LATEST ISSUE: July/August 2014

Secrets of the creative brain, inside the Lennon-McCartney collaboration, Afghanistan after Karzai, why cartoon mothers are all dead, and more

The Atlantic - July/August 2014


The Conversation

Responses and reverberations

The Big Question

Which animal has most changed the course of history?

On the Cover

A note from the magazine’s designer


After Karzai

Afghanistan’s outgoing president helped heal a shattered country. He also winked at corruption and ruled like a tribal chief. His successor will inherit a nation that’s in better shape than you might think—and a government with little power to keep it that way. 

Why Are All the Cartoon Mothers Dead?

The dead-mother plot is a classic of children’s fiction, but animated movies have supplied a new twist: the fun father has taken her place. 

Secrets of the Creative Brain

A leading neuroscientist who has spent decades studying creativity shares her research on where genius comes from, whether it is dependent on high IQ—and why it is so often accompanied by mental illness.

The Power of Two

Despite the mythology around the idea of the lone genius, the famous partnership of John Lennon and Paul McCartney demonstrates the brilliance of creative pairs.

The Creative Process

The breakthroughs, borrowings, revisions, and bold decisions behind the work of highly creative people, from Beyoncé to the lead designer of Google Glass

Five Creative Solutions

Scratch-off election ballots, lab-grown meat, and more

Creative Pairs, In Their Own Words

Members of creative pairs on their partners


The Great Secession

Faced with sweeping social change, conservative Christians are walling themselves off from secular society. But when religion isolates itself, both sides lose.

Punctuated Equilibrium

Will autocorrect save the apostrophe, and slow language’s evolution?

The Most Modern Curator

Why Paola Antonelli put Pac-Man, a mine detonator, and a vial of sweat in the Museum of Modern Art

The End of the Internet?

How regional networks may replace the World Wide Web

What Is Art?

Why we like what we like

How You’ll Get Organized

Four glimpses of a future without information overload

Oodles of Noodles

A very short book excerpt

A Bar in Britain That Doesn’t Serve Beer

Is a bar still a bar if it doesn’t serve alcohol?

Why Marijuana Should Be Legal, and Expensive

Is there a way to let adults toke while keeping pot out of the hands of high-schoolers?

The Culture File

The Twee Revolution

From Wes Anderson to Zooey Deschanel to Brooklynites on bicycles, a terrifying aesthetic is overtaking America.

How Brando Broke the Movies

He reinvented acting, and Hollywood hasn’t recovered.

A Queer Tour of Israel

Out and about in a nation with identity issues

The Other Helen Keller

An unusual historical novel


Where the Wild Things Go

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Adults Need Playtime Too

When was the last time you played your favorite childhood game?


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



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