Editor's note

Americans stuck self-isolating at home are ordering more stuff delivered to their doors, including pricey big-screen televisions, cases of red wine and trendy swimsuits – purchased in the hope that we’ll eventually be able to go to the beach again. But all those packages piling up on people’s porches are a tempting target for thieves.

Criminal justice professor Ben Stickle, who noticed this so-called porch piracy trend before the coronavirus pandemic, led a team of researchers who pored over hours of YouTube videos depicting thefts in progress. Here’s what they found.

And this week we also liked articles about a timely song from Bob Dylan, lessons for today from 1854’s “Walden” and how a laugh might be just what you need right about now.

Bryan Keogh

Senior Editor, Economy + Business

The view from the porch. AP Photo/Robert Bumsted

Porch piracy: Here’s what we learned after watching hours of YouTube videos showing packages being pilfered from homes

Ben Stickle, Middle Tennessee State University

With home deliveries surging, more of the packages we receive may be vulnerable to 'porch pirates.' A criminal justice expert led a team to get a closer look at how these thieves operate.

Then – as now – Americans found themselves transfixed by the news. International Center of Photography

Bob Dylan brings links between JFK assassination and coronavirus into stark relief

Aniko Bodroghkozy, University of Virginia

During our current bout of collective trauma, many of our coping strategies have mimicked the ways Americans responded to the Kennedy assassination.

Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. ptwo/Wikipedia

What ‘Walden’ can tell us about social distancing and focusing on life’s essentials

Robert M. Thorson, University of Connecticut

'Walden,' published in 1854, is a manual for solitude with a purpose.