From TNR, here's what you need to know about the Georgia crisis (and more). Fred Kaplan on the Bush administration's feckless response to the Russian invasion of Georgia. The United States of cheap beer: Salon brings you an incomplete, biased guide to this great piss-beer nation (and more on PBR). Wikipedians meet in Alexandria for its largest gathering ever in meatspace; James Gleick discusses its vast and growing army of ever-clashing editors. Word War III: How a 17-year-old negotiated an Iranian truce (on Wikipedia). Why do we have such a hard time hearing good news from Baghdad? Christopher Hitchens wants to know. The world's biggest boondoggles: A look at some infamous public works projects and what went wrong. A review of Fleeced by Dick Morris and Eileen McGann. Sex and the semicolon: An article on the punctuation mark that makes men tremble. Here are surprising insights from the social sciences. In contrast to the right, Joseph Stiglitz says, the left has a coherent agenda, and it’s one that offers not only higher growth, but also social justice. From Scientific American, a special section on the science of Star Wars. Heather Mac Donald on the NYPD diaspora: Former New York cops bring cutting-edge, effective policing to beleaguered communities. The death of planned obsolescence: Why today's gadgets keep getting better (at least until the battery dies).
From New York, Black & Blacker: A look at the racial politics of the Obama marriage; an article on the well-meaning origins of our national stalemate on race; and why isn't Obama doing better in the polls? The answer no one wants to hear. An article on how Obama won the nomination, and an interactive timeline on the lives of Barack Obama. From Slate, ads we hate: The most annoying commercials in the universe. Competitive poetry might seem like an oxymoron, but this cathartic, performative form has a wide following. Why did Neanderthal man become extinct — was it interbreeding with humans, or did our ancestors wipe them out? From The Monkey Cage, a review of "Sovereignty and the UFO" by Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall (and a response and a reply). From Esquire, here's John Yoo in his own words. A review of Habits of Empire: A History of American Expansion by Walter Nugent (and more and more). From New Statesman, PR scum are human, too: A review of The Fame Formula: How Hollywood's Fixers, Fakers and Star Makers Created the Celebrity Industry by Mark Borkowski; and a review of books on capitalism's woes. One great brain v many small ones: Doughty free-marketeer Milton Friedman sparks controversy from the grave. Economists predict whether China will win the most Olympic medals.
From FP, are you tough enough for Hamas boot camp? From TNR, Jack Goldsmith reviews Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice by Eric Lichtblau; and a review of Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says about Us) by Tom Vanderbilt (and more and more). A new state of mind: New research is linking dopamine to complex social phenomena and changing neuroscience in the process. Raising Bob Costas: Is memorizing sports trivia good for the brain? Rapping about CERN and bike racks: Two really nerdy instructional rap songs hit the Internets — is this the future of education? A review of So I Have Thought Of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald. Most authors have no control over their book covers, but some writers not only get to accept or reject designs, but also choose the designer. Is an unmade bed art? It's art to the person who thinks it expresses their life. A tall, cool drink of sewage: In the world’s driest places, the future of drinking water may flow from a wastewater-recycling plant. Stalin’s mass killings are often viewed as the acts of a deranged dictator, but violence may have been the Soviet leader’s rational attempt to avoid losing power in a revolution. Philip Sedgwick follows the horoscopes of McCain and Obama. Paul Roberts on the four barriers to the genetically-modified food revolution and why no one is talking about them.
From Policy Review, professor, do your job: Stanley Fish on why the classroom is not your political platform; an essay on conservative internationalism: Jefferson to Polk to Truman to Reagan; and a review of Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders by Jason Riley. Tear down the walls: Europe's war against immigration is immoral and unwinnable — it's time for a radical rethink. From The Independent Magazine, a cover story on the population paradox and Europe's time bomb. A review of The Dominant Animal: Human Evolution and the Environment by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich (and an excerpt on overpopulation). Know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple answers to every problem — has become the core of Republican policy. Is "Obama Fatigue" for real, and is it a danger to the candidate? Who framed George Lakoff? A noted linguist reflects on his tumultuous foray into politics. A review of Ahead of the Curve: Two Years at Harvard Business School by Philip Delves Broughton (and more). Why are economic forecasters so wrong, so often? Tim Harford investigates. Forget the Booker of Bookers: The quest to find the oddest book title of the past 30 years has begun. My Beautiful London: Why the novelist and screenwriter Hanif Kureishi is still in love with Britain’s pansexual, multicultural metropolis. An interview Bill Maher on "Religulous".
From the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, rich state, poor state, red state, blue state: What’s the matter with Connecticut? An interview with Thomas Frank, author of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule. Extreme appeal: A study finds voters trust extreme positions more than moderate ones. A special issue of The New York Times' "Play" is out, on the Olympics. Speed glue, robots and more: Learn why ping pong truly is the sport of champions. Taunting the Bear: Russia and Georgia were going to erupt — it was really just a question of when (offering a disturbing taste of what to expect from John McCain as Commander in Chief). Individual voices are brave, but Russia’s intelligentsia, which could be much freer than in the bad old days, is still mealy-mouthed. A review of Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid (and more and more and more). Dear World, writes Naomi Wolf, please confront America. A look at how the Internet is ruining America's movies and music. If fiction cannot cope with 9/11, the biggest event of our lifetimes, then its long-prophesied death is surely at hand. Videogames are becoming ever more realistic, lending a moral ambiguity to battle scenes and law enforcement — so why aren't they commenting on real-life situations yet?
Bryan D. Watson (USAF): A Look Down the Slippery Slope: Domestic Operations, Outsourcing, and the Erosion of Military Culture. From American Arts Quarterly, Robert Proctor on The Fine and the Liberal Arts: A Vision for the Future; and Frederick Turner on Abundance and the Human Imagination. From FT, a review of books on a divisive climate of disillusionment which is casting doubt on the future of the American Dream. From Against the Current, a review of Age Shock: How Finance is Failing Us by Robin Blackburn. From Air & Space, where the sun does shine: Will space solar power ever be practical? From Alternet, an interview with Dian Hanson, editor of The Big Penis Book, on art, censorship, and the mainstreaming of pornography. More on Marc Bousquet’s How the University Works. A review of Partial Faiths: Postsecular Fiction in the Age of Pynchon and Morrison by John McClure. From Colloquy, a special issue on utopia. Turning back the hands of time: An interview with Aubrey de Grey. A look at how fairness is wired in the brain. From Psychology Today, a sense of authenticity is one of our deepest psychological needs, and people are more hungry for it than ever — even so, being true to oneself is not for the faint of heart (and more and more). What shapes our character? The Victorian belief that good character can be manufactured is coming back into fashion.
From EJIL, Emmanuelle Jouannet (Sorbonne): Universalism and Imperialism: The True-False Paradox of International Law? From Mute, an essay on Orientalism Inverted: The rise of "Hindu Nation"; and is the convergence of art and sport under the pressure of pseudo-participatory spectacle undermining the utopian potential of both? It’s all about the oil: The Olympics — where sports, politics, and corruption collided — 2,000 years ago. Caveman vs. modern human: Who would win Olympic gold? From Wired, an article on real-world social networks vs. Facebook "friends". An interview with Christian Lander, author of Stuff White People Like. Veronica Miller likes Stuff Educated Black People Like — is that so wrong? An excerpt from Stop Me If You've Heard This by Jim Holt. Dude, you stole my article: Jody Rosen investigates a suspicious alt weekly. The last great American reporter: Forty years after breaking the story of the My Lai massacre, Seymour Hersh is not retiring and refuses to be a "pundit". What's really killing newspapers: They're no longer the best providers of social currency. From PUP, the introduction to Evil Incarnate: Rumors of Demonic Conspiracy and Satanic Abuse in History by David Frankfurter. A review of Who Owns Antiquity? by James Cuno (and more and an excerpt). Business Week goes beyond blogs: A lot has changed in three years.
From Daedalus, a special issue on nature, including Cass Sunstein (Chicago): Precautions and Nature; Philip Tetlock (UC-Berkley) and Michael Oppenheimer (Princeton): The Boundaries of the Thinkable; Bill McKibben (Middlebury): The Challenge to Environmentalism; Leo Marx (MIT): The Idea of Nature in America; Richard Kraut (Northwestern): On Philosophy as a Guide to Well-Being; and more. From LRB, Jeremy Harding on the Serbian predicament. Useful exotics: An article on the fate of China's minorities. There is nothing like a disputed place to bring incendiary nationalism to the boil. Thomas Frank on why misgovernment was no accident in George W. Bush's Washington. Obama-McCain pop-culture debate: See the candidates' movie, TV, and music endorsements (and more and more). From The Weekly Standard, a cover story on how Hollywood Takes on the Left: David Zucker turns his sights on anti-Americanism. From Smart Set, think things are slow on the NJ Turnpike? Try eating at its rest stops. From Writ, is sex a "major life activity"? A claim of disability discrimination turns on the answer to this question. A review of Cezanne's Bathers: Biography and the Erotics of Paint by Aruna D'Souza. A review of Cultural Appropriation and the Arts by James Young. Lord of the Memes: In the age of the iPhone, prestige has shifted from the producer of art to the aggregator and the appraiser.
From TAP, Spencer Ackerman on a glossary of Iraq euphemisms. From FP, why Bob Gates’s new plan to fund academic research is just what the doctorate ordered. Not so lazy, after all: Is it possible that Europeans — famed for their endless vacations - - work as much as we do? The Russian futurist: Aleksander Solzhenitsyn killed off leftist attachment to the Soviet ideal in Europe, but his own attitude towards the motherland was complex (and more from Christopher Hitchens). From In These Times, the American Left: Does a nationwide "progressive movement" actually exist? A review of Grover Norquist's Leave Us Alone. From Alternet, here's a guide to the sleaziest (and most contradictory) smears on the Dem nominee — a good formula for selling books. Is Obama the end of black politics? The resistance of the civil rights generation to Barack Obama’s candidacy reveals a generational divide in African-American politics. From Boston Review, an interview with Vivian Gornick, author of The Men in My Life. From Discover, could pandas be an evolutionary mistake—or proof of an Intelligent Designer? A review of Fertilizers, Pills, and Magnetic Strips: The Fate of Public Education in America by Gene Glass. In the first of a weekly series, Michael Blastland, co-author of The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing Through a World of Numbers, gives some hints at getting to grips with surveys.
From Good, an article on the ethics of travel writing: A seasoned travel writer makes sense of the Lonely Planet scandal. From Slate, an article on the 10 oddest travel guides ever published; and a look at the best (and worst) travel gear for parents. From LRB, just two clicks: An article on the virtual life of Neil Entwistle. Is the anthrax case solved but unresolved? Why we need a new think tank for the War on Terror. A review of Islam and the Political Theory: Governance and International Relations by Amr G.E. Sabet. The Obama campaign's DNA is changing as it adds political insiders and Clintonites — will it still function? An interview with David Freddoso, author of The Case Against Barack Obama. Dead Right: McCain's problem isn't his tactics — it's GOP ideas. Don't let students' howlers drive you mad — accept their most common mistakes as variant spellings and relax. From Vanity Fair, a profile of Nicky Haslam. Why do we capitalize the word “I”? The majuscule “I” appears only in English. A review of Up For Renewal: What Magazines Taught Me About Love, Sex and Starting Over by Cathy Alter (and more). A review of Global Justice: The Politics of War Crimes Trials by Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu. American music is enjoying a golden moment; literary bands, with songs that revel in intricate language, complex narratives and cinematic plot twists, are on the rise.