From Suite 101, Wales, although part of the UK, really is another country with its own language and history — what future has the Welsh language in the 21st century? From THES, the University of Wales was brought down by validation, its money-making machine — David Matthews asks how that happened (and more). Ever since the Welsh Development Agency perished in the flames of the "Bonfire of the Quangoes" in 2006, Wales has missed its business acumen and energy. Amy Hall reports on how Occupy Swansea has spawned a series of occupied social centres in the city. Tim Evans on the Great Unrest and a Welsh town. A new urban project has transformed a small town in Wales into the world’s first Wikipedia town. Atlas Obscura visits one family's environment-friendly hobbit-house in Wales. A reindeer engraved on the wall of a cave in South Wales has been found to date from at least 14,505 years ago, the oldest known rock art in the British Isles.
A new issue of the Journal of Social Inclusion is out. Larissa M. Katz (Queen's): “Governing Through Owners”: How and Why Formal Private Property Rights Enhance State Power. Peter Martinsson, Kristian Ove R. Myrseth and Conny Wollbrant (Gothenburg): Reconciling Pro-social vs. Selfish Behavior: On the Role of Self-control. From The National Interest, a special issue on the Crisis of the Old Order. From The New Yorker, Joan Acocella on the lure of the fairy tale. Republican intransigence on taxes is the principal source of America's fiscal deadlock — but as the Supreme Court ruling on health care demonstrates, Democrats' own allergy has consequences, too. From Arena, John Cash on obedience to authority and its discontents. The Library of Utopia: Google's ambitious book-scanning program is foundering in the courts; now a Harvard-led group is launching its own sweeping effort to put our literary heritage online — will the Ivy League succeed where Silicon Valley failed?
Liam Shields (Manchester): Mission Indispensable: The Point of Political Philosophy. Stephen R. Perry (Penn): Political Authority and Political Obligation. Leslie Green (Oxford): The Nature of Limited Government. Xavier Marquez (Victoria): The Irrelevance of Legitimacy. Bruce P. Frohnen (Ohio Northern): Is Constitutionalism Liberal? David A. Reidy (Tennessee): On the Human Right to Democracy: Searching for Sense Without Stilts. Jonathan Trejo-Mathys (BC): Epistemic Accounts of Democratic Authority and Legitimacy: Estlund versus Habermas. An interview with Albena Azmanova, author of The Scandal of Reason: A Critical Theory of Political Judgment (and more and more). From Books and Ideas, Louis Dumont is very well known for his anthropological work on India, but rather less for his political thought. Here are the audio files from an international conference on the work of Charles Taylor. From The Chronicle, Jeffrey J. Williams on Michael Walzer's politics, in theory and practice.
A new issue of HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory is out. The use of the Guy Fawkes mask suggests a movement with an infinitely reproducible identity. New research suggests that rather than describe how humans perform, the bell curve may actually be constraining how people perform. Heidegger Revisited: People aren’t even taking the time to chew their food anymore. Ezra Klein on 13 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever. Everything falls apart: The manner in which decay is preserved and renovated is imbedded with values about the past. A review of Eco-Republic: What the Ancients can Teach us about Ethics, Virtue, and Sustainable Living by Melissa Lane. Is it possible for every business to be profitable? The Blagger’s Guide to Philosophy and Literature will lead you through the swamp of pretentiousness like a light saber of truth slaying the many headed hydra of post-modernism.
From FDL, a book salon on Arthur Goldwag’s The New Hate: A History of Fear and Loathing on the Populist Right. From Alternative Right, Derek Turner on greens, blues, and the extinction of distinction; and equality as an evil: Alex Kurtagic on the moral scourge of modernity. Years after the racism of The Turner Diaries inspired Timothy McVeigh, the Patriot Movement has embraced a new bestselling series. From VDare, is there any contradiction between, and John Derbyshire’s adherence to race realism and his being the loving husband of a nonwhite wife? The presence of big-box retailers, such as Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target, may alter a community's social and economic fabric enough to promote the creation of hate groups. Paul Gottfried on human rights: The useless fiction. An interview with America’s first neo-Nazi lobbyist, a 55-year-old South Carolina paralegal named John Taylor Bowles. Patriot Games: How the FBI spent a decade hunting white supremacists and missed Timothy McVeigh.
A new issue of Postmodern Openings is out. Paul Bowman (Cardiff): “I know kung fu!” or: When Orientalism is a Good Thing. From The New Yorker, how much can the human body take? Burkhard Bilger on the strongest man in the world. From The Awl, how much more do taxi fares cost today? Joe Weisenthal interviews Paul Krugman: “Somebody has to spend more than their income, and, for the time being, that has to be the government” (and part 2 and part 3). In search of lost food: Kate Angus on how to enjoy a pasty when you're not in North Michigan. Nate Silver on the problems with forecasting and how to get better at it. His Man in Macau: Matt Isaacs goes inside the investigation into Sheldon Adelson’s empire. From The Progressive, an interview with Billy Bragg, British folksinger and activist. Asya Pereltsvaig on border disputes over Damansky Island and the troubled relations between Russia and China. What could go wrong? Yes, let's resuscitate super-old bacteria!
Jeffrey Scott Ray (SMC): Economics, Positive Science and the Quest for Predictive Performance. Felix Salmon on how economists get tripped up by statistics. In economics, you are what you model: An interview with Jonathan Schlefer, author of The Assumptions Economists Make (and more). Economics cannot claim to be absolutely objective — and this should be recognized by the profession to a greater degree. Have you ever thought economists were far more confident in their statements about the world than they had any right to be? Well, now there's proof. From The Browser, game theory is marketed as a system you can apply to any sphere of life, but what’s the reality? Ariel Rubinstein guides us through some classic studies; Neil Fligstein, author of The Architecture of Markets, says it’s important to understand social aspects of economic behaviour, particularly when times of crisis reveal shortcomings of traditional economic theory; and Simon Johnson on why economic history matters. It is extraordinary to sit here in the midst of the crisis and read the self-satisfied pronouncements of economists about the state of the discipline.
Amitai Etzioni (GWU): No Marshall Plan for the Middle East. Jill I. Goldenziel (Harvard): Veiled Political Questions: Islamic Dress, Constitutionalism, and the Ascendance of Courts. The Gulf States demonstrate what Arabs can accomplish when given the necessary freedom. The New Arab Man: Marcia Inhorn on reconceiving Middle Eastern manhood (and more). Steven Cook on three myths about the Muslim Brotherhood. Judith Miller on the American University of Beirut, a bastion of American values in the Arab Middle East. Abolish the idea of the "Middle East" — rooted in imperial phantasies of the past, the term is neither descriptive nor value-free. The building boom in the Middle East is the latest chapter in that region’s centuries-old struggle between its cultural identity and its utopian dreams. Reda Benkirane on the role of social networks and new media in the Arab Spring. A review of Capitalism and Class in the Gulf Arab States by Adam Hanieh. Elizabeth Dickinson on the rise of the Islamist technocrats. Yes, there are comedians in Qatar, and no, they can’t tell jokes about anything they want — Hosni Mubarak, however, is fair game.
A new issue of First of the Month is out. Salar Ghahramani (Penn State): A Kenyan Birth? Still Natural Born. From Interface, a special issue on the season of revolution: the Arab Spring and European mobilizations. Ben Smith on a political users guide to the trolls of Twitter. Richard Posner on why there are too many patents in America. The antidepressant wars: Sandra J. Tanenbaum on how a fierce debate that ignores patients. A beautiful, dirty mind: Rick Rosner, the world’s smartest man — almost — is a TV joke writer and admitted pornoholic. From The New Yorker, will civil war hit Afghanistan when the U.S. leaves? Razib Kahn on how you offload the task of reasoning about issues which you are not familiar with, or do not understand in detail, to the collective with which you identify, and give weight to specialists if they exist within that collective. A review of Power over Peoples: Technology, Environments, and Western Imperialism, 1400 to the Present by Daniel Headrick (and more). A Brief History of Wrestling Fakery: How a century of pretend fighting led to the Reality Era.
A new issue of Nieman Reports is out. From Lapham’s Quarterly, Gregory Shaya on the myth of the fourth estate. Why legacy-newspaper media reporters get their own industry so wrong: An excerpt from Will the Last Reporter Please Turn out the Lights: The Collapse of Journalism and What Can Be Done To Fix It by Matt Welch. What is an alt-weekly? We’ve been trying to figure that out for 35 years. Money talks: If you cover Wall Street, should you take Wall Street speaking fees? As more newspapers get on the paid-content bandwagon, there are a few promising models popping up — here’s what to learn from them. NPR rethinks its reporting: Will “he said/she said” go away for good? Jack Shafer on how the byline beast was born and on the great newspaper liquidation. The Seattle Times takes on hometown Amazon: A tough series on the dark side of the booming local company. Political cartoons don’t deserve a Pulitzer Prize — give one for infographics instead. Breaking news used to be “news of transcendent importance” — now it’s a joke.