From NYRB, a review essay on universities and academic life. From Minding the Campus, Naomi Schaefer Riley on highly stressed students and the aimless curriculum; Perry L. Glanzer on politics and the demise of the humanities; and The New Yorker takes on the US News College Rankings. From THES, a look at the Top Universities by Reputation 2011. College-rankings race goes global: Now even iPhone applications help calculate colleges' place in the Scheme of Things — far too much weight is placed on cracking the top 100 or 50 or name your tier. A look at how journal rankings are "a spectre haunting universities everywhere". Renovation Project: Academe is again awash in talk of a crisis in the humanities. From Wired, last year, a University of Alabama scientist gunned down six colleagues — here's a look inside the actions of Amy Bishop. From First Things, when choosing a graduate program in theology, the best is not always not the brightest; and Go With God: Stanley Hauerwas pens an open letter to young Christians on their way to college. Tea, shortbread, and 3 things worth knowing: If students aren't culturally literate, a welcome diversion can help fill in their gaps of knowledge. A review of The Lost Soul of Higher Education: Corporatization, the Assault on Academic Freedom, and the End of the American University by Ellen Schrecker. The escalating arms race for top colleges: SAT tutor, $125 a session; campus visits, $4,000 — why it now costs a fortune to do your parental duty. A review of Crazy U: One Dad's Crash Course in Getting His Kid Into College by Andrew Ferguson (and more and more and more and more and more and more). An anti-college backlash: Americans are finally starting to ask, "Is all this higher education really necessary?"
A special Missing Pieces issue of the Annals of Improbable Research is now online. Julie C. Suk (Cardozo): The Moral and Legal Consequences of Wife-Selling in The Mayor of Casterbridge. From TLS, a review essay on Western ideas of beauty. The art of the review: An interview with Bookforum editor Michael Miller. Forty years of folly: Philip K. Verleger, Jr. on the failure of U.S. energy policy. The blurred reality of humanity: Do we really even exist? Fooling ourselves into thinking we do is the one thing that makes us who we are. After years of browbeating, conservatives have succeeded in convincing Americans that Social Security is in trouble, but that doesn't mean it is. A review of Queer Mobilizations: LGBT Activists Confront the Law. Gustavo A. Solimeo on the dictatorship of equality: A Catholic perspective. Mat Iredale asks, is political evolution like biological evolution? The Power of Ruins: Nuclear power plants are an uncanny presence in the built environment. A review of Niche: Why the Market No Longer Favours the Mainstream by James Harkin. A review of An Unprecedented Deformation: Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas by Mauro Carbone. So bad you just gotta be good: Those tone-deaf belters humiliating themselves for our amusement help explain why we think we’re better than the experts. From Alternative Right, James Kalb on Alternate Modernities: A Retrospective (and three responses). A quest called tribe: What we call a group could diminish the people within it. Do you have free will? Yes, it’s the only choice. Long Live the American Dream: Why India and China have nothing on America. A review of Nicholas Delbanco's Lastingness: the Art of Old Age. DIY dictionary: A new guide to the world of words. Five fun facts about the $14 trillion national debt: They say China is our banker, but did you know it holds less than a tenth of our outstanding debt?
From New Internationalist, check out the No-Nonsense Guides to globalization, climate change, terrorism, fair trade, human rights, health, poverty and more. A world adrift: Why there is no global leadership on climate change, trade policy, and energy. Tea’s history reveals globalization’s best and worst sides — trade, prosperity, migration and war. A review of Dani Rodrik's The Globalization Paradox. Dani Rodrik on development in reverse. Mickey Mouse, Villain: How copyrights for U.S. cartoons are holding the developing world hostage. From FP, a book club on Getting Better: Why Global Development Is Succeeding — And How We Can Improve the World by Charles Kenny (and more). In resource-rich countries, subsidies haven't made people happier or governments more accountable — what might actually work? Just give money to the masses. From Boston Review, small changes, big results: Behavioral economics has changed the way we implement public policy in the developed world — it is time we harness its approaches to alleviate poverty in developing countries as well. There’s an app for that: Technology, such as the humble cell phone, may knock down some of the impediments that tarnish the name of foreign aid. Foreign aid for a frugal age: There are international development programs that actually do help the world’s poorest people — Dean Karlan can show you the proof. An excerpt from Lamia Karim's Microfinance and Its Discontents. How do you feed eight billion people in a water-scarce world? An excerpt from World on the Edge by Lester Brown. How to feed the world by 2050: We don't need to grow more food; instead, we need to know the world's population and what they'll be eating. How many will we be: Are population estimates off the mark?
Russell B. Korobkin (UCLA): The "Borat" Problem and the Law of Negotiation. From Lost Magazine, a special issue on love. From Google's magazine Think Quarterly, an article on Guy Laurence, CEO of Vodafone UK; can you do business while doing good in the developing world? The answer is yes, but only if you focus on the data that matters; and an interview with Peter Kruse on a tool that can tap into the intuitive beliefs that drive social change. From Popular Science, a look at some of the most impractical inventions. Plastic Surgery: A free society is a beautiful society. Richard D. Wolff on why taxing the rich makes sense. From Wired, Sudhir Venkatesh on how tech tools transformed New York's sex trade. The Good Girl, Miranda Cosgrove: Can the 17-year-old tween idol, beloved by millions as iCarly, turn into a grown-up star without becoming tabloid fodder? A look at why dead white men are cool again. Why are easy decisions so hard? "Readers of the world unite": Writer Dale Peck has issued a rallying cry with a challenge to the big book chains; his mission — to save literary publishing and the serious novel. "We are not primarily rational creatures": Two interviews with David Brooks. The editor of Vogue has always occupied the most powerful seat in the world of American fashion, but Anna Wintour's web of influential friends and allies has helped turn her into a global brand that transcends fashion. The Conservative States of America: The worse the economy, the more people say they're right-wing. Geocurrents looks at Syria’s ethno-religious complexity — and potential turmoil. George Scialabba reviews Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India by Joseph Lelyveld (and more).
Deborah L. Brake (Pittsburgh): Sport and Masculinity: The Promise and Limits of Title IX. An interview with Jonah Keri, author of The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team From Worst to First. The superstar at play: Ronaldo wasn't the greatest of all time, but he made soccer look like unbelievable fun. How The Fridge lost his way: William "The Refrigerator" Perry does what he wants — and that includes still drinking. The sports beat: Dave Kindred on a digital reporting mix — with exhaustion built in. From GQ, a look at the worst sports fans in America. Sit through an entire basketball game? That’s for losers — technology is changing the way we experience sporting events. Geeks helping jocks: Today, getting a high-powered job in sports is increasingly about working with the data, and a growing group of Hub-based number crunchers is making inroads — and waves — in the business. Six and a half billion people are absolutely right: The N.F.L. is corrupt, baseball’s a distant dream, and March Madness is only one month long — any true sports fan watches soccer. According to a new ranking system, Jimmy Connors is best player in the history of tennis. Where have African-American baseball players gone? A review of Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game by Rob Ruck. The Sins of the Coach: Bob Oliva was a beloved mentor and local Catholic-high-school basketball legend — now two former players say he was also a child molester. Rallying Cry: When four young athletes died, their coach had to heal an entire town. Fascination with the fastball (a.k.a. smoke, cheese, cheddar, heat, gas) is as old as baseball itself, but now everyone — scouts, fans, Little League dads — is obsessed with differentiating between fast and faster. Brooms up: Welcome to the hard-core, rough-and-tumble world of Quidditch — think Rugby meets Dodgeball meets Laser Tag, with a splash of irony and a healthy helping of humor (and more).