A review of Christopher Lloyd’s What on Earth Happened? The Complete Story of the Planet, Life, and People from the Big Bang to the Present Day. Out of our minds: How did humans come down from the trees and why did no one follow? Party Animals: A look at how early human culture thrived in crowds. A review of Caveman Logic: The Persistence of Primitive Thinking in a Modern World by Hank Davis. More on Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending's The 10,000 Year Explosion. Always cited as the hallmark of man’s innovation, here is the real story behind the wheel — from its origins to its reinvention. A review of An Intellectual History of Cannibalism by Catalin Avramescu. A review of Sharon Waxman's Loot: The Battle Over Stolen Treasures of the Ancient World. From TLS, a Nabokov of the ancient world: A review of Ananios of Kleitor by George Economou. The introduction to Knossos and the Prophets of Modernism by Cathy Gere (and a review by Mary Beard). An interview with Owen Hatherley, author of Militant Modernism (and at Bookforum, Matthew Price reviews Peter Gay’s Modernism: The Lure of Heresy from Baudelaire to Beckett and Beyond). Mortality and the contradictions of modernity: A review of Genevieve Lloyd's Providence Lost.

From New York, did leveraging his connections to sell access to New York's pension funds make political consultant Hank Morris a felon? From FT, an in depth report on the pensions crisis. Growing old: Is retirement at age 62 still possible? Unless we change our attitudes towards work, education and retirement, we run the risk of pensioner poverty and intergenerational conflict. From The Economist, a special report on aging populations: Demography means virtually all of us will have to work longer — that need not be a bad thing. It is a screwed-up society which sees older generations as little more than a future nutritional resource for worms. Why Japan isn't rising: It's mellowing as its population ages. Our ageing world isn't a catastrophe — it's a triumph. Is aging a moral good? (and a response and a reply). In a world without miracles, death is a miracle — a bad one, it makes no sense at all. A review of Death and Character by Annette Baier. A a review of Well-being and Death by Ben Bradley. A look at how posthumous events affect rated quality and happiness of lives. A review of Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious by Alix Strauss. There's pleasure to be had in reading "The Possible Pain Experienced During Execution by Different Methods".

A review of The United Symbolism of America: Deciphering Hidden Meanings in America's Most Familiar Art, Architecture, and Logos by Robert Hieronimus and Laura Cortner. Is Apple the world's most discreetly feminine brand? Nowhere is the cynicism of modern female-directed advertising better seen than in the peddling of "natural" makeup. An article on the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the people who keep advertisers honest. The internet advertising industry is worried the government will clamp down their tracking of web users. Pop Nihilism: Mass media's codependent relationship with advertising has destined both to failure. An interview with Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky on Ad Nauseam: A Survivor’s Guide to American Consumer Culture. A review of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell (and more and more and more and more). A review of All Consuming: How Shopping Got Us Into This Mess And How We Can Find Our Way Out by Neal Lawson (and more and more). A review of Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America by Lawrence Glickman. Shop right: The best ways to support worthy causes by buying cool products. It's still possible to find parts of the world where people think they have enough.

From H-Net, a review of Global Environmental History by I. G. Simmons. From The Trumpeter, an essay on the environment and the old sciences. Was it a cultural thing, that is, in the 1960s environmentalism came to be associated with hippies and peaceniks? An interview with Lester Brown on his plan to stop climate change. Conor Clarke interviews Thomas Schelling on global warming (and part 2). From New Matilda, faced with the threat of climate change, The Australian is recruiting Trots to fight greenies in its opinion pages; and they're happy to talk light bulbs, bikes and renewable energy, but when it comes to population control, the anti-climate change crusaders fall silent. An article on why people don't act on climate change. Buying the environment to save capitalism: An article on the domination of neoliberal ideology within the environmental movement. After abandoning the mainstream environmental policy agenda, what options would remain in pursuit of environmental justice and protection? From National Geographic, some scientists say we need a Plan B: a giant sunshade that would cool the whole planet. A review of The Medea Hypothesis: Is Life on Earth Ultimately Self-Destructive? by Peter Ward. Here's a top 10 checklist: How societies can avoid "ecocide".

From Edge, George Dyson on the theory of games and economic misbehavior. From History Today, sex, scandals and celebrity were all part of a blame and shame culture that existed in the 18th century, one that often fed off the misfortune of women at the hands of men; Julie Peakman looks at how prostitutes, courtesans and ladies with injured reputations took up the pen in retaliation. The accidental hero of 1989: Twenty years after the wall fell, Mikhail Gorbachev is quietly celebrated in the west, but shunned in Moscow; yet in both places his reputation rests on his failure to reform the dying system in which he truly believed. A review of Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Chris Anderson (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). Daniel Lyons on why it’s time to pony up: Good Web sites shouldn't be free. The Making of an Agent: After 16 weeks of action-packed exercises that will test them to the core, the recruits in Training Class No. 283 will pass into the elite ranks of the Secret Service — or leave humiliated. Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors. More on The Meaning of Sarkozy by Alain Badiou (and more by Martin Puchner at Bookforum).

From TNR, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. responds to Sean Wilentz's "Who Lincoln Was" review-essay (and more responses by Fred Kaplan, Michael Kazin, and John Stauffer; and a reply by Wilentz); and from Joe the Plumber to Frank Ricci to Sgt. Crowley, are aggrieved white men the GOP's best hope? A man's home is his constitutional castle: Henry Louis Gates Jr. should have taken his stand on the Bill of Rights, not on his epidermis or that of the arresting officer. And the Rand Played On: The Going Galt movement protests Obama with a collective shrug. Sarah Palin, Inc.: The biggest brand name in conservative politics is about to enter the burgeoning right-wing marketplace — and she's perfect for it (and a look at the top 25 Sarah Palin scandals). Suzy Khimm on why Alaska lawmakers, including some very upset Republicans, soured on Sarah Palin (and more). In Bill O'Reilly's Sights: Run afoul of the conservative commentator, and feel the wrath of his avid Army. Paul Campos on why the media kowtows to the far-right fringe. A look at the potential militant extremist inside each of us. A review of Going to Extremes: How Like Minds Unite and Divide by Cass Sunstein. A review of The Last Best Hope: Restoring Conservatism and America's Promise by Joe Scarborough. Time goes inside Bush and Cheney's last days.

From The New Yorker, can the Kindle really improve on the book? Nicholson Baker investigates. Why 2024 will be like Nineteen Eighty-Four: How Amazon's remote deletion of e-books from the Kindle paves the way for book-banning's digital future. Amazon's deletion of novels from Kindle devices shows that buying an ebook isn't like owning a real, secondhand tome. The artists’ book: Appreciating a book means more than an interest in its literary content and illustrations. The book cover, once disposable, is now as much part of a work's identity as the words inside. Bibliovision: Books, which as objects of desire have seemed to have scant place in Hollywood’s slick, visual sensibility, have a new role in the business of television. A review of Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome by William A. Johnson and Holt N. Parker. A look at how Target can make sleepy titles into best sellers. Book Seer bases its recommendations on the last book you read; shame it does such a bad job — or does it? Never build a relationship on books: The new dating site from Borders promises happy endings. Closing the book on a bad read: Kelly Jane Torrance on cutting your losses without guilt. James Purnell has been using his time to rearrange his bookshelves alphabetically; bad mistake — here's why.

From TLS, a review of Anthony Grafton's Worlds Made by Words: Scholarship and Community in the Modern West and Roger H. Martin's Racing Odysseus: A College President Becomes a Freshman Again. John Sexton is determined to transform NYU into the first truly global university — and he’s starting in Abu Dhabi (and more). From The Chronicle, will higher education be the next bubble to burst? Why Barack Obama thinks community colleges are the key to fixing higher education. From IHE, an article on the case of the disappearing liberal arts college. They didn't teach genderfuck, iteration, or micropolitics when I was in college, but times have changed — liberal arts is due for an update (and more). Bottom line: The Week delivers a solid liberal-arts education in 40 minutes. A look at eleven unusual majors your college probably didn't offer; and here are six college perks that might make you jealous. "Animal House" at 30: College students find new ways to channel their inner Bluto. Why they call Yale the "Gay Ivy". Bogus college stereotypes: Are Cornell students suicidal, is Dartmouth all Republicans, is Vassar really gay? From Inside Catholic, the University of Chicago has just announced that its students are not, in fact, humans, but magicians trapped inside of monkeys. 

From M/C Journal, Greg Shapley (UTS): The Re-Wiring of History; and Jina Huh and Mark S. Ackerman (Michigan): Obsolescence: Uncovering Values in Technology Use. Information Overload: In the Google Age, media literacy is crucial — and in short supply. Seth Hettena reviews Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know by Randall Stross. What today’s students do not realize is that what Google provides is sometimes fact and oftentimes opinion — but never answers. An interview with Scott Rosenberg, author of Say Everything: How Blogging Began, What It's Becoming, and Why It Matters. Blogs, Twitter and Facebook are supposedly cheapening language and tarnishing our time, but the fact is we are all reading and writing much more than we used to. A review of Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). From PopMatters, both Twitter and Facebook are attempts to inject organic humanity into the cold, artificial realm of networking technologies; and in an age where Twitter and Google seem to be taking over the world, how do people communicate information in a meaningful and memorable manner?

A review of Zhivago's Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia by Vladislav Zubok. A review of Western Marxism and the Soviet Union: A Survey of Critial Theories and Debates since 1917 by Marcel van der Linden. An excerpt from Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the New Cold War by Stephen Cohen. A review of What Stalin Knew: The Enigma of Barbarossa by David Murphy. More and more on The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown. Gal Beckerman reviews Orlando Figes's The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia. A review of Rethinking Marxism: from Kant and Hegel to Marx and Engels by Jolyon Agar. We would be better off taking a few doses of “vulgar” Marxism and preparing to join the transition from a post-political psuedo-left to the Next Left. Christopher Hitchens remembers Leszek Kolakowski (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). George Scialabba reviews Bitter Spring: A Life of Ignazio Silone by Stanislao Pugliese. The Soviets mandated health spa retreats for their workers, but sometimes people just want to enjoy a little quality time with their family. Little is left today of the Berlin Wall, the Cold War's most famous monument. Communist Clock: Tiny communists hammer away on the Olomouc Astronomical Clock in Prague.