From The American Scholar, revisiting the gritty Roman neighborhood of his youth, a writer discovers a world of his own invention. More on The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008 by Sean Wilentz. The conservative case for urbanism: Republicans may have an uneasy relationship to global warming, but some are finding reasons to embrace government projects close to environmentalists' hearts — like public transit. An interview with Howard Gardner, the man who outsmarted IQ. From Scotland's Sunday Herald, why the box rocks: 21 reasons to turn on the TV in the 21st century. Verging on absolute zero: We've gone to space, split the atom, and created devices small enough to travel through our blood — but it seems that in science, as in nature, there are some places we still can't reach. Research suggests that adolescents’ niche in school — their popularity, and how they understand and exploit it — offers important clues to their later psychological well-being. From Freethought Today, an article on the Christian soil of the Holocaust. It only gets darker after the lights go down: In movies, popular books and TV, the end of the world makes for an unsettling season. Sex sells: An Orlando producer cashes in on Florida's online porn industry. Heard the one about how many economists it takes to change a lightbulb? The belief that the market would take care of it has been shaken.

From Jewish Political Studies Review, Steven Bayme (AJC): American Jewry and the State of Israel: How Intense the Bonds of Peoplehood? The U-853 Mystery: Did the U-boat commander fail to receive the German order at wars end to cease attacks, or did he just want to record one more kill? Amy Gerstler reviews Ms. Hempel Chronicles by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum. The postmodern condition as a religious revival: A review essay on William Connolly’s Why I am Not a Secularist, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe, and Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief. A review of Promise Ahead: A Vision of Hope and Action for Humanity's Future by Duane Elgin; and are we heading towards perpetual adolescence? A review of The Sibling Society by Robert Bly. In the heart of the Deep South, Jackson Free Press has resurrected the alt-weekly tradition of maverick investigations and cultural provocation. An excerpt from One Party Country: The Republican Plan for Dominance in the 21st Century by Tom Hamburger and Peter Wallsten. The first chapter from The Household: Informal Order around the Hearth by Robert Ellickson. From TLS, second only to Byron: How Keats's most popular rival rescued him from the critics. An interview with Gregory S. Prince Jr., author of Teach Them to Challenge Authority: Educating for Healthy Societies.

From Bifrost Journal of Social Science, Agust Einarsson (Bifrost): The Economic Impact of Public Cultural Expenditures on Creative Industries Under Increasing Globalization. From Archipelago, Katherine McNamara on the dangerous unknown of our untested innocence; and technology and democracy: Jeffrey H. Matsuura on Thomas Jefferson and intellectual property law. David Warsh writes of a brave army of heretics and the idea of economic complexity.  Coming up conservative: How to maintain quality control in the movement pipeline. A review of How Round is Your Circle? Where Engineering and Mathematics Meet by John Bryant and Chris Sangwin. A review of On Deep History and the Brain by Daniel Lord Smail. From Free Inquiry, Army, Flag, and Cross: Reverie on a ribbon. Anne-Marie Slaughter reviews Cullen Murphy's The New Rome; and an excerpt from Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews by Michael Walzer. Time and timeless: Gerald Russello on the historical imagination of Russell Kirk. From In Character, Clifford Orwin on how an emotion became a virtue: It took some help from Rousseau and Montesquieu; and what if they gave out compassionate conservatism and nobody cared?: "Why Blacks Should Give Bush a Chance" sounded like the punch line of a joke. Here are 7 "eccentric" geniuses who were clearly just insane.

From TomDispatch, an essay on the end of the world as you know it, and the rise of the new energy world order. What makes a good business book? John Kay wants to know. The introduction to Demographic Forecasting by Federico Girosi and Gary King. From The Hindu, malls are a part of our mindset now, the way we imagine ourselves and our mobility, but whichever way you look at it, malls work like predators. Met with groans and sighs, Anna Morrison introduces her class of high-school seniors to Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart. A review of Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History by Stephanie Y. Evans. A review of Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s. Radio Free Europe still exists—and it's more important than ever. The first chapter from Hedge Funds: An Analytic Perspective by Andrew W. Lo. John Freeman reviews To Siberia by Per Petterson. From Natural History, special cells in the brain mimic the actions and intentions of others, forming the basis of empathy and social connections; and human ailments as varied as hernias, hiccups, and choking are a legacy of our “fishy” ancestry. A century in, Converse is still purveyor of the world's most functional shoe. Does a man still need to go to war to prove himself a hero? An essay on academic freedom and student rights in politicized institutions.

From Kritike, Hans-Georg Moeller (Brock): Knowledge as Addiction: A Comparative Analysis; Romualdo E. Abulad (San Carlos): What is Hermeneutics?; and Kristina Lebedeva (De Paul): The Role of Techne in the Authenticity-Inauthenticity Distinction. Man under siege: Living under Albania’s repressive regime spurred the creative spirit of Booker Prize winner Ismail Kadare. From TED, Peter Collier on four ways to improve the lives of the "bottom billion". A discussion with Jan Egeland, author of A Billion Lives: An Eyewitness Report from the Frontlines of Humanity. From a special issue of New Internationalist, we need to talk about toilets: 2008 is the "International Year of Sanitation", so what will it take to launch a new sanitary revolution? A review of The Philosophy of Motion Pictures by Noel Carroll. A review of The 30-Second Seduction: How Advertisers Lure Women Through Flattery, Flirtation, and Manipulation by Andrea Gardner and Branded Male: Marketing to Men by Mark Tungate. Have "Reply All" emails become the latest outlet for the modern obsession with self-expression and fame? How did that chain letter get to my inbox? Forwarded messages take surprising paths through the Internet. A review of Amanda Marcotte's It’s a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.

From American Arts Quarterly, Frederick Turner (Texas): Abundance and the Human Imagination; Steven W. Semes (Notre Dame): New Buildings Among Old Historicism and the Search for an Architecture of Our Time; Robert Proctor on The Fine and the Liberal Arts: A Vision for the Future; and Tom Jay on The Necessity of Beauty; and a review of Why Art Cannot Be Taught by James Elkins. John Updike on American Art: The writer brings a life of creative and critical labor to the examination of American masterworks. From The Atlantic Monthly, Intolerant Chic: The new “white people” are bigoted, but not the way you think — or they’ll admit; and is pornography adultery? It may be closer than you think (and an interview with Ross Douthat). Love is in the air: Maybe it’s fucking that’s in the air, and we just call it “love” because, under ideal circumstances, fucking ends up identified with love, the way coal may become a diamond if conditions are just so. When did voting become like dating, and when did it become like dating yourself?  From LRC, a review of An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-First Century by James Orbinski and Cambodia Calling: A Memoir from the Frontlines of Humanitarian Aid by Richard Heinzl. More on Simon Critchley's The Book of Dead Philosophers. Jonathan Wolff on how statistics can play mean tricks.

From Vanity Fair, Sebastian Junger returns to the valley of death in Afghanistan; and an article on the Raffaello Follieri-Anne Hathaway charade. From Boston Review, Stacey D'Erasmo on the end of sexual identity: Fiction's new terrain. A review of Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 by William N. Eskridge Jr. An excerpt from I Don't: A Contrarian History of Marriage by Susan Squire (and more). From Live Science, a look at why the era of scientific secrecy is near the end. From IHE, it’s time to stop pretending that all faculty duties can be divided into distinct categories of teaching, research and service. Is it time for a new paradigm for health and development? A heavyweight panel with an egalitarian ideology claims to have found one. A review of Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism by Ben J. Wattenberg. A review of Freedom's Battle: The Origins of Humanitarian Intervention by Gary Bass (and more and more and more). From Prospect, Russia's brutal expansionism must be checked now — or we will pay the price later. Greetings from Abkhazia: The forlorn seaside resort where Soviet rulers once frolicked. Here are 9 would-be countries looking forward to paying U.N. dues. From TLS, how Sarah Palin's religion continues to evolve around the world: A review of books on Pentecostalism.

From The New Yorker, Alex Ross on how the classical concert took shape. Justin Raimondo on the real conservativism on TV. The establishment outsider: An interview with Roger Scruton. The Russian city of Voronezh, a place seemingly cut off from the world during Gorbachev’s perestroika reforms, is now an urban centre, even if its streets are still named after Lenin, Marx and Engels. From New Statesman, a review of A History of Political Trials from Charles I to Saddam Hussein by John Laughland (and more). When the military takes power: The coup d'etat has been a staple of history; its modus operandi and results are all too consistent. A review of The Rise of the Global Imaginary: Political Ideologies from the French Revolution to the Global War on Terror by Manfred B. Steger. From New Humanist, AC Grayling dissects a new defence of Intelligent Design (and a reply by Steve Fuller and a response by Grayling); a review of The Secular Conscience: Why Belief Belongs in Public Life by Austin Dacey; and what lies beneath: Even godless humanism needs a sense of the spiritual. From Big Think, sexologist Michael Perelman on the technical side of porn on the Web. Can young people actually make a difference this year? A review of (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents: The Decline of the Professional Middle Class by Nan Mooney.

From The New Yorker, Claudia Roth Pierpont on Florentine Niccolo Machiavelli, the man who taught rulers how to rule. American Revolutionary: Quiet Boston scholar Gene Sharp inspires rebels around the world. An article on the blessings and curses of military life. From TNR, Benny Morris reviews The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History; and Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann. Naomi Wolf on veiled sexuality: When a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression. A look at how a topless pinup girl climbed to the pinnacle of celebrity in England while remaining utterly unknown in the United States. Kevin Smith explains how he got the imaginary poo and fake sex in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" past those dirty minds at the MPAA. From Cato Unbound, Earth and Fire Erowid on a culture of responsible psychoactive drug use. From Culture11, Welcome to Gawkerland: A gossip site invents an imaginary Manhattan; and conscientious objector: Playing referee in the culture wars. From Smithsonian, an article on ten of the most incredible art heists of the modern era. A review of Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Richardson. From Slate, a special issue on old people.

From The Atlantic Monthly, can Obama rally the young, is McCain still a maverick, are the Clintons finished? Here are challenges to the assumptions that have shaped the campaign; and can Republicans find a way to compete on the Web? Reihan Salam wants to know. From n+1, over my dead body: Mark Greif on political theology of the GOP. Shankar Vedantam on 9/11, Iraq and the desensitization of the victimized. Johann Hari on how to tune in to both Muslims and the Deep South. How the religious right is trying to ruin sex for everyone: An excerpt from Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics by Dagmar Herzog. CNN actually does have the best political news team on television — God help us. From Slate, here's a reader's guide to Bob Woodward's The War Within. Does it matter if controversial military columnist Gary Brecher, author of War Nerd, is really an overweight data-entry clerk from Fresno? From The Space Review, an article on market romanticism and the outlook for private space development. From the Brown Journal of World Affairs, a special section on space politics. From Seed, astrobiologist Jill Tarter and game developer Will Wright discuss model-making, the singularity, and the value of scientific revolutions. Brian Grene on the origins of the universe: A crash course.