October 2010

What the Baby Boomers owe America, a Doonesbury retrospective, autism's first child, Joe Biden's unexpected career, and more


The Least We Can Do

Things haven’t quite worked out as planned for the Baby Boomers: near the end of their watch, America is widely reviled, prosperity seems like a mirage, and things are generally going to hell. What could they do to make amends?

The Story of a Generation

Forty years after the comic strip began, its commune-dwelling characters—Mike, Zonker, B.D., Joanie, and the rest—have moved on to Boomer adulthood. Their evolution offers a telling chronicle of the past four decades, and what it felt like to live through them.

Autism’s First Child

In 1943, 10-year-old Donald Triplett was diagnosed with a mysterious disorder unlike anything reported before. Now 77, he is showing the world what autism can look like in adulthood—and what challenges lie ahead for the nation’s tens of thousands of autistic children.
Video: The authors reveal how they tracked Donald down and why they found his long, happy life so encouraging.

The Salesman

Joe Biden really, truly did not want to be vice president. But almost two years in, he’s found his stride. And his unique life trajectory— by turns tragic, comic, and triumphant—may have made him the perfect man for a highly imperfect job.


Judgment Day

How Arnold Schwarzenegger might just have saved California
Slideshow: The most memorable moments of Arnold’s career

Tyranny’s Got Talent

At the next Junior Eurovision contest, Europe’s most repressive regime will go pop.

Design Within Reach

A blind architect relearns his craft.

All War Is Local

For one close-knit National Guard Unit from Arkansas, Afghanistan hits home.

Fertility Rites

Chimp sperm may unlock one of the riddles of human conception. But first you have to collect it.

French Connections

Gallic ingenuity has turned failing farms and rundown châteaux into hidden tourist gems.
Slideshow: A photo tour of charming guesthouses in the French countryside

School for Hackers

The do-it-yourself movement revives learning by doing.
Video: The author describes his personal experiences of hand-making everything from wooden spoons to musical instruments.


Prep Is Dead, Long Live Prep

How a subculture gained the world and lost its soul

Smaller Than Life

Jonathan Franzen’s juvenile prose creates a world in which nothing important can happen.

Almost Noble

Tony Blair’s memoir reveals him to be neither a cynic nor an innocent, but a man of some principle.


The Bright Side

Some small businesses are struggling to get credit, but that’s the least of their problems. Those that survive the recession will be stronger for it and lead the economy’s recovery.

The Jackass Effect

As Johnny Knoxville and friends release their newest film, has everyone finally wearied of their absurdist, violent, and sublime daredevilry? Or is it now in our cultural DNA?
Video: James Parker unearths scenes of the mayhem, daring, and absurdist violence that have made Jackass a lasting cultural phenomenon.


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


The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."


Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong


I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love



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