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.