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The Highlight

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    “Friends” and the illusion of perfect adult friendshipsThe TV show sold us an idealized vision of these relationships. For young adults, the real thing is far harder to find.
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    The playing fieldAnti-trans bills purport to address “fairness” in sports. But sports have never been fair.
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    The Fairness IssueTogether, the pandemic and the death of George Floyd revealed to all Americans the rampant inequities and stratifications many face.
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    The last frontier in modern romance is moneyAs dating and marriage evolve, so is the way couples are splitting finances.
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    What we owe and are owedKiese Laymon on Black revision, repayment, and renewal.
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    How can we make it right? What the world’s religions have to say about justice.From a Buddhist to a humanist, seven faith leaders weigh in on building a better world.
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    The battle for the future of “gig” workRide-sharing companies are pushing to make a third category of “independent” worker the law of the land.
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    Why Do We Care How Smart Animals Are?Intelligence plays a role in how we treat them. Maybe it shouldn’t.
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    The Wild Frontier of Animal WelfareShould humans try to protect all creatures? Should we care whether they live good lives? Some philosophers and scientists have an unorthodox answer.
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    The very cute, totally disturbing tale of the American “It” dogHow the quest to own the tiniest, most Instagram-worthy and low-maintenance pup has bred a world of problems.
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    The Hog BaronHow Iowa’s largest hog producer courted power, turned farming into a numbers game, and transformed the American heartland.
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    HomecomingCOVID-19 would take thousands of older Americans in nursing homes. Desperate that his ailing father would not be among them, one writer bounded home.
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    How will we remember?What a memorial for Covid-19 victims should look like, and what it would mean for our grief, according to architects and the bereaved
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    How an unpaid bill can lead to prisonDebtors’ prison might sound arcane. But this comic explains how forms of them exist in America today.
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    An unholy unionWith a struggling economy and few work prospects, Bessemer, Alabama, has been called an “unlikely” place for an epic union battle with Amazon.
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    Here’s what the “Black tax” does to so many families — including mineAs a money coach and a Black woman, I’ve seen the racial wealth disparity firsthand.
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    The impact of inheritanceAs the boomers age, a “great wealth transfer” may be on the horizon. Will a gift from grandma save the middle class?
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    There are no easy answers on canceling student debtFrom mental health to home-buying, there are myriad ways education loans can affect lives.
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    The danger of the new skepticism“Question everything, right?” is the new mantra for some. But social echo chambers have propelled “healthy” skepticism into surreal terrain.
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    Performing to an empty Times SquareLife was never easy for New York’s costumed performers. What happens when the tourists disappear?
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    The wild and irresistibly saucy tale of the curry con manJ. Ranji Smile served Indian food and tall tales to a hungry American public. Was he the first “celebrity chef” or a crook? The truth is complicated.
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    To all the clothes I’ve loved beforeReconciling the sweatpants-wearing me with the fashion-loving woman I was just a year ago is an existential crisis like no other.
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    Such a pretty faceCulture tells us bodies like mine are impossible to love. Don’t believe it.
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    What you’re feeling is griefFor some, the tools we have been using to cope with unprecedented loss and stress are no longer working.
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    Poems for a new year7 poets — including Saeed Jones, Alex Dimitrov, and Patty Crane — meditate on the year we’ve had, the one ahead, and our dark, persistent past.
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    New crystal, new you?As crystals’ soothing popularity continues, one — carnelian — attracts those in search of self-improvement and positivity. Is it too good to be true?
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    Class of 2021: Mondaire Jones on his “jarring” start as a first-term lawmakerThe New York Democrat discusses the growing progressive movement in his party, and how the US Capitol riot is shaping his priorities.
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    New and soon-to-be parents on choosing to have kids in dark times“Maybe it’s like a psychological trick to make yourself feel better, but I don’t regret it.”
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    The new utopiaFor a certain jet-setting sect, wide-open spaces with views, few Covid-19 cases, and the freedom to go maskless are all the rage. Who pays the price?
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    The convenience of American amnesiaAs a new president is ushered in, calls to move on underscore a truth: quietly abiding our ugliest elements is the American way.
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    The Highlight’s best reads of the yearThese stories have a remarkable richness — not in spite of the pandemic, but because of it.
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    Sesame Street, 2020, and me: A New York storyThe city I loved was shut down this year. I found comfort in the beloved TV show’s idealized version of it.
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    A requiem for the Twitter presidencyHow Trump blurred the lines between politics and persona in ways that will reverberate for years.
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    The pandemic is forcing women out of the paid workforce in drovesA comic on how —between child care and homeschooling — hour for hour, women’s time is becoming worth less. It could take years to recover lost ground.
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    2020 was a time warpWas it a year, a day, or a millennium? Science offers clues to why it feels like all of the above.
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    What was 2020? For me, it was video games.1,200 hours later, I regret nothing.
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    I was always terrified of wasting time. A cancer diagnosis made me reconsider.Faced with the possibility I’d have no future at all, I abandoned lofty goals and momentum and found something far richer.
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    On WaitingRacism takes its toll in stolen days, months, years. Tired of the time taken away from me, I decided to leave America behind.
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    He was arrested for marijuana 17 years ago. Now it’s legal.States face an urgent call to expunge, or erase, minor pot convictions — a move even the Biden-Harris campaign has supported.
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    The Please Touch Museum and children’s museums everywhere wonder: What now?The Please Touch Museum and children’s museums everywhere wonder: What now?
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    Who are museums for?When the marble corridors feel like fences.
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    The joy and uneasiness of an empty museumWith tourists nowhere to be found, this is the eerie new reality of New York’s cultural institutions.
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    If museums want to diversify, they’ll have to change. A lot.2020’s racial reckoning has rocketed through elite cultural institutions. Undoing old patterns means untangling nearly everything.
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    Plight at the MuseumFacing twin American crises, four museum directors share their vision and hopes for the future.
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    A millennial moved back in with her parents. Her mom wants her to stay forever.52 percent of US adults under 30 are now living at home, many because of Covid-19. Here’s how it’s going for one family.
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    Home, bittersweet homeCan a single place — one that’s failed us in the past — squeeze in everything it takes to live a life?
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    The 6 types of tidy people: A comicWe’re all homebodies now. And, no, it does not spark joy.
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    The new maximalismThe new maximalism
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    What “home for the holidays” means during a pandemicWhat “home for the holidays” means during a pandemic
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    Kamala Harris, Jill Biden, and the national embrace of stepmothersKamala Harris, Jill Biden, and the national embrace of stepmothers
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