Romney and Abortion, the Food Truck Revolution, and the Rise of Weather Underground: The Week’s Most Interesting Slate Stories

The week's most intriguing stories.
Feb. 25 2012 9:34 AM

Romney’s Conversion, Food Trucks, and America’s Most Reliable Weather Source

The week’s most interesting Slate stories. 

Has Mitt Romney's stance on abortion evolved, or is it just a flip-flop?

Scott Olson/Getty Images.

The Conversion: How, when, and why Mitt Romney changed his mind on abortion,” by William Saletan. What, exactly, is Mitt Romney’s platform on abortion? No one’s actually sure. But William Saletan assembles videos and audio clips detailing his purported “conversion” from being a pro-choice Republican governor of Massachusetts to a pro-life presidential candidate.

Get Your Kitchen Out of My Parking Space!: City governments across the country are threatening to kill the food truck revolution with dumb regulations,” by Matthew Yglesias.

Food trucks minimize upfront capital and maximize overall access to consumers, and the threat they present to existing restaurants makes them subject to a frenzy of anti-food-truck lobbying. Yglesias provides a complex portrait of food truck regulation—and its consequences.

America’s Best Weather Forecast: It’s on Weather Underground, and you should start using it now,” by Farhad Manjoo. Weather Underground’s new forecasting algorithm—one that accounts for microclimactic variances—is making waves in meteorology.  Thanks to its huge network of constantly updating automated weather stations, users can simply type in their ZIP code for longer-range forecasts with better accuracy.

How To Win an Oscar Without Saying a Word: Eight great silent performances from the sound era,” by Eric Hynes. What exactly goes into a “non-speaking” role?  The answer lies in the history of silent performances. From Ray Milland in The Thief (1952) to Harpo Marx in Duck Soup (1933), Eric Hynes analyzes eight acting greats who captured our hearts without the benefit of dialogue.

How To Save Smash: Make it more like the real Broadway,” by Jason Zinoman. It’d be an understatement to say that New York’s theater scene is frequently romanticized. Smash, NBC’s new Broadway-based series, is no exception. As Jason Zinoman writes, it’s no wonder that Smash’s hesitance to delve into the true intrigue, strategy, and monetization of its subject matter leaves viewers thirsting for theater’s “dirtier side.”

All Aboard (Not): Why has Amtrak stopped letting children take the train on their own?” by Emily Bazelon. Should children younger than the age of 13 be able to take the train without adult supervision?  Not anymore, says Amtrak. Yet Emily Bazelon argues that Amtrak, which claims to be “streamlining procedures and minimizing inconveniences”  with its new policy, is doing so for its benefit, not ours.

Runaway Juror: Can I use science to get out of jury duty?” by Joel Warner. What makes a juror good or bad?  Is there, as many sociologists argue, a true “science” to juror selection and elimination? The truth is that we know very little about jury box dynamics, making the jury a “lousy laboratory for the study of human behavior.” Joel Warner examines why hundreds of studies have failed to shed light on the “inner workings” of these groups.

Santorum’s Martyr Complex: His camp says he is being attacked because of his faith. Forgive me, but that’s downright sinful,” by John Dickerson. Is Rick Santorum’s faith under siege? His campaign insists that the emphasis placed on “specific tenets of Rick’s faith” is unfair. But as John Dickerson argues, there’s a pointed difference between being attacked because of one’s faith and being held accountable for borderline extreme statements regarding contraception, prenatal screening, and abortion. 

No More Chinks in the Armor: The Jeremy Lin controversy suggests it’s time to retire the phrase for good,” by Huan Hsu.  Hokey puns have been an unfortunate byproduct of Jeremy Lin’s rising stardom, especially a particular racial slur that got one headline writer fired. True, the phrase “chink in the armor” has no racial connotations, but the fact that it makes use of a derogatory anti-Asian term saddles it with offensive undertones. Here, Huan Hsu details the origins of the word “chink,” and claims that eliminating it from our daily vocabulary doesn’t limit our language.



Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.