November 2013

The 50 greatest breakthroughs since the wheel, the world's top inventors, the riddle of Amazon, Flannery O'Connor's fierce irony, the biology of war, and more

The Atlantic - November 2013


The Conversation

Responses and reverberations

The Big Question

What was the best fictional meal ever?

The Technology Issue

The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel

The Atlantic asked a dozen scientists, historians, and technologists to rank the top innovations in history. Here are the results.

Technologies to Bet On

The venture capitalist John Doerr predicts two coming breakthroughs

Who Will Tomorrow's Historians Consider Today's Greatest Inventors?

We asked leading figures in technology, science, medicine, and design for nominations. Here's what they said.

All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, audit our businesses. That's all well and good. But what happens when the computer fails?

The New Science of Old Whiskey

Bourbon makers attempt to perfect a 2,000-year-old invention.

The Man Who Would Teach Machines to Think

Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind


The Case for Hate Speech

How Anita Bryant, Jerry Falwell, and Orson Scott Card have advanced the cause of gay rights

A Brief History of Dude

You know ... if you're into the whole brevity thing

Life After QWERTY

A keyboard layout for the thumb-typing generation

The Amazon Mystery: What America's Strangest Tech Company Is Really Up To

Investors love Jeff Bezos's global-everything store, even though they aren't making any money from it yet—and it's not clear how they will.

Why You Look Like Your Dog

Behind the phenomenon of pet/owner resemblance

The Burka Avenger

The star of a new Pakistani cartoon fights crime in a decidedly modest getup.

I Inherited a Chunk of Frozen Venison

Our advice columnist to the rescue

The Culture File

The Passion of Flannery O’Connor

A prayer journal kept by the writer in her early 20s sheds new light on her biblical ironies.
From the Archives: 'The Barber': a short story by Flannery O'Connor

Eating Bugs and Testicles: A Woman's Journey Into Macho Food Culture

Gender dynamics on a transgressive, guy-dominated foodie frontier

Why the U.S. Is So Good at Turning Immigrants Into Americans

As a glance at Europe shows, it's not as easy as it looks.

How T Bone Burnett Plays Hollywood

By getting his folk-musician friends together and making soundtracks, a once-quirky record producer has stirred up a roots-music revival.

Watching American Movies in Paris

The illuminations of familiar culture in a foreign setting

Why Can't We All Just Get Along? The Uncertain Biological Basis of Morality

Squaring recent research suggesting we're "naturally moral" with all the strife in the world

Cover to Cover

The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Confession, paired for the first time


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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