From TED, Alex Tabarrok on how ideas trump economic crises — a surprising lesson from 1929. Comparing Crises: Is the current economic collapse like Japan's in the 1990s? A review of The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding by Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott. More and more on The Future of Liberalism by Alan Wolfe. One year after the earthquake that devastated central China, Ben Huang contemplates the connections between the quake, Chinese history, and his father’s death. James Fallows on Beijing’s almost-perfect hotel: The Opposite House is an idealistic island in a country that rarely worries about details. Fareed Zakaria on why Iran may not want the Bomb and other unexpected truths. A look at how intolerable life would be without books and bookshops. John McWhorter on where hiphop is "going" and where it never was. The Real McCain: Why is Meghan McCain so popular in the press? Perhaps she’s who the media thought her dad really was. Jane Ciabattari reviews Trouble by Kate Christensen. Virtuous Reality: Jed Perl on a critical tour through L.A. as an art town. On commencement addresses: Occasionally, amid all the cliches and speechifying, a pearl issues forth, but for the most part the ceremonies are absolutely forgettable.