From The Hedgehog Review, a special section on meritocracy and its discontents, including Helen Andrews on the new ruling class; Wilfred M. McClay on how meritocracy went wrong; and Robert H. Frank on just deserts. Why Americans ignore the role of luck in everything: Jesse Singal reviews Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy by Robert Frank. Are you successful? If so, you’ve already won the lottery. Ruth Whippman on why the American Dream is making you unhappy: The insistence that this is a meritocracy has been so deeply ingrained, we have internalized the idea that we are all exactly where we deserve to be. Meritocracy in Obama’s Gilded Age: Aziz Rana on meritocracy and the modern university. Shattering the notion of the university as meritocracy: An excerpt from Crises of Imagination, Crises of Power by Max Haiven. Andrew Lilico on how Theresa May’s “meritocracy” is a recipe for Darwinian dystopia.

Gil Morejon (DePaul): Eternal Life and the Time of Death: Biopolitical Threat and Miguel Vatter’s Republic of the Living. Karen E. Bravo (Indiana): Making “Slavery” Work. The United Nations will launch its first space mission in 2021. Africa’s largest public-opinion survey is under threat, but here’s what you can do about it. Bruce Bartlett on why it’s not too late to fix Fox News. Conservatives say Hillary Clinton can’t plead ignorance — but corporate criminals can. A review of a new Hitler biography is not so subtly all about Trump. The dangers of social fragmentation: Sean Illing interviews Sebastian Junger, author of Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging. Kriston Capps on the unlikely trick of the Smithsonian’s new African American museum. Frank T. McAndrew on why clowns creep us out. Journalism has an editing crisis, but we can do something about it.

Elizabeth Drew on the candidates laid bare. The silence of the lambs: Gary Legum on why sheepish GOP leaders have been conspicuously quiet since Donald Trump’s debate debacle. Donald Trump is about to go nuclear on Hillary Clinton. “Most years you don’t count on your political nemeses to save the world from fascism. But every now and again you might”: Several conservative newspapers have endorsed Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump — their wise words are too little, too late.

A remote Pacific nation, threatened by rising seas: Climate change is threatening the livelihoods of the people of tiny Kiribati, and even the island nation’s existence — the government is making plans for the island’s demise. Sea level rise is already driving people from the Marshall Islands. Sea-level rise has claimed five whole islands in the Pacific: First scientific evidence. Should the United States save Tangier Island from oblivion? It’s the kind of choice that climate change will be forcing over and over. This is how South Florida ends. When will New York City sink? Even locals who believe climate change is real have a hard time grasping that their city will almost certainly be flooded beyond recognition. Flooding of coast, caused by global warming, has already begun: Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical.

Anne Peters (Max Planck): Corruption as a Violation of International Human Rights. Anthony Heath, Lindsay Richards, and Nan Dirk de Graaf (Oxford): Explaining Corruption in the Developed World: The Potential of Sociological Approaches. Martha Sanudo reviews Waging War on Corruption by Frank Vogl and Curtailing Corruption: People Power for Accountability and Justice by Shaazka Beyerle. Want to end corruption? Crack down on tax havens. Bring back corruption: Moses Ochonu on a critique of neoliberal anti-corruption rhetoric. Simplice Asongu (AGDI) and Jacinta Nwachukwu (Coventry): Unjust Enrichment from Official Corruption in Africa: Theory and Model on How Lenders Have Benefited (and more). Xi Lu and Peter L. Lorentzen (UC-Berkeley): Rescuing Autocracy from Itself: China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign. U.S.-backed effort to fight Afghan corruption is a near-total failure, audit finds.

Andrew Prokop on Donald Trump’s history of corruption: A comprehensive review. NY Attorney General’s probe of Trump Foundation appears to widen. Hillary Clinton can’t let Donald Trump win the corruption issue.

Tomasz Zyglewicz (Warsaw): Can a Consequentialist Be a Good Friend? Colombia’s night before the dawn: As the country prepares for a plebiscite on the peace process, both hope and anxiety abound. The politics of pockets: Chelsea G. Summers on how the history of pockets isn’t just sexist, it’s political. Which institutions are best suited to realising freedom? Alex Prichard and Ruth Kinna on freedom as non-domination. The world’s first Ebola epidemic: An excerpt from Ebola: How a People’s Science Helped End an Epidemic by Paul Richards. From Democracy, a symposium on the Unseen Election: Here are factors you haven’t thought about, from six different authors. Anti-Defamation League declares Pepe the Frog a hate symbol. Dating a Trump supporter this election season? There has never been a better reason to return yourself to single status.

From Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald on how Donald Trump’s company violated the United States embargo against Cuba. Max Ehrenfreund on the mystery of why Donald Trump focuses so much on trade. Donald Trump is owning Hillary Clinton on trade: Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but his message is resonating in key states — here’s how Clinton can fight back. To suggest that a 90-minute event could possibly encompass “just about every perceived area of vulnerability” for Trump is to assert that such vulnerabilities are finite. The problem with Trump isn’t his debating skills. Republicans in denial that the debate exposed Donald Trump as unfit for office.

From LARB, Anthony McCann on the occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon: Sovereign Feelings and Ours but Not Ours. The case for white curiosity: Patrick Phillips on interrogating the devastating legacy of white supremacy in America. Why do people who need help from the government hate it so much? Yuval Levin isn’t dumb: Todd Gitlin reviews The Fractured Republic: Renewing America’s Social Contract in the Age of Individualism. What is conservatism? Christopher N. Malagisi interviews Jonah Goldberg. Jonny Thakkar on why conservatives should read Marx. Gilbert T. Sewall on Robert Nisbet’s conservatism. How Little House on the Prairie built modern conservatism: With catchy stories and a lucrative royalty stream, Rose Wilder Lane helped reshape American politics, from her young readers to the Koch brothers.

With Koch brothers academy, conservatives settle in for long war. A neoconservative, generational rift and a tale of two worsts: Former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz recently said he would “not bet [his] life on anything about Trump”, but has even less regard for Clinton; his son, John, wants to convince him otherwise. James Pethokoukis on a conservative case against Trump’s apocalyptic view of America. Conservative intellectual Samuel Goldman explains why the GOP has fallen to Donald Trump. George Will on how Donald Trump’s rise reflects American conservatism’s decay. George Hawley on the 2016 election and the end of the conservative movement.

What’s wrong with Craig Venter? The multi-millionaire maverick says he can help you live a better, longer life. Can this woman cure ageing with gene therapy? Biotech boss Elizabeth Parrish has tried out her company’s anti-ageing gene therapy with, she says, amazing results. An MIT scientist claims that this pill is the Fountain of Youth: Leonard Guarente is certain he’s succeeded where doctors (and quacks) before him have failed — his pill will either extend lives or tarnish his career. Why aging isn’t inevitable: Josh Mitteldorf and Dorion Sagan on how the great variety of aging styles among plants and animals suggests it can be controlled. Cheating death: Science is getting to grips with ways to slow ageing — rejoice, as long as the side-effects can be managed. The immortality hype: Despite the hyperbole, private funding is changing the science of aging for the better.

Peter Thiel is right about one thing: Calling for an end to aging and mortality. Simon Davis on how humans could one day evolve to live forever. Lucas Rizzotto on how we can all live “forever” — and we need to talk about it. Live forever: Kate Knibbs on a weekend watching the promise of immortality get sold and bought at the Revolution Against Aging and Death Festival. Zoltan Istvan on how living forever has never been more popular. Some people want to live forever, here’s how they try. Some people choose to be frozen at death — here’s how it happens (and more at New Scientist). Anya Bernstein (Harvard): Freeze, Die, Come to Life: The Many Paths to Immortality in Post-Soviet Russia. Generation Cryo: George Dvorsky on fighting death in the frozen unknown. Are cryonics patients property?

Transhumanist Alexey Turchin records everything around him so his mind will live forever. Scientists aim to let us speak from beyond the grave: Advances in artificial intelligence could give us digital immortality, distilling a lifetime’s worth of online presence into a deathless version of ourselves.

Neda Atanasoski (UC-Santa Cruz) and Kalindi Vora (UC-San Diego): Surrogate Humanity: Posthuman Networks and the (Racialized) Obsolescence of Labor. U.S. owes black people reparations for a history of “racial terrorism”, says U.N. panel. Ria Misra on how Elon Musk plans to go to Mars (and more). It’s finally possible to understand what happened to Amanda Knox. What is blockchain, and why is it growing in popularity? Bitcoin was the start. When we loved Mussolini: Adam Tooze reviews The United States and Fascist Italy: The Rise of American Finance in Europe by Gian Giacomo Migone. Big league trouble: Trump faces new questions about his charity finances. The first chapter from Investigating the President: Congressional Checks on Presidential Power by Douglas L. Kriner and Eric Schickler. Politico 50: A guide to the thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016.

Bim Adewunmi on how the presidential debate is a horse show for undecided voters. Susan Dominus on the reverse-gaslighting of Donald Trump. The first debate featured an unprepared man repeatedly shouting over a highly prepared woman. Actually, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump at his own game: mansplaining. The presidential debate will be shown in gender studies classes for years to come. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump made Alicia Machado the new Khizr Khan. Hillary Clinton won the first debate by every metric. The first debate proved what we knew: Trump is a monster.

From Pew Research Center, a special report on the parties on the eve of the 2016 election: Two coalitions, moving further apart. Matt Grossmann and David A. Hopkins, authors of Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats, on how Republicans and Democrats can’t even agree about how they disagree; and how different are the Democratic and Republican parties? Too different to compare. Lee Drutman on the Divided States of America: Rather than being one two-party nation, we are increasingly two one-party nations. Mark Schmitt on why America should have more than 2 political parties: Real parties that reflected the full range of views across the country might open up Congress and politics for the better. Can we please stop complaining about our two-party system?

Gaurav Sood and Shanto Iyengar (Stanford): Coming to Dislike Your Opponents: The Polarizing Impact of Political Campaigns. Being an ideologue means never having to say you’re wrong. Jim Geraghty on the problem with partisan faith: Blind loyalty to a party or candidate is easy, and it’s damaging our politics. Presidential candidates are ideologically extreme — and they pretty much get away with it. Are people with extreme political views just bored? Bahar Gholipour on how boredom, an unassuming emotion, may have a larger impact than we think. Ana Swanson on how your political views affect who you think is attractive.

Diana Fu (Toronto): Disguised Collective Action in China. Suzanne E. Scoggins and Kevin J. O'Brien (UC-Berkeley): China’s Unhappy Police. Why does China care so much about the South China Sea? Here are 5 reasons. Bianca Bosker on how China’s ban on “weird” architecture is a global power play. Zheping Huang goes inside the Global Times, China’s hawkish, belligerent state tabloid. Revamped Chinese history journal Yanhuang Chunqiu welcomes hard-line writers. China’s twilight years: The country’s population is aging and shrinking — that means big consequences for its economy and America’s global standing. “China’s worst policy mistake”? Nicholas D. Kristof reviews China’s Hidden Children: Abandonment, Adoption, and the Human Costs of the One-Child Policy by Kay Ann Johnson (and more); and One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment by Mei Fong.

Alex W. Palmer on the fall of China’s hedge-fund king: Xu Xiang was a legend in the country’s booming stock market — until the bubble he helped to create took him down with it. Esther Wang on moving beyond “crazy rich Asians” in the stories we tell about China. Exit the Dragon? Kung Fu, once central to Hong Kong life, is waning. A revolutionary discovery in China: Ian Johnson reviews Buried Ideas: Legends of Abdication and Ideal Government in Early Chinese Bamboo-Slip Manuscripts by Sarah Allan.