In recent years foreign media has been praising China for opening to the West and stimulating the world economy but it has been going global for centuries. A review of Return to Dragon Mountain by Jonathan Spence. Many scholars point out that Chinese hegemony is far from assured, and that in its climb to power it has disappointed new friends and attracted unsavory allies. The first chapter from Social States: China in International Institutions, 1980-2000 by Alastair Iain Johnston. Ian Buruma on China's dark triumph: The success of its economy poses a serious challenge to liberal democracy. James Fallows on the $1.4 trillion question: The Chinese are subsidizing the American way of life — are we playing them for suckers or are they playing us?
From Wired, the untold story of how the iPhone blew up the wireless industry. A review of The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr (and more and more). The fuel of the Internet: While bloggers and print journalists lock horns over media hierarchies and journalistic standards, Web 2.0 is making Google a noiseless fortune. A look at how Wiki citizens are taking on a new area: Searching. Keeping it real: Why, in an age of free information, would anyone pay millions for a document? From TED, investor and prankster Yossi Vardi delivers a careful lecture on the dangers of blogging — specifically, um, for men. A look at how Facebook ads make you the star — and you may not know it. Best face forward: An article on effective social climbing, the Facebook way.
From Salon, an interview with Jonah Goldberg on Liberal Fascism, and more on cloudy fortunes for conservatism. From The Washington Monthly, David Greenberg on why conservatives hate Bush: It's not because he's an ideological heretic — it's because he's a loser; and a look at why Rudy Giuliani loves Norman Podhoretz. A review of They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons by Jacob Heilbrunn. An interview with Christopher Hitchens, the Mick Jagger of modern letters. A review of The Second Plane by Martin Amis. A review of In a Cardboard Belt! Essays Personal, Literary, and Savage by Joseph Epstein. Paul Johnson on what great statesmen have to teach us. Roger Scruton on the decline of laughter, and a review of Culture Counts: Faith and feeling in a world besieged.
The first chapter from Physicalism, or Something Near Enough by Jaegwon Kim. A review of Artificial Consciousness. Is it possible to be too aware of our own consciousness? A review of Describing Inner Experience? Proponent Meets Skeptic. A review of The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness by Jeff Warren. A review of The Self?, ed. Galen Strawson. Don't just stand there, think: Research suggests that we think not just with our brains, but with our bodies. A review of The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science by Norman Doidge. A review of A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink. An article on John Searle on the human mind and the nature of intelligence.
A review of The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray's Anatomy by Bill Hayes (and more). A review of The Naked Man: A Study of the Male Body by Desmond Morris (and more). A review of Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman. A review of Your Inner Fish: A Journey Into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin. A couple who sailed to America from England around 1630 may be the ancestors of many in the US at higher risk of a hereditary form of colon cancer. The new hygiene hypothesis: The microbes within us could explain rising allergy rates. It’s easy to hate viruses, but they have also repaid us in ways we are just beginning to tally. Here's a list of current genetic experiments most likely to destroy humanity.
From Technology Review, an article on the genetics of language: Researchers are beginning to crack the code that gives humans our way with words. Evolution of counting is no simple operation: When it comes to tallying objects, some modern languages have become less complex. Steven Pinker on The Moral Instinct: Evolution has endowed us with ethical impulses — do we know what to do with them? Only by conceiving of evolution as acting upon entire populations rather than individual organisms can we understand eusociality — the mysterious, seemingly "altruistic" behaviors exhibited by insects who forego reproduction in order to care for a colony's young, says Edward O. Wilson.
From The Bulletin, is the availability of genetic information dangerous? Algorithmic inelegance: Complexity in living things is a product of the lack of direction in evolutionary processes, of the accumulation of fortuitous accidents, rather than the product of design. From The New Atlantis, Steve Talbott, author of Devices of the Soul: Battling for Our Selves in an Age of Machines, on Ghosts in the Evolutionary Machinery; and a review of The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth E. O. Wilson. Monkey man: From apes to immortality, Desmond Morris is still fascinated by the human condition. An interview with David Attenborough, the man who’s brought us life on earth, in the freezer, under the oceans and in the undergrowth.
From Al-Ahram, four pillars of Arab salvation: Gamil Mattar sees promising new developments in the Arab world that, if steered in the right direction, can deliver the dream of stability to our region. From The Atlantic Monthly, Jeffrey Goldberg on a report from the new Middle East—and a glimpse of its possible future. Bush of Arabia: This U.S. president is the most consequential the Middle East has ever seen. What happened in the Strait of Hormuz? Fred Kaplan on how to prevent a naval war with Iran (and a video). Follow the path of negotiation and peace: An interview with Shirin Ebadi. From Foreign Policy, an interview with Gen. David Petraeus on how he plans to draw down without leaving chaos behind. The Numbers Guy on a new approach to count of Iraqi civilian deaths.
From The Economist, oil keeps getting more expensive—but not because it is running out. Oil is at $100 per barrel — get used to it, but is $100 oil a big deal? Why would it be so much worse than $99? An interview with David Sandalow, author of Freedom From Oil: How the Next President Can End the United States' Oil Addiction. The Ethanol Fallacy: America needs smart alternative to oil, but the just-passed energy bill puts too much emphasis on the wrong alternative. Behind the buzz over Brazil’s cane-based ethanol production lurk enduring social problems. From The New Atlantis, an essay on achieving energy victory. Researchers have found a way of using sunlight to recycle carbon dioxide and produce fuels like methanol or gasoline.
From Bad Subjects, what would Dr. King do: The new movement against war and racism. A review of Randall Kennedy's Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal. A review of Shelby Steele's White Guilt: How Blacks and Whites Together Destroyed the Promise of the Civil Right Era. As more people of color transition between genders, the ways that racism is different for men and women come to the surface. A review of Driven Out: The Forgotten War Against Chinese Americans by Jean Pfaelzer. What if our prejudices could be transformed into a force for good? Harvard's Todd Pittinsky suggests a new way to think about social relations. An interview with Scott E. Page, author of The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies.