From H-Net, a review of Jefferson and the Press: Crucible of Liberty by Jerry W. Knudson and The Idea of a Free Press: The Enlightenment and Its Unruly Legacy by David A. Copeland. From British Journalism Review, an article on how to survive Rupert Murdoch. Jack Shafer on reading the Murdoch Street Journal: Where is the rotten old bastard taking his latest acquisition? Who's afraid of Bill Kristol? Nora Ephron, Josh Marshall and nearly every liberal with a blogging account. A review of The Prince of Darkness: 50 Years Reporting in Washington by Robert Novak. "The best political team on television"? On election night, CNN runs its preposterous slogan into the ground. The Whiskey Rebellion: In praise of booze in the newsroom.
Ashlie Warnick (Yale): Sex Without Romance: The Political Economy of Prostitution. From New York, there are 45 sex offenders living in one small Long Island town, 17 on the same block, 7 in a single suburban ranch. The virginity dialogues: How Egypt's obsession with sex and virginity relates to the broader socio-economic picture. "Sexual chemistry" is more than just a way of talking about heated attraction; subtle chemical keys actually help determine who we fall for, but our lifestyles may unwittingly undermine our natural sex appeal. Bar Flies: What a new study on alcohol and fruit flies can tell us about how booze affects human sexual behavior. Do monkeys pay for sex? A new study suggests that male monkeys trade favors with females for sex — and that the market price depends on availability.
From Arena, an article on the role of a powerful group of commentators who have sought to reconstruct Australian political culture; why Howard was humiliated: Now that all the celebrations of John Howard’s defeat have begun to settle it is worth reflecting on the reasons for the landslide. An article on the lumps of coal in John Howard’s Christmas stocking. A review of How a Continent created a Nation by Libby Robin. A review of The Lamb Enters the Dreaming: Nathanael Pepper and the Ruptured World by Robert Kenny. A review of Tim Flannery's Chasing Kangaroos: A Continent, a Scientist, and a Search for the World's Most Extraordinary Creature. Are Aussies and Kiwis that different? New Zealand is Australia’s poor cousin; is the Kiwis’ national culture holding them back?
What is it about Mormonism? It's political challenges — and Mitt Romney’s, too — run deeper than theology. Do evangelicals have a future? Leaders see cultural captivity choking out the gospel. Pentecostalism for the exurbs: Joel Osteen's God really wants you to dress well, stand up straight, and get a convenient parking space. At Pathways United, Christian traditions mix with Hindu music and teachings from the self-help shelf; it’s a seductive mix for those scared off long ago by rigid dogma — of course, the approach has its critics. Faith without borders: For Perennialists, all religions lead to God. Where “California” bubbled up: Esalen, birthplace of the New Age, is a victim of its own success. Chateau Scientology: The New Yorker goes inside the Church’s Celebrity Centre.
From The Magazineer, an article on launching a magazine the un-dumb way; a look at Monocle’s disappointing myopia; and an article on how to read Wired revisited. From Atopia, a special issue on the space left for literary, philosophical and artistic journals today. An interface of one’s own: For truly creative writing, word "processing" is not enough. Always skip the first hundred or so pages of a biography: Childhoods are never interesting. How to enjoy how-to books: Antique books of instruction and advice are packed with enjoyably ridiculous advice. An interview with Don Borchert, author of Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library. Words from the "bathroom blogosphere": Mark Ferem documents the best of bathroom-wall scrawls.
From The Nation, an article on the Democratic foreign policy wars. From TAP, a look at how progressives can win on national security. A look at the candidates' foreign policy positions. Madeleine Albright on why the most precious gift the next president could bestow upon America is an end to the politics of fear, and a review of Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership. Whether Republican or Democratic, the next president must quickly devote sufficient attention, political capital and diplomatic energy to two fearsome challenges: nuclear proliferation and climate change. We still need the big guns: Looking ahead, America needs a military centered not on occupying another country but on denying adversaries the ability to attack our interests.
From The Economist, here are three fearless predictions on technology in 2008. From Popular Mechanics, here are 10 tech concepts you need to know for 2008. The laptop wars: Will charity or profit end the digital divide? One clunky laptop per child: Great idea — shame about the mediocre computer. From The New Yorker, an article on Google squaring off with its Capitol Hill critics. An article on Google the Destroyer. Google's gaping deficit: How a giant of the net has bred the conditions of its demise. Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, is launching a new kind of search tool, with results that rely on users' input and open-source software. With a final keynote speech, Bill Gates holds forth on the "second digital decade" and bids farewell as a "Guitar Hero" (and more).
From Open Democracy, the world’s third spaces: Between national and global levels, a fresh landscape of territory, authority and rights is being opened — it may look messy, but it is part of a new reality in the making, says Saskia Sassen. In the globalizing world of the 21st century, are we ready for democracy to be applied internationally? Too often national elections cause horrible violence or bitter disputes — what if they were all handed over to a UN election squad? Observe early and often: The United Nations should establish a monitoring unit devoted not to elections, but to the work of election commissions. Madeleine Albright on why democracy is inevitable no more. Second life: Dictatorships have gotten good at keeping democracy at bay — it wasn't supposed to be this way.
From The Chronicle, many of our best and brightest high-school students found out last month whether they had been accepted by early decision to the colleges of their choice — but most of those decisions were more or less preordained by social class. Getting in gets harder: The children of the baby boomers are flooding colleges with applications, making the process more competitive than ever. How to get into college despite the disadvantage of privilege: A review of Acing the College Application by Michelle Hernandez and What High Schools Don't Tell You by Elizabeth Wissner-Gross. Defining diversity down: A proposal to make it easier to get into California colleges.
From First Science, a brief history of infinity: The paradoxical twists and turns of infinity have baffled many great thinkers. From Space.com, an article on the enduring mysteries of the outer Solar System. A look at how the thrashing guitars of heavy metal bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden could help explain the mysteries of the universe. What if the Big Bang wasn't the beginning of the universe, but only one stage in an endlessly repeated cycle of universal expansion and contraction? No dice for slow roll: A finding challenges popular theory of universe's origins. Fifty years ago, a paper appeared in the journal Physical Review with an answer to a physics puzzle: superconductivity. A colleague of the late Sir Fred Hoyle says his friend never got his due for explaining how the universe got its elements.