Today, Other Magazines combs through Time, the New York Times Magazine, The Nation, the Economist, and Sports Illustrated to find out what pieces are worth your time.
David Leonhardt’s “The New Affirmative Action” in the New York Times Magazine’s special college issueis a detailed examination of how Proposition 209 has affected UCLA and the efforts to develop a new form of affirmative action “that uses a little less race and a lot more class.”—E.G.
The Economist presents an able survey of the Jena 6 case’s boiling racial politics, but it’s only worth reading if you’ve missed all of the U.S. media coverage—or you if particularly relish the “those savage Americans just can’t get along” tone.—M.S.
Least Startling Statistic
A New York Times Magazine survey shows 93 percent of college alumni—those who graduated about five years ago—said their college experience was “excellent” or “good.” It’s called nostalgia.—E.G.
Best International Coverage
A piece in the Economist assesses the upcoming election season in India, where the Gandhi family dynasty struggles to maintain control.—M.S.
Best Iraq War Piece
The Nation investigates Blackwater’s role in Iraq following last week’s incident, which left 11 Iraqis dead. The writer decries how “Blackwater’s continued presence on Iraqi streets days after Maliki called for its expulsion serves as a potent symbol of the utter lack of Iraqi sovereignty.”—J.M.
Best Sports Piece
A thorough Sports Illustrated piece follows Red Sox star closer Jonathan Papelbon through the season, highlighting his battle with a shoulder injury and the training regimen that allows him to be one of the most effective closers in the Majors.—J.M.
Best Technology Piece
Time’s cover story takes a look at the V-22 Osprey, an “aircraft that flies like an airplane but takes off and lands like a chopper.” The V-22 took 25 years and $20 billion to develop. It’s long been the Marine Corps’ fantasy machine, but as the Corps prepare to deploy the Osprey for the first time, in Iraq, Time questions whether it’s really safe for combat.—J.L.
Best Look Back
On the 50th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch into space, the Economist evaluates the history of space research. The piece concludes that though “a view of space travel as a macho, gung-ho affair” pervades from the legacy of the U.S.-U.S.S.R space-race, “the biggest mental change wrought by spaceflight has been not an appreciation of the vastness of the universe, but rather of the smallness, fragility and unity of Earth.”—M.S.
Best Issue You’d Normally Skip
Little-known libertarian magazine Libertyrejuvenates the God debates, explores the body parts trade, and exposes the European mind. Uncommon perspectives on politics and culture make it worth a read.—G.H.
Best Cocktail-Party Factoid
According to a Time article, commuter marriages are multiplying: “their number jumped 30 percent, to 3.6 million, from 2000-2005,” and “the census counts 817,000 children under 18 who have married parents living apart for reasons other than marital discord.”—J.L.