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The Trippy Fashion of Occupy Wall Street, How the Economy Really Is Getting Better, and a Bizarrely Successful Fad Diet

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Illustration by Charlie Powell.

I Did a Crazy Fad Diet From the Internet: And it worked,” by Rachael Larimore. Hungry? Why not try some tasty human chorionic gonadotropin? Larimore reports that the injecting the hormone, which occurs naturally in the placenta of pregnant women, allows dieters to eat 500 calories a day without feeling hungry or cranky. It may sound like a far-fetched Internet fad. But after taking three weeks of prescribed injections, Larimore says the diet helped her both shed pounds and recognize the toll body-image anxiety was taking on her sanity.


Why Wall Street Hates Obama: The explanation is surprisingly simple,” by Annie Lowrey. First there was the bailout and ensuing turmoil over corporate bonuses. Then there was the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill. Why is President Obama’s rollercoaster relationship with Wall Street likely to remain rocky? As the incumbent, he’s held responsible for the bad economy that is costing banks both jobs and big bonuses, Lowrey writes. While profits for several banks are still in the billions, Obama increasingly finds himself the target of ire for angry financiers.

Introducing Slate’s Negotiation Academy: A series of short podcasts to teach you the basic rules for getting the best deal,” by Andy Bowers. Shopping for a new car? Hoping for a raise at work? Or more importantly, do you simply tremble at the first mention of a negotiation? Slate is here to help. Tune into to the first episode of a new series of podcasts aimed at elucidating the art of making a deal. The series begins with a crucial question: Who should throw out the first number when haggling?

Why Does God Love Beards?: A discussion of facial hair in world religions,” by Brian Palmer. From the hearty beards of the Amish to perhaps the most iconic facial hair-sporter of all time—ahem, Jesus—religious folk of disparate creeds are often united in their shared penchant for beards. But why? It’s partly because facial hair is inherently manly. It appears in many religious texts as a clear marker of “masculinity bestowed upon men by God.”

How To Diagnose a Toddler with ADHD: Don’t all little kids have short attention spans?” by Brian Palmer. Pediatricians are now telling parents to be on the lookout for symptoms of ADHD—which include fidgeting, interrupting and impatience—in children as young as 4 years old. While toddlers aren’t known for their even-keeled temperaments, Palmer explains that the behavior of children with ADHD is “excessive for their age.” Another ADHD indicator: general stalled developmental progression.

Christians Are Better: Should voters prefer a “genuine” Christian to a Mormon? Perry hasn’t answered,” by William Saletan. A Baptist pastor who introduced Texas Gov.Rick Perry at a recent conference took a shot at GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by implying the candidate isn’t a “good” moral person because he’s Mormon. During Tuesday’s Republican debate, Perry refused to apologize for the incident. Saletan says the remark goes too far because of the implicit suggestion that voting should be based on a candidate’s religion.

The New Interventionism: How Obama is changing the way the United States wages war,” by Fred Kaplan. The U.S. is still embroiled in two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Even so, Kaplan says the real indicators of evolving American military strategy can be found in Libya, off the coast of Somalia, and in the borderlands of Uganda. As terrorism replaces communism as the international menace du jour, Kaplan argues that President Obama is overseeing a resurgence of Cold War-era “advise and assist” military operations instead of full-scale warfare.

A Womb Without a View: Major birth defects come as a surprise for most parents, but they don’t have to,” by Darshak Sanghavi. More than 2 percent of American pregnancies involve serious birth defects.  In this piece, Sanghavi explores the importance of pre-natal screening to help parents-to-be prepare for those potential complications. Prenatal screenings allow families to consider the implications of a serious birth defect and decide whether or not to continue the pregnancy. Screening can also help doctors plan for medical treatment ahead of time, minimizing the risk for further complications.

The Fashion of Occupy Wall Street: Things in Zuccotti Park are getting very Fellini-esque,” by Simon Doonan. Sure, critics have questioned the political ambitions of Occupy Wall Street protesters. But Doonan writes that the protesters’ fashions may be more varied (and bizarre) than their stances on economic reform. As Doonan writes,From bohemian to faux-hemian, from trippy to tragic,” protestor garb does not disappoint spectators looking for some style diversity.

You Have To Admit It’s Getting Better: The economy seems to be recovering. Here’s the evidence,” by Annie Lowrey. Despite ever-fluctuating job numbers and a seemingly constant stream of economic forecasters predicting a double-dip recession, things really might be getting better. Seriously. Home sales are starting rise again, new home construction is increasing and retail sales also began to rebound in recent months.