From The New Yorker, in the ring: Norman Mailer on grappling with the twentieth century; Adam Gopnik reviews John Stuart Mill: Victorian Firebrand by Richard Reeves; and Peter Boyer on the Appalachian problem: Obama goes to rural Virginia. From New York, a special issue on the unusual degree of tumult the city has experienced during the 40 years of the magazine’s life. Experimental philosophers emerge from the shadows, but skeptics still ask: Is this philosophy? Hidden histories: The Odyssey and The Iliad are giving up new secrets about the ancient world. Stoics, cynics and the meaning of life: Its language is now barely known, and only a few of the works produced by its great writers and thinkers survive, but ancient Greece's influence surrounds us. How would you respond if Cesare Borgia invited you to dinner? A look at why Machiavelli matters. An interview with Christine Garwood, author of Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea. Bulwark against the kingdom of the anti-christ: A brief guide to Massachusetts, the most important state in the union. Maverick 101: You may say you’re a dreamer, but you’re not the only one — here’s how other visionaries turned their big, crazy ideas into reality. How the Rusyns Could Save Civilization: Of all of the ethnic groups that have settled in Pittsburgh, few are as mysterious as the Carpatho-Rusyns.

From CUNY's The Great Issues seminar ("an online discussion about power in the contemporary world"), Harvard's Jill Lepore on Hannah Arendt and what grows out of the barrel of a gun. From TNR, Henry Aaron on how a lot of Democrats want universal health care to be the next president's top priority, but it shouldn't be. The Drudge Report, free Speech, and the election: Is the "marketplace of ideas" working efficiently? Jeffrey Sachs on the American anti-intellectual threat. From The Walrus, an article on Stephen Harper and the theo-cons: The rising clout of Canada’s religious right. What is Cameronism? Richard Newberry investigates. A review of The ABCs of Classic Hollywood by Robert B. Ray. From Reason, when free love died: Why the sexual revolution plays only in reruns. From Nerve, everyone pays for sex: Nine people track their sex-related budgets for one month. From The Village Voice, an interview with Savannah Knoop on being JT LeRoy (and more from Radar). Are you a fruit basket and grass skirt case? More than 50 years after she last wore a pile of fruit on her head, Carmen Miranda inspired a psychological test. Lottery tickets and credit cards: An article on the dangers of an irrational brain. Time for UN to keep tabs: Will an asteroid destroy Earth, and what "deep impact" might an asteroid make on Earth?

From Imprimis, Sarah Palin on Alaska’s promise for the nation. The Sarah Palin pity party: Everyone seems to be oozing sympathy for the fumbling vice-presidential nominee — please, cry me a freaking river. Paul Waldman on the coming conservative crack-up. An interview with Steven G. Calabresi, author of The Unitary Executive Presidential Power from Washington to Bush. By one reckoning, what politicians say in a debate accounts for only 10 per cent of their impact; it's the other 90 per cent that can secure or lose our vote. When all truth is relative: Conservatives play a dangerous game in attacking the media for bias. My Team vs. Your Team: The political arena lives up to its name. A new web site promises to answer "the only question that matters": Who's sexier — Democrats or Republicans? A look at three great social contractarians: Hobbes, Locke, and Blackbeard? Bailout marks Karl Marx's comeback: Marx’s Proposal Number Five seems to be the leading motivation for those backing the Wall Street bailout. From Dissent, who is really to blame for the financial troubles? Michael Walzer investigates; and whatever happened to the commonwealth? Robert Kuttner on Learning from 1929. Jose Stiglitz on a good day for democracy: Now Congress must draw up a proposal in which costs are borne by those who created the problem.

From Fortune, an article on the $55 trillion question: The financial crisis has put a spotlight on the obscure world of credit default swaps — which trade in a vast, unregulated market that most people haven't heard of and even fewer understand; will this be the next disaster? From Vanity Fair, who is Wall Street’s Queen B? Bankruptcies, fire sales, banks on the brink: These are dark days for Wall Street, but, for CNBC and Maria Bartiromo, things couldn’t be better. The economic meltdown: Should you be concerned? Find out with this handy chart. Paul Light on how to run a rescue: Success requires a smart, lean bureaucracy. How much will it cost and will it come soon enough? James K. Galbraith finds out. Bailing out banks seems unprecedented, but the government's form in subsidising big business is well established. Chalmers Johnson on how the American Empire's $650 billion bailout already passed Congress. The US has 761 military bases across the planet, and we simply never talk about it. There might be a financial crisis, but the world's arms dealers are doing just fine. From Der Spiegel, a special report on the end of arrogance: America loses its dominant economic role. From MR, an article on the United States and the world: Where are we headed? Far from Wall Street, Duncan Green from Oxfam looks at what the financial meltdown means for the poor countries during his visit to East Africa.