From The New York Times Magazine, a special issue on the science of living a healthy life. Barca Lounging: Meet Lionel Messi, the best soccer player in the world (thanks to the ineffable genius of his teammates). The first chapter from Awakening Giants, Feet of Clay: Assessing the Economic Rise of China and India by Pranab Bardhan. Jennifer McDonald on the war on cliche (that’s such a cliche). The Joy of -ext: Sexting, chexting, drexting and the rise of a salacious suffix. From The Guardian, a series on the great dynasties of the world. Sorry Google, but Facebook is the Web's most important company now. The Rise of Decline: Experts say things are collapsing — maybe they’re not collapsing fast enough. A review of The Oxford Book of Parodies. Ministry of Silly Wars: Lawrence Osborne on Britain in Central Asia. Maurice Manning reviews Coal Mountain Elementary by Mark Nowak, with photographs by Ian Teh and Mark Nowak. A review of Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things by Randy O. Frost and Gail Steketee (and more and more and more). From Critical Mass, a new series on websites dedicated to book reviewing online. When it comes to the slave trade, all guilt is not equal: Michael Gomez challenges the argument by Henry Louis Gates Jr. that Africans were equally responsible for the trade in humans, therefore complicating reparations. Two radically different environmental messages are taking shape in the world today — does it matter which one we choose? It's not just greater affluence that leads to freedom and happiness, but the combination of greater wealth with relative economic equality; freer, happier societies reflect the old adage of a rising tide that lifts all boats. From Telos, Alexander I. Stingl on the virtualization of health and illness in the age of biological citizenship.
From the Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality, Howard Hsueh-Hao Chiang (Princeton): Homosexual Behavior in the United States, 1988-2004: Quantitative Empirical Support for the Social Construction Theory of Sexuality; Gwendolin Altenhoefer on Friend hoppers, pleasure activism, the Schlampagne and the Octopus: Non-monogamous activism in the German lesbian-feminist subculture; and a review of The World We Have Won by Jeffrey Weeks. From Curve, an interview with Sarah Schulman, author of Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences; and an interview with Julie Abraham, author of Metropolitan Lovers: The Homosexuality of Cities. From The Gay and Lesbian Review, a review of James Baldwin’s Turkish Decade: Erotics of Exile by Magdalena Zaborowska; an interview with Edmund White, author of City Boy (and more and more on White); get to know Bruno Vogel: A German soldier’s WWI novel was a herald of gayer tomorrows; and the last Englishman: E. M. Forster was also one of the last fully closeted writers (and more on Maurice). Dale Peck on how homosexuality is the key to E. M. Forster's personal life, but not to his work. From Hipster Book Club, is literature post-queer? Musings on the GLBT Genre. Like their straight counterparts, LGBT comics offer a wide range of world-views. The gay media jump the page: On-line sites now reign, but can they survive without hard copy? Penn will use admissions data about sexual orientation to recruit gay students — does that open the door for true diversity? A review of Heroes and Exiles: Gay Icons Through the Ages by Tom Ambrose. There goes the gayborhood: A straight man’s lament for the demise of gay neighborhoods. The Gay Option: Same-sex love is a choice — and it’s time LGBT activists start saying so.
From Judgment and Decision Making, Gideon Keren (Tilburg) and Karl H. Teigen (Oslo): Decisions by coin toss: Inappropriate but fair; Leah Borovoi and Nira Liberman (Tel Aviv) and Yaacov Trope (NYU): The effects of attractive but unattainable alternatives on the attractiveness of near and distant future menus; Yanlong Sun and Hongbin Wang (Texas): Gambler’s fallacy, hot hand belief, and the time of patterns; and Eli Tsukayama and Angela Lee Duckworth (Penn): Domain-specific temporal discounting and temptation. As he limbers up for the philosophers' football rematch, Julian Baggini analyses the existential importance of Monty Python's classic sketch. World War II's Operation Mincemeat was a dazzling feat of wartime espionage, but does it argue for or against spying? Malcolm Gladwell investigates. From The Economist, a special report on innovation in emerging markets. He who casts the first stone: For over a year, a small group of militant Christians calling themselves Repent Amarillo have terrorized Amarillo's underground swingers community. A review of The Arts of Industry in the Age of Enlightenment by Celina Fox. The Gray Zone: Barry Gewen on defining torture. "We need citizens without frontiers": An interview with Benjamin Barber. From Big Think, an interview with Louis Menand. Why the hell is Rupert Murdoch launching a "Greater New York" section in The Wall Street Journal? From In These Times, why do they want to do us harm? Helen Thomas asked the question, the White House stonewalled, here are answers (and part 2 and part 3). Kate Zambreno reviews The Illustrated Version of Things by Affinity Konar. John Mearsheimer on the future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. New Afrikaners. Aaron David Miller on the false religion of Mideast peace, and why he's no longer a believer.
A crisis in trans-Atlantic relations: Why Obama is ignoring Europe. A conference in Brussels was dominated by European efforts to get Washington’s attention with promises of new, concerted action. From its social model to its eco-policies, Europe has much to teach the US – but it must recognise that Obama cannot deliver what it hoped he would. Why the United States needs Europe more than ever. Suicide of the West: Will America follow Europe into anomie and atheism? America and Europe meet midway: There are many different Europes — what if America should converge on the wrong one? If the US Europeanizes, Europe is in trouble. US versus Europe, which has the superior model? Both flavors of Western capitalism — unfettered American-style and European social democracy — are in trouble. An excerpt from The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How Europe and America are Alike by Peter Baldwin (and more). John Kay on how political ideology found a new world. Which planet is America on (and which Europe)? Joel Kotkin on America's European dream. A report finds climbing the economic ladder is harder in the US than in most European countries. Steven Hill on his book Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age. Some are smiling at Europe's comeuppance, but schadenfreude would be unwarranted, especially coming from Americans. An interview with Jurgen Habermas on democracy, Europe and Twitter. Europe, know thyself: An article on social science solutions to the biggest problems. Is Europe imploding? Redrawing the map: The European map is outdated and illogical — here's how it should look (or perhaps as Marge Simpson). Having daughters makes you more left-wing (in Britain and Germany) or more right-wing (in the US).
Yochai Benkler (Harvard) and Aaron Shaw (UC-Berkley): A Tale of Two Blogospheres: Discursive Practices on the Left and Right (and more). Matthew Gentzkow and Jesse M. Shapiro (Chicago): Ideological Segregation Online and Offline. Epistemic closure: Political conservatives are quarreling over charges of closed-mindedness in the movement. It is hard to believe that a phrase as dry as “epistemic closure” could get anyone excited. The real problem with politics today is not the divide between left and right, he says, but the divide between those who are politically engaged and those who are not. The American Anti-Revolution: Revolutionary violence is as American as an apple pie we threw away. From TPM, Jillian Rayfield looks at crazy legislation from across the nation; and Crazy Arizona: How a state went from swinging in '08 to out on a limb in 2010. Ron Rosenbaum on the Tea Party's toxic take on history: Ignore it at your peril. Christopher Deis on 7 tricks teabaggers will use to conceal their extreme Right-wing beliefs. Please tread on us: Thomas Frank on how the tea partiers’ policies would empower Wall Street. Where are the tea party protests about Wall Street? Momentum, not numbers: Why the Tea Party has become a news obsession. The Bush Restoration Project: Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is on a mission to rehabilitate the former president's reputation. What kind of socialist is Barack Obama? Jonah Goldberg investigates. All the Obama 20-Somethings: What happens when a bunch of 20-somethings are picked to work in the Obama White House, to live together and to (more or less) have their lives taped? From Swans, Michael Barker on Mother Jones and the defence of liberal elites; and Michael Doliner on the collected stupidities of Alexander Cockburn and Christopher Hitchens.
A new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out. From Journal of Democracy, Nathan Glazer (Harvard): Democracy and Deep Divides; Charles Kurzman and Ijlal Naqvi (UNC):Do Muslims Vote Islamic?; and Lisa Anderson (AUC): The Ex-Presidents. The star who didn't care: Of all the movie stars created by the Hollywood studio system whose films continue to be viewed, Robert Mitchum is the one whose artistic legacy is most problematic. From The American Interest, C. Raja Mohan on the return of the Raj. From Time, a look at the 100 Most Influential People (and more on the world's least influential people). The new $100 bill is the most sophisticated attempt yet to combat forgery; since colonial times, the U.S. has engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with criminals eager to pass off brilliant fakes. A review of From Faith to Fun: The Secularisation of Humour by Russell Heddendorf. Matt Miller on Goldman Sachs and the revolt of the lower upper class. Matt Taibbi on the Feds vs. Goldman: The government's case against Goldman Sachs barely begins to target the depths of Wall Street's criminal sleaze. George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are long gone — Fox News Channel is Jon Stewart’s new enemy No. 1. Minority Report: Human Rights Watch fights a civil war over Israel. Attention Whole Foods Shoppers: Stop obsessing about arugula; your "sustainable" mantra — organic, local, and slow — is no recipe for saving the world's hungry millions. Oppressed Nannies: The State Department orders embassies to clean up their act. How to save newspapers: Print your own. From Red Pepper, an article on the future of the British Left: Red, green and republican? Joe McCulloch reviews The Color of Earth by Kim Dong Hwa. Art of the Author Interview: A conversation with Robert Birnbaum, editor of The Morning News.
When Wallace Stevens died, few of his insurance colleagues even knew he was a poet; Ryan Ruby revisits a man who proved that to be a great poet, no great experience is necessary. Here are confessions of a poet laureate by Charles Simic. Tim Griffin reviews Versed by Rae Armantrout, 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner (and an interview). Louis Bury on conceptual poetry: While skipping the following books (and instead merely contemplating their conceits) may be in the conceptual spirit, careful reading of each offers many distinctive pleasures. Is Elizabeth Bishop a Canadian poet? In almost any conversation on the topic of poetry reviews, one question comes up: what’s the point? Dead Poets' Society: Relationships among poets are about much more than anxiety. A review of Poetry in Person: Twenty-five Years of Conversation with America's Poets. Was Robert Frost a Modernist? Robert Pinsky investigates. The new math of poetry: The amount of published poetry is growing rapidly, but masterpieces may be getting lost in the jungle of verse. Despite the fact that spring is springing, poetry and April have an ambivalent relationship. An interview with Sanford Budick, author of Kant and Milton. David Womersley on why Carol Ann Duffy is overrated and Eric Ormsby on why Geoffrey Hill is underrated. Joyce Carol Oates reviews The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn. Brian Spears on the idea that the poet is always the best person to perform the work. A review of American Experimental Poetry and Democratic Thought by Alan Marshall. Can the toughest bacterium in the world learn how to write poetry? A review of Seamus Heaney and Medieval Poetry by Conor McCarthy. How to overcome poetry phobia: A rehabilitation plan for those averse to verse. Poetry keeping flame alive despite the dark.
Amartya Sen (Harvard): Adam Smith and the contemporary world (and more at New Statesman). From The American Scholar, William Deresiewicz on Solitude and Leadership: If you want others to follow, learn to be alone with your thoughts. A review of Not For Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities by Martha Nussbaum. Neanderthals may have interbred with humans: Genetic data points to ancient liaisons between species. Jeff Weintraub on how cynical inside-dopesterism masquerades as political journalism. The perils of meeting your favourite writers: You've been tremendously intimate with them long before you first say hello — this is a recipe for a disturbing experience. A review of Democracy Kills: What's So Good About the Vote? by Humphrey Hawksley. New Digital Tools: Readability and Evernote are two applications will make the time you spend online more efficient; Scott McLemee catches up with the pace of innovation. No one knows how to prevent the next crisis, but a bank tax is akin to an insurance policy for Wall Street. Andrew Bacevich reviews Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch by Eric Miller. Anthony Juluis on human rights as the new secular religion: The collapse of the socialist project means the new militant is not the party sectarian but the NGO activist. The pirates of Somalia aren't just after cargo anymore — they're targeting tourists, far from home. A review of American Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain by Roberto J. Gonzalez. Matthew Shaer reviews Floodmarkers by Nic Brown. From Life Extension, an interview with Sanjay Gupta on Cheating Death (and more; and a profile of Gupta at Emory Magazine). The U of Chicago Press offers Mark Monmonier's No Dig, No Fly, No Go: How Maps Restrict and Control as a free download.
From TED, Stephen Wolfram on computing a theory of everything; and Kevin Kelly muses on what technology means in our lives — from its impact at the personal level to its place in the cosmos. Geek Power: Steven Levy revisits tech titans, hackers, idealists. From n+1, an article on the Internet as Social Movement: A brief history of webism. From Fibreculture, a special issue on Web 2.0: Before, during and after the event. The internet’s power to take down tyranny lies beyond Twitter; Jon Evans on the high-tech programs every despot should fear. Authoritarianism vs. the Internet: Daniel Calingaert on the race between freedom and repression. They told us the Internet would usher in a new era of freedom, political activism, and perpetual peace — they were wrong. The Internet’s Last Hope: How the Federal Communications Commission can save the world (wide web). An excerpt from Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet by Joseph Menn. The world's most ingenious thief: With his encyclopedic knowledge of surveillance and electronics, Gerald Blanchard could hack any bank, swipe any jewel — there was no security system the career criminal couldn't beat. What is the Internet if not a clearinghouse for all manner of off-topic, anal-related comments? Backstage with the Wikipedians: The inner workings of the global encyclopedia are "better than a soap opera". When Twitter attacks celebrities: Jim Carrey, Aimee Mann and other famous tweeters finally learn what we all know — the Internet's a bitch, and pretty much as mean as all of us. I'm quitting the Internet — will I be liberated or left behind? On the Web, it seems I can live virtually forever — that won’t get old, will it? Clive Thompson reviews You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier.
From Relevant, is there a church mutiny afoot? Here are excerpts from Saints For Dummies by John Trigilio and Kenneth Brighenti. From Discerning Reader, a review of Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson; and a review of A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith by Brian McLaren (and more). The perverse core of Christianity: Carl Packman argues that Zizek’s theological atheism beats the crudities of “Ditchkins”. Orthodox paradox: An interview with John Milbank, co-author (with Slavoj Zizek) of The Monstrosity of Christ (and more). An interview with Jonathan Merritt, author of Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for our Planet. A review of Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life by R.C. Sproul. From Geez, a debate on the new monasticism, also known as ordinary life in the neighbourhood. A review of Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary by Miri Rubin. A review of Discovering Mary by David Mills. If Mass is boring: An interview with Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of Opus Dei. A review of Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden and The Hidden Power of the Gospels by Alexander J. Shaia. From EvilBible.com, a look at the top ten signs you're a fundamentalist Christian. From Inside Catholic, Rev. Dwight Longenecker writes in praise of patriarchy. The Jesus We'll Never Know: Why scholarly attempts to discover the "real" Jesus have failed — and why that's a good thing. A review of Jesus: A Biography From a Believer by Paul Johnson. Christianity and advertising: Donald Miller looks at what the world of advertising might say about our faith. A review of In Harm’s Way: A History of Christian Peacemaker Teams by Kathleen Kern.