Belinda Edmondson (Rutgers): Making the Case for Middlebrow Culture. From The Futurist, a look at some of the “wild cards” that futurists need to be looking at critically right now. Hans Kung on why celibacy should be abolished. What if it was -50C outside, booze and drugs are almost triple what they are in the rest of the country, and a bunch of your friends committed suicide because they got dumped? That’s Nunavut teenhood. Do you speak American? Discrimination against accented workers is on the rise. After decades of putting up awful buildings, Columbia tries to break its streak. Behind the numbers: What weather forecasts really mean. A review of Suicide by Edouard Leve. Nuclear weapons on instant alert?: The US and Russians still have their missiles on a hair trigger, putting the Non-Proliferation Treaty at risk. A review of Solving Stonehenge: The New Key to an Ancient Enigma by Anthony Johnson. A review of Manufacturing Depression: The Secret History of a Modern Disease by Gary Greenberg. There was a time when illegal abortion was the only option for a woman with an unwanted pregnancy. Postmodernist historians of everyday life in totalitarian societies have underrated the role of ideology at the individual level, preferring a performative reading of subjectivity — yet this fails to explain why the Soviet and Nazi regimes generated absolute commitment. We are what we eat, and in an era of global warming, food is the canary in the mine. Should I be worried about electromagnetic pulses destroying my electronics? Gossip blogging now is a career path in its own right — here are nine young practitioners who are set to become Web stars. Television Personalities: Meet Joel Silberman, the man who makes sure bloggers are ready for their close-up.
Craig M. Burnett (UCSD), Elizabeth Garrett (USC) and Mathew McCubbins (USC): The Dilemma of Direct Democracy. A review of When The People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation by James S Fishkin. From Newsweek, what happens when Congress fails to do its job? Don't be fooled: The House and Senate still need fixing (and two responses). A look at how political-science classic Presidential Power by Richard Neustadt proves its enduring relevance. Here’s a question: Why do so few people in politics seem to know or care a whit about political science? (and a response) The study of politics claims to be objective, but can it and should it shake off our own moral and political priorities? A review of Emergence of the Political Subject by Ranabir Samaddar. From dating website OKCupid, an analysis of the distribution of social and economics values, using the Nolan Chart. In defense of ideology: It is fine to be ideological — it is indispensible to effective analysis of the world. Brendan Boyle reviews Politics and the Imagination by Raymond Geuss (and more). From The Freeman, did Locke really justify limited government? From Cato Unbound, David Schmidtz and Jason Brennan on conceptions of freedom (with a response by Philip Pettit). The limits of freedom: Although the modern world embraces the notion of liberty, without guidance on how to use it we will only bring our own ruin. Thomas Fleming on how the liberal/libertarian view of property as an individual right is at the root of the erosion of both our civil property rights and of the deeper understanding of property. Timothy Ferris on how there is a symbiotic relationship between science and liberalism. Using games to see the future: The CIA says Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's political predictions come true 90 per cent of the time — so how does he do it?
Jay Ciaffa (Gonzaga): Tradition and Modernity in Postcolonial African Philosophy. Tsenay Serequeberhan (Morgan State): Africa in a Changing World: An Inventory. A review of The First Africans: African Archaeology from the Earliest Toolmakers to Most Recent Foragers by Lawrence Barham and Peter Mitchell. From Africa Spectrum, a special issue on new nationalism and xenophobia in Africa. A review of Making Nations, Creating Strangers: States and Citizenship in Africa. Stephen Smith writes about the French retreat from Africa. From Swans, Michael Barker on freedom for Africa. From HR&HW, a report on human rights in sub-Saharan Africa. The Ultimate Idiot's Guide to Being an African Junta: Can PowerPoint slides keep a notorious military regime from committing atrocities? A review of Tales from the King's African Rifles by John Nunneley. We should stop hoping that the oil companies are going to change course and discover altruism in our land. A review of Africa’s World War: Congo, the Rwandan Genocide, and the Making of a Continental Catastrophe by Gerard Prunier. A review of The Killer Trail: A Colonial Scandal in the Heart of Africa by Bertrand Taithe (and more). How food and water are driving a 21st-century African land grab. An interview with former President of Ghana Jerry Rawlings on the failure of African countries to work together. Africa Calling: Can mobile phones make a miracle? The Oracle of Africa: Chinua Achebe reminds us that his continent’s problems are as old as colonialism (and more). James Gibbons on Africa’s literary boom. Africa and the cruelty of football: The 2010 African Cup of Nations will not be remembered for its football, but for the tragedy that befell the Togolese team. A review of African Soccerscapes: How a Continent Changed the World's Game by Peter Alegi.
From Ars Technica, Haomiao Huang on how robots think: an introduction. Slaughter of the Vikings: Archaeology can bring past events alive, seeing beyond the “spin” put on events centuries ago — but the stories told by bones and radiocarbon and isotopes are not always pleasant ones. What we eat: What the animal kingdom can teach us about literary humiliation. Thinking outside the box: Laurie Taylor began his academic career as a devotee of B.F. Skinner, but he escaped the behavioural maze thanks to Noam Chomsky and a tipsy rat. Michael Berube on Two Lefts: Chomsky's vs. Krugman's. John Yoo, the Bush administration lawyer who gave legal cover to enhanced interrogation methods, says he's happy teaching at Boalt Hall School of Law, despite calls for his ouster and protests by liberal groups. The Torture Commission we really need: It’s not enough just to understand what went wrong in the Justice Department — we need to start fixing it, too. Sorority on E. 63rd St.: For a small-town girl with a dream, from the Roaring 20s through the 1960s, there was no address more glamorous than New York’s “women only” Barbizon Hotel. Although most Americans' attention has likely flagged, U.S. and international navies continue to police the lawless, pirate-ridden Somali coast. The dark forest of childhood: Modern fairy tales return to their roots. It was bad enough that nearly 300 reindeer tragically drowned after the ice collapsed on a Swedish river crossing (and the mysterious collapse of reindeer herd). The route master: Without a satnav, Google maps or even a compass, Tristan Gooley finds his way using clues from the natural world. So it’s not the Masters: Miniature golf — for those who still slow down enough to play the game — has a unique, if disappearing, appeal.
Ian Barnard (CSU-Northridge): Disciplining Queer. From MR, a review of Colonialism and Homosexuality by Robert Aldrich; and a review of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics, and Theory of LGBT Liberation by Sherry Wolf. A review of The Reification of Desire: Toward a Queer Marxism by Kevin Floyd. From The Gay and Lesbian Review, Lester Strong on Stephen Sprouse, the artist who merged punk, street culture, and high fashion; and how "gay" were the stars of the 30's? A review of Hollywood Bohemians: Transgressive Sexuality and the Selling of the Movieland Dream by Brett L. Abrams. A review of Fairies, Bears and Leathermen: Men in Community Queering the Masculine by Peter Henne. Larry Kramer on Queer Theory’s heist of our history: Why assume a priori that gay people didn’t exist in the past? I Love You, Man: Dueling "ex-gay" and gay-rights conferences have more in common than the attendees would like to believe. Why has a divided America taken gay rights seriously?: A review of From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law by Martha Nussbaum (and more and more). They’re fond of your checkbooks and deaf to your demands for equal rights — what will it take for the Democratic Party to step up? Theodore Olson on the conservative case for gay marriage: Same-sex marriage is an American value. The data show it: Nations that have legalized gay marriage have witnessed no resulting harm to the institution. Brazil takes a leap forward with a government-backed “school of gay arts”, where students learn about wig preparation, costume creation, stand-up routines, and lip synching. They're here, they're queer, and governments from Africa to Asia don't quite know what to do about it, countries where gay rights movements face an upward battle for equality.
Elizabeth Broun (Smithsonian): Are Artists “Workers”? From The Hedgehog Review, Peter N. Stearns on Anger Management, American-Style: A Work in Progress; and Eva Illouz on Love and Its Discontents: Irony, Reason, Romance. Margaret Atwood is in the Twittersphere. Michelle Goldberg on how Ellen Willis' cultural libertarianism allowed her to navigate the feminist sex wars of the 1980s with a grace and good sense that still stands up. A Wall Street Cheat Sheet: Distracted by health care, lost when it comes to the economy? Here's what you need to know about financial regulatory reform. 10 years later, David Foster Wallace is a journalism pioneer. Hip hop religion, spiritual sampling, and race in a "post-racial" age: A review of The Tao of Wu by RZA. What's a superhero and why does a psychologist care? An interview with Khoi Vinh, Design Director for NYTimes.com. From Mediaite, here is the case for nightly broadcast news and what’s wrong with cable news; and Big Hollywood wants to know: When will the institutional Left stop trying to censor Lady Gaga? The Temple of Do: How 50,000 Hindu pilgrims keep Lady Gaga looking hot. The introduction to Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, ed. Victor Davis Hanson. A review of Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean by Edward Kritzler. Wesley Snipes is ready to pay: The star faces three years in jail, and Chris Heath tries to make sense of it all. From BigThink, an interview with Benoit Mandelbrot. Stumbling upon Shannon Rankin’s map art should make you glad there’s still a use for quickly outdated old-school road maps. From TONY, an interview with Salman Rushdie, chair of the Sixth Annual PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. The U.S.-Russian arms treaty may not be big news, but it's good news.
The Secret History of Health Care in America: From leach-therapy and witches to HMOs and Comrade Obama, Ana Marie Cox's illustrated trip down memory lane. The story of one of history's most infamous math problems illustrates the difficulties facing Congress in the wake of healthcare reform. Jennifer Senior on why the health-care win was an old-fashioned legislative victory without the bullying. Majorly or Radically: How much will health reform change the way we live? Card 'Em: How to nudge Americans skeptical of health reform. Now what? Atul Gawande on the next attacks on health-care reform. The New Nullifiers: Health care opponents want to take us back to the 1830s. On March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the health care bill into law, and as such, this date joins a list of dates that have each inflicted unconstitutional, socialistic, and sometimes even tyrannical action against the States United and have, therefore, contributed to the destruction of a free America. From Telos, A. Staley Groves on Obama in the Age of the Political Eschaton. A history of anti-government rage and violence: The Right's angry response to Barack Obama's healthcare plan isn't exactly unprecedented. Remember “Bush Derangement Syndrome”? Nat Parry on the GOP's double standard on anger. The Remnant Next Time: EJ Dionne on conservatism after Obamacare. Ever since health care passed, President Obama is getting comfortable with flexing his muscles — Peter Beinart on the rise of the liberal Reagan. Playing the Long Game: Obama realizes that transformative presidents look past day-to-day disasters. It takes presidential leadership to break through our system's obstructionism. Does one "compromise" fit all? Carlin Romano on the bumpy tale of a bipartisan concept.
A review of The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History by Anthony Penna. An excerpt from A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change by William H. Calvin. An interview with John Shepherd on books on science and climate change. Is Earth past the tipping point? A review of How to Cool the Planet by Jeff Goodell. Despite its potential to trigger conflict, geoengineering will likely be part of the global response to climate change. Could a rich man's experiment trigger an Ice Age? A new effort will be launched to craft research restrictions for geoengineering, or large scale efforts to tinker with the planet's climate system (and more and more). From Wired, 200 scientists gather in an attempt to determine how research into the possibilities of geoengineering the planet to combat climate change should proceed; six ways we’re already geoengineering Earth; and an interview with Eli Kintisch, author of Hack the Planet: Science's Best Hope — or Worst Nightmare — for Averting Climate Catastrophe: "Geoengineering is a bad idea whose time has come" (and an excerpt). Hacking the planet: who decides? An interview with James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change (and more). Marc Morano broke the Swift Boat story and effectively stalled John Kerry's presidential run; now he is working against an even bigger enemy — belief in climate change, and, somehow, he seems to be winning. More on Why We Disagree about Climate Change by Mike Hulme. The doubters of global warming are emboldened, but the experience of comparable assaults on the discipline of peace studies in the 1980s suggests that hostile scrutiny can have longer-term benefits. Urgent calls to escalate the war against climate skeptics may lead scientists and their organizations into a dangerous trap.
From Genders, Chris Coffman (UA-Fairbanks): Woolf’s Orlando and the Resonances of Trans Studies; and a special issue (2008) on female celebrity in reality, tabloid and scandal genres. Saviors & Sovereigns: Mark Mazower on the rise and fall of humanitarianism (and more on No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations). Rocker Matthew Roberts learned that Charles Manson might be his biological father, then came the strange part: His whole life suddenly made sense. An excerpt from Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves. Global Inheritance is a growing network of progressive-minded citizens with well-developed artistic sides, who plan to save the world through art and music. Benjamin Anastas reviews Ian McEwan's Solar (and more and more and more and more and more and more). The Strange Case of the Chevalier d’Eon: In the mid-18th century a French spy with a peculiar personal agenda came to prominence in London. Savior vs. Savior: George Tiller was one of the last men in America willing to provide late-term abortions; Scott Roeder was convinced that killing his kind was the duty of the righteous — Devin Friedman re-creates the fateful day their paths and their convictions finally crossed. Anglophone science fiction writers fear not to tackle alien beings, civilizations, and consciousnesses from other planets — but what about the ones on this one? (and a response) Machiavelli 2.0: Alexander Schellong on the fundamentals of network society. Could Google (eventually) put translators out of business? A review of Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby. A review of Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly by John Kay (and more).
The first chapter from Capital Ideas: The IMF and the Rise of Financial Liberalization by Jeffrey Chwieroth. A look at how the global rush to develop modern financial institutions — including stock markets — has had a huge downside. Who needs Wall Street? Society profits little from a dizzying casino. Ponzi Nation: Andy Kroll on how get-rich-quick crime came to define an era. Dan Jones looks at past episodes of runaway greed and the moral lessons learnt. From Economic Principals, three books about the CDS market have appeared recently, a triptych that reveals a great deal about the process of financial innovation (and more); and here’s a relatively light-hearted way to tackle the question of what caused the macroeconomic mess of 2008 and 2009. More on Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Simon Johnson reviews Henry Paulson's On The Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Finance System (and more). A review of Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis by John Taylor and The Fundamental Principles of Financial Regulation. Heading off the next financial crisis: David Leonhardt on the case for more — and more nuanced — regulation. Seize power, shareholders: More regulation won't fix Wall Street, but a shareholder revolution will. A review of The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy by Richard Posner (and more and more). Austerity is not the only way to make up for massive government debt and lack of revenue following self‑induced disasters in private finance — there are fairer ways to balance the books. An excerpt from The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money by Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen (and more and more and more and more and more).