Living Breathing, In-depth Journalism

This month’s abbreviated magazine week showcase begins here:

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The Atlantic, January/February 2013

Sometimes New Years’ resolutions really amount to something more than good intentions and, given that The Atlantic actualizes such intentions at the start of 2013, this issue gladdens me. It’s a return to in-depth reportage on a number off fronts. There’s a lot here that’s worthy of reading here, but let me hit the high points.

How is anesthesia use connected to consciousness? Read “Awakening,” by Joshua Lang. There’s been a long-held opinion, counter to classical philosophy, that consciousness is somehow a product of the brain and neural apparatuses, that consciousness goes away, more or less altogether, under the influence of anesthesia.. This opinion, however, is proving a slippery slope, and the chase to identify consciousness goes on. And on.

Are you breathing a sigh of relief, now that the banking industry has been saved  and that the Dodd-Frank law promises to bring modernized regulation to the banking industry? Maybe you shouldn’t. In a collaborative article by Frank Partnoy and Jesse Eisinger, “What’s Inside America’s Banks,” we discover that many (almost all?) of modern banking transactions are so hard to qualify and quantify that no amount of analysis can assess a bank’s health. This is true particularly in assessing the degree of risk taken on in, for instance, derivative transactions.

Most of us know enough about late-twentieth century politics to smile smugly as we talk about the U.S.’s face-down of the U.S.S.R., which ended the Cuban missile crisis. Some of us even talk about the particulars of the tradeoff – the Cuban missiles for relatively meaningless U.S. missiles in Turkey and Italy. But Benjamin Schwartz’s article, “The Real Cuban Missile Crisis,” draws on a trove of information made public since 1997 to paint a much different picture of this pivotal moment in international relations.

As I wrote above, there’s much more, and if you’re looking to home-school yourself on one dismal winter day, you should pick up this issue and read it cover to cover.

 

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