May 2010

Marc Ambinder on the obesity epidemic, how the FBI accused the wrong man of the anthrax attacks, China's infrastructure empire in Africa, and more


Beating Obesity

After years of dieting, the author finally resorted to bariatric surgery. It worked—but he realized that it’s too expensive to stem our obesity epidemic. So what to do? Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity plan, he argues, is a major first step. Developed largely in secret, and with startling comprehensiveness, it has thrilled advocates— and made the food industry anxious to cooperate.
Video: Marc Ambinder revisits his decision to have bariatric surgery

The Wrong Man

As the anthrax investigation intensified, the FBI focused increasingly on one suspect: Steven Hatfill. It began a campaign of harassment, intimidation, and 24-hour surveillance. Hatfill lost his job and his friends, fell into a spiral of depression, and found himself utterly isolated. But he was innocent—and here, for the first time, he speaks out.

The Next Empire

From oil in Algeria to zinc in Gabon to copper in the Congo, China is muscling in on natural resources all across Africa on a massive scale. Will it succeed in easing poverty where Western aid has failed? Or will it become the continent’s latest colonial overlord?

The Closers

The financial crisis may have eased, but banks are still failing at an alarming rate. Here’s an inside look at what happens when they go under.


Rum and Hope

Haiti’s famed Barbancourt rum factory has survived by taking self-sufficiency to an extreme.

SubTropolis, U.S.A.

A large chunk of Kansas City’s real estate lies 100 feet below ground, and offers a creative solution to global warming.

A Space Oddity

How an Afghan pilot became a cosmonaut—and a fugitive


Runoff from old mines poisons Colorado’s rivers. Why are enviro groups trying to stop locals from cleaning them up?

Super Muslims

Can the heroes of The 99 save Islam from misunderstanding?
Interview/Slideshow: Naif al-Mutawa, creator of The 99, discusses the international cast of superheroes who populate his Islam-themed stories

The Jig Is Up

On the remote west coast of Ireland, Doolin—the epicenter of traditional Irish music—sings the economic blues away.
Slideshow: Andrew McCarthy narrates images from the town’s vibrant Irish music scene

Everything Is Illuminated

Inexpensive, handheld Raman scanners will soon enable anyone to identify just about anything.


Play’s the Thing

A new book argues that play may be the primary means nature has found to develop our brains.

Getting Their Guns Off

The books that shaped HBO’s The Pacific give the lie to the notion of generational exceptionalism.
Video: Jon Zobenica comments on scenes from HBO’s The Pacific

The Dark Side of Dickens

Why Charles Dickens was among the best of writers and the worst of men

Cover to Cover

The latest from Deborah Eisenberg and Rachel Cusk
Interview: Deborah Eisenberg speaks about her new short story collection


The Freeloaders

How a generation of file-sharers is ruining the future of entertainment

Revenge of the Wimps

Holden Caulfield lives on as Greg Heffley, narrator of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the anti–Harry Potter.

Who Owns the First Amendment?

Journalists think they do. They’re wrong.


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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