From The National Interest, a review of The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan. Maps never come without baggage: A review of A History of the World in Twelve Maps by Jerry Brotton (and more). How Google and Apple's digital mapping is mapping us: Digital maps on smartphones are brilliantly useful tools, but what sort of information do they gather about us — and how do they shape the way we look at the world? How Google Earth changed the world: As Amazon and Apple race to break a mapping monopoly, Tim Walker charts the rise and uncertain future of a cartographical masterpiece. William Beutler creates Infinite Atlas — a pretty, Google Maps-powered annotated guide to Boston and surrounding area — and Infinite Map, a 24" x 36" poster of O.N.A.N. (the Organization of North American Nations that encompasses the United States, Canada, and Mexico). From Strange Maps, Frank Jacobs on Germany’s equators. A look at how transit users trust distorted subway maps way too much. Nicholas Baldo on geographical illiteracy in Civilization V. It’s a small (and cartographically incorrect) world after all.
Rebecca Gould (Yale): Philology, Education, Democracy. Everything you need to know about the Chicago teachers’ strike, in one post. Todd Akin looks to disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton for help following “legitimate rape” controversy. The boy in the bubble: Ezra Klein rewrites the role of Washington wunderkind. The walled city: Cannot one dream of a “computer hypothesis”? Finn Brunton investigates. From Aggregation Magazine, Laura Kathleen Maize on noise pollution; Eli Yarhi on keeping an open mind; and Graham F. Scott on toxic nostalgia. At the risk of sounding angry: Brittney Cooper on Melissa Harris-Perry’s eloquent rage. No, really, there is no secret code in the pyramids: Encoded mysteries have existed through history — especially imaginary ones. Citizens Council: Joe Mathews on the third-and-a-half branch of government. A scientist puts farts under a microscope: An excerpt from Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccuping and Beyond by Robert R. Provine. From Nerve, a look at ten classic smut posters from the '70s and '80s. Did you block your grandma on Facebook for bashing Obama? You're not alone. From LARB, is The Atlantic making us stupid? Pamela Erens wants to know.
From FDL, a book salon on Sabotage: How the Republican Party Crippled America’s Economic Recovery by Daniel Altman. Americans want to live in a much more equal country (they just don't realize it). The withering of the affluent society: Though Americans see upward mobility as their birthright, that assumption faces growing challenges, with consequences not just for the size of our wallets but for the tenor of our politics. A review of The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor: Birth of a New Workers’ Movement or Death Throes of the Old? by Steve Early. The Cheapest Generation: Why Millennials aren't buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy. Did Barack Obama save Ohio? Why the battle to take credit for Ohio’s ever-so-slightly above-average economy could swing the presidential election. Larry Hanley, the national leader of one of America’s feistiest unions, is aiming to expand the economic fairness debate — he’s proposing a cap on incomes at the top that rises only if incomes at the bottom rise first. How to get to full employment despite the political constraints: A review of Back to Full Employment by Robert Pollin.
Ellen D. Katz (Michigan): On Overreaching, or Why Rick Perry May Save the Voting Rights Act but Destroy Affirmative Action. From The New Yorker, how much do evolutionary stories reveal about the mind? A review essay by Anthony Gottlieb. The Sorrow and the Pretty: Model Alliance looks to empower the really, really ridiculously good-looking. Losing faith in hope: William Wall reviews Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, ed. Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank. An intra-Left debate: Is Obama the “more effective” of two evils? From TLS, a review of a book on ambergris, sperm whale faeces that have been transformed by intestinal bacteria and oxidation into a solid, waxy mass that is pleasantly aromatic, though not without betraying a whiff of its origins. Republican convention speeches are fluff masking their unspoken core issue, inheritance insurance. Our favorite heretic: Allan Nadler on misquoting, misrepresenting, and misusing Baruch Spinoza. Leaks or lies: Did journalist David Sanger discover the true story behind Stuxnet, or was he caught in a deeper web of deception?
Stephen LeDrew (York): The Evolution of Atheism: Scientific and Humanistic Approaches. There is a pervasive and somewhat lopsided tendency in our society to separate fellow humans into the categories of being either "believers" or "nonbelievers". Akeel Bilgrami on secularism: Its content and context. From The Humanist, Greta Christina on how confrontationalism can open doors; and building bridges or blowing them up? Rob Boston on secular Americans and the future of humanist activism. A review of How To Be Secular: A Call to Arms for Religious Freedom by Jacques Berlinerblau. Francis Spufford on the trouble with atheists. If knowledge is power, then what is ignorance? Let me introduce you to Atheism+, the nascent movement that might be the most exciting thing to hit the world of unbelief (and more). From Bible-Belt pastor to atheist leader: The new heroes within the secular movement are coming from unlikely places — like the pulpit. Ray Nothstine on how, as secularism advances, political messianism draws more believers. Why is a secular magazine interested in what believers think? An interview with Christof Koch on reconciling atheism and meaning in the universe.