When you consider the intelligence explosion effect, the next few decades could determine the future of intelligent life. But should we listen to futurists or are they leading us towards "nerdocalypse"?

In the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can spend an unlimited amount of money to support candidates. How's that working out?, asks blogger Kevin Drum. The Boston Review has a symposium on "Democracy After Citizens United," including a lead essay by Lawrence Lessig (who also writes more in The Washington Post), and responses by Will Wilkinson, Allison Hayward, Nancy Rosenblum and others. Law professor Molly J. Walker Wilson challenges the decision in Too Much of a Good Thing: Campaign Speech after Citizen United, and NYU's Samuel Issacharoff uses Citizens United to examine what possibilities for reform remain to redress the vulnerabilities of democracy before the powers of the purse How much has the case changed campaign finance in 2010? Kenneth P. Vogel writes in Politico that a massive $4.2 million ad buy announced Tuesday by American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS erases any doubts that the groups, conceived by veteran GOP operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, have the cash to be major players in next month’s election. WaPo columnist Eugene Robinson writes that it's unconscionable that we can't know who the buyers are of public offices these days. Mother Jones has just published a special report: "Who owns Congress?," detailing the top corporate spenders. And the latest issue of PS: Political Science & Politics has a series of articles on the 2010 mid-term elections.

Is Tehran a suitable host for World Philosophy Day? Why some are calling for a boycott.

Increasingly DIY and nihilistic, it's not surprising that contemporary philosophy is drawn to the untilled fields of undead subculture. The recent book Hideous Gnosis unleashes a bloodthirsty plague of para-academic commentary upon Black Metal, but how to talk about a music that refuses to talk about? Heather Havrilesky investigates Lady Gaga's strangely empty song of herself in a review essay in Bookforum's music issue.

How good are we at estimating other people's drunkenness? Psychologist Steve Rubenzer investigates.

From magCulture, here's an A-Z of favourite independent magazines. An airline magazine that makes travelers want to pull the rip cord: Safi shows the real Afghanistan, from dog fighting to dry swimming pools. The in-flight magazine of Afghan airline Safi Airways does not mince words; in an interview, editor Christian Marks talks about dog fighting, war zones and why passengers want the truth. A different kind of Israeli magazine: Bambi Sheleg’s Eretz Acheret is making waves. A review of Inside the Hollywood Fan Magazine: A History of Star Makers, Fabricators, and Gossip Mongers by Anthony Slide. Why is the September issue a big deal? An interview with Dirk Barnett, creative director at the helm of Maxim magazine. If magazines were forced to be honest. What do you get if you cross the internet and magazines? You get Ivan Pope, a former zinester who created the world’s first internet magazine, The World Wide Web Newsletter (later 3W Magazine), in 1993, and later went on to help launch the first consumer magazine about the web, .net, and has now turned his entrepreneurial zeal to creating Magazero, an online magazine store dedicated to “gathering the best, freshest, strangest, most inaccessible, juciest, loveliest independent magazines from around the world and bringing them into your life”. The golden age of magazine illustration: Vicki Woods previews a new collection of glorious, romantic illustrations from 1950s and 1960s women's magazines. A look at the most ridiculous magazines of all time.

A new issue of New Internationalist is out. Pamela Samuelson (UC-Berkeley): The Google Book Settlement as Copyright Reform. Jimmy Carter says he's "superior" to other U.S. ex-presidents, but on the world stage, he's got some tough competition. Me, Myself and My Stranger: An article on understanding the neuroscience of selfhood. Why do we believe what we believe? Kris Notaro investigates. James Ledbetter on the troubling disappearance of salesmen and how it helps explain America's economic woes. Lewis Lapham on "the end of capitalism": The former longtime editor of Harper's discusses the possibility that America's economic system will go extinct. How a bookseller in Willow Creek caused the biggest Bigfoot forum on the web to be shut down — or did he? Devaditya Chakravarti on the politics around the assassination of Gandhi. Regulatory Blowout: A look at how regulatory failures made the BP disaster possible, and how the system can be fixed to avoid a recurrence. A review of A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell (and more). Brad DeLong on the tax debate we are not having: Can a great nation remain great while its leaders spout talking points and evade reality? Jesse Bering on an ode to the many evolved virtues of human semen. Atlas Obscura visits Puzzlewood, the mysterious and fantastical woodland inspiration for The Lord of the Rings. Can Americans rightsize their desires? From Yes! magazine, a look at 10 Resilient Ideas: Ideas for building resilience from communities across the country. "Dear Hannah Arendt": An article on the correspondence between Leni Yahil and Hannah Arendt, 1961-1971. From Catapult, a special issue on weight: What kinds of heaviness do we solemnly accept? What kinds do we fight as if our lives depend on it?

Attention college students: Bookforum will pay you $10 for every $16 subscription you sell. Sell 10 subscriptions and we'll double your money for a total of $200!

Andreas Follesdal (Oslo): How to Organize Democracy in Multi-Level and Multi-Cultural States: Can it Be Done? Should it Be Done? Jacqueline Mowbray (Sydney): Language in the UN and EU: Linguistic Diversity as a Challenge for Multilateralism. Poul F. Kjaer (Frankfurt): The Societal Function of European Integration in the Context of World Society. Andrew R. Glencross (Aberdeen): A Post-National EU? The Problem of Legitimising the EU Without the Nation and National Representation. From Democracy, Henry Farrell on A More Perfect Union: Over the years, European leaders forgot how to justify integration to their citizens; it’s time they remember — and proceed with tough reforms. As nationalism rises, will the European Union fall? According to the conventional view, the far-Right in Europe is antithetical to the values of liberal democracy — new research showing that far-Right ideology is a radicalization of mainstream values has a major impact on how populism is understood (and more and more). President Sarkozy's recent campaign against the Roma people highlights their growing persecution across Europe — as their numbers increase, integrating this group will become ever more important. As long as the Roma remain persona non grata at the rich lands' tables, the emancipation of the European individual is still on shaky ground. From Re-public, Jutta Urpilainen on why we need more welfare state, not less; and Victor Ponta on how a true welfare state is still possible in Europe. From Strange Maps, a solution to dealing with the potential divisiveness of diversity, and if done in good humour at least a lot funnier, is the great European Shouting Match. Tyranny’s got talent: At the next Junior Eurovision contest, Europe’s most repressive regime will go pop.

A new issue of Spectrum is out. Corey Brettschneider (Brown): When the State Speaks, What Should it Say? Freedom of Expression and Democratic Persuasion. An interview with Thomas Geoghegen, author of Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life. A review of The Political Power of Bad Ideas: Networks, Institutions, and the Global Prohibition Wave by Mark Lawrence Schrad. Is video killing the concert vibe? Lighters held aloft at rock shows have given way to camera phones — meet the backlash. After elections, is Bosnia closer to unity or collapse? Stars shine light on issues, but should we consider it illuminating? Surveillance, America’s pastime: A Hall of Shame of state snooping, prying, and informing aimed at destroying the fabric of civil society. Down with fun: The depressing vogue for having fun at work. A too-gentle madness: Pradeep Sebastian‘s essays are a great introduction to the genre called Books on Books. Cops on the beat: Dancing Thai policemen become a Youtube hit. Steve Pearlstein on the costs of rising economic inequality. The post-Singularity future of astronomy: Astronomy could be the first discipline in which the rate of discovery by machines outpaces humans' ability to interpret it. Will America come to envy Japan's lost decade? Ezra Klein wonders. The banality of narcissism: Ron Rosenbaum on the class war over cultural diagnosis. If a student asks you "why is essentialism bad?", how do you answer that? Wisdom Facing Forward: What it means to have heightened future consciousness. Keeping up with Tyler Cowen on a regular basis resembles drinking from a fire hose — not everyone is so infovoracious.

From FDL, a book salon on When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage by Lee Badgett. Girl-girl kissing is not new — what is new is the openness with which girls are sampling from among their own. Guy Hocquenghem's frank, candid and provocative text "The Screwball Asses" was one that took stock of the desiring-politics of the gay liberation movement; queer cruising zine collective B.T.F.A discover that it still has a fresh take on sexual possibilities and the normalising power of phallocratic roles. Move over, metrosexuals: Meet the straight bears befriending the gays. The problem with urban gay meccas: A review of Another Country: Queer Anti-Urbanism by Scott Herring. Queer politics are influential in LGBT liberation movements — should this be embraced or is it an obstacle to taking the fight forward? Jesse Bering on polyamory chic, gay jealousy and the evolution of a broken heart. The great (gay) surname debate: Portia de Rossi wants to adopt wife Ellen DeGeneres' last name — is it retro, refreshing or something else entirely? A chronology of gay comic book characters: Mainstream comics have had more than their fair share of homosexual subtext almost since their inception. Stuart Biegel on his book The Right to Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America's Public Schools. Forecasting adult sexual orientation: Is your child a "prehomosexual"? The Ivy League's big gay admission: Why kids are adopting a do ask, do tell policy to get into the ivory tower. Does "It Gets Better" make life better for gay teens? Understanding the suicide-prevention project and its critics (and more).

From the European Journal of American Studies, a special issue on immigration. Daniel Hopkins (Georgetown): Politicized Places: Explaining Where and When Immigrants Provoke Local Opposition. No longer a new name: Newcomers see less reason to Anglicize surnames and have a desire to retain their ethnic heritage in America. Braden Goyette on the real reason anti-immigrant sentiment is so dangerous. From The Social Contract, a special issue on the case for a moratorium on legal immigration; and a review of A Nation by Design: Immigration Policy in the Fashioning of America by Aristide R. Zolberg. The Village Voice goes inside the brutal world of America's kidnapping capital, Phoenix. As Mexican drug cartels increasingly recruit American teens as runners, Sugar Land teen Elisabeth Mandala goes across the border and ends up dead. The law of large numbers: The role of Latinos in American society is growing inexorably, with big political implications for the future. More on Not Fit for Our Society: Immigration and Nativism in America by Peter Schrag. Give Us Your Tired, Your Poor. Really. We Mean It.: Economists are making the case politicians are afraid to: Immigration is great for the US. Immigration 101: Becoming a legal immigrant is more complicated than you might think. Basta Dobbs!: An interview with Roberto Lovato of Presente.org. CSI Desert: When migrants die, who IDs them? Invisible America: In immigrants’ rooms, a photographer documents a fragile stability. From The Nation, a special investigative report on Lou Dobbs, American Hypocrite: While he railed against "illegals," undocumented immigrants tended to his estates and prize horses.

From UN Dispatch, a pedantic name dispute makes its way to the General Assembly; some quarters of the media love to beat up on the United Nations just for the sport of it — even after the alien ambassador story is proven false, you have articles parroting the falsities; and can the international community take the wind out of the sails of Al Qaeda propoganda? Four years after his ex-wife’s death, Prince Charles is looking less like a coldhearted anachronism and more like a future King, thanks in large part to the charitable work of his Prince of Wales Foundation. From corporate offices to Internet dating sites, Americans lean on personality tests to make their toughest decisions — but do the results really mean anything? Lots of Americans say they’re religious, but a new poll finds many of them don’t actually know that much about world religions — their own included. Paul Sullivan, in Clutch, and Sian Beilock, in Choke, examine why some of us routinely fail under pressure. The Big Idea: Carlos Lozada on how greed may not be good for the economy, but envy is worse. How to start a hedge fund: Financial regulatory reform cramping your style? Go rogue with VF.com’s step-by-step action plan. Carnivorous environmentalists can help fight invasive species by dining on Asian carp, but there’s no reason herbivores can’t join in the fun. India’s economic miracle is a perfect example of how appearances can be deceiving (and more).

From The New York Times's The Stone, Gary Gutting on philosophy and faith and Dawkins' atheism. What's it like to be an atheist in Colorado Springs, home of the religious right? Closer look at rift between humanists reveals deeper divisions: Paul Kurtz, founder of the Center for Inquiry, resigned in a feud with its chief executive over the direction of the center and the future of humanism itself. Matthew Nisbet on the atheist netroots and what it means to live without religion. A review of The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture by Darrel W. Ray. Alastair Hannay on considering religion post-secularisation. Should you tell your four-year-old you believe we are all alone in a godless universe? Catie Wilkins on her atheist upbringing. Instead of embarking on the project of "saving God" by replacing him with the natural and human shaped world, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that it is we ourselves that need saving — just replacing God with Nature isn't enough. The Bright side: Is atheism going mainstream? We need to give up our belief in a supernatural Creator Agent God and live with the fully natural creativity of the universe as a newly evolved sense of God, awesome, and invited to stewardship — then we have one Magesterium, not two and the split between reason and faith is healed. What’s an atheist to think when thousands of believers (including prominent rabbis and priests) are praying for his survival and salvation — while others believe his cancer was divinely inspired, and hope that he burns in hell? Don’t silence Christian Voice — they’re a brilliant advertisement for atheism. A review of Spectres of False Divinity: Hume's Moral Atheism by Thomas Holden.

From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on what procrastination tells us about ourselves? A look at why so many people can't make decisions. The Washington Post asks experts to rate the work of President Obama's outgoing economic team. From Wired, why do giraffes have such long necks? India wants to be a great power — so why are its Commonwealth Games such a mess? Lost libraries: Craig Fehrman on the strange afterlife of authors’ book collections. The Marmite effect: Habits formed early in life may affect the gains that consumers make from trade. What are species worth? Richard Conniff on putting a price on biodiversity. An interview with Janell Watson, editor of The Minnesota Review. When stewardesses were hot and jets were cool: Playboy founder and editor Hugh Hefner on the glory days of flying around the world in his private jet the Big Bunny. Urban Scrawl: Rome's graffiti pits artists against clean-up crew. Why would a city that’s banned shirtlessness, pushed back against souvenir vendors and fought a war against pigeons — all in the name of preserving the urban scenery — allow its most famous views to be obliterated by building-high billboards? Here are the winners of the 2010 Ig Nobel Prize — and Andre Geim becomes the first Nobel and Ig Nobel winner. Trouble in fishing waters: Gordon G. Chang on China’s military provocations. Ross Terrill on the case for selective failure: No one wishes for a total Chinese collapse, but certain setbacks should be welcomed. Who are the most influential Left-of-Centre European thinkers? Vote now.