From Post-Autistic Economics Review, Dani Rodrik (Harvard): World Too Complex For One-Size-Fits-All Models. A review of Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers, and Warriors Shaped Globalization by Nayan Chanda. A review of Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade by Rachel Louise Snyder. Martin Wolf on the dangers of living in a zero-sum world economy. Economics as eugenics: Philip Jenkins reviews Gregory Clark’s A Farewell to Alms: A Brief Economic History of the World. What pendulums do: A review of The Mind and the Market: Capitalism and Modern European Thought by Jerry Muller. From TAP, an article on the conservative origins of the sub-prime mortgage crisis: Everything you ever wanted to know about the mortgage meltdown but were afraid to ask. From LRB, Cityphilia: John Lanchester on the credit crunch. An interview with Richard Bookstaber, author of A Demon of Our Own Design: Markets, Hedge Funds, and the Perils of Financial Innovation. From TLS, more on Alan Greenspan's The Age of Turbulence.
From FT, a review of The Rest is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross; The Making of Music: A Journey With Notes by James Naughtie; This is Your Brain on Music: Understanding a Human Obsession by Daniel Levitan; and Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain by Oliver Sacks. From Wired, David Byrne and Thom Yorke discuss the real value of music; and here are David Byrne's survival strategies for emerging artists — and megastars. In Marseille, rap helps keep the peace. Rocking Lolita in Tehran: Iran’s underground music scene has more followers than ever, largely because Iranian musicians are performing on a new stage: the Internet. Is disdain for Celine Dion innate or learned, and what’s wrong with liking her music anyway? Music criticism 2.0: A maturing MP3 blogosphere grapples with the ethics, responsibility as its industry value swells.
From The Global Spiral, an essay on the majesty and misery of string theory. A review of Why Beauty is Truth: The History of Symmetry by Ian Stewart. From Wired, a look at how super-precise atomic clocks will change the world in a decade. Messages sent into space directed at extraterrestrials may have been too boring to earn a reply, say two astrophysicists trying to improve on their previous alien chat lines. Research suggests the Moon is actually 30 million years younger than anyone had thought, and that it is merely a "chip off the old block" of Earth. A review of Astronautics: Book 1 – Dawn of the Space Age and Astronautics: Book 2 – To the Moon and Towards the Future by Ted Spitzmiller. From Geotimes, danger lurks deep: An article on the human impact of volcanoes and when volcanoes threaten, scientists warn. About 250 million years from now, continental plates are projected to reposition themselves again so that a single landmass dominates: Pangea Ultima. At 71, physics professor Walter H. G. Lewin is a Web star with his online lectures.
From The Washington Monthly, China's pollution revolution: Contaminated rivers and farms trigger peasant protests, but can China clean up its environment without cleaning up its politics? High heels in the desert: As Mongolia's nomadic herders face threats to their traditional existence, women are acquiring new roles in the country's steppes — and they are finding some success. A landslide in South Korea: Does a new era beckon for the Korean peninsula? From Japan, an essay on Japan as a plutonium superpower, and a look at why Japan must prepare for war between US and North Korea. An article on Japan's foreign policy and the return of the Fukuda doctrine. From The Economist, a special report on business in Japan: After 15 years of gloom, Japan's companies have emerged with a new, hybrid model a bit closer to America's. Domo arigato, Mr Roboto: Will Japan build rather than import new citizens? "If I weren't a Diet member, I'd be a porn-video actor for sure": A look at how shock tactics of weekly magazines are losing impact on jaded Japanese.
From Campus Progress, should progressives support Rep. Barney Frank’s Employment Non-Discrimination Act? A debate. From PopMatters, it's a world of hope, it's a world of fear: GLBT persons in the West face various acts of discrimination — at least state-sanctioned murder isn't among them; and gay men have large big toes: Is there any definite way to tell if a person is gay? Conventional wisdom would lead you to believe there is. Can the anti-gay Christian Right's "sexual reorientation therapy" be stopped? So a fruit fly goes to a bar: Pop a pill and be straight or gay? It's a lot more exciting, and complicated, than that. A review of A Lesbian History of Britain: Love and Sex Between Women Since 1500 by Rebecca Jennings. Trannies, transformation, and the gender gap: A review of Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man by Norah Vincent and The First Man-Made Man by Pagan Kennedy.
From The American Scholar, alone at the movies: Mark Edmundson on his days in the dark with Robert Altman and Woody Allen. Smoke Screens: A look at how Hollywood really made cigarettes cool. Was Hollywood’s famed censor Joseph I. Breen an anti-Semite? A review of Hollywood's Censor: Joseph I. Breen and the Production Code Administration by Thomas Doherty. Lights! Camera! Collective Action!: The Writers Guild of America strikes to secure a piece of the pie in the Digital Age. First it was music, then it was porn — now it's television's turn to feel the wrath of the web: Is anything safe from the burgeoning attraction of amateur-hour doodlings? Who's the fairest of them all? Here's a comparison of all of the women's television networks. Found: A map of the island in "Lost".
From Mother Jones, how does a 72-year-old conservative Texas congressman become the hottest thing in online politics? Ask the techies, hippies, tax haters, and war protesters who believe that only Ron Paul can save America from itself (and from John Locke to Jesse Ventura, a timeline of libertarian thought). Jonah Goldberg on the tradition of Ron Paul: defeated in the Cold War, it is back in this current war (and a response by Justin Raimondo). Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr. on Ron Paul: Mr. Republican. Too funny to be president: Mike Huckabee's a joker — that's a problem. A look at how Huckabee is playing both sides of the pulpit, equating environmentalism with pornography, homosexuality with necrophilia, and nonbelievers with evildoers. A look at the unhinged correspondence of Mike Huckabee. Southern Baptists vs. the Mormons: Mike Huckabee's and Mitt Romney's faiths have tangled before. After years spent injecting religion into US politics, right-wing pundits are afraid they may have gone too far. "Saddle me up": Fred Thompson rides into Iowa. From National Journal, steering the debate to the right: An interview with Sam Brownback. For the GOP, falling in love is hard to do: It is hard to think of another campaign when Republicans have seemed less excited about their choices.
From Newsweek, a cover story on John Edwards: Even if he loses in Iowa's bigger cities, Edwards can still win by wrapping up smaller, far-flung precincts. The candidate is running an impassioned, anti-corporate campaign, but will John Edwards' pugilistic populism turn off Iowa voters? Hillary Clinton's firewall: Will Barack Obama's anemic standing among Latinos be his undoing? From TNR, Sean Wilentz on the delusional style in American punditry: Forget experience — Opinion-slingers are mooning over Barack Obama's instincts; don't they remember how badly that worked out last time? Hillary Clinton's new website, "The Hillary I Know," says a lot more about her than she intended. Hillary Clinton v the media: It's not just her personality — the reason why the press doesn't like her goes much deeper than that. Glenn Greenwald on media hostility toward anti-establishment candidates. From The Progressive, is Bill Richardson radioactive? Laura Paskus investigates. The King of Spin: How Dennis Kucinich remade himself from race-baiting bomb-thrower to liberal sweetheart. Why’s Biden still on the trail? Because, dammit, he loves it.
Jeffrey Paris (USF): American Power and the Philosophy of World-Systems Analysis. Precipitate decline in U.S. power and its legal implications: A talk by Immanuel Wallerstein. Joseph S. Nye on recovering America’s "smart power". Libertarian commentator James Glassman, the new face of US public diplomacy, has made a career out of jingoistic sloganeering. Armed ambassadors: A look at how the military has increasingly assumed a major role in U.S. foreign policy. From The Washington Monthly, an article on the Army's other crisis: Why the best and brightest young officers are leaving. Fire away: Exploding one of military history's more enduring myths. The Guard's turn to surge: National Guard soldiers are increasingly becoming full-time, and for 2008 and 2009, they'll again do long relief in Afghanistan and Iraq for the Army.
From Prospect, the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides sparked an intellectual revolution that still echoes today — yet for philosophy and science to continue to progress in the 21st century, we may need to embark on an entirely new cognitive journey. From Scientific American, this year's SciAm 50 awards are replete with instances of new machines or chemicals that come close to the true meaning of innovation as something entirely new; and Michael Shermer on Evonomics: Evolution and economics are both examples of a larger mysterious phenomenon. Norman Levitt reviews Steve Fuller’s Science vs. Religion: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution. From NPQ, an interview with J. Craig Venter: "Microbial manufacturing is the next phase of evolution". The undiscovered planet: A look at how microbial science illuminates a world of astounding diversity. The Body Engineers: Hormone researchers seek new life for old brains and bones. Desperately seeking a kidney: What you learn about people — and yourself — when you need them to donate an organ.