This Week’s Best Longreads from Obama’s Foreign Policy to Mexican Marathoners
From Obama’s foreign policy to the Mexican men who try to outrun antelopes, The Daily Beast picks the best longform journalism from around the Web this week.
Ryan Lizza, The New Yorker
President Obama’s decisions during the Arab Spring have confused and frustrated many of his supporters. His actions seem to come into conflict with many of the foreign policy ideals that brought him into office. But a thorough examination of his foreign policy experience and the changing views serving in his various political posts show the roots of his ideas and how his recent foreign policy initiatives took shape.
2. Fair Chase
Charles Bethea, Outside
In present day New Mexico, nine men run through the plains chasing after an antelope. If it seems like an odd thing to do, it is: These men are champion marathon runners, and chasing this animal to test a theory of evolution. They want to determine if humans really can outrun the fastest animals on earth.
Lester R. Brown, Foreign Policy
Americans spend less than a tenth of their income on food, and barely notice rising food prices. But that’s not the case for much of the world, where fluctuations in food prices can be the difference between eating and starving. Governments around the world are faltering, and scarcity of food can be the deciding factor between a return to normalcy and an outright revolution.
Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has long lamented the fading of the left from the public discourse. Wallace-Wells follows Krugman’s transformation from moderate to anti-Bush partisan to liberal purist—the man who sets the standard that many hold Obama to. Krugman wonders why even now, with a seemingly progressive president, fundamental liberal solutions are still not being deployed to solve current crises.
Joel Warner, Wired
What is funny? Psychology has devoted much research to mental illness and aggression, but hardly any research in the field has been devoted to humor—until now. Researchers in the Humor Research Lab attempt to determine, scientifically, just what it is that determines whether something is funny or not.
Daniel Ephron, Newsweek
Fed up with the stalled peace talks, the Palestinian leader defies Israel and vents about Obama. With unfettered access, Dan Ephron profiles Mahmoud Abbas in this week's Newsweek.
This weekly column is The Daily Beast's contribution to the growing Longreads community on Twitter, where fans of longform journalism collect and share their favorite stories. Follow along through the hashtag #longreads, and visit Longreads.com and Longform.org for suggestions throughout the week. To take these stories on the go, we recommend using smartphone applications such as Instapaper or Read It Later. You can download either at your mobile phone's application store. To send us suggestions, tweet the story to @thedailybeast on Twitter with the hashtag #longreads. To read previous editions, visit our Longreads archive.