From The Washington Monthly, Jeffrey Leonard on The Plug-in Revolution: A grand plan for America’s energy woes; a review of Turkmeniscam: How Washington Lobbyists Fought to Flack for a Stalinist Dictatorship by Ken Silverstein; a review of War and Taxes by Steven A. Bank, Kirk J. Stark, and Joseph J. Thorndike; and a review of Warrior King: The Triumph and Betrayal of an American Commander in Iraq by Nathan Sassaman. Are al Qa’eda’s leaders — fuelled by resentment of Hizbollah’s appeal — moving to rebrand themselves a “resistance” group? Ed Husain seems to think that all Islamists eventually become terrorists, but why single them out? What about racists, left wing sympathisers, or even people who care about animals and the environment? An article on "voluntourism": See the world — and help conserve it. A review of The World is Curved: Hidden Dangers to the Global Economy by David M. Smick (and two excerpts). Paolo Virno's latest, Multitude, contends that the question of human nature — good or evil? — is suddenly topical, thanks to "immaterial labour"; but, if true, how useful is this insight? From TED, Alison Jackson on a surprising look at celebrity; Alisa Miller on why we know less than ever about the world; Amy Tan digs deep into the creative process; and Al Seckel says our brains are mis-wired — enjoy it!
From LPBR, a review of The Founding Fathers, Popular Culture and Constitutional Law: Who’s Your Daddy? by Susan Burgess; and a review of The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms by Stephen P. Halbrook. A review of Give Me Liberty: A Handbook for American Revolutionaries by Naomi Wolf. A review of Left Turn: Forging a New Political Future by Stanley Aronowitz. The Misunderstood Professor: When he suggested in a 1920 treatise that rockets could reach the moon, Robert Goddard sparked a public frenzy. Two excerpts from The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11 by Edward Alden. A review of Elisabeth Young-Bruehl's Why Arendt Matters. A review of I Was Wrong: The Meanings of Apologies by Nick Smith. Why do people have paranormal experiences? A team of researchers has been trying to find out. Tim Harford on why it's so hard to get away with blackmail. From Editor & Publisher, yes, newspaper endorsements matter — here is proof; and newspapers weigh alternatives to AP — but do they add up? "There's a seismic shift happening": An interview with Spike Lee on why history is on his side. The Statistical Universe: We look up to an expanse of sky that is billions of light-years in size, but the universe may be far larger than what we are able to see.
Herbert P. Bix (Binghamton): The Russo-Georgia War and the Challenge to American Global Dominance. From In These Times, an article on Russia’s Monroe Doctrine: Cornered by NATO’s expansion, Moscow reasserts its imperial ambitions. From Ceasefire, what is imperialism? We’ve all heard the word, but what does it mean? From Modern Age, here's a psychological profile of Socialist Man; an excerpt from James Kalb’s The Tyranny of Liberalism: Understanding and Overcoming Administered Freedom, Inquisitorial Tolerance, and Equality by Command; Irving Horowitz on Louis Hartz and the liberal tradition; and an article on George Santayana on liberalism and the spiritual life. Inconvenient geopolitical truths: Energy analysts Matthew Hulbert and Tariq Akbar explore the inconvenient truths about politics and oil. Malaria today is as much of an economic challenge as a medical one: A classic instance of what economists call a coordination problem. Rage Against the Ice Cream: A visit to the Ben & Jerry's factory proves two things — the company has been playing down its politics for a while, and no one seems to care. From The Smart Set, the Class of 1250: For Oxford's earliest students, graduation could be a bloody affair; and in the age of the reality TV star, how to explain our strange affection for magicians, jugglers, and ventriloquists?
From Cosmos and History, a special issue on Life Questioning Itself. From The Daily Beast, an article on the star pundits of YouTube. Eric Dezenhall on why Madison Avenue is over. From The Weekly Standard, Matt Labash on the Passion of Dick Cheney: Fishing the Snake River with the vice president. A profile of Toni Morrison: When she speaks, America listens. A review of Have a Nice Day: Behind the Cliches — Giving America Another Chance by Justin Webb and In Defense of America by Bronwen Maddox. A review of Understanding Space-Time: The Philosophical Development of Physics from Newton to Einstein by Robert DiSalle. A review of : Contractarianism in Moral and Political Philosophy by Jean Hampton. To try to keep their flocks, churches are turning to undercover inspectors, who note water stains, dull sermons and poor hospitality. A review of The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Satanism and Secret Societies by Evelyn Lord (and more). An article on the growth of Talking Points Memo: A case study in independent media. Well, excuuuuuse meee! Why humans are so quick to take offense, and what that means for the campaign. From Big Think, a special panel on the future of the global economy. The Great American Road Trip: Father and son tour America, swim in both oceans, and get along too well to sell a book about it.
From The New York Times' "Week in Review", a special issue on the election. From The National, Matthew Power goes on the road with the never-ending presidential campaign of Ralph Nader, where futility is in the eye of the beholder. William Greider on Nader's stubborn idealism. How will history judge Catholics in the 2008 election? Deal W. Hudson wants to know; more on parsing the US Catholic vote; and here's a guide for the perplexed Catholic voter. A review of Contemporary Perspectives on Natural Law: Natural Law as a Limiting Concept. Bruce Reed on why Senate Democrats don't need 60 seats to reach their magic number. American legal conservatives oppose the citation of foreign law, but what about the hallowed practice of citing to Blackstone? From The Atlantic Monthly, Christopher Hitchens reviews The World Is What It Is: The Authorized Biography of V. S. Naipaul by Patrick French; and Virginia Postrel on on how public anxiety over “excessive” consumer debt has a long, and misguided, history. For sale at Neiman Marcus: Yourself, in Legos. Whether it’s through overfishing, new ethical standards, or nanny-state health measures, the following foods may some day soon disappear from menus forever. The world's most outspoken climatologist argues that today's carbon dioxide levels are already dangerously too high — what can we do if he is right?
From Prospect, we used to think that finance performed a useful role, shunting capital to the most profitable outlets — but after the crunch, a new generation of critics are challenging this thesis; and a look at how Merck made a killing. When nobody understands: The electronic age drives some languages out of existence, but can help save others. The west is losing in Afghanistan in part because it misreads its Taliban opponents. Bruce Schneier on the seven habits of highly ineffective terrorists. A look at the 6 most utterly insane attempts to kill a US president. Living la vida Republican: Because at America’s colleges, even the dangerously misguided have a right to be heard. What the free market needs: Without the right political, social and moral institutions, it's just a utopian theory. Obama the Philosopher: Suddenly, Obama's making a pretty good case for why Americans should once again care for one another. Informing as a state of mind: Czechs no longer accept such behavior, and that is a good sign for civil society. Money mags quietly mull "business world's 9/11". From Splice Today, an article on the capital of fashion disasters: A weekend in D.C. sends Manhattanism through the roof; an obituary for the 1980s: The end of retro culture and the ascendance of a generation; and secession maybe not a bad idea: Lincoln's healing efforts aside, perhaps the U.S. should be two separate countries.
From TNR, a look at how soldiers really vote: The surprisingly liberal tendencies of US soldiers; Eve Fairbanks on wingnut blowback in reddest America; Jeffrey Rosen on the judicial apocalypse that McCain would usher in; an interview with Brian Moore, the Socialist Party USA's presidential nominee; and Leon Wieseltier on why he's voting for Obama: When McCain picked Sarah Palin, he told the US to go f*ck itself. Reza Aslan, Parag Khanna, Christopher Hitchens, Andrew Bacevich, and many more on (not quite) 101 things Sarah Palin should know about the world. The Right-Wing Primal Scream: Why Republicans are mad as hell at John McCain. A look at how "latte liberals" give other progressives a bad name. A review of The Democrats: A Critical History by Lance Selfa. Getting Bush right: Who will be the next George Bush? Christopher Buckley on electing a punch line (and more and more on this repeat apostate). The future of time: Our obsession with the clock has driven us to refine and control it, but where does that control end? A review of Remix: Making Art and Commerce Thrive in the Hybrid Economy by Lawrence Lessig. The Thing is not your garden-variety periodical: Magazine or a work of art? The art of noise: James MacMillan makes the case for modern classical music. Chivalry and carnage: After decades of neglect, medieval themes are more popular than ever.
The inaugural issue of Cultural Science is out. Look into the far, far future, to the day the cosmos decays into a frozen featureless void: What will happen as the stars wink out and the universe decays away to nothing? From Mute, hey kids, Marx is back, and this time he's being completely misrepresented again; and the Melancholic Troglodytes review two recent books exploring how speculation and risk management, once the preserve of finance, have become defining traits of all facets of contemporary capitalism. In France, nobody cares if leaders are single mothers. An interview with John R. MacArthur, author of You Can't be President: The Outrageous Barriers to Democracy in America. Why do polls always tighten right before an election? Beyond Diebold: A look at 10 ways to steal this election. From Time, a look at 7 things that could go wrong on Election Day. Why those "armies" of lawyers are our last, best hope for an honest Election Day. Peter Dreier and John Atlas on the GOP's blame-ACORN game. The Rationality Project: AJ Jacobs on his quest to ignore his gut instinct. Paper Money: Students with more cash than brains know how to get their term papers written fast. From Silver Lake to suicide: One family's secret history of the Jonestown Massacre. A review of My Life with Che: The Making of a Revolutionary by Hilda Gadea.
From Mercatornet, freedom is a no-brainer: Modern science has made great strides in knowledge of the brain, but our brains are not us. Creationists declare war over the brain: The creationists' battlefront with science has shifted from evolution to neuroscience. A look at why the denial of the right to die is sheer religious primitivism. From Obit, a special series on the morality, legality and personalities of assisted suicide. Fear, death and politics: What your mortality has to do with the upcoming election. To find out if you're fit for the Oval Office, simply take this personality test. Psychology Today bloggers put the presidential candidates to the test. Dear Mr. President: Advice from seven Nobel laureates on fixing the economy. The University of Chicago's Richard Epstein on the Obama he doesn't know. Or for worse: Why American politicians have such rotten marriages? Why relationship sex is boring: The very things that nurture love — comfort, stability, safety — can extinguish sexual desire. From The Guardian, a special report on sex uncovered; and an article on 1000 artworks to see before you die. Most scientists work in universities or corporations, but a plucky or foolhardy few exist outside the system — Susan Blackmore has done both. It turns out the future isn't "Blade Runner", but bicycles, recycling and "smart responsive simplicity" — it's not as bad as it sounds.
From NOVA, a special episode on Hunting the Hidden Dimension, including an interview with Benoit Mandelbrot, a true maverick, and an excerpt from Fractals: The Patterns of Chaos by John Briggs. Philippe Binder argues the unifying theme of complex systems is frustration. From the stages of grief to the stages of moral development, stage theories have little evidentiary support. Are you a closet conservative? Psychologist Sam Gosling has a few surefire ways to find out. From Dark Roasted Blend, a look at the worst time to buy, the best time to enjoy ads. Would a new league of democracies be a good idea? Philip Bobbitt and David Hannay debate. Presidential firepower: How FDR saved capitalism in eight days. Alan Greenspan concedes error on regulation — whoops, there goes decades of Ayn Rand down the drain. From New Left Review, Robert Wade on financial regime change; David Harvey on the right to the city; and Alexander Cockburn reviews Rick Perlstein's Nixonland (and an excerpt at Bookforum). From The L Magazine, a special issue on the election. From GQ, confession of a presidential campaign reporter: Michael Hastings had what for many journalists would be a dream job — covering the presidential race for Newsweek; too bad the dream is very, very far from reality. Amitai Etzioni on what social conservatives owe the Obamas.