April 2014

The overprotected child, the high price of stop-and-frisk, the monogamy trap, LBJ and the Civil Rights Act, Matthew Weiner previews the new season of Mad Men, and more

The Atlantic - April 2014


The Conversation

Responses and reverberations

The Big Question

Who is the greatest fictional character of all time?


The Overprotected Kid

A preoccupation with safety has stripped childhood of independence, risk taking, and discovery—without making it safer. A radical new playground points to a better solution.

Don’t Help Your Kids With Their Homework

And other insights from a groundbreaking study of how parents impact children’s academic achievement

Is Stop-and-Frisk Worth It?

Civil-rights activists are ecstatic that a federal judge declared the NYPD’s policy unconstitutional. But law-enforcement officials say the practice has made U.S. cities dramatically safer. Now what?

Fighting Over the Field of Dreams

In 1988, Hollywood built an ersatz baseball field in rural Iowa for a Kevin Costner film. A quarter century later, the community finds itself bitterly divided over a curious question: Should the field’s fake authenticity be preserved?

How LBJ Saved the Civil Rights Act

Fifty years later, new accounts of its fraught passage reveal the era's real hero—and it isn’t the Supreme Court.


In Defense of Empire

It can ensure stability and protect minorities better than any other form of order. The case for a tempered American imperialism.

The Optimal Office

How better design could fix your workday—and your life

The Savior Fallacy: Over-Betting on Star Players in Sports and Business

Team managers and corporate boards tear their rosters apart to land a top pick, who they assume will lead them to salvation. The psychology of a strategy that seldom works.

Have We Hit Peak Punctuation? :(

The twilight of exclamatory excess

Building a Better Parking Sign

A rogue designer tries to replace an old standard

The Madness of Matthew Weiner

On the eve of the show’s final season, Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner talks about disappointment and redemption—and reveals his dreamlike perception of everyday life.

Why Doctors Still Use Pen and Paper

The healthcare reformer David Blumenthal explains why the medical system can’t move into the digital age.

Why Rich Women Don't Get Fat

Sorting weight by demographic group reveals complex and surprising patterns.

The IKEA Toy That Became an Icon of Rage

A spate of stuffed-wolf attacks strikes Hong Kong

When Infants Took Opium

A very short book excerpt

The Culture File

The Junkie Genius

A new biography reveals a William S. Burroughs both ghastlier and more impressive than many previously thought.

Playing With Plato

Philosophers eager to write for popular audiences are finding readers who want answers science can’t offer.

The Monogamy Trap

How hard and boring it is to be faithful?

Hitler's Airport

Berlin has buried every trace of the Third Reich—with one big exception.

I Heard God's Voice: What's Up With That?

Barbara Ehrenreich tries to make rational sense of an adolescent epiphany.


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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