December 2010

Why only coal can stop global warming, the error-prone nature of dialysis, how to be a frugal divorcee, and more

The Atlantic - December 2010

Also in this issue

Escape Key

It’s part of our contemporary condition to feel simultaneously blessed and cursed by technology.

Letters to the editor

What’s Your Problem?

The smartest way to carry an iPad, and other advice


Dirty Coal, Clean Future

To environmentalists, clean coal is an insulting oxymoron. But because coal so dominates the world economy, any meaningful effort to arrest climate change will require using dirty coal in more-sustainable ways. Quiet collaboration between American and Chinese businesses and scientists is pointing the way.
Video: James Fallows flies his plane over West Virginia coal country and discusses the coming transformation.

The Danger of Cosmic Genius

The physicist Freeman Dyson has reshaped thinking in fields from math to astrophysics to medicine. Yet he is also one of the world's foremost global-warming skeptics. How could someone as smart as Dyson be so wrong about the environment? A cautionary tale about science and faith.
From the Archives: Thirty years of Atlantic articles on climate change, clean tech, and Freeman Dyson.

The Drone Wars

In Pakistan, the CIA's remote-controlled bombing campaign heats up.

“God Help You. You're on Dialysis.”

Shockingly error-prone and brutally expensive, our federally funded system of dialysis care is failing. A year-long investigation reveals why—and what may lie ahead for health-care reform.

Your Child Left Behind

A new ranking shows that even privileged kids in our best public-school systems do poorly compared with their peers in other countries.
Multimedia: Use our interactive tool to compare state-by-state test results, and see how your schools match up against the rest of the world's.

A Matter of Degrees

U.S. universities are still on top, but Asia is rising.
Poll: The Atlantic asked 30 university and college presidents about tenure, student preparedness, and other hot issues.


The Battle of Rio

With the 2016 Olympics looming, the city’s embattled police invade the favelas.

Tabloid Feminist

An antidiscrimination icon finds a new frontier in trash culture.

Deal With a Dictator

Getting supplies to Afghanistan may be worth cozying up to Uzbekistan—for now.

Playing Doctor

How to spin pharmaceutical research

Bringing the Coffin Industry Back From the Dead

How barcodes and touch screens are resuscitating a casket factory

My Year at Sea

Recalling the splendid isolation of travel by freighter

Take the Data Out of Dating

Online matchmaking is getting better at telling us whom we ought to like—and that's not good.


Books of the Year 2010

The Atlantic's literary and national editor selects the best in a crowded field.
Runners Up: See 15 additional picks by The Atlantic’s books editor

The Frugal Divorcée

How to survive—and even thrive—in the new age of austerity

Cover to Cover

Bill Bryson brings it all back home; England's gilded monuments; and more


Paging Dr. Luddite

Information technology is on the brink of revolutionizing health care— if physicians will only let it.

The Tragedy of the Talk Show Host

Miscast in the age of viral humor, the late-night star remains eternally freaky—and oddly reassuring.


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

What makes a story great? The storytellers behind House of CardsThis American LifeThe Moth, and more reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

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


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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