Inside The Atlantic's May Issue

The columns, essays, original fiction, and feature articles in The Atlantic's May 2013 issue include: 

What If We Never Run Out of Oil?
Together, fracking and a little-known energy source called methane hydrate--flammable ice--may soon usher in an age of widespread energy independence. In many respects, this would be a miracle. It might also unleash an arc of instability stretching from Nigeria to Saudi Arabia to Siberia--and doom any hope of halting climate change. Charles C. Mann explores this potentially limitless fossil fuel: what it is, how it is extracted, and what it means for already-fraught geopolitics around the globe. 
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Digital exclusive: Watch a video explainer, produced by partner NowThis News, about methane hydrate.

How Not to Die
Meet Angelo Volandes, a doctor who has a low-tech, high-empathy plan to revolutionize end-of-life care. His goal is simple yet radical: create brief, relatively bland videos (the bland part is intentional) clearly explaining medical information that doctors are sometimes reluctant to share with a patient nearing the end of his or her life. As Jonathan Rauch explains, the aim is to better inform those with advanced dementia, Alzheimer's, and other debilitating illnesses, ultimately triggering "The Conversation" as a matter of medical routine.
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In Defense of Henry Kissinger
Unlike his fellow Cold War-era Republicans, Henry Kissinger has always been painfully conscious of the degree to which he is loathed. He made life-and-death decisions that affected millions, entailing many moral compromises. And yet, Robert D. Kaplan argues, the degree to which Republicans can recover Kissinger's sensibility in foreign policy today will help determine their own prospects for regaining power.
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  • How to Tell a Joke on the Internet: In this month's Wordplay, Megan Garber explores the new typography of irony in the Internet age. (Read more)
  • A Woman's Edge: Molly Ball investigates why both political parties now think voters prefer female candidates. (Read more)
  • The Slacker Trap: Japan's 1990s bust permanently undermined the country's workforce and corporate culture, producing a cohort of "freeters," or slackers. The U.S. should take heed, says Ethan Devine, to avoid a similar fate. (Read more)
  • Thanks, Mom: Scott Stossel revisits the famous Harvard study of what makes people happy (hint: the warmth of your relationship with mom matters long into adulthood). (Read more)
  • The Atheist Who Strangled Me: Graeme Wood faces off against the atheist Sam Harris--debating not religion but the merits of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. (Read more)
  • By Design: The need for public phones has not vanished, as Hurricane Sandy demonstrated when the super storm knocked out power for days. New York recently hosted a design competition soliciting sky's-the-limit ideas for a reinvented payphone. Here, two of the finalists.  (Read more)
  • In our Tech Column, Alexis Madrigal talks with the synthetic biologist Christina Agapakis about how industry may start to look more like biology, and why it's time to rethink our inner microbes. (Read more)
  • The Millennial Stimulus Plan: Millennials got a bad rap during the recession. They have been working less, earning less, and buying fewer big-ticket items like homes and cars. But these same young people may soon be the very ones to supercharge the economy. Derek Thompson explains how. (Read more) Plus, watch a video vignette, produced by partner NowThis News, of how the economic impact of millennials stacks up with other generations.

The Culture File:

  • Bad Hair Days: On the occasion of a new memoir by the lead singer of Ratt, James Parker recalls perhaps the most forgettable cultural phenomenon of the modern era: hair metal. (Read more) And in a digital exclusive, Parker reflects on the fleeting allure of Ratt's music videos.  (Watch video)
  • Literary Lothario: Benjamin Schwarz assesses the cultural influence and love life of Martin Amis. (Read more)
  • In the Travel Column, beneath the waves off Block Island, Tristram Korten finds that a modern breed of angler has resurrected the ancient art of spearfishing. (Read more)
  • Vibrated, Not Stirred: Can a tuning fork improve your cocktail? Naturally, Wayne Curtis decides to investigate. (Read more) Plus, a real-life bartender puts the tuning fork to the test ... and opts for the old-fashioned way to mix a cocktail. (Watch video)

And in "The Critics," original fiction by Thomas Pierce, we meet an adolescent film reviewer with a wildly popular online blog--and a highly protective father.
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Finally, the Big Question on our back page: What's the most important Supreme Court case no one's ever heard of? Alan M. Dershowitz, professor at Harvard Law School; Linda Greenhouse, former New York Times Supreme Court correspondent; Harold Hongju Koh, former legal adviser to the State Department; and others weigh in.
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These articles and more are featured in the May issue of The Atlantic, available today, April 25, 2013, on and mobile devices and on newsstands next week.

About The Atlantic

Since its founding in 1857 as a magazine about "the American Idea" that would be of "no party or clique," The Atlantic has been at the forefront of brave thinking in journalism. One of the first magazines to launch on the Web in the early 1990s, The Atlantic has continued to help shape the national debate across print, digital, and event platforms. With the addition of its news- and opinion-tracking site,, and now on global cities, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most-critical issues of our times, from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the flagship property of Washington, D.C.-based publisher Atlantic Media Company.