From Popular Science, an article on geoengineering: Are weather machines really the answer? In anarchist circles there are often discussions about either a gradual transition or a sudden collapse of society that can be replaced with anarchism — here's a modern example where this has happened, Albania. A review of Alger Hiss and the Battle for History by Susan Jacoby. Robert O. Paxton reviews The Shameful Peace: How French Artists and Intellectuals Survived the Nazi Occupation by Frederic Spotts, Art of the Defeat: France 1940–1944 by Laurence Bertrand Dorleac, and Bronzes to Bullets: Vichy and the Destruction of French Public Statuary, 1941–1944 by Kirrily Freeman. Mug shot nation: Humiliation without due process is no laughing matter. People with more than enough have an immediate and personal obligation to help those living in extreme poverty, says Peter Singer (and more and more). Death doesn't lie: Death masks promise a truthful representation of the departed. Not in Our Backyard: Can Vermont towns tell registered sex offenders where to live? Please salute Julie Geissler, the New Hampshire resident who stunned library staff members by showing up unannounced one day in 2001 to return a rare first-edition copy of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
From Argumentum, Abuczki Agnes (Debrecen): The Use of Metaphors in Advertising: A Case Study Critical Discourse Analysis of Advertisements in Cosmopolitan; and Koczogh Helga Vanda (Debrecen): Verbal Superiority of Women? Here are summaries of the six arguments against the existence of God in The Six Ways of Atheism by Geoffrey Berg. From Obit, do-it-yourself home burials might be the next big trend; and among colleges and universities there is a subtly growing trend of offering final campus resting places for faculty, alumni and their loved ones. John Gray reviews God Is Back: How the Global Rise of Faith Is Changing the World by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). Even if we tap every renewable power source available, it won't mean a thing without a final, crucial step: reinventing the grid. From daring London plays to Hollywood films, global warming is at last taking centre stage. Life, the multiverse and everything: Mark Vernon asks leading scientists if physics is turing into metaphysics. From Nerve, a true story about Brazilian Girls: Getting laid in Rio is harder than you think. Here’s a fun experiment: Turn on the TV, flip through the most recent issue of Entertainment Weekly, and try telling the young men apart.
From First Monday, Kalev Leetaru (Illinois): New media vs. old media: A portrait of the Drudge Report 2002-2008; and Lauren Fairchild Sessions (Penn): “You looked better on MySpace”: Deception and authenticity on the Web 2.0. An excerpt from Jeff Riggenbach's Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction to Revisionism. More on How to Win a Cosmic War by Reza Aslan. A review of The Day We Found the Universe by Marcia Bartusiak. A review of The Monstrosity of Christ: Paradox or Dialectic? by Slavoj Zizek and John Milbank. The European Parliament that emerges from the recent election will be a stronger, more democratic body in which extremists have no influence. A panel on The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World by Michelle Goldberg. The burlesque scene has enjoyed a revival in recent years, but plans may see it treated as simple strip joints — is there really much of a distinction anyway? Live nude girls and boys: We Did Porn peeks behind the curtain of the alt-porn industry. An interview with Roger Scruton on academia, music, politics and Beauty. Why do so many people say they voted for the president when they didn't? A look at how Obama impersonators are trying to cash in. A review of You Are Here: A Portable History of the Universe by Christopher Potter (and an interview).
From Foreign Policy, here's the 2009 Failed States Index (and a response). Bound Men: Why black conservatism has so much explaining to do and why it’s already lost. Stephen Law on the case of the sixth islander and Jesus' historicity. Fears of Muslim anger over religious book: Does God Hate Women? by Jeremy Stangroom and Ophelia Benson cites attitudes to women and criticises Mohammed's marriage. Could the era of overparenting — also known as helicoptering, smothering mothering, alpha parenting or child-centered parenting — be over? A review of Simon Garfield’s Mini: the True and Secret History of the Making of a Motor Car. A review of The Vision Revolution by Mark Changizi. Remixed Messages: What happens when an artifact of persuasion encounters the modern marketplace. Nicole Rudick reviews Black Light by Kehinde Wiley. A review of Lives in Science: How Institutions Affect Academic Careers by Joseph C. Hermanowicz. An article on Awful Library Books, a blog that catalogs the worst books found on local shelves. The Joys of Brain Scrubbing: A look at the advantages of memory deletion in a collectively omniscient world. Two researchers crunching population statistics have confirmed an unsettling reality: How did 100,000,000 women disappear?
From Technology Review, can aging be solved? Gerontology pioneer Leonard Hayflick discusses the biological causes of aging; and Ray Kurzweil says that exponential advances will allow us to intervene in the aging process. A review of Parallel Empires: The Vatican and the United States — Two Centuries of Alliance and Conflict by Massimo Franco and Against the Grain: Christianity and Democracy, War and Peace by George Weigel. A review of Wolfram Kaiser's Christian Democracy and the Origins of European Union. How do we know we're not in a cult? Here are some warning signs. A review of Driving Like Crazy: Thirty Years of Vehicular Hell-bending, Celebrating America the Way It's Supposed To Be — With an Oil Well in Every Backyard, a Cadillac of the Federal Reserve Mowing Our Lawn by P. J. O'Rourke (and more and more and more and more). An article on George Hamilton: "Please don't think I just went out with famous women". Street Farmer: Can Will Allen make the inner city the next front in the good-food movement? The wickedness of the long hot shower: James Garvey argues that climate change is a serious moral problem — for you. Beyond abstraction: An article on moving the public on climate action. A look at the future of 5 telescopes in space.
From Wired, tech is too cheap to meter: Chris Anderson on why it's time to manage for abundance, not scarcity; and here are genius strategies for defanging the Web’s harshest critics. Anne Applebaum on a close reading of Sarah Palin's Facebook message to the nation. In order to remain as predictable as possible, Wonkette’s writers have decided they really don’t like Rep. Michele Bachmann. Did the toppling of Saddam Hussein lead to recent events in Iran? Death of the Whiz Kid: Fred Kaplan on Robert McNamara. An interview with Henry Kissinger: "Obama is like a chess player". Meet Orly Taitz, Queen Bee of people obsessed with Barack Obama's birth certificate. A review of Living up to Death by Paul Ricoeur. Why did the bankers behave so badly? Veteran TV naturalist David Attenborough loves humans as much as other wildlife, but not when global populations are out of control. The John Roberts Method: How the Supreme Court is patiently bending the law to the right. Is Sasha Grey porn's first artiste? From Time, a special report on the legacy of FDR. From American, a review of Tyler Cowen's Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World; and as American as cricket: Cricket and baseball are twin brothers, separated at birth.
From Boston Review, development in dangerous places: A forum on global poverty and intervention, with Paul Collier, William Easterly, Larry Diamond, and more. Does every book deserve a review? Jacob Silverman investigates. In a fine tradition of literary punch-ups, here are some legendary insults. A look at why incompetence spreads through big organizations. A review of The Meaning of Sarkozy by Alain Badiou (and at Bookforum, John Lichfield reviews Sarkozy's Testimony: France in the Twenty-first Century). From Vanity Fair, Christopher Hitchens on Gordon Brown and the Labour Party; Michael Lewis on Joseph Cassano, the man who crashed the world; Michael Wolff on The Politico's Washington coup; and an article on Julia Child. Superman, Batman and The Flash could soon be joining forces with The 99, a team of superheroes based on Islamic culture and religion. From The Walrus, an interview with Camille Paglia: “We’re in a period of what Northrop Frye would have called the winter phase of irony and satire.” Last Man Standing: It’s no cause for celebration, but the global financial crisis shows why the United States remains the indispensable nation. The Man in Our Mirror: Black America's eulogies for the King of Pop also let us resurrect his best self.
From First Things, a special issue on Richard John Neuhaus. Simon Critchley on being happy like God. Overdosing on reality: A child of the Internet goes feral in full view. On Discourse: Conor Friedersdorf on the bunker mentality. Hired News: Will P.R. pros take the baton of investigative journalism? A review of The Pursuit of Unhappiness: The Elusive Psychology of Well-Being by Daniel M. Haybron. Pill poppers: A review of Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey Out of Depression by James S. Gordon and The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression without Drugs by Stephen S. Ilardi. A review of Stalin’s Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky by Bertrand Patenaude (and more). Special agent Bassem Youssef was one of the FBI's up-and-comers — fluent in Arabic, ambitious, with a record of spotting threats and cracking terrorist cells, so of course the bureau sent him to rot in a desk job. Jesse Walker on the blurry boundaries of child porn: Not every illicit image is equally offensive. More and more and more and more on D.D. Guttenplan's American Radical: The Life and Times of I.F. Stone (and more from Bookforum). Do government reorganizations make government work better? The results have been mixed, though that assessment might be called overly generous.
A new issue of Human Technology is out. It's 2009 — isn't it time we allow senators incapable of making it to Washington to vote from home? Concern Trolling Iran: The conservative take on Iran has never been genuinely interested in what Iranians think or in the well-being of the Iranian people. Who can possibly govern California? Budget shortfalls, perennial legislative gridlock and endless voter initiatives — who would want the job? Lonegan’s Charge: Can a right-wing renegade become governor of New Jersey? From FT, a review of Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940 by Chad Heap. Porn’s highs and lows: Mainstream as it might be, it still has dirty little secrets. A plantation to be proud of: Why the State of Rhode Island should keep its longer, more offensive full name. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Aptitude: Do our merit-based ideas of fairness get us what we deserve? A review of Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free by Charles P. Pierce. More on The Age of the Unthinkable by Joshua Cooper Ramo. A review of Redemption Song: An Irish Reporter Inside the Obama Campaign by Niall Stanage. A review of The Euro: The Politics of the New Global Currency by David Marsh. Kenneth Weisbrode on why foreign policy slogans matter.
From The Point, an essay on idealism in Obama's America; even if Obama is as much of an idealist as the intellectual hopes, he might not be a ruler in Plato’s sense; and death is not the end: An article on David Foster Wallace, his legacy and his critics. From The Believer, what is so elusive about music that makes generation after generation of writers argue that it can’t be captured by words? Beating Bad Karma: Iran's crisis offers an opportunity for real change. New digital tools help you manage your research files — Scott McLemee gazes into "the cloud". Alain de Botton on the consolations of pessimism: In our age, as in Seneca’s, the worst is always possible; and on the sources of happiness — and woe — at nine New York jobs (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work and Shop Class as Soul Craft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work by Matthew Crawford). The next author to (over-)react to what s/he perceives as a bad review is Alain de Botton. From IRB, an essay on book reviews as a blood sport (and part 2). The (Dangerously Close to) Archaeology of "Year One": Production designer Jefferson Sage talks about creating 10,000 years worth of history for 100 minutes of silly summer comedy.