From New Humanist, the 21st century has seen the world rocked by a variety of religious challenges to the secular state; obsessing about culture traps people in their own history, argues Kenan Malik; Trevor Griffiths discovers the true revolutionary spirit of Tom Paine; and from 19th century anti-suffragists to today’s anti-feminists, there's a common link between women who turn against themselves. All things must pass: In a country of transients, what becomes of everything we leave behind? From Truthdig, an article on AIDS and the myth of the oversexed Negro. Here's a list of 5 sex experts who made the world a worse place (to do it). An article on vengeance, calculating the economics of an eye for an eye. From Wired, the documentary "Nerdcore For Life" examines the good, bad and geeky; and Hollywood has finally figured out how to make Web video pay. Who needs the tech IPO? Open source and Facebook have completely changed the economics of Web startups. The rise of digital and conceptual art, and a declining interest in traditional craft skills, is forcing art departments to reinvent themselves. Many of Heraclitus’ maxims may seem like platitudes, simply because they are so well known. More on John Burrow's A History of Histories. Mark Bauerlein on how Theory damaged the Humanities. Phil Hogan finds out what the truth is behind memory loss and if you can avoid it.

From Salon, Glenn Greenwald on vital unresolved anthrax questions and ABC News; and fear and loafing in the Green Zone: Welcome to Baghdad's post-decadent stronghold: Menacing Peruvian mercenaries, Chinese prostitutes, concealed beer and doughnuts — and Iraqis eyeing a foreboding future. More and more on The Dark Side by Jane Meyer. Paul Bloomfield on Iraq: Beyond what's best for us. From The Nation, an article on Rachel Maddow's life and career. Financier and Democratic moneyman Steve Rattner seems to have it all — looks can be deceiving. An excerpt from You Don't Know Me: A Citizen's Guide to Republican Family Values by Win McCormack. McCain's favorite name? A visual guide to the official campaign blogs. From Guernica, an interview with Luc Sante. When lit-crit mattered: A review of Praising It New. The roll call of famous gout sufferers is long and distinguished; it includes Ben Franklin, Henry James and Karl Marx. With his books on the history of books, Nicholas Basbanes has become the foremost chronicler of bibliomania. A review of Reading the OED: One Man, One Year, 21,730 Pages by Ammon Shea. How magicians control your mind: Magic isn't just a bag of tricks —  it's a finely-tuned technology for shaping what we see, and now researchers are extracting its lessons. From The New York Times, the Yuppie scum weigh in, 20 years later.

From Reason, an article on the unfortunate case of Herbert Spencer: How a libertarian individualist was recast as a social Darwinist. A review of Herbert Spencer and the Invention of Modern Life by Mark Francis. An article on the myth of the toss-up election. From Scientific American, sleep on it: How snoozing makes you smarter; and making decisions tires your brain: The brain is like a muscle — when it gets depleted, it becomes less effective. If you set aside the incomparable cruelty and stupidity of human beings, surely our most persistent and irrational activity is to sleep. A review of Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton. From Intelligent Life, for the first time, the most interesting architect is a woman, Zaha Hadid (and a look at what she's up against). From Edge, Mark Pesce on hyperpolitics, American style. Independence fray: Does Vermont have what it takes to go it alone? Paul Wolfowitz reviews The Return of History and the End of Dreams by Robert Kagan. Peter Steinfels on uncertainties about the role of doubt in religion. A look at why Islam is unfunny for a cartoonist. Seven years into the war against al Qa’eda, Fawaz Gerges finds the experts deeply divided on the shape and strength of the enemy. Restrictions on foreigners cause a greater loss of wages than racial and sexual discrimination – perhaps greater even than slavery.

From Adbusters, an essay on The Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization. From H-Net, from Albion to Austin Powers: A review of Brit-Myth: Who Do the British Think They Are by Chris Rojek; and a review of Equality and the British Left: A Study in Progressive Political Thought, 1900-64 by Ben Jackson. A review of Kafka Comes to America: Fighting for Justice in the War on Terror by Steven T. Wax. From The Hill, here's the latest 50 Most Beautiful People list. The burden of knowing too much history: If, as a westerner, you are going to visit Africa, the earlier in your life you do it, the better. From Smithsonian, an interview with Laurie Anderson. From ScribeMedia, a look at The Future of the Book. The Outsider Artist: Assessing Kay Ryan, our new poet laureate. A review of My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates (and more). The system is busted, and now many people are experimenting with alternatives: Roberto Mangabeira Unger has long been one of those on the cutting edge of fundamental reform. A review of Iron Fists: Branding the 20th-Century Totalitarian State by Steven Heller. A review of Txting: The Gr8 Db8 by David Crystal (and more). From The Happiness Project, an interview with Tyler Cowen. From The American Scholar, the daily miracle: Life with the mavericks and oddballs at the Herald Tribune.

From Prospect, the received wisdom is that President Bush has been a foreign policy disaster, and that America is threatened by the rise of Asia — both claims are wrong; and a profile of Arianna Huffington: By revolutionising news, might she also be in danger of destroying it? From The New Yorker, a review of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson by Brenda Wineapple (and more). Malwebolence: Inside the world of online trolls, who use the Internet to harass, humiliate and torment strangers. John Locke as "authoritarian": Here's Leo Strauss' review of Two Tracts on Government. From The Economist, the comedy of the commons: Why it still pays to study medieval English landholding and Sahelian nomadism; and do economists need brains? A new school of economists is controversially turning to neuroscience to improve the dismal science. In defense of casual sex: A new raft of chastity books laments a hookup culture that is hurting young women. Jessica Crispin on what we can learn from 1940s sex-ed classes. Marriage, a history: Long ago, love was a silly reason for a match — how marriage has changed over history. A review of I Don’t: A Contrarian History of Marriage by Susan Squire. Research find men who marry a child's mother parent just as well, if not better than biological fathers.

From Scientific American, between a rock and a hard place: When we are in a pinch, surprising factors can affect our moral judgments. An article on the Antikythera Mechanism: Discovering how Greeks computed in 100 BC (and more). From Miller-McCune, meet the next business guru: Aristotle. From The New Yorker, Jonah Lehrer on The Eureka Hunt: Why do good ideas come to us when they do? The Traffic Guru: An unassuming Dutch traffic engineer showed that streets without signs can be safer than roads cluttered with arrows, painted lines, and lights — are we ready to believe him? An interview with Tom Vanderbilt, author of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us) (and an excerpt). The government is spending $1 trillion a year to get you to drive more. When the world's best chefs want something that defies the laws of physics, they come to one man: Dave Arnold, the DIY guru of high-tech cooking. Eggs, egos and economics: Gary Day chews over our fascination with foul-mouthed chefs and diet pedants and wonders if their ubiquitous TV presence is a symbol of social harmony. An interview with Chris Fair, author of Cuisines of the Axis of Evil and Other Irritating States: A Dinner Party Approach to International Relations. A review of Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately (and a review of Kinsley Amis' How's Your Glass at Bookforum).

Three years ago, an undercover agent in Maryland spied on activists — Scott McLemee finds her description in a sociologist’s article from 1974. Mother Jones unmasks a gun lobby mole, Mary McFate. From The Liberal, as an authority against authoritarianism, liberalism is undergoing a renaissance in Iran, and reflecting back to the West its radical roots, argues Danny Postel. Is killing liberals a hate crime? Only in a few states. A review of Aubrey de Grey’s Ending Aging. Wrapping up a year-long overhaul, Christopher Hitchens gets his locks freshly sculpted. A review of The Same Man: George Orwell & Evelyn Waugh in Love and War by David Lebedoff. The New York Times goes inside Professor Obama’s classroom, where teaching law and testing ideas, Obama stood slightly apart; and Obama takes his own law exams: How did he do? A review of Obamanomics by John R. Talbott. Clinton, Gore, Kerry, Obama, all flip-floppers! Why the GOP narrative always works. Jack Shafer on why nothing the press throws at Obama sticks. For years, Republicans have out-played Democrats, particularly on media strategy; this year Democrats have the upper hand. Can progressives can make issues like economic justice and cultural diversity sound like traditional American values? From Intercollegiate Review, an article on conservative critics of modernity: Can they turn back the clock?

From TNR, a look at the demographic inversion that's caused the American city to become the suburbs. An article on demographics and political destiny. From Mental Floss, Linda Rodriguez on our scandalous vice presidents. Johann Hari on the hard cash that wins the vice presidency. Web sites such as MySpace and Eventful are branching out to appeal to a new and quickly expanding constituency: political supporters. Bachelor party: Should great men of genius stay single? They were once just casual acquaintances, now they're our wanna-be best buds — so who calls the shots when it comes to you and your favorite brand? Here's the story of Spencer Elden, the little baby floating towards a dollar bill on the cover of Nirvana's 1991 album, Nevermind. From The New York Review of Magazines, a review of Missbehave, a review of Uptown, a review of Mortuary Management, a review of Giant, a review of Jane's Defence Weekly, a review of Maisonneuve, and a review of Plenty. From The Independent, how Vice magazine became the new teen bible. A look at what mainstream publishers don't want you to know about door-to-door magazine sales. From Scientific American, an article on using causality to solve the puzzle of quantum spacetime; and using faith to explain anomalies in physics: Can emergence break the spell of reductionism and put spirituality back into nature?

From n+1, Salvador Allende may have won the symbolic battle, but it is the disgraced and disowned Pinochet who is winning the war. The introduction to Democratizing the Enemy: The Japanese American Internment by Brian Masaru Hayashi. The introduction to World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy by Stephen G. Brooks and William C. Wohlforth. Why do nations and peoples exist, and why do particular nations exist in particular forms? Spengler investigates. The introduction to Innovation and Inequality: How Does Technical Progress Affect Workers? by Gilles Saint-Paul. From Truthdig, an interview with Ray Bradbury on literature and love. Darwin to the Rescue: A group of scholars thinks evolutionary science can reinvigorate literary studies. Moral and political dilemmas: An interview with Ronald Harwood on musical life in Nazi Germany. Arena rock's final chord: Are the days of arena rock coming to an end? The afterlife of American clothes: Haitian entrepreneurs find value in our castoffs. Building The Matrix: Simulating the complexity of quantum physics would quickly overwhelm even the most advanced of today’s computers; and could the vacuum contain dark energy, gravity particles, and frictionless gears? From Mclean's, barenaked mess: The fight, the girlfriend, the coke bust — what happened to Canada's most lovable pop star?

From Salon, is time to hold conservative Blue Dogs accountable, or should Democrats wait till George Bush is history, and then decide? Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith on why we can't let the Bush Administration off the hook.  Taking Liberalties: Why the "most liberal" rankings are a crock. A review of Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 by Sarah Lacy. Clay Shirky's Here Comes Everybody is reputed to be the best book ever written on Web 2.0, but why the strange silence on questions of copyright, privacy and ownership? The popular computer game The Sims features sprawling tract homes, rabid consumerism and bickering families — how did creator Will Wright get it so right? An interview with Doris Lessing (and more from Bookforum). From Dissent, Shlomo Avineri on the travails of democratization after Communism; a review of From a Cause to a Style: Modernist Architecture’s Encounter with the American City by Nathan Glazer; and an article on Olympic boycotts: always tricky. From Foreign Policy, here are 5 ways Beijing will be the biggest, baddest Olympics ever. The eternal games: Simon Kuper on five books about the Olympics. Is Europe ready to renew the trans-Atlantic alliance? Anne Applebaum wants to know. A review of Apocalypse: Earthquakes, Archaeology and the Wrath of God by Amos Nur.