From American Political Science Review, James H. Fowler (UCSD), Laura A. Baker (USC) and Christopher T. Dawes (UCSD): Genetic Variation in Political Participation. Memo to Don Cherry and Margaret Atwood: Lack of patriotism is Canadian patriotism. Birthrates are falling at drastic and, to many, alarming rates; why are Europeans so hesitant to have children, and what does it mean for their future and for ours? Felipe Fernandez-Armesto considers why soccer will never score highly in the US. Reading The Onion Seriously: Combining irreverent humor and acerbic critique, a handful of new media outlets are transforming American politics and culture. From The Chronicle, an article on America's Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor's Degree (and more). The new economics and the pursuit of happiness: Alan Wolfe reviews Happiness: A Revolution in Economics by Bruno S. Frey and Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely. From Baghdad to London: Lessons from one thousand years of urbanisation in Europe and the Arab world. From Smithsonian, an essay on The Great Human Migration: Why humans left their African homeland 80,000 years ago to colonize the world. Your brain lies to you: We tend to remember news that accords with our worldview, and discount statements that contradict it. Erwin Chemerinsky and EJ Dionne on judicial activism by conservatives.
From Triple Canopy, an introduction to and dispatch from the PRB, a literary service in the public domain; an article on Harry Stephen Keeler’s “web-work” mystery novels and the language and terrors of the Internet; and the first complete English translation of Roberto Bolano's 1999 speech accepting the Romulo Gallegos Prize (and a review of The Savage Detectives at Bookforum). From The Guardian, here's a special report on writer's rooms. Inspired by a Bunny Wabbit: The freedom in cartoons to transcend the laws of basic physics, to hop around in time and space, and to skip from one dimension to another has long been a crucial aspect of imaginative poetry. From Vanity Fair, lots of men go gaga over other guys, but in the realm of politics—where Tony Blair and Karl Rove were enslaved by George Bush’s ersatz cowboy cool, Bush fell for Vladimir Putin’s soulful eyes, and half the media is in love with John McCain—such passion is perilous. A review of Stop Me If You've Heard This by Jim Holt and Looking at Laughter: Humor, Power, and Transgression in Roman Visual Culture, 100 BC–AD 250 by John R. Clarke (and more). Where there’s a will: Youssef Rakha examines the wisdom and absurdity of a certain Arabic phrase, Insha’allah. An attack that came out of the ether: Scholar Danielle Allen looks for first link in e-mail chain about Obama.
From The New Yorker, Seymour M. Hersh on Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran. The first chapter from Nuclear Deterrence Theory: The Search for Credibility by Robert Powell. The first chapter from Blacked Out: Government Secrecy in the Information Age by Alasdair Roberts. From The American Scholar, William Deresiewicz on the disadvantages of an elite education; an essay on the end of the Black American Narrative; film and theater critic Steve Vineberg reflects on the art of surprise; and Jean Bethke Elshtain reviews Reappraisals by Tony Judt (and more). And God Said, "Just Do It": Churches are urging spouses to have hot sex — and lots of it. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Orgy: An article on sexual hypocrisy and the Internet. From Prospect, an interview with Nicholas Stern on global warming; and Mark Hannam, Jonathan Ford, John Gieve, Anatole Kaletsky, George Soros and Martin Wolf debate how to stop the next bubble. Andrew Roberts on why history will say that we misunderestimated George W Bush. The death of life writing: Celebrity memoirs, breathless lives of 18th-century socialites and countless royal mistresses — whatever happened to the golden age of biography? A review of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Agora: Ancient Greek and Roman Humour by R. Drew Griffith and Robert B. Marks.
From Newsweek, Mr. Obama’s Washington: He wants to change the culture there, but it's hard to fix a place you've never really known; and are you experienced? Why a US senator might not trump a state legislator. Larry Johnson's Strange Trip: How a onetime hero of the liberal blogosphere and the Democratic Party spread perhaps the most damaging anti-Obama smear of the primary. The float vote: If you want to know who'll pick the next president, just use the formula 4M + 2M. Laugh, if your death mask will allow it: A review of The Book of Dead Philosophers by Simon Critchley. A review of The Lolita Effect: The Media Sexualization of Young Girls and What We Can Do About It by M. Gigi Durham. A review of Liberty's Blueprint: How Madison and Hamilton Wrote the Federalist Papers, Defined the Constitution, and Made Democracy Safe for the World by Michael I. Meyerson. Ivy League Slaves of New York: America’s best and brightest are unpacking their gilded diplomas and getting to work as assistants in New York’s media dens, pinching themselves at their good fortune — suckers! A review of The Emotional Construction of Morals by Jesse Prinz. Is there a new Washington Consensus? Dani Rodrik wants to know. Who's Africa's worst dictator? Hint: It's probably not Robert Mugabe. From Eyebrow Magazine, here's a defence of Robert Mugabe.
From ProPublica, an article on Alhurra and America’s troubled effort to win Middle East hearts and minds (and more and more from The Washington Post). The New York Times goes inside a 9/11 mastermind’s interrogation. The effort to make this campaign about voters' unconscious fears of Obama has already begun — is Obama ready (for the GOP smear machine)?. An interview with historian Slawomir Cenckiewicz on evidence Lech Walesa was a Communist spy. More and more on Armageddon in Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut. The Hipster Handbook author Robert Lanham defends the Brooklyn neighborhood everyone loves to hate. From Nerve, more on the history of single life: Diamond engagement rings. A review of Casanova: Philosopher, Gambler, Lover, Priest by Ian Kelly. A review of Barbarians to Angels: The Dark Ages Reconsidered by Peter S. Wells. A look at how an individual genome changes over a lifetime. How smart is the octopus? Bright enough to do the moving-rock trick. How Darwin won the evolution race: The extraordinary story behind The Origin of Species. From Wired, a look at how English is evolving into a language we may not even understand. How to write for the Web: Caleb Crain explains it for you. Stopping Google: With one company now the world's chief gateway to information, some critics are hatching ways to fight its influence.
James D. Ingram (New School): The Politics of Claude Lefort's Political: Between Liberalism and Radical Democracy. The Failed States Index 2008: Foreign Policy ranks the countries where state collapse may be just one disaster away; and where the Security Council fears to tread: Somalia is the most dangerous failed state on the planet, and even international troubleshooters are keeping their distance. Nixonland or The Age of Reagan? Rick Perlstein and Sean Wilentz try to figure out which president continues to have the stronger hold over our political culture. From American Diplomacy, an article on the new face of Central Asia. Encounter Books, the conservative publishing house run by Roger Kimball, will no longer send review copies to The New York Times. Is everything spinning out of control? The can-do, bootstrap approach embedded in the American psyche is under assault. A review of Stop Me If You’ve Heard This: A History and Philosophy of Jokes by Jim Holt. Kate Carraway has got one sex trick left, and she's saving it for marriage. The abusive exploitation of the human religious sentiment: Michael Burleigh as historian of “Political Religion”. Network Nation: The New Deal isn’t coming back; can Democrats find a fresher way? Is the matter in the universe arranged in a fractal pattern? Why internships in journalism are bad for young people, and bad for the industry.
From Wired, a special report on The End of Theory: In the era of big data, more isn't just more — more is different. A review of Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests by Julian Baggini. From National Journal, the history of the selection of modern-day vice presidential nominees is chock-full of blunders caused by haste or miscalculations. There’s the real vice president list, the bluff list and the self-serving list (and more). Not my fault: As White House memoirs have become more accusatory, they have also become less illuminating. The mysterious power of itching may be a clue to a new theory about brains and bodies. Bulging panties and oversized tax evasion: An article on the secret lives of the super rich. A review of More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want by Robert Engelman. An interview with Rachel Maddow on gay marriage and the youth vote. Is Japan closer to Western society than Turkey? Kenzaburo Oe and Orhan Pamuk debate. Can a robot, an insect or God be aware? Our intuitions about consciousness in other beings and objects reveal a lot about how we think. An interview with Robert Mundell, an economist who matters. A review of Descent into Chaos: How the War Against Islamic Extremism Is Being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid. More and more on Muqtada by Patrick Cockburn.
From n+1, the problem with the post-catastrophic novel, in the end, is that it enforces a false distinction between what is and what will be; and the only time the novel can count on is now, and the catastrophes that need describing are neither exotic nor hypothetical. What poetry demands: An interview with Christian Wiman, author of Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet. A review of Poets on Prozac: Mental Illness, Treatment, and the Creative Process. Argentine fiction, an evolving story: The new generation of emerging writers came of age during great social upheaval, reflected in their work. A review of The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Edward Dolnick. A review of One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War by Michael Dobbs. Towards a World Parliament: An article on US foreign policy and reorganizing the United Nations. A review of The Great Experiment: The Story of Ancient Empires, Modern States, and the Quest for a Global Nation by Strobe Talbott. Thomas Frank on conservatives and their carnival of fraud. Here's how the Supreme Court's left-leaning justices can fight back against the conservative majority. Does one abused woman = 100 abused puppies? America has 3,800 animal shelters, but only 1,500 for battered women.
From Foreign Policy, here's the list of the World’s Top 20 Public Intellectuals. With the death of Julian we have something different: To all intents and purposes we can say that paganism died as a credible political and social force in the last days of June 363. A review of Postmodern Spiritual Practices: The Construction of the Subject and the Reception of Plato in Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault by Paul Allen Miller. A review of The Gospel According to Bruce Springsteen by Jeffrey Symynkywicz. A review of Strange Fruit: Why Both Sides Are Wrong in the Race Debate by Kenan Malik. A review of The Political Mind: Why You Can’t Understand 21st-Century Politics With an 18th-Century Brain by George Lakoff. Did Hitler’s crimes justify the Allies’ terror-bombing of Germany? Patrick Buchanan on morality, Trotskyite vs. Christian. From The New Yorker, an article on multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson’s relentless quest for global influence; and on an unlikely ambassador for the Central African Republic. I don’t (but I might soon): The tide is turning on gay marriage — when will the GOP notice? The next blue chip: Finding the future in Futurism. Beyond Hillary: Herewith, some ideas on how to build a critical mass of female officeholders. Jennifer Gilmore reviews Broccoli and Other Tales of Food and Love by Lara Vapnyar. For alien life-seekers, new reason to hope.
From Scientific American, an article on the neuroscience of illusion: How tricking the eye reveals the inner workings of the brain. More and more on Kluge: The Haphazard Construction of the Human Mind by Gary Marcus. A review of American Nerd: The Story of My People by Benjamin Nugent (and more and more and more and more). Pimp Daddies: Radar salutes Hollywood's creepiest father figures. Guatemala's Francisco Marroquin University is a bastion of libertarianism, drawing potshots from both sides of the political spectrum. An interview with David Sedaris, an iconoclast with a sense of humor. Chris Hedges on what it means when the US goes to war. Perceived wisdom may tell us to slow down our lives but maybe pressure brings the best results. Ross Benjamin reviews How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic. A review of Music, Philosophy, and Modernity by Andrew Bowie. Why care about Tibet? The absolutism of China's stance has stifled debate; but Tibetan culture produces its own leadership. A review of I Have Fun Everywhere I Go: Savage Tales of Pot, Porn, Punk Rock, Pro Wrestling, Talking Apes, Evil Bosses, Dirty Blues, American Heroes, and the Most Notorious Magazines in the World by Mike Edison. A review of Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It by Elizabeth Royte.