From The Browser, an interview with Robert Barro on the lessons of the Great Depression (and more). When an economy is just coming out of recession, its weaknesses are always more obvious than its potential strengths. If the economy's stagnant, why are stocks up?: The answer is disturbing. The Dow is too high: What’s holding up the stock market? (It’s not the economy.) What Jane Jacobs can teach us about the economy: Late urban champion's notions about decline and imports newly resonant during this recession. US savings bind: Save money to rescue the economy, spend money to rescue the economy. Will the Great Recession finally end our misguided obsession with gross domestic product? (and more) A look at ten odd economic indicators: Hot waitresses, men's underwear, blacked-out football games, and more. Much ado about multipliers: Why do economists disagree so much on whether fiscal stimulus works? It is worth stepping back and asking: What would the world economy look like today if policymakers had acceded to the populist demand of no support to the bankers? From Vanity Fair, as friends, colleagues, and Larry Summers himself try to explain his reputation for arrogance, bullying, and insensitivity, William Cohan learns about his more private battles, and why many believe he’s still the M.V.P. in any financial crisis. At the intersection of high finance and news, the New York Times’ past and its future, and with a new best-selling book about the Wall Street crisis, Andrew Ross Sorkin has thrived by understanding the psyches of big players under attack.
From Seed, will E.T. look like us?: Evolution helps us imagine what aliens might be like. The search for life beyond our pale blue dot is fraught with dashed hopes — will the chemical and mineral fingerprints of Earthly organisms apply on other worlds? 10 years of nostalgia: The most striking thing about this decade is how much of it we spent looking back at past decades (and more on the "i-Decade"). Why the good guys wear white: Ancient fears of filth and contagion may explain why we think of morality in black and white. U.S. arms sales have not been affected by the global slowdown. From Dissent, Carole Joffe and Tracy Weitz on the assassination of Dr. Tiller and the marginality of abortion in American culture and medicine; and looking your fetus in the eye: Carol Sanger on mandatory ultrasound and the politics of abortion. While Godwin’s Law is as true today as it was then, it seems unfortunate that there aren’t more widely accepted axioms to help us geeks define the characteristics of our world; to that end, then, here are 10 geeky laws (axioms) that should exist, but don’t. Doomsday enjoying a boom: How can we be moved by the end of the world when it's playing out everywhere we look? Russia's conquering zeros: The strength of post-Soviet math stems from decades of lonely productivity. Give Precious a calculator: Why can't kids in movies ever do the math? High school delusional: Too many young people are encouraged to dream of fame when, in reality, their prospects are bleak. Mark Rowlands on fame, the modern phenomenon that links suicide bombers and hot young Hollywood.
From The American Scholar, living on $500,000 a year: What F. Scott Fitzgerald’s tax returns reveal about his life and times. Stefan Collini reviews The Letters of TS Eliot: vol 2 1923-1925. The objects of the exercise: Which came first — Orhan Pamuk’s museum or his new novel, The Museum of Innocence? (and more at NYRB) 8 writers who lived large after death: As a career strategy, early, penniless death has at least one significant downside — but it has worked for some. Edward Albee has been a force for the stage for around half a century — but while his plays endure, the man himself is a bit dated. Do women write "female" poetry? Here's the introduction by Salman Rushdie to The Paris Review Interviews, edited by Philip Gourevitch. How to write a great novel: From writing in the bathroom (Junot Diaz) to dressing in character (Nicholson Baker), 11 top authors share their methods for getting the story on the page (and from Bookforum, Craig Seligman on first novels, and recollections by John Banville, Rebecca Goldstein and more). From The Weekly Standard, a review essay on Samuel Johnson (and more). A review of American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from Poe to the Pulps. Celebrating the memoir: Fiction's day is done? Little Women, Big Sacrifices: An article on Louisa May Alcott's life of concession and depression. A review of Neverland: J. M. Barrie, the Du Mauriers, and the Dark Side of Peter Pan by Piers Dudgeon. From TLS, a review of Paul Aster's Invisible; and is the new Oxford Companion to English Literature better or worse than its predecessors?
From Harper's, Kevin Baker on Barack Hoover Obama: The best and the brightest blow it again. How Obama can bounce back: He needs to show Americans how health care reform, Wall Street reform, and the stimulus are connected — and he needs to make it clearer to Democrats that he’s on their side. Why don't Democrats talk more about the perils of too little government? Anti-statism in America: Why Americans hate to love government. John Richardson on the "socialist" American reform that worked long before health care — try the history of this country's public-education system on for size. Hi, I'm Marty, and I'm a recovering Republican: I was a feminazi-hating, liberal-bashing loudmouth who tried to befriend Bill O'Reilly — man, I was such a douche. A review of I Am Martin Eisenstadt: One Man's (Wildly Inappropriate) Adventures with the Last Republicans by Martin Eisenstadt. Some of my best friends are Uncle Toms: Why black Republicans need to get over themselves. From TNR, Jonathan Chait on Rush Limbaugh's race obsession; and can Nick Ayers lead the Republicans back to power? A review of Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe and The Persecution on Sarah Palin: How the Elite Media Tried to Bring Down a Rising Star by Matthew Continetti (and more and more). Matthew Continetti on the Palin Persuasion and a case for the new populism. Dick Armey is back on the attack: The former House majority leader has taken his politics and ideas to the right-wing protest movement. Mark Hyman on Barack Obama, the man who despises America.