Rebecca Gould (Iowa): Modernity, Madness, Disenchantment: Don Quixote’s Hunger. Why do Americans hate the French? How a nation of 65 million people got on our bad side. The end of gerrymandering: Have California’s citizen commissions killed corruption in congressional redistricting? In the cold calculus of evolution by natural selection, at no greater time in history than ever before, copiers are probably doing better than innovators — because innovation is extraordinarily hard. An excerpt from The Greatest Grid: Manhattan’s Master Plan, 1811-2011. Without Zuccotti Park, Occupiers struggle for unity. Rich people — feeling poor, just like the rest of us! Some real issues for 2012: The presidential campaign shouldn't eclipse important protest movements already under way. Brett Forrest on the big Russian life of Anna Chapman, ex-spy. How crossword puzzles mess with your mind: The agony and the ecstasy of solving a crossword puzzle can reflect a surprising amount about the subconscious mind. Romney and Santorum actually tied the Iowa caucus, experts say. A review of The Origin of AIDS by Jacques Pepin. An interview with Glenn Greenwald, author of With Liberty and Justice for Some. Why we should be skeptical about the current mania for a third party that appeals to independents and libertarians: Mark Schmitt reviews The Declaration of Independents by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. An excerpt from Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters by Gordon M. Shepherd. As the US enters primary season ahead of the 2012 elections, Abby Ohlheiser assesses the chances of the “God and Guns” Republicans hoping to challenge Obama in November. Welcome to Social Dimension, a blog devoted to the math behind understanding society and civilization.

Samuel Alexander (Melbourne): Peak Oil and the Twilight of Growth. From Conversations with History, an interview with Daniel Yergin, author of The Prize: Energy, Security, and the Remaking of the Modern World. Brad Plumer on how most of the world’s oil comes from aging fields and getting harder to come by. The peak oil brigade is leading us into bad policymaking on energy. A review of Spills and Spin: The Inside Story of BP by Tom Bergin and A Hole at the Bottom of the Sea: The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher by Joel Achenbach. An essay on global oil risks in the early 21st century. The massacre everyone ignored: Up to 70 striking oil workers killed in Kazakhstan by Nursultan Nazarbaev, a US-supported dictator. How North Dakota became Saudi Arabia: Harold Hamm, discoverer of the Bakken fields of the northern Great Plains, on America's oil future and why OPEC's days are numbered. The ethical and economic issues aside, what do we know about the safety and environmental impact of oil pipelines today? Friend or enemy: William D. Nordhaus reviews The End of Energy: The Unmaking of America’s Environment, Security, and Independence by Michael J. Graetz. Michael Levi on what the Nobel Prize tells us about oil. Seeking sparks of hope in books on energy: Is there a happy medium between the apocalyptic and the utopian? Don’t count oil out: Alternative energies won’t replace oil, gas, and coal anytime soon. An article on oil and Arabic-speakers in Iran’s troubled southwest. Chris Nelder on why energy journalism is so bad. A look at how the oil map of the world is shifting to the West. Charles Homans on a short history of energy independence: A century and a half of an idea whose time has never come. Oil and democracy: Discovering natural resources has no effect on the political system — if the country is already a democracy.

Alla Myzelev (Guelph): Canadian Architecture and Nationalism: From Vernacular to Deco. From Just Labor, a special section on New Voices in Labour Studies, including Julia R. Woodhall and Alicja Muszynski (Waterloo): Fordism at Work in Canadian Coffee Shops. A mine in the Northwest Territories provided much of the uranium used during the Manhattan Project — unbeknownst to the indigenous people who worked there. David Johnston, Canada’s twenty-eighth Governor General, possesses impeccable credentials and old-fashioned charm — plus he is the government’s secret weapon in restoring the power of the monarchy. A review of Transnational Canadas: Anglo-Canadian Literature and Globalization by Kit Dobson. The Michael Ignatieff Experiment: The celebrity intellectual decamped from Harvard to join Canada’s political fray in what was supposed to be a sure rise to the top — what went wrong? Modest country, ambitious leader: There must always be working men, men to work with their hands, to be poor, to be industrious, to be unfortunate, to suffer; it is the will of God, and the destiny of the race. Do alternative weeklies have a future? Inside the recent upheaval at a Montreal media institution. An interview with with Richard Gwyn, author of Nation Maker: Sir John A. Macdonald: His Life, Our Times. Five years ago, Justin Ferbey helped his Yukon community become one of Canada’s few self-governing First Nations — that was the easy part. Why pioneers breed like rabbits: Families that colonized the Canadian frontier contributed more genetic material to the modern population than folks who stayed home. Montreal Is Burning: Arcade Fire’s meteoric rise changed a city and redefined a subculture. An article on Toronto as the worst sports city in the world. Pipeline Offence: How TransCanada Corporation changed the game for football fans in Nebraska. Blame Canada: Eric Andrew-Gee on the right-wing menace to our north.

A new issue of Journal of Social Work Values and Ethics is out. Paul Grimstad (Yale): On Going On: Rules, Inferences and Literary Conditions. James Warner on Dilbert's presidential bid: Is technocracy dressed up as libertarianism the natural political home of the engineer? Stephane Hessel and the handbook of the revolution: The 94-year-old Frenchman's 13-page essay, Time for Outrage, helped to inspire protests movements in Europe and the U.S. From The Current Moment, an interview with Jeff Frieden, co-author of Lost Decades: The Making of America’s Debt Crisis and the Long Recovery; and an interview with Wolfgang Streeck, director of the Max Planck Institue for the Study of Societies. Sasha Issenberg on the 12 kinds of undecided voters:
 Liars, haters, mavens, know-nothings, bandwagon riders, and other kinds of voters who just can’t make up their minds.
 A review of Lucking Out: My Life Getting Down and Semi-Dirty in the Seventies by James Wolcott. What not to think about: There is an opportunity cost to bad ideas — Big Think's editors recommend the stories that are not worth following. From New York, a special issue on Reasons to Love New York 2011. Eighteen years ago, three teenagers in Arkansas were falsely accused of the murders of three young boys; suddenly released this summer, the West Memphis Three are now free to pick up their lives — if they can even find them. Is incest wrong? Tauriq Moosa wonders. Nancy Leys Stepan on her book Eradication: Ridding the World of Diseases Forever? An interview with William Ian Miller, author of Losing It: In which an Aging Professor laments his shrinking Brain.

Ahmed Taha (Wake Forest): Are College Athletes Economically Exploited? Fixing college sports: Why paying student athletes won't work. 2011 is the year Dave Zirin learned to hate college football: Unless we boycott sham amateurism and indentured servitude masquerading as sport, we will never reclaim sports. Questions about why college football programs breed scandal and off the field violence might want to look at high school football for clues. Would colleges be better off without football? A look at how contracts for top college football coaches grow complicated. Would Jesus love football? Rodney Clapp wonders. In the name of the Father: Tod Gitlin on how college sports came to be above the law. The Green Bay Packers have the best owners in football: The fans are shareholders, the CEO is a union leader and ex-player, the city is a dot on the map — the bizarre anomaly of the franchise that rules the NFL. Football is better than soccer: An Englishman abandons the beautiful game for the NFL. James M. Dorsey (NTU): Soccer: A Middle East and North African Battlefield. From The Point, Ben Jeffery on soccer and schizophrenia. From Swans, Gregory Elich on class struggle on the baseball diamond: A review essay. Tyler Cowen and Kevin Grier on the economics of Moneyball: Do the principles really work anymore? Elite athletes increasingly depend on technology to help them win — but what constitutes an unfair advantage, and who should decide? Timothy Liam Epstein on how sports' unions help maintain integrity of competition. A look at what the public can learn from sports riots. Fighting Words: Christine Ammer on military terms that apply to sports. With a Web presence, strong writers and now a print quarterly, Grantland opens the conversation on a new way of thinking about sportswriting and the games we play.

Robert A. Lawson (Auburn): Economic Freedom and the Wealth and Well-being of Nations. Club for growth: The past decade might have been grim for the economically stagnant West, but without a booming developing world it would have been much worse. Poor countries or poor people: Ravi Kanbur and Andy Sumner on development assistance and the new geography of global poverty. A review of The Ethics of Trade and Aid: Development, Charity or Waste? by Christopher D. Wraight. Anirudh Krishna on his book One Illness Away: Why People Become Poor and How They Escape Poverty. UN human development rankings place Norway at the top and DR Congo last — though it’s time to update the HDI with a critically missing component: sustainability. A review of The Haves and the Have-Nots: A Brief and Idiosyncratic History of Global Inequality by Branko Milanovic. The Shadow Superpower: Forget China — the $10 trillion global black market is the world's fastest growing economy and its future. The Civets: A guide to the countries bearing the world's hopes for growth. Overcoming compassion fatigue: Kristen Moses on lessons learned from news coverage of famine. From Forbes, a cover story: Can venture capital save the world? Adam Lee on how birth control can save the world. From Swans, Michael Barker on the original population bomb (and part 2). Do people fear population decline? It turns out that most people are in favour of global population decline, but “not in my backyard”. A look at seven big problems for 7 billion people (and more).

Natasha Tusikov (ANU): The Godfather is Dead: A Hybrid Model of Organized Crime. The first chapter from Party Competition: An Agent-Based Model by Michael Laver and Ernest Sergenti. Jonathan Chait on how Ron Paul's libertarian principles support racism. Geography and science fiction: Martin W. Lewis on the creation of realistic alternative worlds. The handful of white people who choose your presidential candidates: Iowa and New Hampshire voters are supposedly better informed — they aren’t. What women want: An article on porn and the frontier of female sexuality. Nobody understands debt: Paul Krugman on how the obsession with deficit reduction is wrongheaded and ill-informed. Privatization nightmare: An article on 5 public services that should never be handed over to greedy corporations. An excerpt of Jeffrey Clement's Corporations Are Not People: Why They Have More Rights Than You Do and What You Can Do About It). Sasha Issenberg on the secret weapon of modern political campaigns: The mail. American Oracle: Jackson Lears on the uses and abuses of Reinhold Niebuhr (and more and more). 10 fun facts about the Top 1 Percent: They're highly educated, skew Republican, and look up at the Top Tenth of the Top 1 Percent with envy. A book salon on Republic, Lost: A Declaration for Independence by Lawrence Lessig (and more and more). Profile as promise: A framework for conceptualizing veracity in online dating self-presentations. How do you explain Gene Weingarten? He’s juvenile and more than a little crazy, friends say he barely copes with day-to-day life — he also happens to be one hell of a writer. A look at 5 old-timey prejudices that still show up in every movie.

Kenneth Lasson (Baltimore): Antisemitism in the Academic Voice: Confronting Bigotry Under the First Amendment. A review of Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism: From Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich. From the Jewish Review of Books, debates about Zion and its relation to the diaspora aren't new — do they speak to us now? A review of Zionism and the Roads Not Taken: Rawidowicz, Kaplan, Kohn by Noam Pianko. A review of Boundaries of Jewish Identity. Shekelball: A season in the now-defunct Israeli Baseball League. Hilla Dayan on Israel against democracy. What's wrong with American Jews taking partisan sides in Israel? Only a third to half of American Jews today believe in an almighty deity — can there be Judaism without belief in God? Udi Aloni, author of What Does a Jew Want? On Binationalism and Other Specters, interviews Judith Butler (and more). From NYRB, a review essay on Israel. Albert Camus, who died an atheist at 46, had surprisingly deep ties to Judaism in his life, his political activity, and his philosophical thought. What can the DNA of Ashkenazi Jews tell us about living longer? A monster among the "frum": The faithful of Borough Park have a saying, “We are all of one face” — the life of Levi Aron, the outcast awaiting trial for the murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky, suggests otherwise. The introduction to How Judaism Became a Religion: An Introduction to Modern Jewish Thought by Leora Batnitzky (and more). From Foreign Affairs, what about Israeli rejectionism? Ghassan Khatib and Michael Broning on why the Jewish state must recognize Palestine; and can the center hold? Yossi Klein Halevi on understanding Israel’s pragmatic majority. A clash of cultures in the Holy Land: An article on the ultra-Orthodox in Israel (and more).

A new issue of Annales Philosophici is out, including Danielle Macbeth (Haverford): Reading Rorty: A Sketch of a Plan. From Purlieu, a special issue on Philosophy and the University. J. David Velleman (NYU): Time for Action. Joseph Raz (Columbia): Attachments and Associated Reasons. Neil Sinhababu (NUS): The Humean Theory of Practical Irrationality. Albert H. Y. Chen (Hong Kong): The Concept of "Datong" in Chinese Philosophy as an Expression of the Idea of the Common Good. Brian Ribeiro (Tennessee): Philosophy and Disagreement. From The Philosopher's Eye, a series on the future of philosophy, with contributions by Robert Stern, Vincent F. Hendricks, Tim Mulgan, Matti Eklund, and Luciano Floridi. Metaphysics is the philosophical study of reality — but what does that mean in pratice, and what are the limits of what it can reveal? Kit Fine addresses the question. Thomas Nagel reviews Engagement and Metaphysical Dissatisfaction: Modality and Value by Barry Stroud. How we (should) decide: Philosopher Caspar Hare aims to develop theories of practical rationality that may just help us make real-world decisions. Ethical pluralism: Ian Pollock on the ugly theory that could. Ethics matter: A conversation with Peter Singer. An interview with Peter Ludlow, author of The Philosophy of Generative Linguistics. Simon Blackburn on Hume and bondage: Why is the idea that desire is the master of reason still causing fear and loathing in philosophy? A review of Wittgenstein by William Child. Could David Hume have known about Buddhism? From The Chronicle, Lee McIntyre on making philosophy matter — or else; and Adam Briggle and Robert Frodeman on a new philosophy for the 21st century. Is there a useful distinction to be made between analytic and continental philosophy? Brian Leiter thinks not (and an interview at 3:AM).

A new issue of The New Individualist is out. I. Glenn Cohen (Harvard): Circumvention Tourism. As much as we would like to think that, put on the spot, we would do the right — and perhaps even heroic — thing, research has shown that that usually isn’t true. A review of Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror by Jason Zinoman. Marginal revolutionaries: The crisis and the blogosphere have opened mainstream economics up to new attack. How to solve the corporate tax problem: Our globalized economy creates too many loopholes for multinational firms — it's time to push for a universal system. Ignorance is bliss when it comes to challenging social issues. An interview with Anthony DiMaggio, author of The Rise of the Tea Party: Political Discontent and Corporate Media in the Age of Obama. Two years after the Airbus 330 plunged into the Atlantic Ocean, Air France 447's flight-data recorders finally turned up; the revelations from the pilot transcript paint a surprising picture of chaos in the cockpit, and confusion between the pilots that led to the crash. Richard Florida on a floating Silicon Valley for techies without green cards. The New Populists: Christopher Ketcham on the rise and fall of Zuccotti Park and the future of the movement it birthed. The latest entries in a thriving subfield: long-distance psychological analysis of Barack Obama. A review of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful by Daniel S. Hamermesh. Simon Baron-Cohen on his book The Science of Evil: On Empathy and the Origins of Cruelty. Thomas Harriot: A rational mind in an irrational world or one man’s genius is another man’s devil. A look at 5 ridiculous sex myths from history (you probably believe).