What's worth reading in Time, the Economist, and the New York Times Magazine.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
Feb. 8 2008 3:32 PM

The Gates Keeper

The New York Times Magazine on Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

Today, Other Magazines reads the Economist, the New York Times Magazine, and Time to find out what's worth your time—and what's not.

Magazine Covers

Best Profile
Slate contributor Fred Kaplan profiles Defense Secretary Robert Gates in the New York Times Magazine. The piece traces Gates' path to his current position and paints him as cautious and extraordinarily loyal, but also points out that he didn't "maneuver through Washington's corridors of power by being a milquetoast." It seems the strain of taking over the messy Iraq situation is wearing even for an old war horse—Gates carries around a keychain counting down the days until the end of Bush's term, and his own public service career.—N.M.

Best Line
A line in Time concisely sums up the superdelegate-fueled scenario the Democratic race is hurtling toward. "Yes, that's right: the perverse result of all this additional democracy, in which more people than ever before will have had a voice, could be that Democrats have to turn to old-style backroom politics to select a nominee."—C.M.

Best Election Overview
The Economist has a concise account of the disarray of the Democratic presidential nomination race and how McCain beat out Huckabee and Romney to become the Republican Party's front-runner. Obama has the upper hand when it comes to the war ("Try as she may, Mrs Clinton can provide no good excuse for her vote"), but Obama may run into trouble "on March 3rd when the trial for fraud of Antoin Rezko opens."—J.L.

Best International Piece
More bad news in Kenya—the flower industry may take a hit. It may sound slight, but the Economist explains that cut flowers are "the country's third-largest foreign currency-earner," and "some 25% of Europe's cut flowers come from Kenya." As of yet, the farms are hanging on, but "the violence could not have come at a worse time": right before Valentine's Day.—J.L.

Best Science Piece
The New York Times Magazines tackles the question of when fetuses begin to feel pain. While the article starts as a strictly medical examination of the question, it quickly acknowledges the implications for anti-abortion groups who have embraced the studies in an effort to redefine the issue. The piece expands its discussion to include the effects of pain on infants and small children in their lifelong perception of discomfort and stress.—A.J.

Best Tech
The Economist argues that Microsoft's Yahoo bid "highlights its own weakness almost as much as" the ailing Internet giant's. Ultimately, Microsoft-Yahoo would "dominate instant-messaging and web-based email, but neither is lucrative," and the "combination would still trail far behind" Google when it comes to search.—J.L.

Best Food Piece
The New York Times Magazine makes the case for entomophagy, or bug eating. Though author Sam Nejame describes the possibility of ice cream-and-insect combinations, his case seems to rest more on practicality than a Timon-and-Pumba-esque gustatory enthusiasm. Bugs are full of nutrients, relatively pathogen-free, and a sustainable food source: "Cow and pigs are the S.U.V.'s; bugs are the bicycles."—N.M.

Most Useless Trend Watch
Facial hair is back, according to Time magazine. The piece puts forth ridiculous notions such as claims that the New England Patriots were unified by their group decision to grow out their facial hair. Even worse is a quote which equates beards to accessories for women, going so far as to compare them to fake eyelashes.—A.J.

Worst 10-Year Plan
The New York Times Magazine has a short piece on the makers of the wildly successful merchandise stamped "1.20.09"—George Bush's last day in office. But, as the magazine points out, as of Jan. 21, 2009, the "entire stock becomes … dated."—N.M.

Most Intriguing Photo Essay
Time puts together a montage of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton while the two candidates campaign before Super Tuesday. The shots are refreshing but are marred by a strange artistic choice: All of Clinton's pictures are in black and white, Obama's in color.—C.M.

Alex Joseph is a Slate intern.

Juliet Lapidos is a former Slate associate editor.

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

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

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 21 2014 11:38 PM “Welcome to the War of Tomorrow” How Futurama’s writers depicted asymmetrical warfare.
  Health & Science
The Good Word
Sept. 21 2014 11:44 PM Does This Name Make Me Sound High-Fat? Why it just seems so right to call a cracker “Cheez-It.”
  Sports
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.