May 2013

The world may never run out of oil—and the consequences could be dire. Plus: avoiding the worst parts of death, Henry Kissinger's statesmanship, reconsidering hair metal, and more.

The Atlantic - May 2013


The Conversation

Responses and reverberations

The Big Question

What's the most important Supreme Court case no one's ever heard of?


Sidereal Elegy

A poem


A poem


What If We Never Run Out of Oil?

New technology and a little-known energy source suggest that fossil fuels may not be finite. This would be a miracle—and a nightmare.
Debate: Experts grapple with the possibility of infinite oil, and what it would mean for our climate.

Learning to Live With Fossil Fuels

We can't address climate change without carbon reduction, but we also can't afford to neglect a vital second option: carbon capture.

How Not to Die

Angelo Volandes's low-tech, high-empathy plan to revolutionize end-of-life care

In Defense of Henry Kissinger

He was the 20th century's greatest 19th-century statesman.


How to Tell a Joke on the Internet

The new typography of irony

What Makes Us Happy, Revisited

A new look at the famous Harvard study of what makes people thrive

Problem: My Neighbor Is Having Shockingly Loud Sex All the Time

Try blasting recordings of chimpanzees. Our advice columnist to the rescue.

How Do You Celebrate the Birthday of a Great Composer Who Inspired Hitler?

Germany grapples with the bicentennial of Richard Wagner's birth.

How New York Is Reinventing the Phone Booth

An urban renaissance for public telephones

The Atheist Who Strangled Me

In which Sam Harris teaches me Brazilian jiu-jitsu and explains why violence is like rebirth
Interview: Graeme Wood and Sam Harris talk about non-belief and knife fights.

A Thousand Years of Sex Talk in Arab Culture—in 1 Paragraph

Language doesn't necessarily get less prudish over time.

Various Ways You Might Accidentally Get Drunk

We don't always know when we're standing over a large deposit of iron ore.

The Hordes of Microbes Inside Your Body Are Your Friends

An interview with the synthetic biologist Christina Agapakis

The Millennial Stimulus Plan

How young people will supercharge the recovery

Culture File

The Hair-Metal Diaries

In a new memoir, the lead singer of Ratt remembers what may be the most forgettable cultural phenomenon of the modern era.

Can a Tuning Fork Improve Your Cocktail?

The theory and practice of serving a drink vibrated, not stirred


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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