Longreads

The Week’s Best Longreads: The Daily Beast Picks for June 2, 2012

The Daily Beast picks the best journalism from around the web this week. By David Sessions.

The Perfected Self David H. Freedman, The AtlanticB. F. Skinner’s notorious theory of behavior modification was denounced by critics 50 years ago as a fascist, manipulative vehicle for government control. But a new wave of smartphone apps is giving them an unlikely comeback.

Hope: The SequelJohn Heilemann, New YorkInside Obama-campaign headquarters, the president’s senior strategists are confident they have demographics, history, and the better candidate on their side. But just to make absolutely sure they’ll beat Mitt Romney, they’re planning to ditch their hopey-changey past and double down on Rovean ruthlessness.

Will Craig Venter’s Bugs Save the World?Wil S. Hylton, The New York Times MagazineSome will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA.

How Germany Conquered Amazon Michael Naumann, The NationThe lone Western country with a thriving bookstore culture.

How Texas Inflicts Bad Textbooks on Us Gail Collins, The New York Review of BooksThe people picking the nation’s textbooks think “evolution is hooey.” So why are they so powerful?

The Beach Boys’ Crazy Summer Andrew Romano, NewsweekHe heard voices, did drugs, and fell apart. Can the band’s reunion tour help put Brian Wilson back together again?

For more great longreads, visit our friends at Longreads.com.