The week's most interesting Slate stories.

The week's most intriguing stories.
Aug. 14 2009 11:10 AM

Death Panels, Bullies, and McEconomics

The week's most interesting Slate stories.

1) "Cost of Living: Sarah Palin is afraid Obamacare will put a price on human life. But we already do," by Christopher Beam. Whether they're based in fact or not, Sarah Palin's ominous warnings about "death panels" have Americans scared of the specter of the government assigning value to people's lives. But insurance companies put a price on human life all the time. And for an example of government doing the same, we need only look across the pond.

2) "Seeking: How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous," by Emily Yoffe. Some of us couldn't stop Googling, Twittering, Facebooking, or texting to save our lives. But it's not because we're lazy or crazy; it's because our brains are structured to engage in "seeking" behaviors, even if all we're seeking is the latest on Jon and Kate.

Advertisement

3) "Who Won the Recession?McDonald's," by Daniel Gross. While Starbucks shuttered stores, the keepers of the Golden Arches expanded their brand, opening new outlets in the United States and abroad as the recession forced food snobs to trade down. But it remains to be seen whether the chain's dominance will continue as the economy recovers.

4) "Time-Traveling for Dummies: A physicist looks at The Time Traveler's Wife," by Dave Goldberg. A scientist explains why, no matter how ridiculous the plot, there are a few physics-based rules of time travel that science-fiction tales should follow. Rule No. 3: You can't kill your own grandfather.

5) "A Lousy Day's Work: Was Bill Clinton's visit to North Korea worth the time, energy, and prestige? No way," by Christopher Hitchens. Democrats and Republicans alike drooled over President Obama and the Clintons after they managed to wrest two American journalists away from the North Koreans. But that's not such a great victory when you consider that the North Koreans intended to release them all along.

6) "The Medicare-Isn't-Government Meme, Part 2: Why Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are complaining about possible spending cuts," by Timothy Noah. Right-wing health care reform protesters continue to blur the line between Medicare and "government-run health care." Meanwhile, conservative radio and TV pundits ignore the fact that Medicare is a government-run health program while sowing fear of reform among their fans.

7) "The Structure of Scientific Evolutions: Evolution's place in a created universe," by William Saletan. New research is beginning to separate evolution from biology. Now, scientists are talking about biological evolution, cultural evolution, and political evolution. And this new conversation has implications for the idea of religious evolution, or the origins of faith.

8) "Watching Art-House Movies in Tehran: Iran after the journalists were silenced." An anonymous reporter in Tehran finds that despite the virtual silencing of journalists and continued oppression of civilians by the Iranian regime, a quiet rebellion continues. Young people are watching art-house films in mixed company and chatting about Molotov cocktails as they chafe under the basij.

9) "Bullies: They Can Be Stopped, but It Takes a Village," by Alan E. Kazdin and Carlo Rotella. It is possible to reduce bullying in schools. But it requires the cooperation of teachers, parents, and administrators. Tough as it is, reform is necessary, because none of the things that you've been taught to say to your kids about bullying is going to do any good.

10) "What's Inside a Big Baby Head? New research brings surprising revelations," by Paul Bloom. Most people think babies are less conscious than adults. However, new research indicates that babies might be more conscious: aware of a staggering amount of stimuli, and therefore more susceptible to distraction

TODAY IN SLATE

War Stories

The Right Target

Why Obama’s airstrikes against ISIS may be more effective than people expect.

The One National Holiday Republicans Hope You Forget

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

Should You Recline Your Seat? Two Economists Weigh In.

Doublex

It Is Very, Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Or, why it is very, very stupid to compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice.

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?

Politico Wonders Why Gabby Giffords Is So “Ruthless” on Gun Control

Behold
Sept. 23 2014 4:45 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Foreigners
Sept. 23 2014 6:40 PM Coalition of the Presentable Don’t believe the official version. Meet America’s real allies in the fight against ISIS.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Lead Security Engineer Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would a Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Sept. 23 2014 3:04 PM Chicago Gabfest How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:38 PM “No One in This World” Is One of Kutiman’s Best, Most Impressive Songs
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 5:36 PM This Climate Change Poem Moved World Leaders to Tears Today
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 4:33 PM Who Deserves Those 4 Inches of Airplane Seat Space? An investigation into the economics of reclining.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 23 2014 7:27 PM You’re Fired, Roger Goodell If the commissioner gets the ax, the NFL would still need a better justice system. What would that look like?