From PUP, the first chapter from Welcome to the Universe: The Problem Book by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Michael A. Strauss and J. Richard Gott. Ryan F. Mandelbaum on the scientists who look for nothing to understand everything. Scientists want to update these four fundamental constants. CERN declares war on the Standard Model. Physicists are trying to rewrite the axioms of quantum theory from scratch in an effort to understand what it all means — the problem? They’ve been almost too successful. Basic assumptions of physics might require the future to influence the past. Ethan Siegel on how the universe itself may be unnatural. Universe shouldn’t exist, CERN physicists conclude.

Creating a universe in the lab? The idea is no joke. Controversial new theory suggests life wasn’t a fluke of biology — it was physics. Evil triumphs in these multiverses, and God is powerless: How scientific cosmology puts a new twist on the problem of evil. String theory’s weirdest ideas finally make sense — thanks to VR.

The retaliatory state: How Trump is turning government into a weapon of revenge. Jillian S. Ambroz on how Trump and Congress are erasing the last 20 years using an obscure 1990s law to wipe out regulations protecting citizens and the environment. Pay attention to the Kansas disaster: It’s what Republicans want for the whole country. Trump World express an alarming interest in “welfare reform”. How Trump is slowly destroying America's national security agencies. While eyes are on Russia, Sessions dramatically reshapes the Justice Department. Diplomats sound the alarm as they are pushed out in droves. Should you work for the Trump administration even if you disagree with the president?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was designed to stop Donald Trump. Crisis at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Matthew Yglesias on why Republicans hate the agency. Stymied on many fronts, Trump chips away at Obama’s legacy wherever possible. Dan Balz on how Trump is really changing things.

Martha Grace Duncan (Emory): What Not to Do When Your Roommate Is Murdered in Italy: Amanda Knox, Her “Strange” Behavior, and the Italian Legal System. Julia Azari on how depicting Nazis as ordinary gives them power. From “Footnotes to Plato”, Gary Cox on Jean-Paul Sartre and the demands of freedom. A woman approached The Washington Post with dramatic — and false — tale about Roy Moore — she appears to be part of undercover sting operation. Brooks E. Hefner on his book The Word on the Streets: The American Language of Vernacular Modernism. Yochi Dreazen on why Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry is controversial. “Authoritarian government in Egypt now following Trump’s cue to attack CNN. When the President of the United States demonizes the press, despots listen—and celebrate”.

Deirdre Coyle reviews Ready Player Two: Women Gamers and Designed Identity by Shira Chess. Ellen Pao: This is how sexism works in Silicon Valley — my lawsuit failed, others won’t. Ellen Pao’s story in Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change is messier than the book makes it sound. The tech industry’s gender-discrimination problem: The dramatic imbalance in pay and power has created the conditions for abuse — more and more, women are pushing for change. How to attract more women to the tech industry (and more and more). Nitasha Tiku on why tech leadership may have a bigger race than gender problem.

For tech’s deepest problems, women are the canary in the data mine. Women cracked wartime codes — they can fix tech today, too. Female code warriors: Joseph Peschel reviews The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies by Jason Fagone; and Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy.

Anna Luhrmann (Gothenburg) et al.: V-Dem Annual Report 2017: Democracy at Dusk? Shaen Corbet (Dublin City) and Constantin Gurdgiev (Trinity): Millennials’ Support for Liberal Democracy is Failing: A Deep Uncertainty Perspective. James Mensch (Charles): The Crisis of Legitimacy. Is there a crisis of liberal democracy? We have entered a new era in which two great-power adversaries are threatening our democratic way of life with great subtlety and sophistication. When democracies are under attack, it’s time to rein in executive power. Will global populism continue to erode democracies? Joshua Tucker interviews Anna Grzymala-Busse, president of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies.

The world is in economic, political and environmental gridlock — here’s why. Europeans have lost faith in their governments and institutions. From NYRB, is democracy in Europe doomed? No, the populist surge does not mean European democracy is collapsing. Is democracy in a worldwide decline? Nope. Should we trust democracy ratings? New research finds hidden biases.

Benjamin A.T. Graham (USC), Michael K. Miller (GWU), and Kaare W. Strom (UCSD): Safeguarding Democracy: Powersharing and Democratic Survival. Samuel Issacharoff (NYU): Democracy’s Deficits. Erica Benner on 8 delusions of western democracy we could do without.