Space Squid

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Nov. 25 1999 3:30 AM

Space Squid

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New York Times Magazine, Nov. 28

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The cover story wonders why leftists are still defending Communist spies and right-wingers are still Red-hunting. Right-wingers have rehabilitated Joe McCarthy and delight in the release of old Soviet papers exposing American leftists as spies, while lefties continue to view the anti-Communist movement as evil and oppressive. For both sides, the fixation with the dead ideology is as much personal as political. (The piece is by Slate's Jacob Weisberg.) A piece disses NASA's limited ambitions and surveys entrepreneurs' visionary ideas for outer space: bioengineered "space squid" that draw energy from the moons of Jupiter, a lunar mining camp, a "nanotube" elevator from Earth to a geostationary satellite, and an orbiting resort hotel with zero-g honeymoon suites.

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Time, Nov. 29

The cover story forecasts New Year's Eve fatigue. Years of millennial hype (including, may we suggest, Time's "Visions of the 21st Century" series and upcoming "Person of the Century" issue) dissipated the thirst for a momentous evening. High-priced events are underbooked, and a poll found that 72 percent of Americans plan a low-key New Year's Eve. (Richard Simmons will be at home listening to Broadway tunes with his beloved dogs.) A piece predicts that the anti-modified-food movement will grow. Though there is no proof that genetically altered food is harmful, protesters are gaining ground through political theater. When Greenpeace invaded a Kellogg's factory to demonstrate against altered grains, one activist dressed as a grotesquely modified Tony the Tiger.

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Newsweek, Nov. 29

The cover story reinforces the theory that EgyptAir Flight 990 was felled by suicide. The co-pilot asked to take the controls and repeated, "I put my trust in God" 14 times. An article reveals that both lefties and righties may try to derail the agreement to admit China to the World Trade Organization. Liberals argue that normalizing trade will decrease China's incentives to democratize. House Majority Whip Tom DeLay may thwart the deal to humiliate the president . A piece on workplace "cyberslacking" says that 90 percent of office workers admit to recreational Web surfing. Companies are fighting back with increased electronic surveillance. Xerox fired more than 40 employees for porn surfing.

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U.S. News & World Report, Nov. 29

The cover story worries about the rise of the stepfamily. The number of stepfamilies will exceed the number of biological families by 2007. Studies indicate that stepchildren are more likely to repeat a grade, be abused, and drop out of school. A piece deplores the financing of judicial campaigns. Thirty-nine states elect judges, and the costs of judicial races are rising faster than the cost of congressional campaigns. Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy warn that donor-financed judicial campaigns could corrupt state courts.

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The New Yorker, Nov. 29

A Richard Avedon photo portfolio about faith includes a shot of a smiling Naga holy man with rocks hanging off his penis. A profile questions whether entertainment CEOs really need the advice of management guru Michael J. Wolf. Behind Wolf's brand name (which he promotes by flattering the CEOs he serves and publishing a book of conventional wisdom) is an informational Ponzi scheme. He leverages the knowledge he gleans from his behind-the-scenes work for major media companies to attract new clients. The back page imagines George W. magazine. The "Exclusive 14-Continent World Survey" explores Arabia and Jewia. There is an in-depth one-minute interview "with that guy in the turban."

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