From Sign and Sight, why Ukraine has no place in the EU: Ukraine likes to conjure up the magic word "Galicia" to create an identity of European belonging; Richard Wagner picks apart this myth-cum-trademark. Who speaks for Europe? An article on the PC defenders of the West. Before the beginning: A new analysis suggests that the universe exists within a bigger space. An article on taking more risks because you feel safe. From Der Spiegel, a special report on how speculators are causing the cost of living to skyrocket. If politicians were angels, we wouldn't need smart voters — but they aren't. Matthew Jesse Jackson reviews Art Power by Boris Groys. Staying smart in dumbed-down times: Judith Shapiro considers the state of anti-intellectualism and the responsibility of the educated to counter it. How to talk Jive: Studying Nietzsche from the toilet and other cold, hard truths. How we read online: You're probably going to read this. From Reset, a special issue on globalization, including an interview with Zygmunt Bauman. The South China Mall is the largest shopping centre on the planet; the only thing missing is customers. An article on the fate of the sentence: Is the writing on the wall? A review of The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart by Bill Bishop. A review of Roman Catholic Political Philosophy by James V. Schall.

From The New York Review of Magazines, eat right, exercise & lose weight fast with these pills: The untoned underbellies of fitness mags; Independent Writers of the World, Unite! Health care is so overrated; The Weekly Standard vs. The New Republic: An article on the battle of the Iraq blogger; going postal: Time Warner hits small mags where it hurts; and Birth of a Salesman: NYRM tries (kinda) to go commercial. From Forbes, a special report on The Celebrity 100. Navigating the blogosphere can be trying: Vanity Fair has charted the most influential or amusing blogs about politics, gossip, Hollywood, media, and miscellany. From Skeptic, a look at how skeptics confronted 9/11 denialism. Can a novelist write too well? Allan Massie investigates. Carla Blumenkranz reviews Telex from Cuba by Rachel Kushner. The prodigy market in China: Thirty-two years after the end of its Cultural Revolution, China is buzzing with once-forbidden Western classical music activity. An article on Craigslist's unorthodox path.  An interview with Andy Austin, on the job as courtroom sketch artist. So that no future president skips over the fine, excessively wordy print, we should update the Bill of Rights so it sounds a bit more, shall we say, awesome. A visit with the hardest working comedian in Dubai. Do all languages have a common ancestor? Murray Gell-Mann wants to know.

From Miller-McCune, the head of the nonprofit Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, which calls for global nuclear disarmament, suggests criminalizing the mere possession of nuclear weapons; and two economists say increased public health spending may lower suicide rates — but how? A review of The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics by Robert Faulkner. An interview with Douglas A. Blackmon, author of Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. Inconspicuous consumption: Virginia Postrel on a new theory of the leisure class. Now professors get their star rankings, too: The Social Science Research Network is an increasingly influential site that now offers nearly 150,000 full-text documents for downloading. Roland Kelts reviews Chronicles of My Life: An American in the Heart of Japan by Donald Keene. Since 2005, a stretch of coast in Mauritania has become a graveyard for thousands of people trying, and failing, to reach Europe by pirogue. Some doctors say it's time to stop treating brain cancer as a death sentence. The world ends today: A look at 7 modern doomsday predictions that didn’t pan out. Freindkenstein: Has social networking created a monster? From The American Prospect, a special report on the global freshwater crisis and the quest for solutions.