November 2009

Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer question the effectiveness of the H1N1 vaccine; Wayne Curtis on the houses of the future; Brave Thinkers—twenty-seven people with courageous ideas; Nadya Labi on the business of retrieving abducted children; Benjamin Schwarz on Mad Men; and much more.


Does the Vaccine Matter?

To prevent a devastating flu pandemic, the government is relying heavily on vaccines and antivirals. Some experts say that both are quite possibly useless.
Q&A: The authors answer questions about H1N1 diagnosis and immunity.

Houses of the Future

In New Orleans, a new kind of house is rising from the ruins of Katrina. Cheap, green, and radically hip, it may change architecture for a generation.
Interactive Map: Explore the new homes described in Wayne Curtis's story

Brave Thinkers

Twenty-seven people with courageous ideas—from relocating endangered species to hiring autistics to printing loads of money—that are shaping our future. The first installment of an annual feature.
Video: Watch mini-documentaries about the Brave Thinkers featured in this issue and submit your own nominations

The Snatchback

When Todd Hopson wanted to get Andres, the 9-year-old boy he'd raised from infancy, back from his biological father in Costa Rica, he called Gus Zamora, who retrieves internationally abducted children for a living. Here’s what happened next.
Sidebar: The author explains how she ended up following Gus Zamora around the globe
Audio: Labi’s sound recording of the actual snatchback in Costa Rica (with transcript)


How I Survived China

Our man in Beijing returns home, with lungs only somewhat the worse for wear.

The Boar War

A wild menace invades Houston.


Guam’s surfers fret about the impact of a billion defense buildup on their island.

Oil on Ice

Will Greenland become the Nigeria of the Arctic?

¡Hola, Hezbollah!

How a Lebanese mullah found happiness in Paraguay

The World on the Rocks

For fans of the legendary cocktail writer Charles H. Baker, the contents of a drink are less compelling than the story behind it.
Recipes: Exotic concoctions from the files of Charles H. Baker

Finding Peace in Colombia

A thrill seeker surrenders to South America’s scariest nation.

Filtering Reality

How an emerging technology could threaten civility


Mad About Mad Men

What’s wrong—and what’s gloriously right—with AMC’s hit show
Video: Benjamin Schwarz deconstructs scenes from Mad Men that reveal Don Draper’s vulnerable side

The Pity of War

Is leading one’s own troops to slaughter ever justified?

Cover to Cover

Alice Munro's way with women; the obstetric dialectic; and more


Misleading Indicator

Will the Great Recession finally end our misguided obsession with gross domestic product?

Retching With the Stars

The addictive appeal of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s Celebrity Rehab
Video: James Parker comments on his favorite scenes from the VH1 show


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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