Baratunde Thurston’s Work Diary: At the Intersection of Tech, Race and Society

Since publishing “How to Be Black,” his best-selling 2012 satirical memoir about black identity in America, Baratunde Thurston has built himself into a one-man multimedia company. In recent years, his thoughts on race and technology have powered email newsletters (“Recommentunde,” with tips about what to read and stream), podcasts (“Spit,” about the surprising implications of…

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Take It to 11

Good morning. I’ve spent the week making like Danny Meyer, the restaurateur, who many nights makes it his business to visit the dining rooms he maintains across the city, even as his Shake Shack empire expands across the nation. Of course I don’t own any restaurants. (That would be hilarious.) But this week The Times…

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Sichuan Food, Bracing and Measured, in Brooklyn

At Birds of a Feather in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, a bowl of slippery, feather-light pork won tons in chile oil has a red ring suspended around its edge that, to the spice-averse, may look like a warning. But the heat arrives gently, the oil used sparingly in a special sauce that’s more sweet and tangy than…

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Natalie Portman Shoots for the Stars and Loses Her Mind

As a kid with a precocious mind for science — she made it to the Intel competition semifinals in high school, after all — Natalie Portman dreamed of becoming an astronaut. But acting eventually grounded her among less celestial stars. So the role of Lucy Cola, whose encounter with the vastness of the universe during…

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On Again, Off Again, and With a Nudge, Now On Forever

Jessica Muscio and Doug Davis took a less traditional route to marriage. First came attraction and friendship — and then came love, children and a house. In between were a few breakups. “I wasn’t ready to be vulnerable,” said Mr. Davis, an entertainment and music lawyer who is a son of the venerable music executive…

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5 Stops on Germany’s Whiskey Trail

Among drinks enthusiasts, Germany is famous for producing some of the world’s best beers. And a few of the country’s valleys have attained cult status among wine lovers — in particular, Mosel, Rheingau and the Ahr. German schnapps are pretty much a known quantity, while the country’s herbal bitters have an even broader recognition, or…

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Medicare Shopping Season Is Almost Here

If you’re enrolled in Medicare but worry about the cost of health care, your chance to do something about it is right around the corner. Most people enroll in Medicare when they become eligible at age 65. But every fall, they have the opportunity to change their coverage during an enrollment season that runs from…

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Sasheer Zamata Finds Humor at the A.C.L.U.

Sasheer Zamata, the actress, stand-up comedian and former “Saturday Night Live” player, doesn’t think of herself as a political comedian. “I talk about my life, and being a woman, and being a black woman in America,” she said. But on a bright morning in early fall, she tucked her leopard-print high heels under the table…

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Regeneration: A Miracle, Against the Odds

“What should I be for Halloween when I’m bald?” I asked my 7-year-old, casually tossing a long, gray-streaked handful of my hair to the ground. Sitting across from me under the trees, my daughter took videos with my phone while I clipped and shaved and attempted silly banter. “How about a hairless cat?” she suggested…

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Going Back to China in Search of My Daughter’s Secret Past

Seven thousand miles was a long way to go for a tiny scrap of paper. The note was pinned to my daughter’s sweater when she was found at seven weeks old on a bridge in Yixing, China. That’s what I had been told by the adoption coordinator there who had placed her in my arms.…

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