From New Scientist, a look at how warfare shaped human evolution. As a recession looms and junk profits boom, a study sheds new light on what makes us fat; the real enemy is corn. An interview with Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers: The Story of Success (and more and more and more and more and more and more and an interview and an excerpt on why Asian children are better at maths). Jacob Weisberg on why Obama should fill his Cabinet with geniuses. From pickin’ cotton to pickin’ presidents: Strange Maps on the same segment of the southern US at different times but with a similar pattern. A review of X-Rated!: The Power of Mythic Symbolism in Popular Culture by Marcel Danesi. Cynthia Crossen on a book in need of a good editor. A review of From the Kitchen to the Parlor: Language and Becoming in African American Women’s Hair Care by Lanita Jacobs-Huey. From Dissent, in Puntin's Russia, many intellectuals have turned toward a new emotionalism — one that has "rejected the worst aspects of postmodernism". From Salon, Walter Shapiro talks to Bill Ayers, the ex-Weather Underground member turned Republican talking point. A threat to its reputation for erudition: National Review faces the twin challenges of re-energizing the conservative movement while trying to stay relevant. Harold Meyerson writes to Roger Ailes: "I'm writing to apologize".
From African American Review, a special issue on theorizing the post-soul aesthetic, including Mario David McKnight (Florida): Afrofuturism and Post-Soul Possibility in Black Popular Music. From Music & Politics, “I compose the Party Rally”: An article on the role of music in Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will". A review of Alphabet Juice: The Energies, Gists, and Spirits of Letters, Words, and Combinations Thereof; Their Roots, Bones, Innards, Piths, Pips, and Secret Parts, Tinctures, Tonics, and Essences; With Examples of Their Usage Foul and Savory by Roy Blount Jr. From HNN, Harold Holzer on why President-Elect Obama should follow the example of President-Elect Lincoln; an article on the suburban Sunbelt and the making and unmaking of the conservative Republican majority; and did Obama make the South irrelevant? James C. Cobb investigates. Change: Ron Suskind on how political eras end and begin; and the other winner: Howard Dean unleashed the new progressives — can Barack Obama deal with them? Maybe the meltdown’s a guy thing: A study finds raging male hormones pumping up the bull-bear cycle. A review of Desire: Where Sex Meets Addiction by Susan Cheever. Enough with the sweet talk: Forget unfair negative reviews — the real problem is the unfair positive ones. Are cyberattacks warfare? It’s a lot more complicated than you think.
From TAP, Michael Lind reviews Constitutional Patriotism by Jan-Werner Muller; and Robert Borosage and Stanley Greenberg on the Emerging Center-Left Majority. Will the safety net catch the economy’s casualties? Programs to cushion and counter economic downturns have been sharply curtailed since the 1981-82 recession. Barack Obama has promised the most transparent administration ever — is that a good thing? The people's republic of sport: Why Karl Marx would love America's sports — and hate Europe's. From FP, here's Richard Perle’s advice for Barack Obama; and here are five short physics lessons for President-elect Obama from Richard Muller, the author of Physics for Future Presidents. A review of George, Being George: George Plimpton’s Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals — and a Few Unappreciative Observers. Towards clarity: Language is so emotionally wrought that we sometimes forget it is just a tool for effective communication. A review of Can We Have Our Balls Back, Please? How the British Invented Sport and Then Almost Forgot How to Play It by Julian Norridge. What is art for? The poet, philosopher, translator and scholar Lewis Hyde has spent his life trying to figure that out — and became a literary cult figure in the process.
From National Journal, a cover story on the members of Congress who could serve as allies to the new president. From TNR, Jonathan Chait on how Obama can avoid the failures of Clinton's early presidency; and Robert Puentes on how Obama can be strategic about investments in transportation infrastructure. Tod Lindberg on a portrait of an electorate moving from center-right to center-left. Dangerous mind: Stephen Howe chases the storm of controversy surrounding the ideas of Edward Said. You can download Future Imperfect: Technology and Freedom in an Uncertain World by David D. Friedman. From Portfolio, the era that defined Wall Street is finally, officially over — Michael Lewis returns to his old haunt to figure out what went wrong. Eliot Spitzer on how to ground The Street. Depression 2009, what would it look like? Lines at the ER, a television boom, emptying suburbs — a catastrophic economic downturn would feel nothing like the last one. Kay Hymowitz on Love in the Time of Darwinism: A report from the chaotic postfeminist dating scene, where only the strong survive. Drugs uncovered: Here's a brief history of drugs in literature. Magic and the brain: A look at how magicians "trick" the mind. Invisible people: Forty-five tribes have populated Egypt's deserts for millennia and yet their existence remains a mystery to the country's urban masses.