A new issue of The New Atlantis is out, including Christine Rosen on People of the Screen: A tale of two literacies; and a review of Enhancing Evolution by John Harris. From Context, Viktor Shklovsky: Five Feuilletons on Sergei Eisenstein. Since Mayor Michael Bloomberg's congestion-pricing plan failed in New York City, his transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan has taken a piecemeal approach to reclaiming streets from cars. The Paris Review inspires - - and reassures - - young writers, says Margaret Atwood. Harold Meyerson on the case for keeping the Big Three out of bankruptcy. Cleanliness is next to godlessness: Soaping away your outer dirt may lead to inner evil. A review of Mad, Bad and Dangerous? The Scientist and the Cinema by Christopher Frayling. From Big Think, Tyler Cowen on the free market and morality. Eric Banks on 100 candles for Claude Levi-Strauss. From AJR, many newspapers are laying off the reporters who monitor the federal government from a local angle — the cost could be steep. From Tikkun, an article on the irresponsibility of Thomas Friedman. Transformation 101: Technology is driving down the cost of teaching undergraduates — so why are tuition bills going up? Roget's Thesaurus is more than just a book about words — and the story of its author's often unhappy life provides a suggestive counterpoint to its complexities.
From New York, Manhattan is the capital of people living by themselves, but are New Yorkers lonelier? Far from it, say a new breed of loneliness researchers, who argue that urban alienation is largely a myth. John Cacioppo, author of Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, on technology and loneliness. The Undying Animal: Morris Dickstein reminds us why literature still matters. The Web Guru: As media shatters, Jeff Jarvis is the ideologue seer of the New Age. Grey sky thinking: A review of books on British weather. Carlin Romano reviews books on sex addiction: Ooh! Aah! Eek! Ugh. Zzzz. Ooh! From The Global Spiral, the postmodern condition as a religious revival: A review of William Connolly’s Why I am Not a Secularist, Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Provincializing Europe, and Alvin Plantinga’s Warranted Christian Belief; and is science the only sure path to truth? An excerpt from The Big Questions in Science and Religion by Keith Ward. Charles Homas on the Last Secrets of the Bush Administration: How to find out what we still don't know. From U. of Chicago Press, an interview with Lennard J. Davis, author of Obsession: A History (and a review); an excerpt from Patty’s Got a Gun Patricia Hearst in 1970s America by William Graebner; and an excerpt from Autophobia: Love and Hate in the Automotive Age by Brian Ladd.
From Global-e, Michael A. Peters (Illinois): Information, Globalization and Democracy: The Utopian Moment? An interview with Susan Petrilli and Augusto Ponzio on the semiotic basis of knowledge and ethics. How should a democratic community make public policy? The first chapter from Democracy and Knowledge: Innovation and Learning in Classical Athens by Josiah Ober. From The Insider, an article on why capitalism is good for the soul. From African American Review, a review of Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy by Nikhil Pal Singh. A review of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North by Thomas J. Sugrue. More and more on Gabriel Garcia Marquez: a Life by Gerald Martin. A review of Fredric Jameson's Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions. The introduction to Economic Gangsters: Corruption, Violence and the Poverty of Nations by Raymond Fisman and Edward Miguel (and a review and a panel). From Arts & Opinion, an article on steroid hysteria: unpacking the claims; and why abstract art is not art. From Liberal Education, a special issue on the future of interdisciplinary studies. From Expositions, a review essay on the evolution of evolution theory and its controversies. Can’t keep track of your sex life? The Internet can.
From Human Ecology Review, Joanne Vining and Melinda S. Merrick (Illinois) and Emily A. Price (Utah State): The Distinction between Humans and Nature: Human Perceptions of Connectedness to Nature and Elements of the Natural and Unnatural; and Jerry Williams (Stephen F. Austin): Thinking as Natural: Another Look at Human Exemptionalism; and reflections on Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. From NYRB, Michael Dirda reviews the work of Paul Auster. From Plenty, Christian Lander on stuff environmentalists like (and part 2). Though obviously not anti-intellectual, by Obama's own account he is a pragmatist, not strongly bound to any "isms". Life after bankruptcy: The age of privatisation is over; politics not the market is responsible for promoting the common good — philosopher Jurgen Habemas talks to Thomas Assheuer about the necessity of an international world order. From Utne, a series on “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World”. An interview with Neal Stephenson: "I'm choosing to be left behind". A look at how death is a hot topic among writers these days. An article on the Center for American Progress, the ideas factory in Obama's Washington. A review of The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule by Thomas Frank. A review of Becoming Beside Ourselves: The Alphabet, Ghosts, and Distributed Human Being by Brian Rotman.
From HIR, a special issue on failed states. From Nova, aliens from Earth: Is the hobbit, known scientifically as Homo floresiensis, a new human species? Former grifter Todd Robbins has made a career out of the art of deception; here are his lessons for how to avoid getting played for a sucker. More on Jim Holt's Stop Me If You’ve Heard This Before. What’s really going on in the Gulf of Aden? It’s time for Somali Pirates 101. "I am the eternal altar boy": This year's Buchner-Prize laureate Josef Winkler on dung heaps, the fear of speechlessness and the elegance of John Paul II's coffin. Group think: The turn to online research is narrowing the range of modern scholarship, a new study suggests. Are Pentagon nerds developing packs of man-hunting killer robots? A review of The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes. An interview with Gar Alperovitz and Lew Daly, authors of Unjust Deserts: How the Rich are Taking our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take it Back. If the conservative era is over, can liberals come out of their defensive crouch and call themselves liberals again, instead of progressives? Corpulent News Network: With no muddling broadcast news network to support, CNN’s Jonathan Klein is free to spend the network’s $1.1 billion in revenue on whatever he wants!
Louise Crowther (Manchester): Diderot, Spinoza, and the Question of Virtue. Form ProPublica, who will Bush let off the hook?; what docs can the White House put in the shredder?; and can Obama turn back the clock on Bush’s midnight rules? A review of The Book of Animal Ignorance: Everything You Think You Know Is Wrong by John Lloyd. If our tests mimic the real world, then higher bonuses may not only cost employers more but also discourage executives from working to the best of their ability. The Old-School Individualist: Independent game designer Jeff Vogel on putting morality into play. We have come to think of gender as a spectrum; is it time to do the same for sex? From World Press, an article on 120 years of non-concluded abolition. An infinite loop in the brain: What if memory never faded, but instead could be retrieved at any time, as reliably as films in a video store? George W. Bush wasn't so bad: We don’t need to wait for history to render judgment on the positive aspects of Bush’s presidency. Nine out of ten dogmas: Frank Furedi on the assumptions, agendas and distinctly iffy data behind those ubiquitous words, "research shows". A review of The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson. An interview with Thomas Hayden, author of Sex and War: How Biology Explains Warfare and Terrorism and Offers a Path to a Safer World (and an excerpt).
From YaleGlobal, an article on the limits of growth: Economic crisis, an area where humans wield great control, should not take priority over the climate-change crisis (and part 2). It is an economic state of nature we live in right now, and Hobbes and Locke point the direction. From FP, an interview with Matthew Waxman on how to close Gitmo (in six easy steps). How to deal with pirates: The rise of piracy is threatening international trade and raising complex questions; the only way to end the scourge is to respond aggressively. What's with this piratomania? Why do pirates have us hooked? Linton Weeks wants to know (but do check your pirate insurance). Here are 5 myths about our ailing health-care system. Let the guy smoke: Obama is probably fibbing about giving up cigarettes — that's okay. A review of Try to Remember: Psychiatry's Clash Over Meaning, Memory, and Mind by Paul R McHugh. A review of books on the making of modern Hebrew. From The Economist, an article on the decline of the Republican Party. Dahlia Lithwick on why Eric Holder will have his hands full at the Justice Department. More and more and more and more and more and more and more on Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers. A review of The Superorganism: The Beauty, Elegance, and Strangeness of Insect Societies by Bert Holldobler and Edward O. Wilson.
From Vanity Fair, forget hanging chads, 9/11, and those missing W.M.D.’s; a massive new conspiracy book proves that the original unanswerable question is still the juiciest: who shot J.F.K.? (and more on what might have been). The great divide: The discipline of anthropology has split firmly into two factions - - social anthropologists and evolutionary anthropologists; can the warring sides be reconciled? No gene is an island: Even as biologists catalog the discrete parts of life forms, an emerging picture reveals that life’s functions arise from interconnectedness. Financial Reversals: Everything bad is good again. An article on the art of translation. From Salon, an appreciation of Michelle Obama's beauty — and booty. Michelle's best assets: Out of all her stellar qualities, why go there? In defense of Generation Y: The recent presidential campaign upended a number of common misconceptions about the “young voter” demographic. Sister Souljah rejects any labels on her literary output. A review of The Crisis of the Twelfth Century: Power, Lordship, and the Origins of European Government by Thomas N. Bisson. How many blogs does the world need? Michael Kinsley wants to know. From Vox, an article on uncertainty, climate change, and the global economy. An interview with notorious lawyer Jacques Verges: "There is no such thing as absolute evil".
From Mental Floss, an article on the secrets behind your favorite toys; and a look at the surprisingly cool history of ice. What girls want: Caitlin Flanagan on a series of vampire novels that illuminates the complexities of female adolescent desire. From New Internationalist, here are the nominees for Most Artful Tax Dodger (and the winner). Heil Comrade: Baader-Meinhof is flashy and violent, but the glamour hides Germany's odd history of leftist anti-semitism. From Prospect, exactly 50 years ago Michael Young published his famous dystopia The Rise of the Meritocracy; his son Toby argues that we never got the meritocratic educational elite predicted by his father, instead we got the celebrity class; and Britain has more upward social mobility than is often assumed — on some measures more than Germany; but there is least movement where it matters most for the idea of meritocracy, at the very top and the bottom. 20 best brains under 40: Young innovators are changing everything from theoretical mathematics to cancer therapy. The forgotten evolutionist: Alfred Russel Wallace charted a great dividing line in the living world. A review of Deciding the Next Decider: The 2008 Presidential Race in Rhyme by Calvin Trillin. Here are 27 popular websites that became books. Will the next Einstein come from Africa? If Neil Turok gets his wish the answer will be a resounding yes.
From TAP, how do we keep Obama's youth mobilized? Nine youth organizers, writers, and progressive-policy thinkers show us the way forward; and dozens of progressive institutions are clamoring to put their agendas on Obama's desk — will the incoming president actually read them? A review of Fighting Words: A Tale of How Liberals Created Neo-Conservatism by Ben Wattenberg. David Donadio on the death of neoconservatism. A look at the greatest conspiracy theories in history. From Jewcy, an article on the problem with Jewish bigots; and a series on Islamic Eschatology to annihilationist Muslim Jew hatred. Confirmation bias: From Jonestown to tribalism to presidential politics, individuals seek the like-minded. From Mental Floss, a look at 10 famous circus performers and 4 heartbreaking (or miraculous) moments in gambling history. Why a Cuban Democrat can't win in South Florida: It's the Communism, Stupid. From n+1, Andrew Seal never dreamed that his pride-filled defense of his native state would prove prophetic. A review of Regulatory Capitalism: How it Works, Ideas for Making it Work Better by John Braithwaite. Images of Satan: Norwegian Black Metal — apparently, Mother Nature makes vicious Vikings out of little boys. A review of Death from the Skies!: These Are the Ways the World Will End by Philip Plait.