COVER: THE (mostly) BIG THOUGHTS EDITION (p. 26). In this second annual double issue, Newsweek poses questions, collects factoids and writes essays on topics ranging from whether politicians should pander, whether having children makes you happier and whether this year's wild weather really is because of global warming. Readers can also test their Global IQ by taking quizzes on Newsweek.com on topics covered in the issue. Try these:
1. How many presidents achieved the rank of general or higher? A. 2 B. 3 C. 5 D. 7
2. Which country has the cheapest gas in the world? A. Iran B. Russia C. The United States D. Venezuela.
3. Which of the following contains the most calories? A. Alcohol B. Carbohydrates C. Protein D. Fat. (Answers on p. 6) Assistant Managing Editor Mark Miller is available for interviews on the issue.
NEWSWEEK POLL on Global Literacy. What Do Americans Know? The NEWSWEEK Poll gauges what U.S. citizens know on a broad range of topics, from the price of oil to the works of Shakespeare.
HISTORY: "Who Was More Important: Lincoln or Darwin?" (p. 30). Newsweek poses the question about who was more influential: Abraham Lincoln or Charles Darwin? They were both revolutionaries-two men who upended realities that prevailed when they were born. Everybody knows Darwin and Lincoln were near-mythic figures in the 19th century. So, considering the joint magnitude of their contributions, it is hard not to wonder: who was the greater man? But if you limit the question to influence, it bears pondering, all the more if you turn the question around and ask, what might have happened if one of these men had not been born?
POLITICS: "True or False? Candidates Should Never Flip-Flop" (p. 39). Senior Writer and Political Correspondent Jonathan Darman writes that before true believers start getting glum about Barack Obama and John McCain flip-flopping on some issues, it is worth remembering that flip-flopping has a noble history in this country. Lincoln, Lyndon B. Johnson and Bobby Kennedy all switched positions on significant issues. Those were conversions of courage, but changing one's mind in politics is more often lambasted than lionized. The muddle of our modern political coalitions has made it virtually impossible for ambitious politicians not to change their position on some issue as they rise from local to national prominence. Answer: False.
ENVIRONMENT: "True or False? Global Warming Is a Cause Of This Year's Extreme Weather" (p. 52). Begley writes that whenever someplace is hit with extreme weather, scientists trip over themselves to absolve global warming. This pretense has worn thin. The frequency of downpours and heat waves, as well as the power of hurricanes, has increased so dramatically that "100-year storms" are striking some areas once every 15 years, and other once rare events keep returning like a bad penny. As a result, some climatologists now say global warming is to blame. Answer: True.
TECHNOLOGY: "True or False: The Internet Is The New Sweatshop" (p. 54). Senior Writer N'Gai Croal reports that thanks to the growth of user-generated content on the Internet, today's most valuable employees will most likely never set foot inside the building-or collect a paycheck. They may be teenagers posting videos of themselves dancing or programmers messing around with Twitter's tools to create cool new applications. But what they have in common is a willingness to work for little more than peer recognition and a long shot at 15 seconds of fame. Answer: True.
ECONOMY: "True or False? The Power to Fix the Economy Rests With the Next President" (p. 56). Senior Editor Daniel Gross writes that John McCain and Barack Obama are each promising to generally kick the economy back into gear. But "Most of the promises that Obama and McCain are making about the economy will founder on the shoals of a Congress unwilling to be a rubber stamp, organized industry opposition, unanticipated events, budget realities and changes in the macroeconomic climate," he writes. Answer: False.
HEALTH: "What Condition Could Stem Cells Help First?" (p. 58). Science Columnist Sharon Begley writes that the answer almost doesn't matter because stem-cell research has become the latest casualty of a plague sweeping biomedical science: advances in the lab aren't reaching patients. Researchers have turned to state and private money, and there have been notable successes in using human embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to treat lab animals. But the real obstacle is that "no one is funding research to get these advances into the clinic," says Robert Lanza, chief scientific officer of Advanced Cell Technology.
HEALTH: "True or False? The Obese Should Have to Pay More For Airline Tickets" (p. 60). Senior Editor Jerry Adler writes that Americans persist in the belief that it's fat people who consume more than their share of resources, and since existing social disincentives to obesity haven't worked, people keep suggesting ways to enhance them, including weight surcharges for airplane tickets and higher rates for medical insurance. Others view obesity as a "tragic addiction" and still others view it as a protected category, like race or gender, which would make discrimination illegal. Answer: False.
FAMILY: "True or False? Having Kids Makes You Happy" (p. 62). Senior Writer Lorraine Ali writes on several studies that show that couples without children are happier than those with children. One study finds that parents are about 7 percentage points less likely to report being happy than the childless. "For the childless, all this research must certainly feel redeeming. As for those of us with kids, well, the news isn't all bad. Parents still report feeling a greater sense of purpose and meaning in their lives than those who've never had kids," Ali writes. Answer: False.
CULTURE: "Who Exports the Most TV to the U.S.?" (p. 64). Associate Editor Joshua Alston reports that the answer is Israel. With two shows hitting TV this year and another two in development, it's Israel that is fast becoming Hollywood's cheat sheet. One was adapted into HBO's critically acclaimed series "In Treatment." This fall on CBS is "The Ex List," adapted from another Israel series.
TIP SHEET: "Single Mom With Kid Needs Break" (p. 75). General Editor Anna Kuchment reports on the growing number of travel agencies specializing in trips for single parents traveling alone with kids. They allow adults to take some time for themselves while their kids watch a movie or compete in an Xbox tournament.
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