A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor

“Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.

Editorial: Why Microsoft Surface isn’t growing after seven years of trying

Across seven years of Microsoft’s Surface experiment in designing and selling hardware, the company still hasn’t found a breakout hit product. It now offers more products than ever—six major product lines, compared to the two it started with at the end of 2012. Yet its revenues have barely budged across the last decade. This quarter, Surface sales fell 4 percent over the year-ago quarter. 

John Coltrane’s ‘Giant Steps’ – The most feared song in jazz, explained

John Coltrane, one of jazz history’s most revered saxophonists, released ‘Giant Steps‘ in 1959. It’s known across the jazz world as one of the most challenging compositions to improvise over for two reasons – it’s fast and it’s in three keys. Braxton Cook and Adam Neely give me a crash course in music theory to help me understand this notoriously difficult song, and I’m bringing you along for the ride. Even if you don’t understand a lick of music theory, you’ll likely walk away with an appreciation for this musical puzzle. 

Christianity, capitalism, and white supremacy are what bind conservatives together: CNN host

Americans are in a political cold war against one another. In the age of Trump this conflict all too often feels as though it will inevitably turn hot. Americans increasingly do not talk to one another across divides of political party and values; they live in information bubbles that are self-confirming, where prior ideas and beliefs — however incorrect — are nurtured as inexorable unassailable permanent truths. This is especially true of conservatives. Donald Trump has simply taken the status quo ante of anti-intellectualism, ignorance and simple binary thinking which typifies the modern American conservative moment and amplified it for the world to see and without any shame or apologies for doing so.

60 minutes of deeper cuts that show why The Monkees’ music still matters – 2016

The Monkees often get sidelined as an amusing footnote in the world of pop music, a “Pre-fab Four” that was hastily thrown together in the mid-’60s for a U.S. version of Beatlemania. But the four Monkees transcended their pre-fab status to become an actual band, and the transition is unlike any other in pop-music history.

‘Patriot Act’ Is Not Afraid of Silicon Valley

Hasan Minhaj’s Netflix show goes further than even John Oliver in skewering technology.

On a recent episode of Patriot Act, “Content Moderation and Free Speech,” Hasan Minhaj walks onstage, framed by graphics flipping through images of Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, floppy disks, and the Facebook thumbs-up. He soon asks the audience—and the viewers watching online—to think back to a time when we were excited to connect to the entire world through the internet.

Today, Minhaj explains, we’d prefer to log off. But social media is unavoidable:

Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America

For two years, in the early 1990s, Richard Palmer served as the CIA station chief in the United States’ Moscow embassy. The events unfolding around him—the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the rise of Russia—were so chaotic, so traumatic and exhilarating, that they mostly eluded clearheaded analysis. But from all the intelligence that washed over his desk, Palmer acquired a crystalline understanding of the deeper narrative of those times.

Much of the rest of the world wanted to shout for joy about the trajectory of history, and how it pointed in the direction of free markets and liberal democracy. Palmer’s account of events in Russia, however, was pure bummer. In the fall of 1999, he testified before a congressional committee to disabuse members of Congress of their optimism and to warn them of what was to come.