If Darwin ran baseball: A modest proposal for ensuring that the best teams play in the World Series. The boys of autumn: A review of The First Fall Classic by Mike Vacarro, Perfect by Lew Paper and The Machine by Joe Posnanski. Gregory McNamee on Baseball: America’s game, and the world’s. A review of Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America by Joseph Price. Baseball continues to be the sport where Jews have the most success — why is that? An interview with Jennifer Ring, author of Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don't Play Baseball. Baseball is a game of failure, as these bizarre and unfortunate occurrences illustrate (and part 2). Dealing with tragedy in the minor leagues: When Mike Coolbaugh died on the field, the lives of his family members and of the man whose foul ball killed him were changed irrevocably. Youkilis, Padilla and beanball surrogacy: Is it morally right to throw at the wrong guy? Why won't baseball adopt instant replay already? Recent bad calls have critics howling for better umps, but maybe it's a job for machines. Fay Vincent on why Major League Baseball should establish a thoroughly professional training system for umpires and ensure that every official it hires is up to the job. From Smithsonian, tomatoes in the bullpen: Surprising trivia about America's beloved baseball fields. Can Topps save baseball cards? Major League Baseball just signed an exclusive deal with the legendary card maker — bad idea. What are some of the biggest differences between baseball and football?

From Monthly Review, Bruce Robbins is Against Literary Imperialism: Storming the barricades of the canon. Tim Harford reviews Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (and more and more and more). A world redrawn: When America showed up on a map, it was the universe that got transformed. Where the news comes from: Jeff VanDam walks back a single day’s top stories. Rich People Things: Chris Lehmann on how the rich rehab differently, like by hugging horses. For and against foreskin: here's a comprehensive investigation into the pros, cons, and controversies of circumcision. A look at a study of the controversies surrounding the circumcision of Jesus Christ. American literature, words without borders: This year’s National Book Award nominations suggest that the American idea not only translates, it disregards national boundaries. Let us now praise the cliche: It’s concise, time-tested, and instantly familiar — what’s not to love? The Predictioneer's Game: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on using the logic of brazen self-interest to see and shape the future (and more). The creators of "The Simpsons" and Fox lawyers did everything they could to stop John Ortved's unauthorized history — here's the inside story of why he wrote it anyway (and 10 things you never knew about the Simpsons). A nation of attention whores: Balloon boy's bizarre dad, Meghan McCain's tweeted cleavage, the Gosselins — why is everyone so starved for fame? The Sweet Life on the D-List: Kathy Griffin wins big as a Hollywood loser.

When we consider how slow democracy and integration emerge to an European level we can suspect that it is not that easy on the planetary level either. The long road to revolution: Radical social change will only emerge through the endless interplay of confrontations, withdrawals, foundations and subversions. The transition from a world of protests to a world marked by their relative absence is linked to a transition from a dirigiste to a neo-liberal economic regime. Ten years after Seattle: The global justice movement evolves. Athens on the Net: Perhaps the biggest big idea to gather speed during the last millennium was that we humans might govern ourselves — but no one really meant it. Why hasn't Obama been energizing young voters while in office? What went wrong: Barack Obama promised a sharp break from the Bush era, yet he seems to have stepped into the shoes of his disgraced predecessor. Post-Bush Stress Disorder: The Democrats don't need to move right. A review of The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb. From Democracy Corps, a look at why Republican leaders will have trouble speaking to the rest of America. A review of The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David Neiwert. Pioneering hate radio: What Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck owe 1930s commentator Father Coughlin. Alex Massie on how Glenn Beck’s outrageous brand of conservatism is playing across the pond. The meaning of conservatism: Disraeli followed Burke’s “politics of imperfection”, while Thatcher favoured Hayek’s free-market ideas — to which line of political thought are today’s Tories the heirs?

From The Chronicle, a series on animals, including an article on how animal studies explores the murky boundaries between human and beast, and between academe and advocacy; and a look at how recent research suggests that animals have codes of conduct; and Donna Haraway argues that humans and animals are "companion species" — but does that mean they're equal? From PopSci, is it ethical to engineer delicious cows that feel no pain? If the proposal to create pain-free animals achieves anything, it is to force us to confront the pain and suffering that our diets inflict. Do we still need zoos? Charles Siebert wants to know. This case is a dog: The Supreme Court mauls the law banning animal-cruelty videos. Why do dogs sniff each other? Is it like a handshake? A review of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz (and more). An interview with big cat expert Dave Salmoni on living with problem lions and how to fend off an attack if one has you in its jaws. Saving the last lions: Big cats are in trouble everywhere. An excerpt from Jane Goodall's Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink (and more and more). In the past few decades, the Asian tiger mosquito has travelled from its natural home in Southeast Asia to the ends of the earth, becoming one of the world’s most invasive species. A look at why immigrant species aren't all bad. A review of The Earwig's Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-Legged Legends by May R. Berenbaum.