The perils of instant reviewing: Getting the measure of a long book in less than 24 hours is usually a pretty tall order. Sometimes they don't need to detain you for that long. From TED, Jonathan Harris wants to make sense of the infinite world on the Web — so he builds dazzling graphic interfaces that help us visualize the data floating around out there. Here he presents "We Feel Fine," a project that scours blogs to collect the planet's emoti(c)ons, and the "Yahoo! Time Capsule," which preserves images, quotes and thoughts snapped up in 2006. The internet is an amazing means of communication spanning the globe, but it also has a dark side: Personal web pages. Is Google's data grinder dangerous? It wants to know more about us than we know ourselves. Stealing Comic Gold: One comic's crusade has sparked a heated debate on plagiarism in the funny business.

Jewel of the Jungle: Traveling through Cambodia, details the history and archaeology of Angkor's ancient temples. The outrage that brews up whenever one of these stories hits the press can give the impression that all video games are violent in a depraved, Clockwork Orange-ish way. But there are thousands of video games, of which most aren’t violent. From Wired, a look at how porn and family-friendly photos coexist on Flickr. The drawings are harmless really. But a US publisher has decided not to publish a series by children's book author Rotraut Susanne Berner. The problem? Cartoon breasts and a half-millimeter-long willy. From The New York Observer, here's more than you ever wanted to know about Kristin Gore’s writing process and three different sources claimed to have spoken to Kurt Vonnegut last—but none has an indisputable claim. Mass Appeal: What one T-shirt company has learned about community power — and avoiding a design mobocracy.

When history class turns into a blur of names and dates, historical fiction may be just what you need to put a face on things. Thomas Mallon talks with Robert Birnbaum about the appeal of novels and the state of publishing. Blogging, the nihilist impulse: Media theorist and Internet activist Geert Lovink formulates a theory of weblogs that goes beyond the usual rhetoric of citizens' journalism. Blogs lead to decay. What's declining is the "Belief in the Message". Instead of presenting blog entries as mere self-promotion, we should interpret them as decadent artefacts that remotely dismantle the broadcast model. An article on the seedy, startling world of virtual economies. From n+1, an article on Bobby Seale, former chairman of the Black Panther Party, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Homer makes celebrity out of what we all have – incompetence – and what we all want – love. And, when it all goes wrong, as it always will, he utters what has become the curse and prayer of Everyman – “D’Oh!”.

From Wired, a look at how YouTube does science, from fruit-fly fight clubs to stem cell extractions. Caught in a Web of Comment: A look at how corporate marketers can reach out to blogs. This is Your Brain on Video Games: Steven Johnson on how gaming sharpens thinking, social skills, and perception. How MySpace Conquered the Continent: It was late to the social-networking party in Europe, but the News Corp. site quickly overtook rivals with features designed for, and by, locals.  A different type of porn: The Four F’s — Food, Fashion, Fitness and Finances — masquerade as news, blotting out information we really need. Reporting on Yourself: How does the Wall Street Journal cover stories about the Wall Street Journal? Holiday From Hell: Pack your cyanide pills! Radar tours the world's worst vacation destinations. Jonathan Coulton is a geek and a postmodern digital pioneer. And he rocks. releasing 52 folk-rock songs in 52 weeks.


From The Atlantic Monthly, a look at why America's growing nuclear supremacy may make war with China more likely. Europe's Last Commune Braces for Battle: Denmark's authorities are growing intolerant of Christiania, a legendary center of love, peace and marijuana, living cheap on some of Copenhagen's best real estate. An article on Redonda, once, twice, nine times a micronation. Guns versus Butter in the Palestinian Authority: For Fatah and its allies to succeed in building a viable alternative to Hamas, they must provide both food for the tables and a credible central security command. He has been in the public eye for well over a decade, yet few of us feel that we know Gordon Brown. In search of a solution to the enigma, Paul Vallely retraces his long journey to power. From The Walrus, today’s super-wealthy are as rich as Rockefeller, but will they be as generous?

Israel's most powerful woman: Tzipi Livni is an ex-spy with Zionist roots who defies stereotypes. She aspires to be the first female premier in decades. A review of Instruction to Deliver: Tony Blair, the Public Services and the Challenge of Delivery by Michael Barber.  A review of The War on Democracy: Conservative Opinion in the Australian Press by Niall Lucy and Steve Mickler. More on AK47: The Story of the People's Gun by Michael Hodges. While the military strategy principle of "Hot Pursuit" might conjure up an image of a car chase or a sheriff crossing over county lines to apprehend an outlaw, it also raises a number of legal and practical concerns. An ancient road with a future: Jonathan Yardley reviews Shadow of the Silk Road by Colin Thubron. A new disease is abroad in eastern Germany: Frauenmangel, lack of women. Bomb scare: An article on Japan's dangerous victimization myth.

In Princes’ Pockets: Tariq Ali reviews America’s Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier by Robert Vitalis and Contesting the Saudi State: Islamic Voices from a New Generation by Madawi Al-Rasheed. A democratic intellectual: A lecturer at Edinburgh while Gordon Brown studied there, John Sutherland looks at the formative figures from the new PM's highly academic past. The Big Chill: An article on current Spanish-American relations. Athens off the map: The European city juts out on the southern Balkan peninsula and exists in contradictions: be it the polemics of educational reform, selective immigration, one God too many or a museum devoid of spoils. A review of The Zen of Fish: The Story of Sushi, From Samurai to Supermarket by Trevor Corson and The Sushi Economy: Globalization and the Making of a Modern Delicacy by Sasha Issenberg (and an excerpt). 

From The Economist, a special report on how, after ten years of Chinese sovereignty, Hong Kong's economy is thriving. But politics remains a one-horse race; and if only Hong Kong were allowed to show China the way politically as it has economically. Ahead of its congress later this year, the Chinese Communist Party is tolerating a surprisingly wide-ranging debate about political reform. A Farewell to Arms Control: Scott Ritter, a former U.N. weapons inspector and the author of Waging Peace, mourns the passing of the United Nations agency charged with monitoring Iraq’s WMD program. Brown's bookishness and intellectualism will be an important part of the style of his premiership. The state power of Beijing's communists and Thimpu's royalists is used to deny freedom to Tibetans and Nepalese under its heel, finds Meenakshi Ganguly of Human Rights Watch.


Bomb proof: Terrorism is no longer much of a “black swan” event for markets.  An interview with Francis Fukuyama on the challenge of positive freedom.  It's taken more than 200 years, but finally a British prime minister has accepted that Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison and Washington were right. From Plenty, an interview with Joel Makower on the future of green business. Was the New Deal un-American? Eric Rauchway on the liberal roots of the imperial presidency. A review of Richard Milhous Nixon: the Invincible Quest by Conrad Black (and more and more). From Harper's, "Undoing Bush: how to repair eight years of sabotage, bungling, and neglect", Chris Mooney on science. Locks of controversy: Rumors that Angelina Jolie had cut off her adopted daughter's hair caused an outrage. Why is hair such a highly charged symbol in the black community? The Science of Success: James Surowiecki on prediction markets. 

From Smithsonian, 100 Days That Shook the World: The all-but-forgotten story of the unlikely hero who ensured victory in the American Revolution. The new Nixon Library will host a ceremony celebrating its debut as an official presidential archives. Whatever is sighted there, we can be confident that Nixon's ghost is not coming back. Fire Foxman: Denying the Armenian Genocide should be the last atrocity perpetrated by the ADL chief. Hedges, Private Equity, and the Little Guy: What happens to corporate and government pension plans when the bottom falls out on hedge funds? Grapes from Greenland: Danish author Jorn Riel describes the beauty and horror of Greenland in his dreams.  The Flag Project runs it up the pole: Ask people about the American flag and you'll get interesting answers. An excerpt from Total Capitalism: Market politics, market state

A review of Chasing Kangaroos : A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature by Tim Flannery.  All bets are on: How a once dirt-poor American Indian tribe opened seven casinos on prime Florida real estate and bought the Hard Rock chain, catapulting itself to immense wealth in a single generation.  Thanks to modern technology, the young can enjoy the dream of frictionless, effortless motion, but should the rest of us feel left out?  The New Science of Parking: Big cities are turning to new technologies and theories to try to relieve an old problem: traffic congestion. The inaugural issue of Turbulence is out. Reason in Politics: A review of Al Gore's The Assault on Reason. From Economic Principals, an article on Everything You Wanted To Know (But Were Afraid To Ask) About Two-Sided Markets. 

Form Cato Unbound, Brink Lindsey on The Libertarian Center (with reaction essays). Voice for a sick planet: Controversial scientist James Lovelock believes Earth will survive global warming. This “great moderation” was not anticipated when Alan Greenspan took office. America’s fiscal policy was then thoroughly deranged – much more so than it is now.  A review of Land of Lincoln: Adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson (and an interview).  The Magic of Debt, or, Amortise This! Today we don’t feel guilty about incurring debts, just the opposite – indebtedness is the entry price of being a good citizen, pulling more and more of us into the global financial system. Here Brett Neilson offers some philosophical and political tools for disowning a debt which can never be repaid. A review of An Ocean of Air: A Natural History of the Atmosphere by Gabrielle Walker.


The Invention of the Don: An excerpt from Intellect and Character in Victorian England by H. S. Jones.  From The Pomegranate, a review of  Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief by John Lamb Lash and a review of The Nature of Magic: An Anthropology of Consciousness by Susan Greenwood. Parallel universes, alien religions and Carl Jung: An interview with Clifford Pickover, author of Sex, Drugs, Einstein and Elves. A review of Critical realism today. A review of Facets of Sociality. Freedom's Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Choose: Stoics say freedom is an illusion. That's why they have no choice but to think deeply about the Grateful Dead. In the quiet spa town now known as Marianske Lazne, visitors can relax in the footsteps of Czar Nicholas II, Friedrich Nietzsche, Franz Kafka and Rudyard Kipling.

From TED, starting with the deceptively simple story of an ant, Dan Dennett unleashes a dazzling sequence of ideas, making a powerful case for the existence of "memes". Window of Possibility: Why the Hubble Ultra Deep Field is the most incredible photograph ever taken. While the argument against animal maltreatment is nothing new, some activists are proposing a new, more coherent theory of animal rights that would focus on just one issue: the right not to be treated as human property. But is the world ready even to question the morality of pet ownership, never mind condemn it? Which is better: not good or not bad? For Their Eyes Only: Intelligence agencies are a difficult research topic but too important for scholars to ignore. A review of Alexis de Tocqueville: A Life by Hugh Brogan and Alexis de Tocqueville: Democracy’s Guide by Joseph Epstein. A review of Unknown Quantity: A Real and Imaginary History of Algebra by John Derbyshire. 

A review of The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean B. Carroll. Wrong by design: Guillermo Gonzalez has been denied a physics post by his university. Quite right: you cannot believe in ID and call yourself a scientist. A review of Living with Darwin: Evolution, Design, and the Future of Faith by Philip Kitcher. A review of The God Gene: How Faith Is Hardwired into Our Genes by Dean H. Hamer. A review of The Improbability of God. A review of The Self Awakened: Pragmatism Unbound by Roberto Mangabeira Unger. A review of Feminism and Philosophy of Science: An Introduction by Elizabeth Potter. A review of The Hite Report: A National Study of Female Sexuality by Shere Hite. Listening to MP3s in a storm could blow your mind: Wearing personal stereo earphones in a thunderstorm can conduct the lightning into the head, as a Canadian man discovered to his cost.

From Discover, what’s so friggin' funny? Nothing—laughter is simply how we connect. The Overestimation of Niels Bohr: More on Faust in Copenhagen. A Trip Back in Time and Space: The Harvard Observatory holds more than half a million images constituting humanity’s only record of a century’s worth of sky. Regarding a New Humanism: The true "sacred texts" of the western tradition have been for centuries, those of the great authors. Quantum physics is no less-inspired a monument than the Bible. Nor less ambiguous. And You Thought Your Job Was Rough: A look at the worst jobs in science. Determined to Reinspire a Culture of Innovation: William A. Wulf says innovation in science and manufacturing starts with the eureka moment, in which people discover the reward in solving problems. Says who? You, too, can be a self-proclaimed expert on something, according to an expert on the matter.

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