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Summaries of what's in Time, Newsweek, etc.
May 20 2008 4:06 PM

Wasted Resources

The New Yorker on why science hasn't tackled the problem of the hangover.

The New Yorker

The New Yorker, May 26 George Packer's essay reflects on the fall of the movement that "Goldwater began, Nixon brought into power, Ronald Reagan gave mass appeal, Newt Gingrich radicalized, Tom DeLay criminalized, and Bush allowed to break into pieces." The decline of conservatism was hastened in part by Karl Rove's "polarizing political tactics," which were based on "two illusions: that the conservative era would stretch on indefinitely, and that politics matters more than governing." Now, says one source, "if you're not rich or Southern or born again, the chances of your being a Republican are not great." A piece examines the myths and truths about hangovers cures. What's the best morning-after remedy? It seems the old standby of consuming more of the same type of alcohol you had the night before might actually work. Don't expect scientists to develop a hangover cure any time soon—it's too difficult to conduct trials with drunk subjects, and funding bodies are reluctant to give money to such experiments.

New York

New York, May 26
The cover story theorizes about men's marital infidelities, leaning heavily on evolutionary psychology to argue that a happy, faithful marriage might be unattainable. It draws from friends' anecdotes (One says that when his wife "wasn't available, he snuck out to massage parlors in a 'primal state' or watched porn") and a smattering of supporting experts ("men's genes program them to seek many mates and try to monopolize the reproductive lives of those mates) to make the point. Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal, of course, makes an appearance. A piece by Pete Hamill marks the 40-year anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy's death with a moment-by-moment remembrance of the day RFK died. Hamill writes: "The origins of this killing … lay in the Middle East …[but the killer's motives] didn't truly matter. The crucial fact was simpler: He was able to get a gun."

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Smithsonian, June 2008
The cover story uncovers the softer side of the great white shark, claiming that "its reputation as a ruthless, mindless, man-eater is undeserved." The predator that inspired Jaws "rarely hunt[s] humans" and is "sociable and curious." The beasts' predatory nature demonstrates their intelligence, says one shark expert, because to "feed on large-brained social animals such as seals and dolphins … you have to operate on a level higher than a simple machine mentality of an ordinary fish." And the 236 recorded great white assaults on humans since 1876? Researchers think many of them are "bite and release" attacks—the animal "trying to get a better look at the strange creature in the water." An article looks at the soon-to-be-perfected science of growing diamonds in a laboratory. Lab-grown diamonds have become indistinguishable from their natural cousins and "have the potential to dramatically change technology, perhaps becoming as significant as steel or silicon in electronics and computing."

Out

Out, June/July 2008 An article focuses on gay parents who remain in the party scene while raising kids. So-called "disco-dads," a source says, "have the life and children and adult responsibilities, but also keep their connections to the community, sometimes in the party scene." The growing number of socially active dads also reveals how the gay community is changing to accommodate children and indicates "a quiet revolution that is smashing the outdated Ward and June Cleaver image of parenting." A piece profiles Mavendra Singh Gohil, the first openly gay member of the Indian royal family, and considers the challenges of being gay in the heavily traditional country, where a law against sex between men is still on the books. A piece examines the practices of the Body Electric School, which seeks to rescue "gay male sexuality, and in a larger sense, sexual culture from the fear and panic that proliferated in the late '80s and early '90s."

Newsweek

Newsweek, May 26 The cover story follows a family's struggle with a bipolar child, who first tried to commit suicide at age 7, and the intense difficulty of treating the disease at such a young age. According to the piece, in developing children, "[t]he bipolar brain tries to compensate for its weak prefrontal cortex by roping in other areas to help; these areas may now become dysfunctional, too." Child psychiatrists "face an enormous practical challenge: they often can't treat one disorder without affecting another one."Slate contributor Daniel Gross reveals in an article that fewer illegal immigrants are coming to the United States because of the slowing economy and stricter enforcement of immigration laws. For Latin Americans, Spain is now the preferred destination, where "language, lenient immigration policies and the strong euro make the environment more congenial." Decreasing numbers of immigrants from other parts of the world, like India, can also be attributed to strengthening native economies.

Weekly Standard

Weekly Standard, May 26 The cover story examines the iconography surrounding Barack Obama. "For the Bolshevik-constructivist, skate-punk crowd, he is the one they've been waiting for." A feature proposes a theme for John McCain's campaign, which is "looking to ground its messages in duty, honor, and ability, presenting the candidate as a man who has always been ready to step up and act when his country needed him." Unfortunately, the piece points out, this is the approach both Bob Dole and John Kerry adopted, and for them "it failed to capture the imagination of the electorate." A successful McCain campaign should center around reform as an alternative to "change." His platform should embrace reform but do it in a manner that emphasizes Americans don't need "more government but a government better suited to the times and to the concerns of the American family."

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

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