Newsweek May 15, 2013

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United States
The Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC
37 号


rainy with a chance of art

NEW YORK’S latest must-visit-or-be-shunned installation is dark, humid, crowded, and has a line stretching down the block. But those small inconveniences are forgotten when visitors finally enter the Rain Room, where they can stand—or sway, skip, or dance—in the middle of a downpour and remain untouched by a single drop of water. Cool, right? Created by design group rAndom International, the much-hyped Rain Room was transplanted last week to the Museum of Modern Art following a successful run at the Barbican Centre in London, where Brits got to experience their dreary outdoors indoors. So how does one exercise godlike powers of weather manipu lation? Step one is outwaiting the crowds descending like cicadas on West 54th Street (on May 12, opening day, MoMA tweeted that the wait was three hours). Step two…

comeback kid

SIX HOURS after the polls closed last week, Nawaz Sharif stepped out on a balcony in Lahore and declared victory. “Campaigning across Pakistan showed me how much you love Nawaz Sharif,” he said. “I love you twice as much.” When Sharif is sworn in as prime minister for a third time next month, it will be a historic moment. His party swept the elections, giving him something that had eluded President Asif Ali Zardari during the past five years: a stable government not requiring nettle some coalition partners. Sharif’s only real challenger, cricket legend Imran Khan, did well, but didn’t get the anticipated sympathy vote after a nearfatal fall at a rally that landed him in the hospital. At press time, the complete results were still being confirmed by the country’s election…

siren song

IT TURNS out that many men, shockingly, don’t have very good judgment—at least around attractive women. But thankfully researchers in Japan are at work on a solution to the problem, and according to a recent report, they may have identified a medication that can blunt the male urge to blindly trust the next pretty face. The investigators gave minocycline (an antibiotic that’s been around since the early 1970s) or a placebo to 98 young men and then involved them in a simple game. Each man received 1,300 yen (about $13) and was told that he could give as much or as little of the money as he wanted to someone in the next room. And then the men were shown a photo of the mysterious “someone” next door, invariably an attractive…

orwell on the potomac

THE ASSOCIATED Press sent shock waves through Washington when it announced that the Justice Department had obtained phone records for 20 of its reporters as part of an investigation into a leak. The story was disquieting in part because of the sheer scope of the intrusion: the Justice Department, according to the AP, had acquired phone records for its main switchboard, its Washington and Hartford bureaus, and even its line at the House press gallery. Where does an operation like this fit within the Justice Department’s history? Oliver “Buck” Revell, a retired FBI associate deputy director (the FBI investigates leaks for the Justice Department), tells me that the size of the government’s request in this case was highly unusual. “If we did this under Reagan or Bush, there would have been…

meet the melon

ONE HUNDRED forty years ago, an English scientist observed electrical impulses flowing across the brains of a living rabbit by using a type of electrode, known as a galvanometer, directly on the animal’s gray matter. Fifty years later, a German neurologist surgically inserted silver wires into the scalps of his human patients to measure electrical charges, inventing an early version of the electroencephalogram, or EEG. Both were groundbreaking experiments—if somewhat unpleasant to their subjects. Today measuring the brain’s electrical activity is far less intrusive. And by this fall it will be downright stylish. World: meet the Melon. A small team of entrepreneurs with computer- and cognitive-science backgrounds recently unveiled plans for a futuristic-looking headband that tracks your focus by reading the electrical currents of your brain in real time. Started as a $150,000 Kickstarter…

what a strange sjón

THE ICELANDIC writer Sjón has not one but three books helping him make a mini-Scandinavian invasion. The Blue Fox, The Whispering Muse, and From the Mouth of the Whale, tales of proximity to nature from which the surreal sprouts, have been translated into English and just released in America by Farrar, Straus & Giroux. Sjón began his artistic career as a surrealist, and he does not find this surprising, given that when he was 9 years old he was obsessed with an Icelandic folk tale about an animal called the furry trout. “If a man eats a furry trout, he falls pregnant,” he recently told a Manhattan book-event audience that included his longtime friend, the singer Björk, whose own eclecticism is nothing to laugh at. When it is time to…