A new issue of Quarterly Conversation is out. From The Millions, Sarah McCoy reads cookbooks like novels — cover to cover, page by page, the dedication, the acknowledgments, the indexes. The Party is over in Washington: The short-lived, irregularly appearing column in The Washington Post by Sally Quinn was dumped last week (and a response). The Death of Film Criticism: Smart films and smart film critiques have gone hand in hand — the Internet age endangers both. Stefany Anne Golberg on steampunk, the 21st-century answer to 20th-century loss via a nostalgic 19th-century sensibility. Stepped-up surveillance technology may be tipping the scales in the cat-and-mouse game between spies and their targets — Robert Baer on the current state of spycraft. Spud Hilton on the fine art of place-dropping: With a subtle, well-crafted remark about your last trip, you, too, can win friends and influence people! Richard Thaler on paring the deficit by selling part of the radio spectrum. Author Bill Geerhart, posing as a schoolboy, writes letters to politicians and receives revealing replies, in Little Billy’s Letters: An Incorrigible Inner Child’s Correspondence with the Famous, Infamous and Just Plain Bewildered. The Raging Septuagenarian: Taking on the Times, Google, and, in a sense, his own children, Rupert Murdoch is not going gently into the night. An interview with Michael Belfiore, author of The Department of Mad Scientists: How DARPA Is Remaking Our World, from the Internet to Artificial Limbs. A room temperature of one's own: An article on better living through "personal climates". Britannica.com reports from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. An interview with Mat Whitecross on books on film directing.