From New Scientist, was our oldest ancestor a proton-powered rock? Early hominid first walked on 2 legs in the woods. Ancient skeleton could rewrite the book on human origins: This introduction has been a long time coming — some 4.4 million years ago, a hominid now known as Ardipithecus ramidus lived in what were then forests in Ethiopia (and more from the Discovery Channel). Anthropologist John Hawks explains why Ardi, the oldest known skeleton of a human-like primate, matters so much to the science of human origins (and more from Scientific American). My Ardi, myself: Lionel Tiger on looking for what we want to see in a new human ancestor. Originally promoted as the stem of the primate family tree, it now appears that Darwinius masillae — better known as “Ida,” the fossil that “changes everything” — belonged to a fringe branch (and more and more). From Science, a look at how Homo sapiens lost its diversity. Human intelligence and complex behaviour are far older than suspected, yet our ancestors almost didn't make it — how did we overcome a tenuous African existence to populate the world? Modern man a wimp, says anthropologist Peter McAllister, author of Manthropology: The Science of the Inadequate Modern Male. The Snake Detection Theory posits a fascinating relationship between serpents and primates: A review of The Fruit, the Tree, and the Serpent: Why We See So Well by Lynne A. Isbell. A review of Catching Fire: How Cooking Made us Human by Richard Wrangham (and more).

From the inaugural issue of Glossator (which publishes "original commentaries, editions and translations of commentaries, and essays and articles relating to the theory and history of commentary, glossing, and marginalia"), Erik Butler (Emory): Benjamin at the Barricades: The Arcades Project as Combat and Intrigue; Stephanie A. Viereck Gibbs Kamath (UMass-Boston): Periphery and Purpose: The Fifteenth-Century Rubrication of the Pilgrimage of Human Life; Anna Klosowska, Nicola Masciandaro on Beyond the Sphere: A Dialogic Commentary on the Ultimate Sonetto of Dante's Vita Nuova; and Michael Stone-Richards (CCS): A Commentary on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's Dictee. Building Ephemerisle: Can a party on a river lead to liberty on the sea? What a pest: Why the Black Death still won't die. An excerpt from Buy Ketchup in May and Fly at Noon by Mark Di Vincenzo. The upside of "down with": Protesters’ secret — they’re out there because it makes them happier. Safe to say: Language indicates a shift in our thinking about sex, pain and death. The man who invented exercise: In 1949, scientist Jerry Morris studied London bus conductors and discovered a great truth, exercise can extend your life — at 99, he’s living proof. When black and white aren’t black and white: Two psychologists show that our concepts of morality and sin are mentally associated with lightness and darkness, with potentially troubling implications for criminal justice. A review of Poseidon’s Steed: The Story of Seahorses, from Myth to Reality by Helen Scales. Should there be freedom to mislead, or how much should the state regulate claims of scientific truth?

From Fast Capitalism, Mark P. Worrell (SUNY-Cortland): The Cult of Exchange Value and the Critical Theory of Spectacle; Charles Reitz (KCKCC): Marcuse In America — Exile as Educator: Deprovincializing One-Dimensional Culture in the U.S.A.; and a special issue on Paul Piccone, Telos, and the “Americanization” of Critical Theory, including essays by Timothy Luke, Russell Jacoby and Russell Berman. From Telos, a review of Confronting the Crisis: Writings of Paul Piccone. Frankfurt on the Hudson: Adam Kirsch on how the fathers of Critical Theory found their way to America (and more and more on Thomas P. Wheatland's The Frankfurt School in Exile: A Transatlantic Odyssey from Exile to Acclaim). Christian Garland reviews Negativity and Revolution: Adorno and Political Activism (and more). A review of Night Music: Essays on Music 1928–1962 By Theodor Adorno (and more). What might Adorno have said about Michael Jackson? Charles Taylor on Jurgen Habermas, philosopher-citizen. A review of Axel Honneth's Pathologies of Reason: On The Legacy of Critical Theory. From New Humanist, a review of The Transparency of Evil by Jean Baudrillard, The Cultural Turn by Fredric Jameson, The Democratic Paradox by Chantal Mouffe and Hegel Contra Sociology by Gillian Rose, all from Verso's "Radical Thinkers" series. A review of Commonwealth by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri. From Artforum, Okwui Enwezor on Hardt and Negri’s profound if diffuse impact on artistic practice and on the art world more broadly. A review of In Praise of the Common: A Conversation on Philosophy and Politics by Cesare Casarino and Antonio Negri.

From Re-public, a special issue on the economic crisis. From Dollars and Sense, (economic) freedom’s just another word for crisis-prone. Wall Street’s near-death experience: An excerpt from Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin (and a roundtable). Gillian Tett reviews Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street by Karen Ho. An interview with Eric Maskin on books about financial crises and economic theory. A critique of pure financial reason: A review of The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox (and more). The first chapter (and video) of This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff (and more). Shadowy Finance: Schemers didn't lose in the economic crisis, they won all over again — and here's why. Bank Buster: Can DC's top bailout cop Elizabeth Warren beat the finance lobby — and Larry Summers? The Network: Daniel Altman on how a map can prevent the next financial crisis. How the servant became a predator, or finance’s five fatal flaws: William K. Black explains how the finance economy preys on the real economy instead of serving it. The wonks that warned us: The rebel economists who predicted the financial collapse. A look at how Moody's sold its ratings — and sold out investors. What should be done with S & P and Moody’s? (and more by Steve Pearlstein). Heads I win, tails you lose: The Economist on why Wall Street needs a new social contract. From FT, a special section on the future of investing. Bentham's defense of usury: Does the institution of money transform us through becoming the metaphor for all social relations, or is money universal because all is exchange? From Plus, what is financial mathematics?