From the latest issue of Revue d’etudes benthamiennes, Emilie Dardenne (Rennes II): From Jeremy Bentham to Peter Singer (and a response by Singer). From Conversations with History, an interview with Richard J. Goldstone (February 17, 2011) on the role of law in transitions to democracy, in the prosecution of war crimes, and in the enforcement of the rules of war in the post 9-11 environment. The Immortal Bonk: Charles Schulz's classic Peanuts may have had its low years, but it will always be iconic. Financiers switch to GOP: Hedge-fund titans who backed Democrats open their wallets for Republicans. James V. Schall, S.J. on what knowledge pertains to. From Z Magazine, Jack Rasmus on how to create 15 million jobs: Suggestions for a way out of the current economic swamp. The "I'm-happy-I'm-green" consensus won't placate our lust for novelty: A critique of consumer culture must answer both the human itch for excited engagement and the call of the damaged Earth. What if it's 1996, not 1999? The question isn't if we're in a bubble — it's where we're at in the bubble. The self-determination delusion: A Dutch action group for free will wants to give all people the right to assisted suicide — but can this be achieved without us ending up somewhere we never wanted to go? Don't Mess With Taxes: Sorry, Tea Partiers — taxation isn't the source of America's ills, and your income has more to do with dumb luck than hard work. A review of Groups in Conflict: Equality Versus Community by Donald Franklin. A look at the top 20 conspiracy theories that have already sprung up around President Obama’s birth certificate. The shocking truth about the birthplace of Obama’s policies: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican from the early 1990s.

Helga Vanda Koczogh and Balint Peter Furko (Debrecen): Gender Differences in the Use of the Discourse Markers You Know and I Mean: "It's just like, dude, seriously, it's been a bad week, I mean, kind of thing." The world's 6,000 or so modern languages may have all descended from a single ancestral tongue spoken by early African humans between 50,000 and 70,000 years ago (and more and more). Research suggests language seems to have evolved along varied, complicated paths, guided less by neurological settings than cultural circumstance (and more). Longtime English teacher Patricia Ryan asks a provocative question: Is the world's focus on English preventing the spread of great ideas in other languages? The takeaway language of slang: The sheer linguistic inventiveness and indestructible quality of slang can keep some of its terms in use for centuries. Paul Collins on sh*t-faced: a brief history of the word. The devil strip: Jan Freeman on learning to love regionalisms. Question? Answered: Erin McKeanon the growing world of online language advice. Marquee languages definitely serve their purposes, but when you learn a minority language, like Romansh or Sioux, you become a member of a select group. A review of You Are What You Speak: Grammar Grouches, Language Laws, and the Politics of Identity by Robert Lane Greene. What is a language? When easy questions demand tough answers. I [heart] the OED: Is the Oxford English Dictionary stooping? A review of The Pun Also Rises: How the Humble Pun Revolutionized Language, Changed History, and Made Wordplay More Than Some Antics by John Pollack (and more). Lose the hyphen: Little changes can set people off. A review of Do you speak Swiss? Decode: Do this puzzle and revive a lost language. A look at 6 mistranslations that changed the world.

The meaning of human spaceflight: 20 essays on its 50th anniversary. The team overseeing the satellite observatory Kepler is unveiling a list of 400 stars that are the best bets for harboring planets that could be the most Earth-like worlds discovered. Is the Earth's sixth mass extinction almost here? Something new under the Sun: Scientists are probing deep beneath the surface of our nearest star to calculate its profound effect on Earth. A review of Voyages of Discovery: The Missions of the Space Shuttle Discovery by Robert A. Adamcik. A review of Chasing the Sun: The Epic Story of the Star That Gives Us Life by Richard Cohen. Exoplanets cast doubt on astronomical theories: Planets in other solar systems are set to change ideas on how worlds form. How's this for an astronomical estimate? There are at least 50 billion exoplanets in our galaxy. The more new planets we find, the less we seem to know about how planetary systems are born. Two separate quests, one to discover habitable worlds, the other to synthesize artificial organisms, now unite to redefine life and its place in the universe. Extremophiles: Clara Moskowitz on the world's weirdest life. A team of scientists is re-engineering cells to create a mirror image of life on Earth. From white dwarfs to dark matter clouds, the universe may have many homes for habitable planets. An interview with East German cosmonaut Sigmund Jahn: "Capitalism now reigns in space". Infoporn: Here is an exoplanet atlas. Forget space travel, it's just a dream: The clash of two titans — physics and chemistry — are major barriers to human space travel to Mars and beyond, and may well make it impossible, at least with existing technologies. A review of Moon: A Brief History by Bernd Brunner. Some time this year, Nasa’s Space Shuttle will touch down for the last time; bereft of their jobs and their mission, what will happen to the people of Florida’s Space Coast?

Katie R. Eyer (Penn): That's Not Discrimination: American Beliefs and the Limits of Anti-Discrimination Law. Martin E. Gold and Lynne B. Sagalyn (Columbia): The Use and Abuse of Blight in Eminent Domain. From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on the oil-price panic; and who is responsible for fixing Medicare? From NYRB, Elizabeth Drew on Obama and the House Radicals; and Nicholson Baker on how we don’t know the language we don’t know. The Iowa Caucus Kingmaker: Bob Vander Plaats offers GOP candidates a choice — join his crusade against gay marriage or lose the primary. Want to play Sherlock Holmes? For over a decade now, the FBI hasn't been able to crack a code found on a murdered man — which may be the key to finding out what really happened to him. Money Talks: The Supreme Court looks set to hand the GOP another victory. A review of The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations that Transform the World by David Deutsch. Peruvians are bracing themselves for one of the most divisive presidential campaigns in recent history, with nationalist Ollanta Humala set to face off against right-wing Keiko Fujimori on June 5 (and more). A look at 6 studies that prove Reality TV is causing the Apocalypse. Linton Weeks on the rampant rise of Ayn Rand-O-Mania. Could video games develop some skills that can solve real-world problems? Probably not. As the US tries to ride high tech out of recession, does it risk innovating its workforce out of jobs? What they really mean by "American exceptionalism": Obama's cosmopolitan bearing and generous spirit are being translated as subversive of a "real" American character. A review of Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate by Johannes Goransson.

From Common-place, a special issue on American food in the age of experiment, including an introduction by David Shields; and what does barbecue tell us about race? A review of Savage Barbecue: Race, Culture, and the Invention of America's First Food by Andrew Warne. A review of Morality's Muddy Waters: Ethical Quandaries in Modern America by George Cotkin. Here’s a timeline of the birth of and battle for one of the country’s weirdest little plots of land. Deep in the Cumberland Plateau, mysterious drawings, thousands of years old, offer a glimpse of lost Native American cultures and traditions. Are American museums forgetting the rest of the world? An interview with Richard Pells, author of Modernist America: Art, Movies, and the Globalization of American Culture. A review of Envisioning the Nation: The Early American World’s Fairs and the Formation of Culture by Astrid Boger. A review of A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell. A review of The Passport in America: The History of a Document by Craig Robertson. Mark Vanhoenacker on the superiority of American domestic appliances. The Boy in the Box: Mark Pulham on America’s unknown child. Civil war lit: How the War between the States changed American literature. How Longfellow woke the dead: When first published 150 years ago, his famous poem about Paul Revere was read as a bold statement of his opposition to slavery. A review of American Political Cartoons, 1754-2010: The Evolution of a National Identity by Stephen Hess and Sandy Northrop. A review of When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America by David Nye. Our first public parks: Rebecca Greenfield on the forgotten history of cemeteries. The Problem With Question 36: Why are so many of the answers on the U.S. citizenship test wrong? A look at 6 presidential secrets your history teacher didn't mention. National Porcineographic: Here is a portrait of America as a young hog.

Tim Engartner (Duisburg-Essen): Less Government is Good Government? Deregulation as an Undermining Principle of Financial Markets. Eric J. Pan (Yeshiva): Understanding Financial Regulation. Renee B. Adams (Queensland): Who Directs the Fed? Ruth Mason (Conn): Federalism and the Taxing Power. Taxes should probably rise for everyone, but they should rise the most for the rich. Why is it so hard to raise taxes on the rich? As budget solutions go, almost nothing polls better than asking the wealthiest to pay more. Yes, 47% of households owe no taxes — but look closer. Stop this race to the bottom on corporate tax: Globalization compels governments to compete for dwindling corporate tax dollars. What actually happens if the US hits the federal debt ceiling? Treasury would surely step in — but colossal problems would still be sure to follow. The Great Global Freakout of 2011: Imagining the worst-case scenario if the United States even comes close to defaulting on its debt. Budget Battle: 20 big thinkers suggest ideas to fix the broken US government. Ezra Klein on the House Progressive Budget. An interview with Eliot Spitzer, author of Government’s Place in the Market. A book salon on Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite by Bruce Levine. From Mother Jones, what Wisconsin is really about: How screwing unions screws the entire middle class; an article on Michael Dell and the making of an American oligarch: How a homegrown geek outsourced, downsized, and tax-breaked his way to the top; and America's captains of industry, poverty baron edition: How to get very rich off the backs of the working poor. Didn’t they notice? David Runciman reviews Winner-Take-All Politics by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson.

A special issue of Homeland Security Affairs is out. The sex drive, idling in neutral: For some women and men, the biological imperative for sex has receded, and is now a distant memory. The essay is the medium of choice for novelists seeking a rapid response to the world around them — a neutral platform where race, class, politics and mortality are examined. Fertilizing farms with tax dollars: Steve Chapman on the case against farm welfare. Tom Streithorst on why Libya changed his mind: "I have never been a fan of 'liberal interventionism', but a month in Tripoli made me think again. What is needed now are UN boots on the ground". A review of SuperCooperators: Altruism, Evolution, and Why We Need Each Other to Succeed by Martin Nowaka and Roger Highfield. A review of Nuns Behaving Badly: Tales of Music, Magic, Art and Arson in the Convents of Italy by Craig A. Monson. A review of Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer) by Duncan Watts (and more). Get rid of pensions altogether: Some states, like Wisconsin, are asking state employees to contribute more to their pension plans, but others are just scrapping them. America's Saudi air war: A plan to train Saudi air force pilots in Idaho is turning former allies into bitter enemies. From TED, Ralph Langner on cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century cyber weapon. An act for a new global morality: Onward, the new book by Starbucks’ chairman, reminds you why upper management is always a drag. A review of One Nation Under Surveillance: A New Social Contract to Defend Freedom Without Sacrificing Liberty by Simon Chesterman. Does Alcoholics Anonymous work? Martin Amis on Christopher Hitchens: "He's one of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen".

From Hope's Reason: A Journal of Apologetics, Tawa J. Anderson (SBTS): The Myth of Metaphorical Resurrection. A review of Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy by Charles E. Hill. How should we understand biblical texts where God is depicted as acting irrationally, violently, or destructively? A review of Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God by Eric A. Seibert. How can anyone worship a god who sets up fallible humans to be forever tormented in hell? From Secular News Daily, how could anything with a title as unsexy as Essays and Reviews be so controversial as to flatten, at least metaphorically, a Gothic cathedral? An interview with Robert Royal, author of The God That Did Not Fail: How Religion Created and Shaped the West. Unbeliever Christopher Hitchens argues that our language and culture are incomplete without a 400-year-old book, the King James translation of the Bible — spurned by the Establishment, it really represents a triumph for rebellion and dissent (and more). The Bible is dead, long live the Bible: Timothy Beal says it's time to think of the Bible not as a book of answers but as a library of questions. Were the Ten Commandments meant for everyone? From Religion Dispatches, what happens if the Bible is the "Owner's Manual for Life"? Adding to the Bible: If you could add one passage or parable to the New Testament, what would it be? A review of The Future of Christian Theology by David F. Ford. Jesus Christ may be the most famous man who ever lived, but how do we know he did? Michael Ruse on Koran burning and the sexual orientation of Jesus Christ. Evangelicals don’t look anything like Jesus: Evangelicals can learn a thing or two from their svelte prophet. From Relevant, has Church gone corporate? A look at the branding of the Body; and have Christians gotten evangelism wrong?

Manuela Consito (Turin): The Organisation of Social Services in the European Welfare Market. Damjan Kukovec (Harvard): Myths of Social Europe. Can the eurozone be saved? Further European financial and political integration would be incredibly difficult to achieve, but it may be the only way to make the EU viable in the long run. An excerpt from The End of the West: The Once and Future Europe by David Marquand. From FT, a review essay on Italy (and more). After Silvio Berlusconi, Nichi Vendola: Can an openly left-wing, openly gay politician from the South revive an Italy in deep malaise? Strange Geographies: Here are some quick facts about the Netherlands. Atlas Obscura visits Skellig Michael, a perfectly preserved ancient monastery in an impossibly dramatic location on a rocky island in the Atlantic, and Las Medulas, a devastated landscape used for hundreds of years by the Romans as their primary mining site. Javier Marias on Barcelona, the most conceited of cities. Valencia is burning: Each spring, Spanish artists construct masterpieces — and then set them ablaze at the party of the year. Sex-abuse scandals involving priests have shaken Ireland but is that enough to break the grip of the Catholic Church? There is little sign of an artistic response to Ireland's crash. A review of Belgium and the Monarchy by Herman Van Goethem. Finland's underground city: Helsinki is fighting congestion by building down instead of out. Germany's bomb problem: Outside Berlin, a building boom hits a snag — unexploded ordnance. Joe Queenan says the French are now Monsieur Nice Guy. The murderer of the Princess of Cleves: Language is one area of culture that Nicolas Sarkozy can't dominate, so he mangles it with a calculated barbarity.

Anders Walker (SLU): A Horrible Fascination: Sex, Segregation and the Lost Politics of Obscenity. From Room for Debate, a series on Barack Obama and the psychology of the "birther" myth. The Huffington Pose: Using the seductive and tantalizing tricks of a modern-day courtesan, the new media mogul puts a brave new world under her spell. From the Atlas Society, David Kelley previews and reviews the Atlas Shrugged movie (and an interview), an interview with screenwriter Brian Patrick O'Toole, and an interview with executive producer John Aglialoro. Rebels with a cause: Zachariah Mampilly on the history of rebel governance, from the US Civil War to Libya. Is the dominance of the dollar bad for America? Harold Bloom by the numbers: The prolific Yale professor's literary passion "comes soaked in so much bile" toward those who love literature differently. Linda Holmes on the sad, beautiful fact that we're all going to miss almost everything. Working best at coffee shops: Why are many telecommuters most efficient in noisy public places with lots of distractions? From Out, with his provocative columns and scathing political commentary, journalist Glenn Greenwald has never shied away from controversy. "Glenn Beck threw me under the bus": An interview with Andrew Breitbart. Eric Michael Johnson on the allure of gay cavemen: Third genders, two spirits, and a media without a clue. Ruben Vives, former illegal immigrant, wins Pulitzer Prize: What a wonderful "chinga tu madre" at the Know Nothings of the world who insist illegals can't make anything of themselves in this country. The Joy of Not Cooking: High-end retailers are counting on us to spend more money on our kitchens — even as we spend less time in them. Brink Lindsey on why entrepreneurial capitalism is needed now more than ever.