Google joins a group of major tech companies in pushing back against Hong Kong’s new security law

Google is the latest company to say it will stop processing Hong Kong government requests for user data. The technology giant joins Facebook and Twitter in pushing back against a new national security law that went into effect earlier this month and could quash free speech and dissent in the region. The pushback also represents a rare moment when big American tech companies are contesting China’s tight grip on information in the country.

“Last Wednesday, when the law took effect, we paused production on any new data requests from Hong Kong authorities, and we’ll continue to review the details of …

Covid-19 cases are rising, but deaths are falling. What’s going on?

There is something confounding about the US’s new coronavirus spikes: Cases are rising, but the country is seeing its lowest death counts since the pandemic first exploded.

The numbers are genuinely strange to the naked eye: On July 3, the US reported 56,567 new Covid-19 cases, a record high. On the same day, 589 new deaths were reported, continuing a long and gradual decline. We haven’t seen numbers that low since the end of March.

When laypeople observe those contradictory trends, they might naturally have a follow-up question: If deaths are not increasing along with cases, then why can’t …

Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries is different from the original. But one episode restores its pulpy aesthetic.

Netflix’s new Unsolved Mysteries revival occupies an interesting position within the true crime zeitgeist as it tries to serve two finicky masters.

In one corner, we have fans of the original 1987 series, which ran for 14 seasons and more than 500 episodes before petering out in 2010. These fans love the original series for its slightly campy ’80s aesthetic, its often quirky cases mixed with frequently eerie reenactments, all overseen by host Robert Stack’s famous trench coat and dusky-voiced narration.

In another corner, a new generation of true crime fans who’ve mostly cut their teeth on serious presentations of …

The Supreme Court decides not to make the Electoral College even worse

Under Monday’s unanimous Supreme Court decision in Chiafalo v. Washington, states may remove or sanction members of the Electoral College if those electors go rogue and defy the will of the state’s voters.

The case arose out of a peculiar effort by a handful of Democratic members of the Electoral College to deny the presidency to Donald Trump. Three members of the Electoral College from the state of Washington cast electoral votes for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, rather than Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, in the hope that a critical mass of electors from other states would …

How California went from a coronavirus success story to a worrying new hot spot

A few months ago, California looked like a success story in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. As New York state’s coronavirus outbreak reached its peak, California’s Covid-19 death rate was less than a tenth of New York’s.

In recent weeks, however, California has taken a turn for the worse. Its total coronavirus cases are up more than 90 percent over the past two weeks. The test positivity rate — an indicator of how widespread infection is, as well as whether an area is conducting enough testing — is increasing, too. Hospitalizations are also rising, jumping by more