If it’s Tuesday, This Must Be Slate

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Slate.

If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Slate

On Tuesday, Nov. 4, we unveil the latest version of our contents or home page. (Maybe even a day or two sooner if Slate’s hearty software developers are willing to suspend their centuries-old common-law right to a three-hour lunch break, double helpings of Caesar salad and salmon hash, and 1.3 liters of a tolerable sauvignon blanc, followed by a nap of at least two hours’ duration. As provided in the ancient Codewriters’ Code, which dates back to ancient Sumeria–or is it Sumatra?–management is forbidden to wake them but may send them back to their computers if they awaken by natural means before closing time.) Where was I? Oh yes, our new contents page. We hope you like it. It’s intended to be simpler and clearer, to require less scrolling, and to draw more attention to our “Back of the Book” culture section. This new page is not to be confused with our (also fairly new) Internet Explorer 4.0 contents page, designed to take advantage of the capabilities of the Internet Explorer 4.0 browser. Users of that browser can choose the version they prefer. And those of any browser, race, or creed who prefer our “by date” contents page, which lists all current Slate articles and features in reverse chronological order–i.e., today’s new stuff on top, then yesterday’s, and so on–can still get that one, too.

Future offerings will include tables of contents sorted alphabetically (by title, by author, by opening sentence), by author’s height (or religion or preference in beers), by the editor’s confidential opinion of the article’s merits, by Bill Gates’ opinion of the article’s merits, by the amount the author was paid, and by the number of appearances of the phrase “irrational exuberance” or “distinguishing characteristic.” (No article has appeared in any publication for at least six months without either of these phrases.) Have we forgotten your preference? Just let us know. We hope ultimately to have a unique table of contents configured to the taste of every Slate reader.

Today’s Economic Puzzler

Steven E. Landsburg, who writes Slate’s “Everyday Economics” column, has a new book out called Fair Play: What Your Child Can Teach You About Economics, Values, and the Meaning of Life. Click here to order it from the publisher, The Free Press. Several chapters originated as columns in Slate. Steve specializes in delightful explanations of apparent economic anomalies, so he surely can explain why ordering this excellent volume directly from the publisher costs the full price of $24 plus shipping and handling, while a bookstore with vast overheads of real estate and espresso machines will sell it to you at a 10-percent or 20-percent discount.

–Michael Kinsley