The Economist on the militarization of space.
Posted Friday, Jan. 18, 2008, at 4:10 PM
Today, Other Magazines reads the Economist, the New York Times Magazine, Time, and Gourmet to find out what's worth your time—and what's not.
In a package on the militarization of space, the Economist urges the world's space-faring powers to broker "either arms-control agreements or simple rules of the road" for conduct in space. Although America, "space's pre-eminent military power," is resistant to a proposed treaty that would ban space weapons, the article recommends a casual set of guidelines that would prevent "dangerous driving" and protect satellites.—E.G.
Best Business Piece
The New York Times Magazine profiles Ben Bernanke as concerns mount about the effects of subprime lending. Interviews with colleagues from Bernanke's past at Princeton and the Federal Open Market Committee provide insight on the decision-making process in Bernanke's increasingly transparent operation. The piece also includes a history of former chairmen that contextualizes Bernanke's academic, consensus-building approach with his predecessors who were more assertive (Alan Greenspan) or those more beholden to contemporary politics (Arthur Burns).—A.J.
Best Campaign Piece
Time looks into Mitt Romney's Michigan win and a new trend among candidates—passing on the environment in favor of strong economic talk. Here, Democrats have an edge with the "change" mantra and are talking up "one-time jolts designed to put government money quickly into the pockets of consumers."—J.R.
Worth a Look
America as a whole is growing, reports the Economist, but "two-fifths of all counties are shrinking," primarily in the Great Plains region. Certain regions of the Plains are "more sparsely populated now than they were in the late 19th century, when the government declared them to be deserted." Changes in agricultural technology—more efficient machines mean fewer human hands are needed—are largely responsible for this decline. Experts float wind farms and a superhighway from Mexico to Canada as possible reinvigoration strategies.—E.G.
Best Cultural Piece
The Economist analyzes French President Nicolas Sarkozy's desire to shut down the non-French speaking branches of television network France 24. A French take on the world, he argues, can only be communicated in French, a sentiment that aligns with the country's long-standing conception of language as "an embodiment of culture, identity and independence." The article is skeptical about Sarkozy's mission, suggesting that the pro-American president is poised to abolish his country's "best example of reaching out to the English-speaking world."—E.G.
Best Culture Piece
In the New York Times Magazine, A.O. Scott examines the film industry in Romania, a country that has produced three Cannes Film Festival award winners in the last three years. The piece analyzes a trio of directors who have paved the way for what some have called a golden age of Romanian cinema. According to Scott, the excitement around the films comes from "the feeling that one of the oldest and strongest capacities of cinema—to capture and illuminate reality, one face, one room, one life at a time—had been renewed."—A.J.
Best Science Piece
An article from Time's cover package on the "Science of Romance" chronicles how penguins, red foxes, elephants, and other animals show they care. Bowerbirds appreciate interior design: Sometimes they paint the walls of their nests with chewed-up berries to make them a better draw for mates.—J.R.
Best Environment Piece
In the New York Times Magazine, Freakonomics authors Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt reveal that the Endangered Species Act may have actually encouraged the destruction of fragile environments rather than the preservation of them.—A.J.
Best Food Journalism
Published in a special issue of Gourmet magazine, a previously undiscovered essay by late food writer Edna Lewis asks, "What Is Southern?" The essay references delectable Southern dishes with luscious images of some of Lewis' signature meals.—A.J.
Elizabeth Gumport is a Slate intern.
Alex Joseph is a Slate intern.
Jon Rubin is a Slate intern.