Paul Daniels (Melbourne): Kant on the Beautiful: The Interest in Disinterestedness. From Consciousness, Literature and the Arts, Alexey Aliev (Moscow State): The Intentional-Attributive Definition of Art; Robert Pepperell (Wales): The Conscious Act of Looking at a Painting; Justin Harmon (Houston): What Is It Like to Be Mysterious, Alienated, and Wildly Rich through Less Than Savory Means? Phenomenal Consciousness and Aesthetic Experience. A review of Aesthetics of Anxiety by Ruth Ronen. Do we take art a little too seriously? Marcus Westbury wants to know. From Amsterdam Law Forum, should we want art to be transgressing moral norms? A tool to deceive and slaughter: A piece of obtuse contemporary art captures the zeitgeist — sort of. From e-flux, a two issues on the theme, “What is Contemporary Art?”, including an essay on contemporaneity as points of connection; and take the money and run: Can political and socio-critical art “survive”? From Australian Humanities Review, a special section on The Art of the Real. From the Journal for Learning Through the Arts, a special issue on arts and technology. An interview with Sarah Thornton, author of Seven Days in the Art World (and more at Bookforum). A review of Loot: The Battle over the Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World by Sharon Waxman and Who Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle over Our Ancient Heritage by James Cuno. From Arion, Paul Barolsky (Virginia): Homer and the Poetic Origins of Art History. From TNR, Jed Pearl on why art should never be a slave to the market: A call to arms. A look at the ten most expensive pieces of art ever sold. As they await their big break, today's young artists are having to make ends meet with day jobs — how are they coping?
A new issue of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest is out. Krzysztof Koscinski (AMU): Current Status and Future Directions of Research on Facial Attractiveness. The New Deal in Reverse: How the Obama Administration ended up where Franklin Roosevelt began. Hearts actually can break: Broken-heart syndrome mimics a heart attack but is brought on by acute emotion or physical trauma. An interview with Edward N. Luttwak, author of The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire (and more). Why bother with the Olympics? Obscure, unpopular sports will never change the world. Torture tales: If the leftwing mass media continues to ignore political thrillers, this important means of shaping the public debate on torture and other critical issues will remain the exclusive weapon of the Glenn Becks of the world. A Tale of Two Cities: The Vancouver you see, and the one you don’t. A truly ethical foreign policy: Britain has no right to demand money back from Iceland; in fact, we should give them cash. An interview with Aleksandar Hemon on books on man’s inhumanity to man. An interview with Douglas Schoen, author of The Political Fix: Changing the Game of American Democracy from the Grass Roots to the White House. Eight spin-offs from space: Space is a complicated and expensive place to get to, that's why the technology the space program produces is so spectacular. NASA's David Morrison answers the top 20 questions about 2012 (and more). That Other War: Reagan-era drug war rhetoric is still with us, and so is the accompanying collateral damage.
Maciej Henneberg (Adelaide): Two Interpretations of Human Evolution: Essentialism and Darwinism. From Archeology, an interview with Richard Leakey on family and great discoveries. From American Scientist, a review of The Link: Uncovering Our Earliest Ancestor by Colin Tudge; a look at how Ardi redefines the branch between apes and hominins; and a review of Human: The Science Behind What Makes Us Unique by Michael Gazzaniga. New genetic findings suggest that early humans living about one million years ago were extremely close to extinction, and that the last Neanderthals died out 37,000 years ago south of the Cantabro-Pyrenean mountain chain. Should we clone Neanderthals? An article on the scientific, legal, and ethical obstacles. Is Homo floresiensis really that strange? Two bursts of human innovation in southern Africa during the Middle Stone Age may be linked to population growth and early migration off the continent. For the first time researchers have sequenced an ancient human genome (and more). The ancient population that gave rise to modern humans may have been nearly twice as genetically diverse than humans today. If we don't develop new genetic interventions, then the populations of industrialized societies will experience a substantial reduction in human fitness due to the rise of deleterious-mutation accumulation. Controlling your genes: The promise and the hype of changing your DNA through behavior (and a look at the 10 most destructive human behaviors). People may not be quite the humans they think they are, or so suggests new research showing that the human genome is part bornavirus. Immunology needs a major overhaul to remain relevant — it's time for a study of the immune system on a grand scale, something akin to the Human Genome Project.
Deane-Peter Baker (USNA) and James Pattison (Manchester): The Principled Case for Employing Private Military and Security Companies in Humanitarian Interventions and Peacekeeping. The draft version of the American Psychiatric Association's DSM 5, the psychiatric "bible" that defines the revised criteria for diagnosing mental illness, has finally been published. All this consensus around the need for a better discussion is encouraging, but “Presidential Question Time” might prove to be just another way to get nothing done. A study suggests 28 to 40-year-olds don't plan for the future because they prefer to reminisce about past times, yet experts say nostalgia can give meaning to our seemingly dull lives. In the quest for bike-friendly cities, are snobby cyclists their own worst enemies? The Guardian celebrates Britain's niche magazines. It would be easy — too easy — to toss off Sloth as a sin that only afflicted the lazy. An interview with Ben Macintyre on books on spies. The Vancouver Winter Olympics has eroded Canadian law and democracy, and worsened relations with Canada’s indigenous peoples. Is it possible to pinpoint the world’s best cheese? Dante's Inferno proves it: Here are 10 literary classics that should be videogames. Alisa Leonard on how Facebook would like to send a friendly reminder that at the end of the day, they’ve still got your data by the proverbial balls. There are new clues why autistic people don't want hugs. This is the ammunition to fire at Satan: Like a teasing teenager, we can point at Lucifer and say, “Loser! You were hoist with your own petard!”
Herb Gamberg (Dalhousie): On Political Economy and Political Theory. From Swans, Michael Doliner on the contradictions of capitalism. Astra Taylor on how to break capital's unrelenting stranglehold over us. A review of Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the Relevance of Marx by Chris Harman. Whatever ideology defines the future of the global economy, it won’t be American-style neo-liberalism. Economist Richard Norgaard decries the gospel of endless growth. Is the World Social Forum a sustainable model? Naomi Klein on how corporate branding has taken over America. Joseph Heath set out to write about economics for the left; now he's defending Capitalism — sort of. The left is the main hope against xenophobic, securitised, apocalyptic barbarism — we should expect radical change. Does a major economic crisis always and inevitably benefit the Left? A review of Build it Now: Socialism for the Twenty-First Century by Michael Lebowitz. Michael Barker on taking strong action for capitalist-led environmental destruction. John Bellamy Foster the age of monopoly-finance capital and on ecological revolution: "In reality, capitalism can be defined as a system of unsustainable development". Through a reappraisal of 20th century anti-capitalist thought, Benjamin Noys urges us to critically re-think how an apocalyptic tone operates within radical analyses of the current crisis. A review of The Neo-Liberal State by Raymond Plant. The Left should expose the fakery of Keynesians who ignore Keynes’ real ideas and the Right’s politically motivated identity fraud. The making of neo-liberalism: A review of The Road from Mont Pelerin: The Making of the Neoliberal Thought Collective by Philip Mirowski and Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement from the New Deal to Reagan by Kim Phillips-Fein. William Niskanen on the undemanding ethics of capitalism. Feeble Critiques: Jagdish Bhagwati on capitalism's petty detractors.
A new issue of Canadian Political Science Review is out. From c2c, a special issue on Canada's Drug War. A review of books on tar sands in Canada. Will the promise of the Northwest Passage finally be realized? The Last Inuit of Quebec: Justin Nobel was searching for a different way of life, but so were the Inuit. A review of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation by Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard. A look at how the Inuit who were lured north and left to battle for survival can't escape their horrific memories (and more). Canada is becoming a world leader in official apologies — do they benefit anyone but the people offering them up? An article on Michael Ignatieff, the stranger within. What happened to Canada's Liberals? A Pragmatic Manifesto: Can Quebec's social democrats make markets serve equality? The Fraser Institute's school of spin: An excerpt from Not a Conspiracy Theory: How Business Propaganda Hijacks Democracy by Donald Gutstein. What would the Florentines do? Mark Milke on what modern conservatives and libertarians can learn from Renaissance Italy. Do Stephen Harper's "theocons" give a Christian tint to policy or simply keep the base happy? The Afghan torture scandal, the Arar affair, Adscam, the Bush years — given so many cautionary tales, why are Canadians still letting the government hide public information? From Maisonneuve, a more prefect union: Should we give up on Canada and merge with the United States? The Canadian Way of War: Can the US learn to fight from our staid northern neighbors? A review of The Island of Canada: How Three Oceans Shaped Our Nation by Victor Suthren. Oh. Canada: Stefany Anne Golberg's great-grandparents needed to escape — Saskatchewan sounded nice.
Mariam Thalos and Chrisoula Andreou (Utah): Of Human Bonding: An Essay on the Natural History of Agency. From The American Interest, Francis Fukuyama, Joseph Nye, G. John Ikenberry, Stephen Krasner and others take stock of Obama's first year. The quiverings about Obama's self-regard reveal more about the pathologies of his accusers than about the President. From Vanity Fair, behind the breakthrough magic of Walt Disney’s first animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and his other 30s and 40s classics — Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi — toiled as many as 100 young women, the inkers and painters, working from dawn to dusk on thousands of cels that brought his dreams to life. From The Economist, a review essay on Albert Camus. A look at 7 bullshit police myths everyone believes (thanks to movies). An unexpected wedding invitation to the unfortunately named town of Al-Qaeda highlights Yemen's promise and its challenges. An interview with Adrian Johns, author of Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates. Was democracy born of science?: A review of The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason and the Laws of Nature by Timothy Ferris. Nestled between the Ukraine and Romania, Moldova is the kind of country you need to repeat two or three times when describing your itinerary. Moldova, a corner of potential in Europe, where Lenin still stands: How the Communist Party has held on to Moldovans' votes. A review of King of the Lobby: The Life and Times of Sam Ward, Man-About-Washington in the Gilded Age by Kathryn Allamong Jacob.
From Ameriquests, a special issue on Manliness: Black American Masculinities, including Frank Dobson (Vanderbilt): Beyond Black Men as Breeders: White Men and the Commodity of Blackness; Thabiti L. Lewis (WSU): The Modern Athlete, Hip-Hop, and Popular Perceptions of Black Masculinity; Davarian Baldwin (BC): Pimps Up, Hoes Down?: The Amazing Misadventures of Blackface Masculinity; and Vania Penha-Lopes (Bloomfield): Work, Love, and the Family Involvement of African American Men. Kathryn A. Sweeney (Emory): Contact and the Continuum of White Women's Racial Awareness. A review of Posing Beauty: African American Images From the 1890s to the Present by Deborah Willis. Beverly Johnson on the psychology of beauty: An excerpt from Family Affair: What It Means to Be African American Today. Negritude 2.0: Obsessing about black beauty never goes out of fashion. From The Black Commentator, Sharon Kyle on the other N-word: Nappy. The roots of it: By styling her daughters' hair each morning, she was attending to something deeper than a beauty ritual. A review of Black Girlhood Celebration: Toward a Hip-Hop Feminist Pedagogy by Ruth Nicole Brown. Welcome to the dollhouse: A look at the line the new black Barbies won’t cross. Black babies as propaganda: Antiabortion activists target African-American women, again. Kids as young as 6 months judge others based on skin color — what's a parent to do? Behind your secret racism: An interview with Shankar Vedantam, author of The Hidden Brain (and more). 13 black truths: It's the 21st century, folks — you really ought to know this stuff. A primer on racism: The many uses of the word and how legit they are. Michael Kinsley on the decline of the racist insult. John McWhorter on retiring the term "African American".
From Studies in Social Justice, a special issue on security, exclusion, and social justice, including David Roger Mutimer (York): My Critique is Bigger than Yours: Constituting Exclusions in Critical Security Studies. Why on earth is seal hunting so unpopular? Bradley Doucet wants to know. Critique of Impure Reason: All hail the scholarship of Jean-Baptiste Botul; Scott McLemee looks into a case of philosophical fact-checking (and more and more on BHL). The greatest literary hoax ever?: A French philosopher has been caught out by a literary prank, but it's nothing on the tale of the forgotten artist Nat Tate. From The Hill’s new feature "The Story Behind the Bill", a look at legislation you may not have heard about and the people inspiring it. Why is braille dying?: In an age of audiobooks, only 10 percent of blind kids learn it — but listening isn't the same as reading. From Adbusters, what do you see: Is your brain East or West?; and East-West: Good-evil, right-wrong? From Popular Science, an article on the quest to read the human mind; and a look at how robots display predator-prey co-evolution, evolve better homing techniques. From Popular Mechanics, humans have feared a robotic uprising since the machines first appeared in science fiction; today, experts caution against a more insidious threat — we might like living with them too much; and a look at the 8 evil forms of AI that gave robots a bad name. A library is no longer a mere home for books, but a wired-up information center: A review of This Book Is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson (and more and more).
Jorge E. Horvath (Sao Paulo): Dark Matter, Dark Energy and Modern Cosmology: The Case For a Kuhnian Paradigm Shift. From TED, David Deutsch on parallel universes and you. The Wow Factor: Joel Achenbach reads between the pixels of the Hubble's latest images. Fleeting evidence of cosmic chaos: High above the Namibian savannah, scientists are using giant telescopes to find gamma rays from deep space. Strange Matter: John Olson on the physics and poetics of the search for the God particle. The first chapter from Quantum Physics For Dummies by Steven Holzner. The prologue to From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll (and more and more and more). At the level of quantum physics, chaos as we now define it is unquantifiable. A review of The Universe: Order Without Design by Carlos I. Calle. A review of Secrets of the Universe: How We Discovered the Cosmos by Paul Murdin. Are black holes the architects of the universe? Scientists have determined the mass of the largest things that could possibly exist in our universe. The properties of the universe can be derived by thinking about the origin of complexity, says a new theory. An article on physicists’ dreams and worries in the era of the Big Collider. Repository of the cosmos: An article on Neil deGrasse Tyson and his tricked-out, gift-filled office. The first chapter from The Origins of the Universe For Dummies by Stephen Pincock and Mark Frary. A review of The Age of Entanglement: When Quantum Physics Was Reborn by Louisa Gilder. An interview with Frank A. Wilczek on discovering the mathematical laws of nature. Beautiful symmetry provides glimpse into quantum world: Whether or not E8 really turns out to be the key to a fundamental understanding of the Universe remains to be seen.