From The Economist, a special report on the future of finance, including how the golden age of finance collapsed under its own contradictions — why it went wrong and what to do next; mathematical models are a powerful way of predicting financial markets, but they are fallible; and how to play chicken and lose: Finance suffers from reverse natural selection. A review of Mitchell Bryan Hart's The Healthy Jew: The Symbiosis of Judaism and Modern Medicine. Is there such a thing as Jewish art? Jackie Wullschlager investigates. A look at why science fiction is the genre that dare not speak its name. A review of The Natural History of Unicorns by Christopher Lavers. "Young Europeans would like to be Scandinavian": An interview with Cecile Van de Velde, author of Devenir adulte: Sociologie comparee de la jeunesse en Europe. A review of Dark Side of the Tune: Popular Music and Violence by Bruce Johnson and Martin Cloonan. A review of Near Black: White-to-Black Passing in American Culture by Baz Dreisinger. FP looks at five countries on the verge of following Iceland to economic ruin and political meltdown; and here's a list of the world's most notorious prisons. The Flaws of Facebook: The social network site ignores the care with which academics need to calibrate the mix of private and professional in their lives.
From Claremont Review of Books, an article on the audacity of Barack Obama. From Economic Principals, the eight years of the Bush administration may wind up looking more than ever like Woodrow Wilson’s time in office; and here at the outset, let’s set out a possible goal for the US Treasury — nobody forecasts eight years ahead. In order to understand the crisis of contemporary global finance, we should be turning not to Smith or Marx, with their emphasis on the value of work, but rather to Walras, the first to posit desire as cause of value. A review of The Strangest Man: the Hidden Life of Paul Dirac by Graham Farmelo (and more). From Obama to Madoff, "transparency" is the new buzzword — and it’s bogus. An interview with J.D. Trout on why we have an empathy deficit and why charity doesn’t necessarily begin at home. From The Economist, fixing a broken world: The planet’s most wretched places are not always the most dangerous; and a review of The Dynamics of Violence in Central Africa by Rene Lemarchand and Africa's World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe by Gerard Prunier. Obama Nation, what now?: 22 influential citizens on the New American Era. Bill Kauffman reviews Armageddon In Retrospect by Kurt Vonnegut. From Forbes, an article on the richest people you've never heard of.
Two heroes of contemporary philosophy: A review of James V. Schall's The Mind That Is Catholic: Philosophical & Political Essays and Robert Sokolowski's Phenomenology of the Human Person (and an excerpt). Why computers can't kill Post-Its: MIT researchers argue that computers need to become as easy to use as those yellow sticky notes. Long-starving poet Katy Lederer considers her unlikely transition to the world of hedge funds, and what it's meant for her art. The call of the mall: Americans of all ethnic groups are increasingly living and going to school together — shopping is another matter. A small clique of deputies and advisers will wield great power and influence on the president’s foreign policy — a guide to real inside players. A review of The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century by George Friedman. A review of The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in its First Age of Terror by Beverly Gage. Are you better off having a degree from Princeton or Purdue? As the economy tumbles, it may not be so obvious anymore (and more). Click and Jane: What are kids learning to read when they learn to read online? A review of Joel L. Kraemer's Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds. (Nearly) nothing to fear but fear itself: Olivier Blanchard says that policymakers should focus on reducing uncertainty.
From First Monday, Kalev Leetaru (Illinois): Mass book digitization: The deeper story of Google Books and the Open Content Alliance; Katherine Ehmann, Andrew Large and Jamshid Beheshti (McGill): Collaboration in context: Comparing article evolution among subject disciplines in Wikipedia; Andre Oboler (Bar-Ilan): The rise and fall of a Facebook hate group; and a review of Lee Siegel's Against the machine: Being human in the age of electronic media. Dumb and Dumber 2.0: An old joke gets a digital remake — and attracts consumers in a down economy. Every silver lining has a cloud: Plans to engineer the climate may be less effective than had been hoped. Stanley Fish on The Last Professor (and a response). From FP, an interview with Michael Gelles, a psychologist who helped design an interrogation model for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo who says that legal, morally sound interrogations would have worked; the risks posed by released detainees are overblown — closing the prison at Guantanamo won’t be easy, but that’s a small price to pay to right a legal and moral wrong seven years in the making; and even for Barack Obama, winning over the Muslim world is going to take far more than just well-received interviews and eloquent speeches. District of Corruption: Norman Ornstein on how Washington's new riches destroyed Tom Daschle.
From Carnegie Council, a panel on Lessons in Disaster: McGeorge Bundy and the Path to War in Vietnam by Gordon M. Goldstein; and a panel on The Crisis of American Foreign Policy: Wilsonianism in the Twenty-First Century. From Campus Progress, an interview with Tim Westergren, co-founder of Pandora Internet radio, on the future of the music industry; and an interview with Harold Meyerson on unions, politics, and young people. A review of Republic of Drivers: A Cultural History of Automobility in America by Cotten Seiler (and from Bookforum, a review of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) by Tom Vanderbilt). More on David Zirin's A People’s History of Sports in the United States. From Commonweal, Andrew Bacevich on American Triumphalism: A postmortem. From Cracked, a look at 8 customers everyone hates; an article on 8 racist words you use every day; and here are the 10 steps to porn addiction: Where are you? "Uncircumcised penises are weird”, she paused before adding, a little backpedally, “Except yours, of course. Yours is OK”. In an excerpt from What Would Google Do?, Jeff Jarvis muses over government run by a Google guy (and an interview). Think animals don't think like us? Think again. A review of The Business of Tourism: Place, Faith, and History.
From Cardus, an interview with David Naugle, author of Reordered Love, Reordered Lives. A review of Ancestral Roots: Modern Living and Human Evolution by Timothy Clack. A review of The Long and the Short of It: A Guide to Finance and Investment for Normally Intelligent People Who Aren’t in the Industry by John Kay. The Hidden State of Culture: New Jersey often brings to mind pollution and shopping malls, but it's an epicenter of artistic talent. A review of Law and Judicial Duty by Philip Hamburger. Whatever your position, the Executive Order has been used by presidents for good, for ill, and sometimes for just plain odd reasons. Moving pains: Obama's people are finding it hard to take his "movement" with them to Washington. The unkindliest cut: When a compliment hides an insult. Has the first great novel of the 21st century just arrived from South America? More on Roberto Bolano's 2666 (and an excerpt from Bolano’s Nazi Literature in the Americas). More and more and more and more and more and more on Snark by David Denby (and an interview). From Chronicles, an article on the comparative insignificance of politics. From The Chronicle, an article on America's Least Dangerous Professors. From City Journal, more on Save the World on Your Own Time by Stanley Fish. Forgiveness and irony: Roger Scruton on what makes the West strong.
From Ceasefire, an essay on the meaning of Radiohead. As the United States provides mobile phones to the poor, experts argue they are not a luxury. Fictional Moldovan Soccer Phenom Tells All: Inside the ingenious hoax that fooled the British sports press. Shot of love: The espresso is Italy's gift to the world and the ideal stimulant for the creative mind. The first chapter from A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World by Gregory Clark. A review of Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life by Elrena Evans and Caroline Grant. A review of Contract, Culture, and Citizenship: Transformative Liberalism from Hobbes to Rawls by Mark E. Button. The Case of the Murdered Dog: Hells Angel Edward Proudfoot's house was searched, his likeness broadcast on the evening news, and his dog shot — he says he'd like to know why. Saved by the bureaucrats: Conservatives perfected the art of turning government against government; now liberals have a chance to make bureaucracy work. A review of Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC 1874-1908 by William Oddie. An article on choosing 1000 novels to read before you die. A review of The Irish Americans: A History by Jay P. Dolan. A review of The Big Rich: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Texas Oil Fortunes by Bryan Burrough (and more).
From CRB, is there intelligent life on television? A review essay by Paul Cantor. From TLS, Felipe Fernandez-Armesto reviews Encyclopedia of Exploration 1850 to 1940: Continental Exploration by Raymond John Howgego; a review of A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind by Michael Axworthy; and a review of books on Henry VIII. A mind for the arts: Philosopher Denis Dutton explores the creative impulse (and more and more and more; and a review of The Art Instinct at Bookforum). From NYRB, can we transform the auto-industrial society? Emma Rothschild investigates; and an interview with Robert Malley on how not to make peace in the Middle East. From The New Yorker, a review of James Baldwin's Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile by Magdalena Zaborowska; James Surowiecki on the myth of the moral hazard; that buzzing sound: Jerome Groopman on the mystery of tinnitus; Roger Angell on editing John Updike (and more by Adam Gopnik). From New York, three pages a day: An article on John Updike’s permanent present tense; and a look at how Captain Chesley Sullenberger might have officially brought the golden age of the heroic pilot to a close. From The New York Observer, a review of Death by Leisure: A Cautionary Tale by Chris Ayres; and the Beast that roared (for a while!): Could it be that Tina Brown’s new site is a victim of its own relentless buzz?
From Cabinet, Aaron Schuster on The Cosmonaut of the Erotic Future; and Simon Werrett on Sparks of Life. A look at why libertarians are oddly hopeful about the Obama administration. A review of Freedom and Consumerism: A Critique of Zygmunt Bauman's Sociology by Mark Davis. Is CondeNet dead? How a publishing giant failed to get the Web. Do elaborate Web sites and videos really sell books? As in so much of publishing, no one really knows. Advertisements for yourself: Can, and should, book authors become brands? Alex Beam on an E-Z guide to publishing (and more on A Great Idea at the Time). The introduction to Between Two Worlds: A Reading of Descartes's Meditations by John Carriero. A review of Moral Virtue and Nature: A Defense of Ethical Naturalism by Stephen R. Brown. Sanford Levinson on how history matters, but so does politics: A response to William Hogeland’s “Constitutional Conventions”. Christian Science: A review of Marilynne Robinson's Home (and more from Bookforum). "I tie my Hat — I crease my Shawl": Why does Emily Dickinson extol "little duties" in the wake of a catastrophe? More on Giordano Bruno: Philosopher/Heretic by Ingrid D. Rowland. More on Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity by Michael Lewis. More on Mark Bauerlein's The Dumbest Generation.
A new issue of Brevity is out. From Prospect, the crisis is an opportunity to sweep away the rotten postwar settlement of British politics — Labour is moribund, but David Cameron has a chance to develop a "red Tory" communitarianism, socially conservative but sceptical of neoliberal economics. A review of The Other Side of Desire: Four Journeys into the Far Realms of Lust and Longing by Daniel Bergner (and an interview). A review of Diplomacy Between the Wars: Five Diplomats and the Shaping of the Modern World by George W. Liebmann. From Quodlibet, an essay on Aristotle, Teilhard de Chardin, and the Explanation of the World. Why Sufi Muslims, for centuries the most ferocious soldiers of Islam, could be our most valuable allies in the fight against extremism? A interview with Renia Ehrenfeucht, author of Sidewalks: Conflict and Negotiation over Public Space. Liberals and Libertarians: Kissing cousins or distant relatives? Joshua Cohen investigates. A review of Sonja Lyubomirsky's The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. From Vox, Ricardo Caballero on the crisis and how to fix it (and part 2). Opportunity for Sale: Psst, wanna buy an internship? Ordinary investors may flee the market’s dizzying ups and downs, but Peter Milman and his kind hang on tight while riding the giant waves of uncertainty.