What's new in Time, the Believer, the Economist, and more.

Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
May 23 2008 4:27 PM

Gawker Shocker

The New York Times Magazine on "oversharing" on the Internet.

New York Times Magazine

New York Times Magazine, May 25 In the much-discussed cover story, former Gawker blogger Emily Gould writes about the thrills and hazards of airing her personal life on the Internet. Gould experienced a very public online mocking after an ill-fated Larry King Live appearance and a breakup with a co-worker. Gould says she always "found ways to broadcast my thoughts—to gossip about myself, tell my own secrets, tell myself and others the ongoing story of my life." Her newfound way of "oversharing," evidently, is in print. An article profiles a soldier devastated by one of the Iraq war's "signature wounds," traumatic brain injury caused by "explosions that deliver blunt injury to the helmeted skull or that send waves of compressed air to slam and snap the head ruinously even at a distance of hundreds of yards from the blast." Sgt. Shurvon Phillip communicates by raising or lowering his eyebrows and wears a diaper that his mother changes for him. After Phillip's recovery stalled at VA centers, his family fought the military to get his care in a cutting-edge private facility paid for. Phillip's case, and others like it, "suggests that the military medical system just wasn't prepared for the prevalence of brain injuries among its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. …"

Believer

Believer, May 2008 An essay explores the challenge of warning future generations about nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountain, a planned radioactive-material disposal facility. Scientists must determine a way to alert people 10,000 years from now that what's inside the mountain is toxic. The site will currently feature "twenty-five-foot-high perimeter markers in the six UN languages and new universal symbol for 'nuclear waste repository.' " But that likely won't be enough: "[T]here is no precedent for any language remaining comprehensible over three hundred generations." A firsthand piece tells the story of a South African immigrant brought to the United States by a Houston church under the pretext of being a missionary. The woman, who was a teacher in her native country, was then worked like a slave by the sponsoring pastor's family until her visa expired and she was able to escape to Oregon. Today, she earns less than $4 an hour as a nanny.

Economist
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Economist, May 24 An editorial cautions that America's "good war" in Afghanistan could soon become more like its wayward sibling in Iraq. President Hamid Karzai "seems hardly to be trying" to show "that his government is clean and competent enough to deliver basic services in the areas it controls" and has failed to advocate "a process of conciliation that gives the majority Pushtuns a bigger stake in the new order" to discourage them from insurgency. Bush may be reluctant to press Karzai for improvement because he might "prefer to count down his last months in office without risking any action that could disturb the impression of Afganistan being the good war." An obituary honors Irena Sendler, the Polish woman who "save[d] more Jews than the far better known Oscar Schindler" by helping children to escape the Warsaw ghetto during the Nazi occupation. Sendler once estimated that to "save one Jew … required 12 outsiders working in total secrecy: drivers for the vehicles; priests to issue false baptism certificates; bureaucrats to provide ration cards; and most of all, families or religious orders to care for them."

Time

Time, June 2 The cover story examines the widespread fear that early childhood vaccines may cause autism. Experts warn that if too many parents stop immunizing their children, "once rampant diseases such as measles, mumps and whooping cough will storm back, even in developed nations with robust public-health programs." Worries about the connection between autism and vaccines stem from a now nearly discredited study that suggested exposure to the measles virus could cause autism and the fact that some vaccines were preserved in a potentially brain damaging mercury compound until 2001. A piece weighs the different offers that might tempt Hillary Clinton to conclude her campaign. Speculation says Bill Clinton wants his wife to be Obama's running mate, but Hillary "divulge[es] little [about what she wants] even to those who see and talk to her every day." She may also be hoping for Obama backers to pay off her campaign debt and a headlining speech at the convention.

Texas Monthly

Texas Monthly, June 2008
A piece reveals the perils of oil exploration and production in unstable countries. Nigeria, for instance, is "a living testament to the so-called oil curse," which "holds that countries rich in oil wealth tend to have stunted economic growth … because all the focus is on one incredibly lucrative business." The quest for oil in such countries has always been difficult, but now companies face not just the "old-fashioned kidnappers" who viewed capturing and returning a hostage as a quick way to fundraise, but politically motivated militants whose "demands are more enterprising and more expensive." In an op-ed, Skip Hollandsworth argues that though the Yearning for Zion polygamous compound was searched under a false complaint and the cost to care for all the children will be monumental, he supports the raid: "In our society, we do not allow women to be forced to have sex with men not of their choosing and bear their children—and we certainly don't permit adult men to have sex with underage girls."

Must Read
A piece in the Believer examines the government's plans to build a repository for nuclear waste inside Nevada's Yucca Mountain, prompting questions about how to communicate with generations 10,000 years in the future.

Must Skip
Emily Gould's New York Times Magazine cover story combines stale observations about blogs ("One of the strangest and most enthralling aspects of personal blogs is just how intensely personal they can be") with the Pysch 101 speak of a college personal essay ("I might hate my former self, but I don't want to destroy her, and in a way, I want to respect her decision to show the world her vulnerability").

Best Politics Piece
In a New Yorker essay, George Packer pronounces the fall of the conservative movement after nearly 50 years of prominence.

Best Culture Piece
Newsweek's cover story chronicles the painful challenges of treating biopolar children.

Best Special Feature
A diagram in the Believer sorts out apocalyptical visions along an x-y axis. "Passivity and reactivity" govern groups' placing along the x-axis—that is, the farther to the right they are," the more [they] tried to instigate the end." "Theological aspirations" are measured on the y-axis—the farther toward the top they are, the more they believe in heaven; the closer to the bottom, "the more they feared the fires of doom would burn hot but with no happy ending."

Morgan Smith, a former Slate intern, is a law student in Austin, Texas.