

“I am more than aware that Donald Trump did very well in the state of West Virginia, I got that,” the Vermont senator told a crowd inside a ho ballroom. “Donald Trump told the people that he was going to be a champion of the working class,” he said, then added. “I’m sorry to have to l you this, but I suspect most of you already know it, Donald Trump was not ling you the truth.”

The state of Connecticut has many nicknames. It is the Nutmeg State, the Constitution State, and America’s Country Club, while Hartford, its capital city, has been called the Nation’s Filing Cabinet. But as Connecticut grapples with a deep fiscal crisis, it might as well embrace another moniker: The Rorschach State. For the left and the right, it is the manifestation of each side’s greatest fears.

Still, my birthday is coming up, and I’m planning to give myself a special bedtime treat: a sleeping pill and a 40-minute podcast. Just this once, it can’t hurt.

America’s collective medical spending can be traced back to a very small group of people.

And as a mother of three with a full-time job, podcasts gave me the illusion of having a vibrant social life. I was constantly “meeting” new people. My favorite hosts started to seem like friends: I could detect small shifts in their moods, and l when they were flirting with guests.

Movies and TV shows were little help. Most were heavily produced, and usually arrived in France after a lag. But podcasts downloaded everywhere simultaneously. And many were essentially just long, unedited conversations. I could take a bath in Paris while listening to someone in Los Angeles complain about her dating life. Podcasts immersed me in colloquial English and put me back in the American zeitgeist.

I soon realized that my real-life friends were listening to podcasts too. “Terry sounds a little bored. I think she's not an animal person,” one ed me recently, while listening to Fresh Air host Terry Gross interview a wildlife photographer. (Gross perked up once the photographer described how being away at photo shoots affected his marriage.).

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—When Bernie Sanders spoke at a rally on Sunday afternoon to stop the Republican effort to dismantle Obamacare, he didn’t wait long to bring up President Trump.

Sure, most of my conversations soon consisted of small facts that I’d heard on a previous day’s podcast. But my obsession was educational. I was learning American history by listening to Presidential, which devoted an episode to each president.

At first, this seemed like a virtuous habit. Unlike the time sink of binge-watching a TV series, podcasts actually made me more efficient. Practically every dull activity—folding laundry, applying makeup—became tolerable when I did it while listening to a country singer describing his hardscrabble childhood, or a novelist defending her open marriage. ­­

A new study finds that thinking about far-off events in terms of days, rather than years, makes people get started sooner.

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Since his presidential campaign was first alleged by critics to have colluded with the Russian government to undermine Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump has been consistent—and unusually so—in steadfastly denying it. Now it seems clear that if his denials are true, it isn’t because Trump’s advisers were unwilling to collude. And that confirmation comes, surprisingly, from Trump’s own son and namesake, Donald Trump Jr.

Figures in politics get caught lying frequently, but seldom do they get caught so quickly, and with as much panache, as Donald Trump Jr. has been caught by The New York Times over the last three days. Twice now, the businessman has offered an account of a June 9 meeting at Trump Tower, only to see the paper quickly return with reporting that suggests his account was incomplete, inaccurate, or untruthful.

Soon after the election, I decided to go cold turkey, at least at night. I switched from podcasts to melatonin. My life felt eerily silent at first, and I had some sleepless nights. Eventually I found that it was enough to insert the earphones, plugged into nothing, before going to sleep. It was the equivalent of carrying around a pack of cigarettes without smoking them.

“I could take a bath in Paris while listening to someone in Los Angeles complain about her dating life.”

2017 by The Atlantic Monthly Group.

If Democrats want to win back the White House, Congress, and hundreds of seats lost in state legislatures, the party may need to convince voters who pulled the lever for Trump of this fundamental argument: That the president is not their champion, and never will be. Sanders, who posed a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary while running as a self-described “democratic socialist,” is doing his best to persuade them.

Labor unions and unskilled workers will sooner or later realize that “their government is not even trying to prevent wages from sinking or to prevent jobs from being exported,” he posited. And they will further realize that “suburban white-collar workers, themselves desperay afraid of being downsized, are not going to let themselves be taxed to provide social benefits for anyone else.” At that point, “something will crack,” he warned. “The nonsuburban electorate will decide that the system has failed and start looking for a strongman to vote for—someone willing to assure them that, once he is elected, the smug bureaucrats, tricky lawyers, overpaid bond salesmen, and postmodernist professors will no longer be calling the shots.”

This was partly because I’m an expatriate—an American living in Paris. I didn’t just miss specific people back home, I missed knowing what Americans were doing, thinking, and talking about. After more than a dozen years away, my cultural references were dated, and I often spoke in turn-of-the-century slang.

On the other hand, a strategy for addressing climate change is coming together. The cost of solar and wind energy are plunging worldwide ; carmakers are promising to take more of their fleet electric, and the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere from human activity has stabilized over the past three years. Decarbonizing will be an arduous and difficult global project—but technological development and government policy are finally bringing it into the realm of the possible.

Unlike actual friendships, which were tinged with jealousy and resentment, these were stress-free. A good podcast conversation was like a dinner party full of fascinating people, but without the risk of saying something stupid and embarrassing myself.

Procrastination is, in essence, stealing from yourself. The reason goals are so hard to reach, many psychologists think, is because each person believes they are really two people: Present Me and Future Me. And to most people, Future Me is much less important than Present Me. Present Me is the CEO of Me Corp, while Future Me is a lowly clerk.

“Instead of delaying gratification,” people “ act as if they prefer their current self’s needs and desires to those of their future self,” write psychologists Neil Lewis of the University of Michigan and Daphna Oyserman of the University of Southern California in a new study in Psychological Science. Why put that money in your 401(k) when you want those shoes now? Why not eat that cupcake today when swimsuit season is still a good six weeks away?

But the biggest, and most successful, bet in the last 10 years was made on 3-D movies—reviving a gimmick from Hollywood’s golden age, with the help of new technology that was pioneered for James Cameron’s 2009 smash hit Avatar. But even that approach is beginning to falter. Despite an increase in 3-D releases, the box-office market for that particular upcharge is falling as 3-D has gone from being a special experience to a perfunctory feature for every blockbuster. But this summer brings another potential savior from cinema’s yesteryear—the wide release of the director Christopher Nolan’s film Dunkirk on 70-millimeter film.

Donald Trump Jr. made clear he was willing to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton from a Russian lawyer in a June 2016 meeting.

While lots of attention is directed toward identifying the next great start-up, the defining tech-industry story of the last decade has been the rise of Apple and Google. In terms of wealth creation, there is no comparison. Eight years ago, neither one of them was even in the top 10 most valuable companies in the world, and their combined market value was less than $300 billion. Now, Apple and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have become the two most valuable companies, with a combined market capitalization of over $1.3 trillion. And increasingly, these two behemoths are starting to collide in various markets, from smartphones to home-audio devices to, according to speculation, automobiles.

Whichever company’s vision wins out will shape the future of the economy.

Here’s the first version: On Saturday, the Times reported that the president’s eldest son had met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in June. Trump Jr. said he did not know the name of the person he was meeting ahead of time, and that the meeting had been arranged by a friend (later revealed to be the music publicist Rob Goldstone).

I’m not an early adopter. I’ll only start wearing new styles of clothing once they’re practically out of date, and I won’t move into a neighborhood until it’s fully saturated with upscale coffee shops. I was the last person I know to download music and to stop paying for long-distance phone calls.

Like all addictions, podcasts helped until they didn’t. I was barely interacting with my husband. And I realized that I’d panic a little when I couldn’t find my favorite headphones, or when it was just me alone, without any voices in my head. Podcasts still lulled me to sleep, but I’d be awake again five hours later, needing to hear another one.

No one knows how to talk about climate change right now.

Why people with disabilities fear Medicaid cuts could cost them their freedom.

Twenty years ago, in a series of lectures on the history of American civilization, the philosopher Richard Rorty offered a prediction. His words languished in relative obscurity until the unexpected rise of Donald Trump made them seem prescient.

Conservatives say the state has a tax problem. Liberals say it has an inequality problem. What it really has is a city problem.

Podcasts were different. I took to them instantly, or at least as soon as I noticed them on my computer. Before long, listening to podcasts was almost medicinal.

Last summer, I discovered the most important advantage of podcasts over people: You can doze off in the middle of a podcast conversation without offending anyone.

The Vermont senator is making a pitch to the working class in a bid to defeat the Republican effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.

My challenge was finding the right before-bed podcast. It couldn’t have jarring theme music. And it had to be inligent enough to lift me out of my own thoughts and worries, but not so gripping that it would keep me awake. True-crime series had too much suspense. This American Life was simply too interesting.

Faced with a series of ever-more-damaging reports about his meeting with a Kremlin-connected lawyer, the president’s son keeps changing his account.

She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was.

Twenty years ago, Richard Rorty warned that “a spectatorial, disgusted, mocking Left” would give rise to a populist demagogue. Is it ready now to take his advice?

Updated on July 5 at 4:47 p.m. ET.

Christopher Nolan’s war epic will be rolled out nationwide in 70-millimeter projection, which could be an intriguing answer to audiences’ declining interest in 3-D.

And there was something vampiric about devouring a person’s whole life in an 80-minute podcast interview, then moving on to someone else. Increasingly, I retained little of what I heard. I’d spend a gripping half-hour learning about the presidency of Martin Van Buren, but the next day I couldn’t l you anything about him.

The ideal podcast was the adult equivalent of a bedtime story: older people with calm voices, discussing a topic that mildly interested me. Think David Axelrod interviewing Madeleine Albright about her career, or a B-list comedian explaining how she overcame her cocaine addiction. When I found a podcast that worked, I’d listen to it night after night, until I practically knew it by heart.

The science behind that cringeworthy feeling.

I couldn’t fall asleep to podcasts that made me anxious about my social status or had a party-you’re-not-invited-to vibe. The various Slate Gabfests were out: They featured female writers in my exact age and demographic, only smarter.

Over the last decade, Hollywood has tried to come up with new fixes for a fundamental problem: Fewer people are going to the movies, with actual ticket sales last year at their lowest since the 1920s. There are a lot of ways for studios, and theaters, to cover for that revenue loss—raising ticket prices, serving food to customers at their seats, offering more comfortable armchairs for a premium. One nightmarishly synergistic strategy is a pivot to toys, recently announced by Warner Bros., which will try to further capitalize on the marketing potential of all its family films.

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Despite being the richest state in the country, by per-capita income, Connecticut’s budget is a mess. Its pensions are woefully under-funded. Its deficit is projected to surpass $2 billion, or 12 percent of its total annual tax revenue. Hartford is approaching bankruptcy. Conservatives look at Connecticut and see a liberal dystopia, where high taxes have ruined the economy. Liberals, on the other hand, see a capitalist horror show, where the rich dwell in gilded mansions, ensconced in sylvan culs-de-sac, while nearby towns face rising poverty and bankruptcy. Why is America’s richest state floundering?

I don’t have an idea about where to begin, and I write about it professionally. On the one hand, the natural consequences of climate change seem increasingly severe and devastating. Just in the past two years, I’ve written about how global warming will probably cause more mega-droughts in Arizona and New Mexico; how dangerously sweltering summer days are three times likelier to occur today than they were in 1900 ; and how even slightly warmer oceans will destroy the Great Barrier Reef.

Xanax and distance running