Academe on the auction block: David V. Johnson on thinking at the behest of a new patron class. Charles Koch gave $50 million to higher ed in 2016 — what did he buy? Suspicious relationship between the Koch brothers and Utah university raises eyebrows. A foundation overseen by billionaire industrialist Charles Koch is making major investments in foreign policy programs at elite American universities. Koch-funded academics bring free-market ideology to the Trump administration. A conservative nonprofit that seeks to transform college campuses faces allegations of racial bias and illegal campaign activity. Koch institute to conservatives: Don’t be snowflakes.

Masahiro Morioka (Waseda): The Trolley Problem and the Dropping of Atomic Bombs. Matthew Bolton (Pace): The Spirit of Lysistrata: Gender, Collective Action and the Nuclear Weapons Ban. The nuclear threat can be contained by diplomacy: These issues are manageable if they are given the right degree of priority. For decades, leaders have used the nuclear threat to consolidate power at home — even when it is bad for national security. Mikhail Gorbachev: My plea to the presidents of Russia and the United States. Julie McDowall reviews Sleepwalking to Armageddon: The Threat of Nuclear Annihilation by Helen Caldicott.

Elisabeth Eaves and Julian Hayda on weighing 75 years of the nuclear age. The 2017 Nobel Peace Prize winner wants to ban nuclear weapons — here’s why the U.S. is opposed. An urgent warning about the monumental danger of nuclear weapons — even if Trump weren’t president: Fred Kaplan reviews The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner by Daniel Ellsberg (and more). Doomsday pattern: Elisa Gabbert on life in the pre-apocalypse. Want to increase your property values? Try a nuclear war. Matthew Bunn and Nickolas Roth on the effects of a single terrorist nuclear bomb. Millennials need new movies about nuclear war, a ninth-grader says.

From the National Interest, Tom Nichols on 5 ways nuclear armageddon was almost unleashed (or World War III) and on 5 ways a nuclear war could go down (and billions of people would die). What Donald Trump can learn from the two most dangerous weeks in history. These women are the last thing standing between you and nuclear war. How the CIA secretly recruits academics: In order to tempt nuclear scientists from countries such as Iran or North Korea to defect, US spy agencies routinely send agents to academic conferences — or even host their own fake ones. The CDC wants to prepare Americans for a nuclear strike.

“Don’t wait until the bombs are falling”: Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg encourages more like him. The Trump administration’s nuclear policy review loosens constraints on the use of nuclear weapons — we should all be worried. A new Trump administration plan makes nuclear war likelier. Garrett M. Graff on how U.S. nuclear weapons strategy only makes us more vulnerable to catastrophe. The people who would survive nuclear war: How an appendix to an obscure government report helped launch a blockbuster and push back the possibility of atomic war.

From the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Kennette Benedict on Doomsday Clockwork; and Lisbeth Gronlund and David Wright on how a nuclear attack order is carried out now and how to limit presidential authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. What even is the Doomsday Clock? It’s two minutes to midnight — what the hell does that even mean?

A new issue of Sign Systems Studies is out. Pilar Lopez-Cantero (Manchester): The Break-Up Check: Exploring Romantic Love through Relationship Terminations. “America no longer matters”: Davos isn’t worried about President Trump. Jia Tolentino on Ivanka Trump and the ways that we imagine First Daughters. Democrats must be more ruthless — when they have power: If the left cares about preventing a neo–Lochner era in American jurisprudence, it needs to care about Heidi Heitkamp’s internal polling. Why even Burma’s democracy activists don’t stick up for the Rohingya. The bizarre rise and dramatic fall of Louise Mensch and her “Blue Detectives”: A year later, why does anyone still listen to Seth Abramson?

Trump’s cult of personality takes paranoia to the next level: Conspiracy theories aren’t hiding on the fringes —they’re coming straight from the power centers in the White House and GOP. What happens to Trump if he fires Robert Mueller? “I honestly think that reporters asking Congress this question, over and over if necessary, until they answer, is the single most important thing they can do”.

It’s looking more and more like there is a coordinated GOP effort to discredit the Trump-Russia investigation. Treasonous is not a crime: Most conservatives have decided to argue that Trump’s coverup doesn’t matter because the crime was merely treasonous. Republicans are desperate to protect Trump from Mueller — but will their strategy work? Republicans are using the Russian playbook on the FBI. Your guide to the anti-FBI conspiracy theories rippling through conservative media. Paul Ryan is the silent partner in Trump’s war on the rule of law. Seeing through the fog in the Mueller Russia probe.

Mueller wants wants to interview the president, but that doesn’t say much about what the Russia investigation has or hasn’t uncovered. Three potential problems for an obstruction of justice case against Trump: Why some experts think Mueller would need a lot more to make a case. An obstruction of justice case won’t be enough to remove Trump. Trump’s effort to fire Mueller: Reactions to the New York Times report. We’re not in Nixon territory yet, but it’s not for lack of trying.

From Boston Review, a forum on Losing and Gaining Public Goods: The debate about public goods is at heart a debate about what it means to be an American. America is not a “center-right nation”: In fact, on economic policy, America is a center-left nation. Thread: “You can’t think productively about economic policy in America today without thinking about identity, race, and the divisions that afflict us. It’s not what economists were trained to think about, but here we are”. This American town was left to die, and suddenly economists care. “Buy American” campaigns have historically done more to intensify xenophobia than improve workers’ conditions: Chris Brooks interviews Dana Frank, author of Buy American: The Untold Story of Economic Nationalism.

Brigitte Fielder (Wisconsin): Black Girls, White Girls, American Girls: Slavery and Racialized Perspectives in Abolitionist and Neoabolitionist Children’s Literature. Top Chinese university opens institute to study “Xi Jinping Thought”. Republicans want to make it easier to kill whales and dolphins. American shithole: The biggest problem with many African countries is that they’re led by men like Trump. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood, tells white women to “do better”. Trump’s a true-believing Christian? Tell me, how does that work? Tony Perkins: Trump gets “a mulligan” on life, Stormy Daniels. Trump broke up with the world, and the world is moving on. The buffoon presidency? Davos elites learn to live with Trump.

The zombie diseases of climate change: What lurks in the Arctic’s thawing permafrost? Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape. All hell breaks loose as the tundra thaws: A recent heatwave in Siberia’s frozen wastes has resulted in outbreaks of deadly anthrax and a series of violent explosions. Is there a ticking time bomb under the Arctic? Scientists in Alaska find mammoth amounts of carbon in the warming permafrost. Is Antarctica’s scarred seafloor a harbinger of trouble to come? Ice apocalypse: Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century.

From Public Seminar, why is Trump’s authoritarianism so hard for some to recognize? Jared Bernstein interviews Ben Page and Marty Gilens, authors of Democracy in America? What Has Gone Wrong and What We Can Do About It. Democracy has survived a year of Trump — but the fight isn’t over. Trump hasn’t destroyed Obama’s legacy — he’s revealed how impressive it was. The problem with calling Trump a racist: By focusing on the president’s racism — and disregarding his greed — Democrats risk casting the president as a false prophet for white Americans. The president is headed to Davos — how can someone so “America first” attend an event so globally minded?

The Trump evangelicals have lost their gag reflex. Half of Republicans think Trump’s a genius. Peter Aldhous on how Trump’s tweets shaped a year in politics. The past year has provided sustained observations of a phenomenon that might be described as Trump-Induced Time Dilation: the 45th president’s ability to alter temporal perceptions; more specifically, his unnatural knack for making time slow to an excruciating crawl.

Frank Hindriks (Groningen) and Igor Douven (Sorbonne): Nozick’s Experience Machine: An Empirical Study. The Democrats didn’t betray their base: Left-wing activists are furious over the shutdown deal, but they’re not the only members of the party's diverse coalition. The SAG awards got political — that’s a good thing. Jen Kirby on the sex abuse scandal surrounding USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, explained. How many of Devin Nunes’s GOP colleagues on the Intelligence Committee will stand up for the accuracy of his memo? Hint: Not many. What that horrible story about imprisoned children says about America. The Economist on the benefits of a lousy passport. A look at the rate of return on everything. With Kentucky school shooting, fears of growing “numb” to a once-rare horror.

How Cass Sunstein, a liberal scholar of conspiracy theories, became the subject of a right-wing conspiracy theory. Meet “The Storm”, the conspiracy theory taking over the pro-Trump Internet. Here’s the latest stupid conservative conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theory: These accidental missile alerts aren’t actually accidents — world governments are doing trial runs on their own citizens. Release the Memo: What’s the conspiracy behind the right-wing meme? Republicans claim a secret document reveals a Hillary Clinton plot “worse than Watergate” — and they're getting a big boost from Russian bots. The growing conservative conspiracy theory about missing FBI texts, explained.

From NYRB, James Kirchick on Trump’s debt to Ron Paul’s paranoid style: “The appeal of Paul and Trump to such Americans is not so much their specific policy ideas as their anti-establishment temperament and rhetoric, and, more specifically, a feverish anti-elitism that inevitably leads to conspiracy-mongering”.