Cocktail Chatter

A Historic Union, the Outdated Save Button, and Cheap Drugs

The week’s most interesting Slate stories.

Erwynn and Will's civil-union ceremony
Chaplain Kay Reeb presides over Erwynn and Will’s civil-union ceremony.

Photograph by Jeff Sheng.

The Wedding: Will and Erwynn met at church and fell in love. But they had a big problem—‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ The unlikely story of the first gay military union” by Katherine Goldstein. On June 23, almost nine months after the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay serviceme, Tech Sgt. Erwynn Umali and Will Behrens were married in the nation’s first civil union on a military base. Charting the couple’s difficult struggle, Goldstein narrates the story of their historic union.

Say the Magic Word: How partisans gave special meaning to Obama’s words, ‘you didn’t build that’” by David Weigel. President Obama’s July 13 speech in Roanoke, Va., made waves with the president’s now-infamous “you didn’t built that” gaffe. Following a flurry of activity surrounding the quote, Weigel looks at how conservatives have used the sound bite to argue Obama’s socialist, anti-business stance.

The Pain in Bain: Why Romney’s so afraid of talking about what he did at Bain” by Jacob Weisberg. In recent weeks, Mitt Romney’s affiliation has been increasingly referenced and becomeincreasingly muddled. Weisberg explains why while the Obama administration might want to keep focus on Bain, Romney wants to avoid the conversation. 

Delete the Save Button: Computers are smart enough to preserve everything I type without me hitting a stupid disk icon” by Farhad Manjoo. It’s been years since anyone used a floppy disk to save files, so why are we still clicking on it’s likeness to save things on our computer? With the rise of the cloud and increased computer power, Manjoo argues that it’s time to hit delete on the anachronistic save button.

Get High for Free: If pot were truly legal, joints would cost only a few cents” by Matthew Yglesias. In May, 56 percent of Americans polled that they would support a measure legalizing marijuana in the same controlled vein as tobacco and alcohol. While legalization may still be a distant reality, Yglesias explains how a legal marijuana industry would result in remarkably low prices for pot.

The Fatter of Two Evils: Why are Americans more afraid of gaining weight than smoking cigarettes?” by Daniel Engber. For the first time ever, Americans are more concerned with gaining weight than cigarettes, a paradigm shift that has already begun to influence national policy. This change in priorities is dangerous, Engber argues, because smoking is still much more dangerous than obesity.

Blogging the Human Genome: The chromosomal evidence that mankind nearly went extinct” by Sam Kean. Continuing Slate’s series on the human genome, Kean explains how two missing chromosomes mean the human species is much less genetically diverse than other species, proof that at one point, we came much closer to extinction than we might think.

‘A Spirit of Persecution’: What the Hill Cumorah Pageant tells us about Mormonism’s past—and its present” by Max Perry Mueller. By attending the Hill Cumorah Pageant, an annual Mormon pageant celebrating the history of their religion, Perry Mueller explains what he learned about the history of Mormonismand it’s future amid a culture of external persecution.

Conspicuous Consumption: How much gold can you safely eat?” by L.V. Anderson. Anyone in New York with an extra $666 on hand can stop by Food Truck 666 to munch on the Douche Burger, an over the top creation whose patty comes encased in six sheets of gold leaf. For the 1 percent hoping to score a taste of the Douche Burger, rest assured—Anderson confirms that eating all that gold isn’t detrimental to your health.

I’ll Sit This One Out: On a lifetime of hating games” by Dana Stevens. Recalling a childhood memory of a failed attempt to convince her friends to play “Puppies and Kittens” instead of freeze tag or Simon Says, Stevens explores her life as a game-hater in a very game-centric world.