In this issue: COMMENT "The Fear Equation", by Michael Specter: The U. S. response to the Ebola crisis. OUR LOCAL CORRESPONDENTS "Pets Allowed", by Patricia Marx: What animals can get away with when they have the right credentials. PROFILES "The Holder of Secrets", by George Packer: Laura Poitras’s close-up view of Edward Snowden. BOOKS "View from the Mountain", by Dan Chiasson: new poems by Louise Glück. THE ART WORLD "Shapes of Things", by Peter Schjeldahl: The birth of the abstract. THE CURRENT CINEMA "High Fliers", by Anthony Lane: Reviews of Birdman and Whiplash.