From The Nation, a review of A World of Trouble: The White House and the Middle East — From the Cold War to the War on Terror by Patrick Tyler. The language that absolves Israel: A special political vocabulary prevents us from being able to recognize what's going on in the Middle East. Jonathan Chait on The Obama Method: His rhetoric may be conciliatory, but his strategy is ruthless. A review of Stefan Szymanski's Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports. An excerpt from Bill Gurstelle's Absinthe and Flamethrowers: Projects and Ruminations on the Art of Living Dangerously. Mark Greif reviews The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing by Mark McGurl. From Scientific American, a special report on 10 people guiding science for humanity; and Lester Brown, at times ridiculed, has been warning the world for 40 years about coalescing energy, food and population crises — so why is he optimistic now? Tyranny for the Commons Man: Six billion people are now sharing one planet, one water supply and limited energy resources with a grab-first-ask-questions-later mentality — but there is hope. Competitive altruism: What if environmentalism didn't really involve sacrifice in the first place? The scent of sex: Her nose decides whether he's gonna score.

From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue on architecture. How Tweet It Is: Is microblogging the shortcut to generating buzz for university press books? Scott McLemee works up the attention span to find out. Simon Critchley on Being and Time: Why Heidegger matters; on "mineness"; and "being-in-the-world". Brush up your Hegel, Sarko: Monsieur President's burka outburst suggests he can't tell his abstract and concrete freedoms apart. A look at how Adam Smith was closer to Karl Marx than those showering praise on Smith today. Equal right to kiss: Why you may be disgusted by gay behavior without knowing it. What about us gays who are flamers? The editor of a gay website lambasts those gay activists who want a "tolerance message" added to Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy "Bruno" (and more). Get a life, Holden Caulfield: Young readers now see the protagonist of J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye as a whining preppy, not as a virtuous outcast (and more and more). From Intelligent Life, an interview with Lewis Lapham, media maven, historian. The official story about the Times reporter David Rhode's dramatic kidnapping and escape leaves much unexplained — inside sources offer their accounts to fill in the gaps. An interview with Paul Ginsborg, author of Democracy: Crisis and Renewal.

From Vanity Fair, with little more than laserlike ambition and a brash Texas charm, Allen Stanford built an $8 billion Caribbean banking empire, exposed in February as perhaps the second-largest Ponzi scheme (after Madoff’s) in history. The Death of Macho: Manly men have been running the world forever, but the Great Recession is changing all that, and it will alter the course of history. Chris Anderson’s Free contains apparent plagiarism. Banksy, the graffitist goes straight: How much longer can he keep his street credibility? Brad DeLong on three or four mistakes in American monetary policy. Theocracy and its discontents: Ramin Jahanbegloo on The Gandhian Moment. Democracy, made in Iran: By reviving memories of an ousted leader, Iran's protesters are signalling they want to win reform without US intervention. Can U.S. support undermine revolutions? A different Iranian revolution: Americans have to stop looking at the Tehran demonstrations through the prism of 1979. What kind of architect is Moussavi? Defiant Icons: Neda Agha-Soltan has become a powerful and tragic global icon of the new Iran — and an emblem of just how much women have gained and lost in the thirty years of the Islamic Republic. Not just a photo-op: How the sight of massive protests can change a nation's mind.

A new issue of Europe's World is out. From Eurozine, here are papers from a conference on "European Histories". From The Walrus, a guide to the end of the fossil fuel age; and an interview with Christopher Hitchens: "I’m very glad that I sprayed what did in the way that I did." The orthodoxy of offence: Caspar Melville explores the impact of identity politics on free speech. The human touch: Seeing may be believing, but feeling’s the truth. Is America unconservative? E. Christian Kopff investigates. The Sky Isn’t Falling: Our world is more stable than we think. An excerpt from The Language of Things: Understanding the World of Desirable Objects by Deyan Sudjic. From Asia Times, Spengler on dolphinplasty as a principle of governance; and Martin Hutchinson on the wreck of modern finance. The clue that could solve Fermi's Paradox: If civilizations can't grow exponentially, that might explain why we don't see any signs of ET. Survival Porn: What it feels like to go down in a plane crash. Here are nine games computers are ruining for humanity. The Avis Economy: Can we end the recession simply by trying harder? Joanne McNeil on the life and legacy of J.G. Ballard. Joseph Stiglitz on America’s socialism for the rich. Are high ceilings a sign of wretched architectural excess or just good taste?