Today, Other Magazines reads through Time, the Economist, the New York Times Magazine, and the Chronicle of Higher Education to find out what’s worth your time.
Must Read A special issue of the New York Times Magazine recaps 70 ideas—ingenious, awful, influential, and just plain weird—from 2007. Selections include airborne wind turbines, schemes to extract vengeance through Craigslist, the collision of Facebook with genetics, and the connection between global warming and conflict.— J.M.
Best International Story
An article in the Economist hails the defeat of Hugo Chávez’s “21st century socialism” revolution in Venezuela. His first-ever defeat in the national polls “may also take much of the momentum out of his industrious efforts to form a regional block of allies and client states.”—D.S.
Best War on Terror Story
A Time feature investigates an “important prototype” for fighting terrorism post-9/11: turning illegal immigrants in trouble with the law into informers who quietly infiltrate potentially radical groups. It’s “a messy and unsatisfying ordeal, and possibly the best available option,” the piece concludes.—D.S.
Best Immigration Piece
The Chronicle of Higher Education profiles two Texas universities who oppose the Department of Homeland Security’s border fence, which would literally divide their bi-national campuses.—M.S.
Best Campaign Piece
The Economist continues to show love to GOP presidential hopeful John McCain. This time, the magazine compares him with the charming but “woefully lacking in experience” Mike Huckabee, concluding that “presidential debate between Mr. Huckabee and Hillary Clinton would be a rout.”—D.S.
Best Business Piece
The New York Times Magazine dissects the lexicon of the current lending crisis, examining the historical and linguistic roots of key terms such as subprime, recession, and credit crunch.—J.M.
Best Culture Piece
The Chronicle of Higher Education investigates why the blonde is such a “pressing topic” in American culture.—M.S.
Best Religion Piece
Time profiles “rock star” pastor Rob Bell, who’s being touted as the heir to Billy Graham. Bell has none of evangelicalism’s high negatives with its younger generation—”too judgmental, too political and too negative about homosexuality”—and is rejuvenating evangelical youth with his “combination of deep cultural savviness and deeper piety.”—D.S.
From the New York Times Magazine’s annual Idea Issue comes word of a terrifying new parasite: “More than 60 million people in the United States are infected with a parasite that may migrate into their brains and alter their behavior in a way that … may leave them more likely to be eaten by cats.”—J.M.
Best Technology Piece
An article in the Economist explains how a deal between the creators of two of the world’s most popular video games, Guitar Hero and World of Warcraft, reflects the “changing industry.” Most interesting is the piece’s observation about “social gaming”—how game creators are roping in casual, unskilled players with easy-to-pick-up, fun-in-a-group gaming experiences.—D.S.
Best Facebook Piece
The Chronicle of Higher Education looks at the risks of student-professor friendships on the social networking site.—M.S.
Best Back-Page Feature
The New York Times Magazine closes its Ideas Issue with a chart with some of the oddest patents filed in the United States in 2007 and speculates about what problems that they might address. Examples include golf-ball lubricant, a combined pet carrier and gym bag, and the thong diaper.—J.M