Jerry Adler

Stories by Jerry Adler

  • Should the Obese Pay More For Airline Tickets?

    It's one of the last untapped energy sources, and one in which the United States leads the world. It's not just renewable, but almost impossible to get rid of. We're talking about fat. At about 3,500 calories to the pound, a 300-pound American contains the energy equivalent in fat of roughly 15 gallons of gasoline. How long will we let this resource go unused?OK, no one is proposing drilling fat people for fuel. But when most of us are looking over our shoulders at our carbon footprints, the obese seem a, well, fat target. Americans persist in the belief that it's fat people who consume more than their share of resources, rather than, say, movie stars flying private jets to Cannes. 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.It is indisputable that heavy people are more expensive to fly. A study concluded that the 10 pounds...
  • Project Green: The Race for Survival

    Enlisting endangered species in the fight against global warming is either a brilliant tactical maneuver—or an arrogant abuse of the law.
  • The Campaign & the Environment

    Driven by public concern, all the candidates agree that action is needed to slow global warming. No matter who's elected, America's policy will be different a year from now.
  • The Working-Class Smoker

    Increases in life expectancy in recent decades have left behind those who didn't go to college.
  • Out of the Wilderness

    A new study says we're not getting out into nature as much as we used to. Maybe that's a good thing.
  • Elusive Happiness

    Misery is a rational response to the world, but sometimes you just have to feel good. Try not to get carried away.
  • You Say Aspirin, I Say Heparin

    A rising number of medical errors are due to drug-name confusion. What can be done, and why a former Navy pilot is offering doctors some accuracy tips. 
  • Finding Meaning in Each Mouthful

    Saving the world or fitting into your jeans? Two new books urge us to eat more plants, for glamour or for good.
  • The Games of Their Lives

    From getting high to getting rich to getting serious, boomers kept changing the meaning of success.
  • Click and Cut in the Virtual OR

    A tracheotomy to put a breathing tube in the throat of an infant can be a risky procedure, says Dr. Court Cutting, a leading plastic surgeon at New York University Medical Center; it runs the danger of cutting the superior thyroid artery, which can cause blood to spurt out as fast as it can be sucked up. The surgeon probably won't make that mistake again, but it can be tough luck for the baby. Talking with a pilot friend one day, Cutting realized that the way we teach surgeons is like training pilots by sending them up in loaded 747s—loaded mostly with poor people, since the affluent seek out experienced doctors as private patients. But pilots learn to fly on simulators. Why can't surgeons practice on machines, instead of bodies?They already do, but existing devices all have shortcomings. Cutting himself has developed a videogame-based system for teaching cleft-lip and -palate repair, and there are programs for cardiac surgeons to practice threading catheters up the femoral artery...
  • Bankrolling Ali’s Asylum

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali stands at the nexus of forces shaping the 21st century—and it's a very dangerous place to be. The Somali-born author, who repudiated traditional Islam in her best-selling memoir, "Infidel," fled her adopted Netherlands for America this year in the face of threats from radical Muslims, thereby becoming, as Salman Rushdie and Sam Harris wrote in the Los Angeles Times, the first political refugee from Western Europe since the Holocaust. She also lost her Dutch bodyguards. Now Harris, author of "The End of Faith," is raising money to (putting it bluntly) keep Ali alive. It's an issue that unites Harris with evangelist Rick Warren, who offered to help after Harris e-mailed him. (The two debated religion in NEWSWEEK this year.) "Rick," Harris jokes, "may yet convince me that Christians are more moral and socially engaged than atheists."It's a matter of life and death to Ali, who has needed protection since Theo van Gogh—her collaborator on a documentary about the...
  • Endangered Sea Turtles

    We've worked for years to protect them, so why are they still endangered?
  • A Century of Destiny

    It is not just 1968—many years are jostling for starring roles in history.
  • Sorry, But I Can’t Help You

    One study found that, in doctors, the brain circuits associated with empathy were suppressed.
  • Our Fruitless War on Germs

    Our war on microbes has toughened them. Now, new science tells us we should embrace bacteria.
  • America's Most Wanted

    In 2004, when Sen. Ted Kennedy was temporarily grounded by the appearance of a certain "T. Kennedy" on the No-Fly List, it was treated as an amusing bureaucratic snafu. But is it possible the government was on to something? Dinesh D'Souza, the right-wing author and critic, has made his own list, and Ted Kennedy is the very first name. D'Souza identifies more than 100 people and organizations as part of a "domestic insurgency" that is "working in tandem with [Osama] bin Laden to defeat Bush." Among them are such well-known terrorists as Sharon Stone, Henry Louis Gates and Cindy Sheehan. If you've ever given money to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU, D'Souza wants you to know, you've been aiding groups "at least as dangerous as any of bin Laden's American sleeper cells." So if you find yourself getting on a plane with Kennedy, or even Noam Chomsky, you might want to think about driving instead.In his new book, ominously titled "The Enemy at Home," D'Souza takes pains to insist that "I...
  • Alice Waters: Still Touting Simple Food

    With her ninth and final cookbook, chef and natural-foods advocate Alice Waters insists on eating locally. But it's not as simple as it sounds.
  • Era Of The Super Cruncher

    If the editors of a magazine—NEWSWEEK, for instance—want to know what interests their readers, their resources are limited. They can count cover sales, but that only tells them about one story a week. They can convene a focus group, but that’s a cumbersome and costly way to assess the tastes of 3 million subscribers. Online, by contrast, that information is available for the asking—not just the numbers of readers, but how long they spent with a given story and what else they read. So as journalism increasingly migrates to the Web, the job of figuring out what readers want becomes almost automatic—thereby raising the question, how much do we really need editors, anyway?Just kidding! But according to a new book by Ian Ayres, an econometrician and law professor at Yale, this is a microcosm of a powerful trend that will shape the economy for years to come: the replacement of expertise and intuition by objective, data-based decision making, made possible by a virtually inexhaustible...
  • A Need for (Higher) Speed

    From heritage tours to farm-to-table dining, today's retirees (and soon-to-be-retirees) are reinventing the autumn years.
  • Earth: What Would Happen If Humans Vanished?

    The Second Coming may be the most widely anticipated apocalypse ever, but it's far from the only version of the end times. Environmentalists have their own eschatology—a vision of a world not consumed by holy fire but returned to ecological balance by the removal of the most disruptive species in history. That, of course, would be us, the 6 billion furiously metabolizing and reproducing human beings polluting its surface. There's even a group trying to bring it about, the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, whose Web site calls on people to stop having children altogether. And now the journalist Alan Weisman has produced, if not a bible, at least a Book of Revelation, "The World Without Us," which conjures up a future something like ... well, like the area around Chernobyl, the Russian nuclear reactor that blew off a cloud of radioactive steam in 1986. In a radius of 30 kilometers, there are no human settlements—just forests that have begun reclaiming fields and towns, home to...