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Is It Ok to Torment Non-Player Characters in Video Games?

SUPPORT REQUEST: I’m playing a sim-style game, and the non-player characters that you deploy have particular skills, weaknesses, likes, and dislikes. So I sometimes put them in situations that I know will make them uncomfortable, like sending a guy who is afraid of...

Religious Exemptions for Vaccine Mandates Shouldn’t Exist

Reiss notes that in Connecticut, for example, the rate of religious opt-outs from school vaccine requirements grew from 1.7 to 2.7 percent between 2012 and 2019, even though there was no corresponding change in the state’s religious composition. In California, the...

How ‘Big Funeral’ Made the Afterlife So Expensive

“You can’t die these days because it’s too expensive,” Randy Hinojosa told Time last year. Hinojosa had just paid $15,000 for a funeral for his wife of 26 years, after she died of the coronavirus. Like thousands of families coping with unexpected pandemic funeral...

Why Skincare That Burns Is So Satisfying

The ritual goes a little bit like this. Once or twice a month, I prance expectantly into my little bathroom and greet my face in the mirror. In the private sanctum of this intimate space, I scrutinize my skin under a soft amber bulb. The lighting here is gentle and...

Humans Can’t Be the Sole Keepers of Scientific Knowledge

There’s an old joke that physicists like to tell: Everything has already been discovered and reported in a Russian journal in the 1960s, we just don’t know about it. Though hyperbolic, the joke accurately captures the current state of affairs. The volume of knowledge...

Climate Change Is the New Dot-Com Bubble

I had wondered what shape my midlife crisis would take. I don't drive, so a convertible was out. I don't want to learn the guitar or collect vintage tube amps. When I asked my wife whether I should have an affair, she just looked at the ceiling and then went back to...