Portfolio, June 2008 An article explores the burgeoning neurotechnology industry, in which pharmaceutical companies are competing for the "estimated $2 trillion that it costs globally when brains atrophy, degenerate, experience depression, cause convulsions, register pain, trigger anxiety, or simply fail to work as well as we would like." Companies are developing drugs, implants, and other technological devices to help cure diseases like Parkisons, multiple sclerosis, and schizophrenia. The "brain-industrial complex" has already prompted ethical questions over "what would happen if a pill could turn most people into brainiacs."… A piece considers the United Arab Emirates' Princess Lubna, who "has helped turn the emirates, awash in oil money, into an Arab version of Las Vegas." The sheika ("Carly Fiorina meets Condoleezza Rice, with a touch of Oprah Winfrey") is the Arab world's first female foreign trade minister, has developed a perfume line sold by the Saks Dubai, and is a strong advocate for the United States.
New York Times Magazine, June 1 The cover story profiles model-turned-businesswoman Tyra Banks, whose "mantralike cocktail of glamour and drive" is dispensed to a weekly audience of 13 million via her self-titled talk show and her reality-TV competition America's Next Top Model. Banks' appeal comes from her "accessible" good looks and middle-brow tastes. … An op-ed describes a new method for straight couples to advocate for gay marriage, the "Temporary Domestic Partnership Strategy." Sympathetic straight couples should legalize their union depending on their states' rules for gay couples. For instance, in jurisdictions where formal domestic partnerships are available to both gays and straights, heterosexual couples should elect those. In states where domestic partnerships are not available, they should create their own legal agreement. By allowing straight couples to understand "the importance of the word 'marriage' " the strategy "would underscore the universality of the marriage right by demonstrating how much human flourishing is enabled by the right and how much is impeded by its denial."
Wired, June 2008 The cover package on global warming contains a list of 10 "green heresies"—similar in spirit but different in content to the seven "green myths" in Mother Jones' May/June issue. Among the heresies are carbon offsets ("they give the illusion that something constructive is being done" while providing opportunities for scams and penalizing companies that have been environmentally conscious all along); hybrid cars (it takes too long to make up the carbon debt compared with driving an energy-efficient used car); and organics (it takes more nonhormone-treated cows to produce the same amount of milk, therefore more "cow emissions," and organic produce is often shipped from afar to reach grocery stores). … A piece profiles "the bad boy of the Japanese Internet," Hiroyuki Nishimura, who hosts a Web site that provides Japanese with "an outlet for unfettered expression." Commenters on the "primitive bulletin board" 2channel discuss anything they want—news items, celebrities, sports—without any kind of filtering or registration process. The site has become a "hot brand" in Japan: "[B]ook-length collections of comments have become best sellers and have been adapted into manga, TV shows, and movies."
Time, June 9 The cover story explores different human responses to danger and advises on the best way to react in a disaster. Bottom line: Don't freeze up, and use panic-induced adrenaline to your advantage in order to think through the situation. … A piece looks at why bugs could become the "food of the future." They're nutritious and environmentally friendly, as they require far fewer resources than conventional livestock to raise. But first, people will have to get over the idea that "bugs are dirty, disease-laden or otherwise dangerous to eat."… An article looks into "body activism," new method of preventing eating disorders in girls. It encourages girls to commit acts of "civil disobedience" like "slipping notes saying 'Love your body the way it is' into dieting books at stores … and writing letters to Mattel. ..." The idea is to help girls to understand "who [is] benefiting from societal pressures to be thin."
Economist, May 31 A piece in the cover package on the oil crisis observes that though the current high price of gas is hurting Western economies, it could force the development of new technologies, as the 1970s energy crunch did. … An article on Scott McClellan's memoir, which attacks the Bush administration's policies, notes that it's "one thing for left-wing bloggers to assert that 'Bush lied, people died.' It is another for the president's own spokesman to question his master's veracity."… A piece examines why Wal-Mart-like one-stop supermarkets and department stores are a rarity in India. One reason is that government regulations ban foreign investors from retail, except for "single brand stores" like Reebok. Also, retailers who'd like to sell more than one kind of product "must leap over as many as 33 regulatory hurdles, from signboard licenses to anti-hoarding measures, before they open their doors."
Best Politics Piece
An op-ed in the New York Times Magazine proposes a new strategy for straight couples to understand, and protest, the discrimination encountered by their gay peers who wish to marry.
Best Culture Piece
In the Weekly Standard, an essay complains about the scatological state of medieval scholarship.
Most Likely To Inspire Right-Wing Ridicule
A piece in Time suggests people turn to insects as an environmentally sustainable source of meat.
TODAY IN SLATE
The Irritating Confidante
John Dickerson on Ben Bradlee’s fascinating relationship with John F. Kennedy.
My Father Invented Social Networking at a Girls’ Reform School in the 1930s
Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band
Can it be again?
The All The President’s Men Scene That Captured Ben Bradlee
Is It Better to Be a Hero Like Batman?
Or an altruist like Bruce Wayne?
Driving in Circles
The autonomous Google car may never actually happen.