From a special issue of Religions on spirituality and health, Jeremy P. Cummings and Kenneth I. Pargament (BGSU): Medicine for the Spirit: Religious Coping in Individuals with Medical Conditions; Arndt Bussing (Witten) Harold G. Koenig (Duke): Spiritual Needs of Patients with Chronic Diseases; and Carol J. Lysne (ITP) and Amy B. Wachholtz (UMass): Pain, Spirituality, and Meaning Making: What Can We Learn from the Literature? From Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Kevin G. Rickert on the divine will and human freedom: A Thomistic analysis. The introduction to Collectivistic Religions: Religion, Choice, and Identity in Late Modernity by Slavica Jakelic. Why do prayers go unanswered? Adam Hamilton looks at the question you've always been afraid to ask. Are coincidences so great that God must be responsible? The birth of religion: We used to think agriculture gave rise to cities and later to writing, art, and religion — now the world’s oldest temple suggests the urge to worship sparked civilization. Finding the sacred in the secular: Can atheists be spiritual? Atheists and religious fanatics are equally wrong about God, argues William Egginton in In Defense of Religious Moderation. Did god create the laws of physics? Richard Elliott Friedman and Shawna Dolansky on the Bible: As relevant (and misunderstood) as ever. The Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality sends word of a new monograph that minimizes modesty: “The Patriarch’s Nuts: Concerning the Testicular Logic of Biblical Hebrew” by Roland Boer. Howard Kainz on secularism’s victory through osmosis.

David Alan Sklansky (UC-Berkeley): Confined, Crammed, and Inextricable: What The Wire Gets Right. Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck): Institutions in History: Bringing Capitalism Back In. From Reason, an interview with Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. From Details, even though a jury found him not guilty, Kevin Driscoll must now live with one of the last indelible taints in society — the rape accusation. From FDL, a book panel on Crashing the Tea Party: Mass Media and the Campaign to Remake American Politics by Paul Street and Anthony DiMaggio. Too hard for science? Seeing if 10,000 hours make you an expert. From Swans, a tribute to the engine that became the nation's promise to a dead and visionary president's goal: the F-1 rocket engine, an authentic testament to human ingenuity and perseverance (and part 2). Sex, shame, and military might: What "character issues" come into play involving an individual’s complicity in the maintenance of blood-fueled imperium? After the 2008 election, conservatives learned to talk about race and gender — but not race and gender equality. It took a Miami New Times reporter just eight days and $399 in cash to obtain a high school diploma from the InterAmerican Christian Academy — using coursework completed by an 8-year-old girl.

From Unbound, Janet Halley (Harvard): Behind the Law of Marriage (I): From Status/Contract to the Marriage System. Amy Littlefield on a radical view of marriage. Our newlywed money dilemma: We just got married — how should we manage our finances? Thinner wife, happier marriage: Researchers find marriages tend to be more satisfying for both spouses when the wife is thinner than the husband. Redefining marriage: Nothing said in the public debate over marriage seems to touch on what it actually means. To the exclusion of all others: In a liberal society, is polygamy still intolerable? No objections: Nancy F. Cott on what history tells us about remaking marriage. An excerpt from Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson (and more and more and more and more and more). Multiple wives, substandard lives: Polygyny has mainly negative consequences for women, children, and unmarried young men — and is linked to violence among nations. A review of Untying the Knot: Marriage, the State, and the Case for their Divorce by Tamara Metz. Dana Adam Shapiro interviewed dozens of divorced people about the end of their relationships; the result is a treasure trove of heartbreak and infidelity — and a fictional film ironically titled “Monogamy”. Declining marriage rates among millennials just mean they take it more seriously. Women have called the shots at home for millions of years, scientists claim. A review of Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules by Pamela Haag.

A review of Liberty's Exiles: The Loss of America and the Remaking of the British Empire by Maya Jasanoff. James Simpson on his book Under the Hammer: Iconoclasm in the Anglo-American Tradition. Why don't Americans play cricket? All the other former British colonies seem to. Sorry, America: Canada and Australia have the most livable cities in the world (and more). Settlers and Expatriates: Anna Sanderson reviews three accounts of imperial history from the point of view of the colonists. A review of White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America by Fintan O’Toole. Britain isn't called great for nothing: Britons are too quick to damn these isles — how stupid when we have so much to celebrate. From Australian Review of Public Affairs, a review of Rodney Cavalier’s Power Crisis: The Self-Destruction of a State Labor Party and Lenore Taylor and David Uren’s Shitstorm: Inside Labor’s Darkest Days. A review of Liberalism: A Counter-History by Domenico Losurdo (and more). Left Behind: Why don’t the British teach their students about imperial history? The multiculti tango needs to be abolished or at the very least reconfigured, and the open space where the hyphen inserts itself closed — will Canada’s leaders have the courage to adopt the necessary steps? Small is cute, sexy, and successful: Why independence for Wales and other countries makes economic sense. A review of Unfinished Revolution: The Early American Republic in a British World by Sam W. Haynes. A review of Empires of Religion. The recent violence in Northern Ireland does not mark a return to the dark days, but as long as communities remain segregated, there will be trouble. A look at six Victorian inheritances Canadians should cherish. A review of Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones (and more and more and more).

Alexander Libman, Andre Schultz and Thomas Graeber (Frankfurt): Tax Return as a Political Statement. Elizabeth Berenguer Megale (Barry): From Innocent Boys to Dirty Old Men: Why the Sex Offender Registry Fails Our Children. If magazines are supposed to be cool, Mental Floss doesn’t stand a chance, but it is a great case study for the magazine business as a whole. A field guide to bullshit: How do people defend their beliefs in bizarre conspiracy theories or the power of crystals? Philosopher Stephen Law has tips for spotting their strategies. Expert Insight: A fascinating new business that allows you to buy personal advice from a Nobel Prize-winning economist or poker champion. Knockout King: Kids call it a game, academics call it a bogus trend, cops call it murder. Learning Unplugged: Find it on the Internet but learn it in real life. A look at archaeology's tech revolution since Indiana Jones. Cosmo sex facts: Confessions from a fact-checker at Cosmopolitan magazine. Politics and Liberty: Political philosopher Pierre Manent rethinks the history of the West.

Michael J. Madison (Pittsburgh): Knowledge Curation. Jennifer Shkabatur (BU): A Global Panopticon? The Changing Role of International Organizations in the Information Age. Horace Anderson (Pace): No Bitin' Allowed: A Hip-Hop Copying Paradigm for All of Us. Barbara J. Evans (Houston): Much Ado About Data Ownership. Daniel J. Solove (GWU): Nothing to Hide: The False Tradeoff between Privacy and Security. Don't think Orwell, think Kafka: Daniel Solove on why privacy matters even if you have "nothing to hide". Our data, ourselves: What if privacy is keeping us from reaping the real benefits of the infosphere? A college professor's perspective on alliteracy, the technologic generation gap, and the end of reading as we know it. Could pirates be your friends? At university press meeting, some see advantage to having their works copied without permission. Steal This F&$#ing Book!: A surprise best seller raises interesting questions about intellectual property in the digital age. Writers as ideas: Writer's block = Getting cozy with writers instead of words written in blood, debt and beers. "Intertwingularity" is a term coined by Ted Nelson to express the complexity of interrelations in human knowledge. An interview with Seth Godin on the post-industrial revolution, the way ideas spread, marketing, quitting, leadership and most of all, changing everything. Get to the good part: Terry Teachout writes in praise of shortened attention spans. An interview with Joshua Foer on Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything.

What happens in the classroom when a state begins to evaluate all teachers, at every grade level, based on how well they "grow" their students' test scores? Colorado is about to find out. Ramon Gonzalez’s middle school is a model for how an empowered principal can transform a troubled school, but the forces of reform are now working against him. Sixty-five years ago, the federal school lunch program was created to make American schoolchildren healthier; today, it’s helping to make them fatter — will a new law change the diets of millions of kids raised on French fries and chicken nuggets? Tests for pupils, but the grades go to teachers: New York City officials are developing tests whose main purpose is to grade teachers, not students who take them. Do American students study too hard? A new documentary argues that kids these days memorize too many facts — go figure. The platinum standard: Academy take note — the International Baccalaureate offers the best preparation for higher study. Death to high school English: College students don't understand commas, far less how to write an essay — is it time to rethink how we teach? The Tea Party wants to teach your kids about the Constitution: Stephanie Mencimer on the controversial curriculum conservative activists are trying to foist on public schools. The service of democratic education: With the nation's public education system under siege, the need for qualified teachers who are committed to creating exciting and empowering schools is more urgent than ever. Why we should make it easier for high school grads to take a "gap year". Steven Pearlstein on the Khan Academy and educational technology. A report confirms a trend that anecdotal evidence has suggested for some time: private schools for children from pre-K through high school are declining in popularity.

Robert Pallitto (Seton Hall): Torture and Historical Memory. A look at how Vienna in 1900 gave birth to modern style and identity. A review of In Praise of Copying by Marcus Boon. A review of A Planet of Viruses by Carl Zimmer. What Rotten Tomatoes data tell us about the best, worst, and most bizarre Hollywood trajectories. Will androids one day dream of electric sheep? Kathleen Richardson examines the history and development of the robot and evaluates the possibilities. Mark Jacobson on why Paul Bergrin was the baddest lawyer in the history of New Jersey. More and more and more on Peter Toohey's Boredom: A Lively History. From, what is social psychology, anyway? An interview with Timothy D. Wilson. When the truth hurts: How to have an honest conversation about the future without losing hope. An interview with Tim Harford, author of Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure (and more and more). Getting Pumped: At $2, $3, of $4 a gallon, gas prices are always going to seem too high. A review of The Blind Spot: Science and the Crisis of Uncertainty by William Byers.

Rise of the Ethnoburbs: Asians are now California's fastest-growing ethnic group, a cultural makeover that is being repeated around the country. Moving While Black: African Americans are migrating to the South — and that’s supposed to be a bad thing? Race and Border: Neon Trotsky on the two-headed ogre of white supremacy. Saying no to $1 billion: Why the impoverished Sioux Nation won’t take federal money. How do the German contributions to American life have far deeper roots than most people in either country realize? Ryan William Nohea Garcia on who is Hawaiian, what begets federal recognition, and how much blood matters. Grace Elizabeth Hale on her book A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America (and more). The resegregation of the United States of America: Gordon Haber returns to his childhood L.A. to see how it has changed. The entire federal task force effort concerning Puerto Rico’s status is nothing more than another wordy, though worthwhile, exercise in futility — the powers that be in Washington have zero real interest in a fifty-first state. Explaining and eliminating racial profiling: The emancipation of slaves is a century-and-a-half in America’s past — many would consider it ancient history. Fade to White: A filmmaker maps Austin’s shifting ethnic landscape. What themes preoccupy these five Arab-American writers? Body image, war, sex, and pizza — Arab-American literature is American literature. Despite the problems facing the U.S. these days, one group is surprisingly upbeat: African Americans. The Mexican Border: Reed Karaim on crossing a cultural divide. The hidden Americans: Many Roma have made the US their home, and their cultural identity continues to thrive despite discrimination.

Here's something you don't see every day — hundreds of new islands have been discovered around the world. Orphans of the atla: Point Roberts, Wash., is a prime example of a kind of geographical feature that was once quite common but has now almost vanished from world maps. In Greenland, an Arctic growth story: The Danish possession has high hopes for this summer's oil drilling. Ultra-travelers aim to conquer the world: For travel fanatics competing for the title of "world's most traveled person", inaccessible places are must-see destinations, as part of the ever-growing list of the world's countries and territories. Plastic Islands: Cleaning up the seas by creating artificial landmasses. Atlas Obscura visits the Third Tunnel of Aggression, a passage below the world's most dangerous border, and Lake Nyos, the deadliest lake in the world. Mayotte moves to modernity: Island group in Indian Ocean becomes the latest departement of France, despite the latter's indifference. Dispatch from a Shrinking Planet: Google Earth, cell phones, and the Internet are all making the world seem smaller — but the illusion of close contact makes travel more important than ever. An underwater "river" has been discovered snaking along the ocean bed off southwestern Australia. The most murderous countries are safer than you think: Why travelers don't have to be so afraid of Mexican resorts, the Philippines, and other "dangerous" places. Sardinia hosts several extraordinary grottos that, hidden since ancient times, have had to wait geological ages before being discovered and explored by man. Life's Little Mysteries looks at the most mysterious places on the seas. Frank Jacobs on Northwest Angles: One exclave may hide another. Between cellphones, Google Earth, and jumbo jets, it seems there's nowhere in the world left to explore, but travel books still have something to tell us.