From the latest issue of Theoretical & Applied Ethics, a special issue in bioethics. Carl L. Palmer (Notre Dame): Political Socialization and Group-Centrism. What defines a meme? James Gleick on how our world is a place where information can behave like human genes and ideas can replicate, mutate and evolve (and more and more and more and more on The Information). Scott McLemee reviews Transforming Terror: Remembering the Soul of the World. An article on Obama conspiracy theorists even more insane than you think. Thou Shalt (Sometimes) Kill: Bin Laden's killing has divided Christians — while Americans celebrated, liberal Europeans felt unease, but they're the ones who may need to take another look at the Bible. Fighting Words: A professor proposes adding certain terms to everyday e-mails as a political protest. Economic chaos, religious hysteria and depraved morals “all lie just under the surface” — but it’s a good thing: Parag Khanna argues in his new book that the world has entered a new Middle Ages which could give rise to a kind of enlightened colonialism (and more). The right-wing network behind the war on unions: Inspired by Ronald Reagan and funded by the right's richest donors, a web of free-market think tanks has fueled the nationwide attack on workers' rights. A review of Mathematics of Life: Unlocking the Secrets of Existence by Ian Stewart. A review of The Invention of Brownstone Brooklyn by Suleiman Osman. Sex, drugs, and American jurisprudence: Susan Reid on the medicalization of pleasure. From Vanity Fair, the mid-90s saw Goldman Sachs in crisis as a future U.S. senator and a future Treasury secretary vied for control; William D. Cohan tells how the long knives came out and today’s Goldman was born. A review of Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty by Simon Baron-Cohen.
A new issue of eMinds: International Journal on Human-Computer Interaction is out. Alison Powell (LSE): Lessons from the Net Neutrality Lobby: Balancing Openness and Control in a Networked Society. John Connor (Texas Tech): Digital Life after Death: The Issue of Planning for a Person’s Digital Assets after Death. Superconductivity's first century: In the 100 years since superconductivity was discovered, only one widespread application has emerged. The Sinclair ZX81 was small, black with only 1K of memory, but 30 years ago it helped to spark a generation of programming wizards. Tablets for all: Farhad Manjoo on the future of mobile gadgets. What happens when computers stop shrinking? By around 2020, the age of the ever-smaller chip will come to an end — and we'd better prepare for it. A review of Privacy in Context: Technology, Policy, and the Integrity of Social Life by Helen Nissenbaum. “Envisioning technology” is a speculative and subjective overview of potential future technologies (and a response). Writing Tech Books for Dummies: You, too, can turn an interest in Carrier Ethernet or string theory into an idiot's guide. Johnny Ryan on how the atom bomb helped give birth to the Internet. Robert Darnton on six reasons Google Books failed and on five myths about the "Information Age": New technology is reinforcing old modes of communication more than it is undermining them. A review of Virtually You: The Dangerous Powers of the E-Personality by Elias Aboujaoude. Do computers cost too little? The surprisingly complicated economic debate about how much, exactly, our technology is worth to us. By making the internet a new nervous system for humanity, humans will also re-connect with one another in a profoundly new way. A look at how self-described Mac and PC people are different.
David B. Wilkins (Harvard): The New Social Engineers in the Age of Obama: Black Corporate Lawyers and the Making of the First Black President. Race talk in the Obama era: Randall Kennedy on the paradoxical reticence of America's first black president and how progressives must fill the vacuum. The mind works in mysterious ways: An article on unconscious race bias and Obama. It really is better now for blacks: Having a perspective on how badly black people were treated 100 years ago helps us appreciate the racial progress we have made. The Other Detroit: The black elite’s most majestic enclave tries to fight off blight. Many African-American Catholics still wonder if the faith is a place of their own — here’s what some of them had to say. Mules of the World: A review of Fierce Angels: The Strong Black Woman in American Life and Culture by Sheri Parks and Behind the Mask of the Strong Black Woman: Voice and the Embodiment of a Costly Performance by Tamara Beauboeuf-Lafontant. Marina Adhade on why black women are disproportionately against interracial marriage — despite finding white and black men equally attractive. Why I am a male feminist: The word turns off a lot of men (insert snarky comment about man-hating feminazis here) — and women, but here's why black men should be embracing the "f" word (and more). Radio personality Mister Cee's recent arrest has relaunched the popular conversation about the down low, but it's time to view the down-low brother for what he is: an urban exaggeration. Comic-book creators have grappled with how to handle race for decades — but don't expect this summer's superhero flicks to reflect that struggle. The paint-chip problem, revisited: Why fashion keeps tripping over race. The roots of racism: Will we ever get beyond the notion of racial identity?
Erik C. Snowberg (Stanford), Justin Wolfers (Penn), and Eric Zitzewitz (Dartmouth): How Prediction Markets Can Save Event Studies. Koch Industries lackeys admit to manipulating oil prices — and gloat about it, too. Theroux’s Gorey: Ideally, friendship is based on mutual admiration, while the relationship between fan and artist is more asymmetrical. Navy says chaplains may perform same-sex unions. Otto E. Rossler has a scientific proof that can save everyone’s life but no one listens. Sharia bans in 15 states are unconstitutional and unnecessary — and they misunderstand Sharia altogether. An excerpt from Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences by Greg Mitchell (and part 2). The lesser evil: Joshua Keating on the relativism of corruption. A (very) brief history of corruption: What trends in the prevalence of corruption has the world experienced in recent years? There’s a peculiar odor to burning hope; it’s the smell of exhaust fumes, human sweat, and a fast-food container interred under a seat cushion — Kevin Fanning becomes a commuter. A review of A Thousand Times More Fair: What Shakespeare's Plays Teach Us About Justice by Kenji Yoshino (and more). An article on gangstas vs. rednecks and their weirdly similar subcultures. A review of Pleasure Bound: Victorian Sex Rebels and the New Eroticism by Deborah Lutz. An interview with David Brooks, the man who can measure true happiness. Why do fake phone numbers start with 555? Andrew Losowsky on the truth behind the failure of iPad magazines. Until cancer attacked his vocal cords, Christopher Hitchens didn’t fully appreciate what was meant by “a writer’s voice,” or the essential link between speech and prose — as a man who loved to talk, he turns to the masters of such conversation, both in history and in his own circle. An interview with Umair Haque on how to beat Wall Street once and for all.
From the new Infinity Journal (reg. req.) Antulio J. Echevarria (Army War College): Reconsidering War's Logic and Grammar; Eitan Shamir (Bar Ilan): Coping with Nonstate Rivals; and William F. Owen on the forgotten strategy for countering armed rebellion. A review of The Age of Airpower by Martin van Creveld. From Foreign Policy, a special survey on the future of war: What wars are we going to be fighting in the next decade — and with what weapons?; it takes a network: Stanley McChrystal on the new frontline of modern warfare; and the new virology: From Stuxnet to biobombs, the future of war by other means. As the world now knows, it appears to have attacked Iran’s nuclear program, and while its source remains something of a mystery, Stuxnet is the new face of 21st-century warfare: invisible, anonymous, and devastating. A review of Children of Abraham at War: The Clash of Messianic Militarisms by Talmiz Ahmed. War is hellishly profitable: A review of Halliburton’s Army by Pratap Chatterjee. A review of How Wars End by Gideon Rose. War's overlooked victims: Rape is horrifyingly widespread in conflicts all around the world (and more). Warfare seems to obey mathematical rules — whether soldiers can make use of that fact remains to be seen. A review of Moral Dilemmas of Modern War: Torture, Assassination, and Blackmail in an Age of Asymmetric Conflict by Michael L. Gross. A review of The Ultimate Weapon is No Weapon: Human Security and the New Rules of War and Peace by Shannon Beebe and Mary Kaldor. From the Journal of Conflictology, Stean Auguste Nkumb Tshiband on Peacekeeping: A Civilian Perspective? From Swans, Michael Barker on the Velvet Slipper and the Military-Peace Nonprofit Complex. David Cortright on non-military solutions to political conflict.
From New Scientist, extreme universe: Eight cosmic record-breakers. From Science News, a special issue on cosmic questions, answers pending. An interview with Leonard Mlodinow on the beginning of the universe (and more on Stephen Hawking). The universe is expanding at 73.8 +/- 2.4 km/sec/megaparsec — so there. Did the universe begin as a simple 1-D line, and what would life be like in one dimension? Cosmos at least 250x bigger than visible universe, according to a study. Martin Bojowald on his book Once Before Time: A Whole Story of the Universe. A review of The Clockwork Universe: Isaac Newton, the Royal Society, and the Birth of the Modern World by Edward Dolnick (and more). Roll Over Copernicus: It turns out we are the center of the universe. Physicist Samuel Ting is trying to unlock the deepest mysteries of the universe. Research finds Big Bang evidence may disappear in 1 trillion years. A review of How Old is the Universe? by David A. Weintraub (and more). Hey physics, get real: The trippiness of physics used to be attractive — now it seems decadent and escapist. A review of From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time by Sean Carroll. Garrett Lisi responds to criticism of his proposed unified theory of physics. An eruption in space-time: A flash of nearly 13 billion year-old light reveals how the universe has distributed ever more intricate elements throughout its history. Charles Seife reviews The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos by Brian Greene. News from Fermilab suggests a new subatomic particle. It is the Holy Grail for physicists the world over and now they think they might finally have found it. God particle may not exist if no evidence found before 2013. 52 years and $750 million prove Einstein was right: Data in the Gravity Probe B project has confirmed some of the weirdest predictions of Einstein’s general relativity theory. Could Einstein's Theory of Relativity be a few mathematical equations away from being disproved? 13-year old Jacob Barnett thinks so.
A new issue of Wag's Revue is out. David Schleicher (George Mason): I Would, But I Need the Eggs: Why Neither Exit Nor Voice Substantially Limits Big City Corruption. Fans of the Baffler style in American politics, rejoice: Thomas Frank has selected the bold critic, editor, and fellow history Ph.D. John Summers to head a revamped Baffler. The President’s Crack Team: We do not hear much about the Navy Seals, and with good reason. "A superhero has nothing on these guys": A guide to the media's Navy SEALs porn. Can it be bad to be too clean? Kathleen Barnes talks about the hygiene hypothesis, which raises the possibility that our modern sterile environment may contribute to conditions such as asthma and eczema. Elizabeth Rubin on our strange dance with Pakistan. Online wedding registries: Are they crass, thoughtful, or both? Inevitable Conclusion: A review of The Inevitable: Contemporary Writers Confront Death. From Pew Research Center, a special report: "Beyond Red vs. Blue: The Political Typology". Yes, you can own sunlight: J. Gabriel Boylan on the curious story of modern property law. Routledge, the respected academic publishing house, has published a book review that is a depressing tour de force of contemporary highbrow leftist anti-Semitism. In praise of distraction: Why you should be allowed to surf the Web at work. An interview with Jonathan Franklin, author of 33 Men: Inside the Miraculous Survival and Dramatic Rescue of the Chilean Miners. John Piper says God has mixed emotions on Osama bin Laden's death. There, I fixed it: 10 hilariously bad home DIY projects (and more). The joy of e-reading: It’s a shame some libraries are closing, but this is not the end of civilisation — quite the opposite. What made the AK-47 so popular?
Robert J. Shiller and Virginia M. Shiller (Yale): Economists as Worldly Philosophers. From Poroi, Deirdre McCloskey and John Lyne talk about laissez faire capitalism and the free market. Barefoot Economics: It's time for economists to start getting dirty. Beyond free trade: Meet the heterodox economists challenging globalism. Making an impact: Here are 8 accomplished African-American economists. Where are the female economics bloggers? From Imprimis, William McGurn, a vice president at News Corporation, on the not so dismal science: humanitarians v. economists. The secret life of economists: Conflicts of interest throughout the Dismal Science are more common than you know. John Case on the con job of libertarian "economics". Great economist, greater humanitarian: Jack Calfee’s scholarship was an instrument of human improvement to combat ignorance and error, reduce pain and suffering, and to discover arrangements that would allow people to live more satisfying and productive lives. The Matchmaker: Harvard economist Alvin Roth stopped just studying the world and began trying to fix it. A review of The Anti-Keynesian Tradition by Robert Leeson. Benjamin Wallace-Wells on Paul Krugman’s lonely crusade for liberalism. Brad DeLong on economics in crisis (and more by Krugman). Dismal science redeemed: A review of Redeeming Economics: Rediscovering the Missing Element by John D. Mueller (and part 2). From the Distributist Review, John Medaille on capitalism as an unnatural system. Institutional economics is a branch of "critical theory" which, when focused on examination, analysis and critique of society and culture, draws concepts and data from across the entire range of social sciences and humanities. Why economists stubbornly stick to their guns: Lessons have been learnt from the financial crisis, but the lesson most people have learnt is that they were right all along.
Alexander Domrin (Iowa): Corruption in the Name of Democracy: The USA and Russia in the 1990s. The Conspiracy Channel: With a larger staff than Fox News, a worldwide Russian TV network spreads a unique brand of anti-American propaganda. Whether Russia is simply behind America — and will soon follow it into cultural decadence — or is truly charting an independent course remains to be seen. A review of No Precedent, No Plan: Inside Russia's 1998 Default by Martin Gilman. A review of The Red Rockets' Glare: Spaceflight and the Soviet Imagination, 1857-1957 by Asif A Siddiqi. A review of books on Russia. Mikhail Zakharov on Russia's multicultural myth. Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan on Russia’s very secret services. Sword or Samovar: A monthlong journey through Russia's killing zone. Who was behind the mysterious bombing in Belarus? "Europe's last dictatorship": Alexander Lukashenka's departure from the path of liberalization required by the EU's Eastern Partnership programme suggests Russian pressure on Belarus. Little-known and often misreported, Belarus under Lukashenko is a well-kept secret — a booming country that blends the best of modern life with a controlled economy (and more). Despite its position out on Europe’s eastern flank, Belarus has historically and culturally been at the heart of European civilisation. As Ukraine is now demonstrating, after revolutionary euphoria fades and normality returns, democratic revolutions can be betrayed and reversed. Legends of Kiev: Angela Kennedy on the stranger side of an ancient capital. A review of Odessa: Genius and Death in a City of Dreams by Charles King. Bridge over the Dniestr: Walter Kemp on confidence-building measures in Moldova. The lands autocracy won’t quit: Autocrats in the former USSR show that ousting a dictator doesn’t always bring democracy.
From LRB, Jeremy Waldron on targeted killing and Osama bin Laden. The Humanist: Richard Wolin reviews The Fear of Barbarians, Torture and the War on Terror, and Duties and Delights: The Life of a Go-Between by Tzvetan Todorov. Julian Assange: "We shouldn’t be surprised by the war on WikiLeaks. The elite have always loathed the radical press, from English civil war news books to early American labour newspapers." John Cook reviews Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange at the World’s Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy by David Leigh and Luke Harding, and WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency by Micah L. Sifry (and more and more and more and more). The Numbers Guy on the science of DNA and the art of identification (and more). C-SPAN’s Chamber Music: C-SPAN relies on the public domain for musical accompaniment that is “pleasant without being distracting”, but some want more modern compositions. So many things could have gone wrong on the raid on Osama's compound. What does "friend" mean now? In the age of social networking, it seems like everybody’s a friend — except they’re not. An interview with former president of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf on the death of Osama bin Laden. Conservatives won in Canada's national elections, but it provides an opportunity for progressives to get stronger. Who’s the dog hero of the raid on Bin Laden? (and more and more) From Vanity Fair, her lightning-rod years behind her, Hillary Clinton is an administration star and a formidable, low-maintenance secretary of state — as she grapples with the Arab Spring, Jonathan Alter steals quality time with the ever airborne diplomat in chief. Branding Bin Laden: How Osama's death will affect the al-Qaeda name.