From Africa Spectrum, a special issue on 50 Years of Independence in Africa. Kennedy Ochieng' Opalo (Stanford): Ethnicity and Elite Coalitions: The Origins of "Big Man" Presidentialism in Africa. From Boston Review, Anna Clark on how to write about Africa; and Michael A. Clemens on putting solutions on trial: Impact evaluation and the Millennium Villages Experiment in Africa. From The Toronto Star, Jennifer Wells on mining the Congo and a golden opportunity (and more and more). How Africa can extract big benefits for everyone from natural resources. Charging for conservation: How a somewhat decadent and depraved off-road event is saving Kenya’s forests. Suffering from deforestation: Burkina Faso is losing 110,550 hectares of forest each year. In South Africa, swimming the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is one way to crank up your heart rate. In a shantytown near Johannesburg, an angry mob committed a horrifying crime that was caught on video. Helen Epstein on what the US is ignoring in Uganda. The world's biggest refugee camp: Desperation reigns amid the 380,000 refugees in Dadaab, a sprawling "tent city" in northeastern Kenya (and more). Across Africa, humanists are on the front line in the battle to protect women and children accused of witchcraft. A review of Secular Missionaries: Americans and African Development in the 1960s by Larry Grubbs. Hassan Abenay on Western Sahara's Polisario Front: what future? The Nok of Nigeria: Unlocking the secrets of West Africa’s earliest known civilization. When wealth breeds rage: African economies are growing, but so is inequality — huge disparities in wealth may take the Arab Spring south. The African Lions: Michelle Sieff on an authoritarian challenge to development theory. The rise of Africa's amusement parks: What Africa's booming middle class really wants is a roller coaster.

Mark C. Weidemaier (UNC) and G. Mitu Gulati (Duke): How Markets Work: The Lawyer's Version. Maximiliano E. Korstanje (Palermo): The Rebellion in Heaven: The Beginning. Burning down the house: "Social exclusion" is a real problem, but it doesn't excuse the looting and lawlessness on the streets of London. Are riots normal? Or, "Don’t panic, Captain Mainwaring!" A review of Understanding Torture: Law, Violence, and Political Identity by John T. Parry. When felons were human: Resurrected over two centuries ago, in service of a novel form of legal punishment, the American doctrine of civil death helped lay the wide, straight road along which advocates of capital punishment, minimum mandatory sentencing, three strikes laws, and the less-than-fully-human status of prisoners have been able to advance quickly, and with lethal effect. A review of Are You Serious? How to Be True and Get Real in the Age of Silly by Lee Siegel (and more). The Billionaire King of Techtopia: Why the controversial capitalist Peter Thiel is launching a start-up country on the high seas. Style and substance: As editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine, Cindi Leive commands an audience of 12 million women every month. A review of The Believing Brain: From Ghosts and Gods to Politics and Conspiracies — How We Construct Beliefs and Reinforce Them as Truths by Michael Shermer. The RAND Corporation has developed a new system for obtaining and analyzing opinions from a large number of respondents by systematically integrating online and social media technology with traditional research methods. An artist of the ignored world: Duke Riley tells the history of people and places on society's margins. Science fiction, jokes and forbidden love: The book market in Nazi Germany was surprisingly varied.

A new issue of Philosophy in Review is out. Barbara H. Fried (Stanford): What Does Matter? The Case for Killing the Trolley Problem (Or Letting it Die). Jeremy Waldron (NYU): What are Moral Absolutes Like? Douglas Walton (Windsor): Why Fallacies Appear to Be Better Arguments than They Are. From NDPR, a review of Philosophy of Language and a review of What is Meaning? by Scott Soames. More on On What Matters, Volumes 1 and 2 by Derek Parfit. Anthony Aguirre on how infinity can violate our human intuition, which is based on finite systems, and create perplexing philosophical problems. Sell Descartes, buy Spinoza: Investors, take note — this Dutch rationalist is a hot stock (and more). From The Philosophers' Magazine, Elizabeth S Radcliffe explains how Hume put feelings centre stage and Helen Beebee looks at how David Hume has influenced the debate about causation. A review of John Stuart Mill and the Writing of Character by Janice Carlisle. Peter Singer explains why he thinks Henry Sidgwick is so important for the utilitarian tradition and why is ideas continue to have relevance. Sentimentality or Honesty: Mark Oppenheimer on Charles Taylor as a sadly endangered type: the philosopher-statesman. Does philosophy matter? Stanley Fish says philosophical positions are fine for seminars, but mean little in real life (and part 2). Here are the online dating profiles of the wise and famous. An interview with Lou Marinoff, author of Plato Not Prozac (and part 2). From Synthesis Philosophica, a special issue on Philosophy and Media. An excerpt from I Watch, Therefore I Am: From Socrates to Sartre, the Great Mysteries of Life as Explained Through Howdy Doody, Marcia Brady, Homer Simpson, Don Draper, and Other TV Icons by Gregory Bergman and Peter Archer. A review of SpongeBob SquarePants and Philosophy: Soaking Up Secrets Under the Sea.

From Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster, Robert W. McChesney and R. Jamil Jonna on Monopoly and Competition in Twenty-First Century Capitalism (and more on the laws of capitalism). An interview with Peter Diamond on the job crisis, the deficit and what Congress and the Fed can do. A review of Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite by Bruce E. Levine. A review of Toward a Truly Free Market: A Distributist Perspective on the Role of Government, Taxes, Health Care, Deficits, and More by John C. Medaille. A world awash in debt: We've seen debt before, but not like this — here's why major economies are drowning in red ink. Prosperity without growth is possible and inevitable: An interview with Tim Jackson. William Galston on four actions the global community must take to avoid another depression. A review of The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor by Steve Early (and more and more). Tim Durham, the Madoff of the Midwest: The leveraged buyout CEO, perhaps in an epic midlife crisis, may have crafted a Ponzi scheme even more complicated than Madoff’s. A review of Zombie Economics: How Dead Ideas Still Walk Among Us by John Quiggin. Here is Joseph Stiglitz’s simple, 4-step plan to solving America’s debt crisis. Warren Buffet on coddling the super-rich: We mega-rich should not continue to get extraordinary tax breaks while most Americans struggle to make ends meet (and more). From This, an interview with zero-growth economist Peter Victor. Steven Pearlstein on why the blame for the financial mess starts with the corporate lobby. A review of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World by William D. Cohan. A book salon on Reviving the Strike: How Working People Can Regain Power and Transform America by Joe Burns.

Kerri Lynn Stone (FIU): Clarifying Stereotyping. The focused arrogance of the highly creative: New research links creativity with lower levels of honesty and humility. From The Boston Globe Magazine, Wheelock professor Gail Dines blames sex trafficking on the porn industry; and Ned Holstein battles for divorced fathers' rights. A review of Built to Last: The Illustrated Secrets of Mankind’s Greatest Structures by David Macaulay. A review of Harold Bloom's The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Life. A review of A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World’s Largest Experiment Reveals about Human Desire by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam (and more). Christopher DeWolf writes in defense of street art. Change yourself if you can’t change the world: Cosmetic surgery and allied procedures were less hard hit by the great global crash than many other businesses. The Millennium Project releases its 2011 State of the Future report, looking at trends for the past twenty years and projecting ahead for the next decade. Why Bill Gates wants to reinvent the toilet. Reading the paranormal writing us: An interview with Jeffrey Kripal, author of Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred. Diagnosis evil: Simon Baron-Cohen wants to redefine how we think of human cruelty. The Taliban is alive and active — James Fergusson recounts his face-to-face meeting, in a mine-protected Afghan village, with one of the feared group’s most powerful figures. Overdone: Why are restaurant websites so horrifically bad? From The Independent Review, an article on Mario Vargas Llosa: An Intellectual Journey. Cosma Shalizi reviews Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning about a Highly Connected World by David Easley and Jon Kleinberg. An issue of The Wolves at the Door, an irregular journal of anarchist ideas and theory, is out.

Fernando Estrada on Benoit Mandelbrot (1924-2010): A Greek among Romans. Mark Ronan on Euclid and the genius of geometry. A review of The Man of Numbers: Fibonacci's Arithmetic Revolution by Keith Devlin. The first chapter from Pythagoras' Revenge: A Mathematical Mystery by Arturo Sangalli. A review of Are Science And Mathematics Socially Constructed?: A Mathematician Encounters Postmodern Interpretations of Science (Nonlinear Science) by Richard C. Brown. Is pi "wrong"? Mathematicians want to say goodbye to pi. An interview with Reuben Hersh and Vera John-Steiner, authors of Loving and Hating Mathematics: Challenging the Myths of Mathematical Life (and more). Geometric minds skip school: Amazonian villagers grasp abstract spatial concepts (and more). A prize of $500 was once offered for its solution: Is mathematics finally ready to prove the Collatz conjecture? From Devlin's Angle, wanted: a mathematical iPod. By travelling all the way to Madagascar, the French academic Marc Chemillier has shown that humans have remarkable innate skills with numbers. A review of Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century by Masha Gessen. Students should learn everyday math the way they learn to play a musical instrument. A review of The Theory That Would Not Die: How Bayes' Rule Cracked the Enigma Code, Hunted Down Russian Submarines, and Emerged Triumphant from Two Centuries of Controversy by Sharon Bertsch McGrayne. Josh Rothman on Plato, applied math, and you. The man who proved that everyone is good at maths: Phil Wilson on the philosophy of applied mathematics. A look at a sleepaway camp where math is the main sport. Struggling with your maths? If you are, then you may be one of the 5 to 7% of the population suffering from dyscalculia, the mathematical equivalent of dyslexia.

Michael G. Kearney (LSE): Why Statehood Now: A Reflection on the ICC’s Impact on Palestine’s Engagement with International Law. Is the Palestinian Authority’s UN statehood bid an exercise in futility? Why pushing for Palestinian statehood would backfire: The people's leaders shouldn't ask for everything at the UN this fall. From Dissent, Farid Abdel-Nour on the UN vote and a viable two-state vision; tent cities and demonstrations: What is happening in Israel? Michael Walzer wants to know. Rafael D. Frankel on the loud awakening of Israel's secular middle class. Allon Uhlmann (Missouri): Policy Implications of Arabic Instruction in Israeli Jewish Schools. From Sh'ma, a special issue on Israel's history. When Israel was founded, did its leaders ever dream of a day when their most stalwart allies for Greater Israel would be neo-fascist movements in Europe? Israel debates its lifestyle: There is a conflict about whether to move to a full two-day weekend and, if so, what days it should include. A review of The Israeli Economy from the Foundation of the State through the 21st Century by Paul Rivlin. Best-preserved house from the period of the Kingdom of Israel is uncovered at Tel Shikmona. In Israel, diggers unearth the Bible's bad guys, the Philistines, "the ultimate other, almost, in the biblical story". Dreams of Utopia: Tom Gann on the inter-war Jewish choice between Zionism and Communism. The moral of Shylock’s Children is that little-appreciated political economic doctrines developed internally by rabbis, scholars, activists and publicists over more than two centuries “solved” the Jewish problem. The End of the Holocaust contemplates the ways in which the Holocaust has been remembered — and the ways in which that memory had been distorted. An interview with Deborah Lipstadt, author of The Eichmann Trial.

Terry L. Turnipseed (Syracuse): The President and the Autopen: It is Unconstitutional for Someone or Something to Sign a Bill Outside of the President's Presence. Pret a mourir: If you want to see a horrific application of all the principles of immaterial and affective labor, Virnoesque virtuosity, lateral surveillance, obligatory reflexivity, emotional management, gamification and so on, you need look no further. Gwen Sharp on the mental burden of a lower-class background. As progress on equality for gay men and lesbians ripples through the country, one group has been prominently left behind: transgender people. Repressing the Internet, Western-Style: As politicians call for more online controls after London and Norway, authoritarian states are watching. The new "Let them eat cake!": David Sirota on 10 shocking, illuminating moments that prove just how out of touch the powerful really are. When that becomes this: David Micah Greenberg on comparison in politics and poetry. Why did Japan surrender? Sixty-six years ago, we dropped a nuclear bomb on Hiroshima — now, some historians say that’s not what ended the war. A review of Shock Value: How a Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, and Invented Modern Horror by Jason Zinoman. The elusive craft of evaluating advocacy: Steven Teles and Mark Schmitt describe the challenges of evaluating advocacy organizations and outline possible approaches that donors might use. The Paleo Diet: Meat, veggies, and nuts might be the foods humans evolved to eat — or they may just be Atkins in disguise. If Rick Perry is seriously a presidential front-runner there's something wrong with all of us. Witness to intellectual suicide: A bitter farewell to Cioran on his 100th birthday — Fritz Raddatz on the Romanian philosopher's newly published essays from the 1930s.

Johnathan O'Neill (GSU): The First Conservatives: The Constitutional Challenge to Progressivism. From the inaugural issue of Breakthrough Journal, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger on modernizing liberalism; Michael Lind is against cosmopolitanism; Dalton Conley on liberalism and the new inequality; Rob Atkinson on the trouble with progressive economics; and Fred Block on Daniel Bell's prophecy. Kenneth Minogue writes in praise of reactionaries (and Harvey Mansfield reviews Minogue's The Servile Mind: How Democracy Erodes the Moral Life). Alternate History: The right needs a narrative to refute the superstitions of progress. From US Intellectual History, Tim Lacy on Mortimer Adler and Great Books Liberalism (and more and more and more and more). Walter Williams on understanding liberals. Franklin Foer on the roots of liberalism and how the Civil War remade politics. A review of Libertarianism, from A to Z by Jeffrey A. Miron. The three fundamentalisms of the American right: Michael Lind on how conservatism went from orthodox and traditional to radical and counter-revolutionary. Reclaiming the politics of freedom: Since the ’70s, liberals and leftists have misidentified the source of conservatism’s appeal. From Alternative Right, Robert Burnham on understanding the egalitarian religion. From New Politics, starting all over from scratch? Sheila Cohen on a plea for "radical reform" of our own movement. Hal Crowther on the alarming revival of Ayn Rand, the Right's weirdest idol of them all (and more). Seth Ackerman on liberals and racism. Anthony de Jasay on suckers, punters, pathbreakers: When Homo oeconomicus is selflessly selfish. A review of The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What’s Wrong With America by Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch (and more and more and more).

The 15th-century Voynich Manuscript is written in a language that has baffled every expert — is it just a brilliant hoax, or will someone eventually decipher its meaning? (and more) A look at how Black English and Modern Hebrew are alike. If dictionaries are tools for clarity, why is their writing so tortured? A review of When the World Spoke French by Marc Fumaroli (and more). The real tsunami: The Japanese disaster silenced two metaphors at once. Grammar rules are far more fluid than most people think; Robert Lane Greene explains why it's okay to split an infinitive. A look at how language apps make Babel Fish a reality. Lessons in language: John McWhorter on South Sudan. Disinterested or uninterested? How long we should cling to a word's original meaning. Some southern Africans use 150 different sounds, compared with 44 in English — here's more proof that humanity originated in Africa. An Uh, Er, Um Essay: Michael Erard writes in praise of verbal stumbles. Is it possible that there is now a skeleton lingua franca beneath the flesh of these vernaculars, and that it was basically an English skeleton? The riddle of the Syriac double dot: it’s the world’s earliest question mark. A look at how Shakespeare helped make English a world language. Is learning a rare language a risky future bet? Indians beat English at their language: Students whose mother tongue is an Indian language fare better in the Test of English as a Foreign Language than those whose native language is English. A review of How Many Languages Do We Need? The Economics of Linguistic Diversity by Victor Ginsburgh and Shlomo Weber. Anatoly Liberman on the oddest English spellings, part 17: The letter H. Stephen Fry takes on the language pedants. A University of Chicago institute completes a dictionary of Assyrian 9 decades (and more).