Tim Beal (Victoria): Korean Brinkmanship, American Provocation, and the Road to War: The Manufacturing of a Crisis. Tragedy and loss: Jim Taylor takes a look at the real face of Thailand today. Ellena Savage on the westernisation of Asian beauty. Japan spent more than two centuries shut off from the rest of the world and it still shows; Henry Tricks finds the Edo period still shimmering just under the surface. Burma’s gradual transition: With Aung San Suu Kyi’s release, slow process of change continues. From the Journal of Democracy, Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo on China’s quest for democracy. From Inside Indonesia, a special issue on women and Islam. Catching the Bamboo Train: Rural Cambodians cobbled old tank parts and scrap lumber into an ingenious way to get around. The introduction to Inside the Red Box: North Korea’s Post-totalitarian Politics by Patrick McEachern. How East Asian relations worked in a long and lasting past: David C. Kang on his book East Asia Before the West: Five Centuries of Trade and Tribute. A look at how deadly weapons continue to rule daily life in Laos. From Asia Sentinel, what's so free about Hong Kong and Singapore anyway? Vietnam's Hang Son Doong, the world's largest cave, was only discovered twenty years and is just now being explored by a team of scientists. Evan Osnos on why China captures our imagination — and why we want to change it.

A new issue of The Futurist is out. Otto F. Von Feigenblatt (Nova Southeastern): Forgiveness and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Dialogue. Li Wei (HET): The Functions and Use of Greetings. Christopher McDougall explores the mysteries of the human desire to run. Tyranny of the alphabet: A new study explores how your last name influences how fast you buy stuff. Monica L. Smith on her book A Prehistory of Ordinary People. If heaven is more than harps and halos, what is it? Prison Economics: Ben Paynter on how fish and coffee become cash. Cracking the Scratch Lottery Code: Is the apparent randomness of the scratch ticket just a facade, a mathematical lie? A review of How To Write A Sentence: And How To Read One by Stanley Fish. What's popular with one group can go virtually unnoticed by another — how we came to live in "a culture of many cultures". What do your shoes say about you? More than you think — they hint at your class, job, where you live and even how you spend your leisure time. A review of Eurocentrism by Samir Amin. Are we hard-wired to continuously connect? Justin Bieber found teenybop perfection with an insolent naturalness, a shimmer of religious transcendence, and a mastery of social media — can he make the moment last? Joshua Cooper Ramo argues that in an era defined by instability, society must remain imminently flexible and turn disruption into a force for good. Can the Fernando Valley Racing Pigeon Club reverse their sport's decline? Ideas of the Century: Bhikhu Parekh on cultural pluralism. Long regarded as lowly “dirt,” soil is gaining attention as a vital natural resource. A review of A-hole-ol-o-gy: The Cheat Sheet by Chris Illuminati. Know how you worry about what to do if you’re about to be attacked by a crocodile in the afterlife?

Could the missing factor that explains a number of puzzles in the marine world be, simply, oxygen? Life in the vast oceans of Earth may well be ruled by a harsh and relentless need to breathe. A review of The Evolutionary World: How Adaptation Explains Everything from Seashells to Civilization by Geerat Vermeij. Two Cheers for Nature: Behavior may come naturally, but that doesn't make it good. Is evolutionary biology infected with invalid teleological reasoning? A review of Biology's First Law: The Tendency for Diversity and Complexity to Increase in Evolutionary Systems by Daniel W. McShea and Robert N. Brandon. With cloud computing, the mathematics of evolution may get easier to learn. A review of The Darwinian Tourist: Viewing the World Through Evolutionary Eyes by Christopher Wills (and more). Seemingly harmful behaviours of some social animals are actually advantageous to their reproductive success and longevity. The special bond that often forms between people and both domesticated and wild animals may be, paradoxically, part of what makes us human. A review of Almost Chimpanzee: Searching for What Makes Us Human, in Rainforests, Labs, Sanctuaries, and Zoos by Jon Cohen. From Big Think, a series on what evolution can teach us about ourselves. When will we evolve out of our useless appendages? An interview with Daniel E. Lieberman, author of The Evolution of the Human Head (and more). A review of The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart by Stephen Amidon and Thomas Amidon.