From Rolling Stone, Obama's Sheriff: Under Bush, the Interior Department was as lawless as the Wild West, but can the new secretary bring the wrongdoers to justice? Ken Salazar wants windmills in the ocean, but first he'll have to save the Interior Department. Is anything black about the American West? The black American experience is more than just Harlem and Mississippi, North and South, ghettoes and Jim Crow. Daniel Cloud on scientific capitalism. A small but growing cadre of scientists are arguing that our current crisis was in fact predictable and that the technology exists to make sure that it won’t happen again. More and more and more on The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett. Charles Darwin wrote about how species began; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now points to how it all might end. Why do most of us cling to the notion of human progress? Because it makes it easier to accept the reality of our own deaths. A.J. Liebling saw this coming: In The Press, published in 1964, the media critic predicted that newspapers' business models would be their undoing. On Reading Liebling: A consideration of The New Yorker scribe's diverse canon.
From Time, Facebook takes a dive: Why social networks are bad businesses; and a look at why the office oddball is good for business. From Salon, stop the Internet, I want to get off: Constant e-mailing, Web surfing and online games were melting Rebecca Traister's brain — then she found something that might actually save her from herself; and controversial "Wetlands" author Charlotte Roche talks about bodily functions, shaving pubic hair, and why there are so few euphemisms for female masturbation. Should porn screenings be allowed at state universities? Relatedly: Why would anyone care? Reading, yes, readings, no: We ill-serve students by having them study literature through the filter of a school of criticism — let outstanding writing, first and foremost, represent itself. James Parker on how pop culture fell under a Alan Moore's strange spell. A look at how comic books became part of the literary establishment (and a review of Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean by Douglas Wolk at Bookforum). Can design save the newspaper? Jacek Utko investigates. William F. Buckley Jr. sends an email from Purgatory. From Strange Maps, a look at Palestine’s Island Paradise, now with a word from its creator.
A new issue of Open Letters Monthly is out. From Foreign Policy, Robert Kaplan on how people and ideas influence events, but geography largely determines them, now more than ever (and a roundtable on "the New Geography" at Bookforum); confessions of a true believer: John Judis on how the collapse of Soviet communism never relegated Marx's ideas to the dustbin of history; and Leon Panitch on thoroughly modern Marx: Lights, camera, action — Das Kapital, now. From PopMatters, a special feature on Wham!'s "Make It Big" turning 25. Traveling off the beaten path: Slum tours offer travelers an authentic, offbeat look at foreign cultures — and locals a new way to make a living. Fareed Zakaria on how to achieve genuine energy independence. Toy Story: Are those 5,000 magazines in your messenger bag, or are you just happy to see me? From New Scientist, a special feature on the five ages of the brain. If politicians spoke directly to the American people, what would happen? New research suggests people might actually feel a little better about politics. From The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan reviews Alec Baldwin’s A Promise to Ourselves; and for some people, spending just doesn’t come naturally, especially in a recession; behavioral economists have a solution. Sex with robots: A look at how humanity is screwing itself.
A new issue of Catalyst is out. From The American Interest, defining prosperity: Philip Auerswald and Zoltan J. Acs on why opportunity matters more than growth; and Tyler Cowen reviews the film "The End of Poverty". Drunken Nation: Nicholas Eberstadt on Russia’s depopulation bomb. From Parade, Sen, James Web on why we must fix our prisons. The Vatican says women owe their liberation to the washing machine — could that possibly be true? More on Snark: It’s Mean, It’s Personal, and It’s Ruining Our Conversation by David Denby. Visionary with a sharp edge, chronicler of all our dystopias, and rock's favourite novelist, JG Ballard cast his shadow right across the arts (and more and more and more and more). From TLS, John Shakespeare on how Philip Larkin rewrote the first, indiscreet article about him to appear in the British press. From THES, the spirit of greatness: Felipe Fernandez-Armesto recognises the strength of the US is in its people; in restoring oratory and rhetoric to a central role in public life, Barack Obama has shown how words and bearing can touch lives and change minds; and the knack, and how to get it: Reading seems a simple task — but Bob Blaisdell, a teacher of English and a voracious reader, knows just how tough it can be.