Harris Gleckman (BEC): Global Governance in a Globalized World. David Freestone (UNSW): Problems of High Seas Governance. From German Law Journal, a special issue on the transnationalization of legal cultures. An excerpt from The Perils of Global Legalism by Eric Posner. From Carnegie Council, a panel on Five to Rule Them All: The UN Security Council and the Making of the Modern World by David L. Bosco. An interview with Mark Mazower, author of No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations (and more and more and the first chapter). A review of Conundrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives. A review of UN Peacekeeping in Civil Wars by Lise Morje Howard. An interview with Edward Mortimer of the Salzburg Global Seminar on books about the United Nations. Joel Kotkin and Robert J. Cristiano on moving the United Nations to Dubai. The Keep: Justin Davidson on America’s medieval new U.N. mission. For the conservative World Congress of Families, the United Nations is a key battleground over abortion and "family values". Only two governments have not ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Somalia and the US; President Obama supports ratification — on the opposing side are Christian Right home schoolers and believers in "American Exceptionalism". The limits of soft cultural power: Guarding precious and vulnerable places is one of the better things UNESCO does — but it may topple over if it stretches too far (and more and more).

From Esquire, meet Dana White, the King of Mixed Martial Arts: With the UFC, he has turned a bloody fringe sport into a $1 billion empire — but not without stopping at Pinkberry. From National Affairs, the health of baseball concerns all of America, and the health of ­America — perhaps especially the American family — finds itself reflected in the state of our national pastime. Baseball’s Fall Classic may not match the Super Bowl for ratings or popularity, but when it comes to American sporting nostalgia, the World Series has no peers. A review of Onward Christian Athletes: Turning Ballparks into Pulpits and Players into Preachers by Tom Krattenmaker (and more). Football and the brain need a divorce: Evidence is mounting that the game's violence is shortening players' lives. Football pared to its bare essentials: Dreamed up as a half-time distraction, the Lingerie League is taking off. A review of Soccernomics by Simon Kuper and Stefon Szymanski (and more). Hog the ball, kid: The case for selfishness in the egalitarian sport of soccer. Here are a slew of lessons on losing you may want to consider taking on board. A review of Wicked Good Year: How the Red Sox, Patriots & Celtics Turned the Hub of the Universe into the Capital of Sports by Steve Buckley. Taking the plane to the game: Sports travel — following your team on the road to away games or vacationing at major attractions — is scoring big. Unsporting: John Swansburg on why he stopped being a sports fan. Ever wonder where sports broadcasts get their facts and figures? Sports Animal: Jesse Smith on the not-quite-animal/not-quite-human mascots of professional sports.

From TNR, Peter Bergen on the battle for Tora Bora and how Osama bin Laden slipped from our grasp — the definitive account. From Dissent, Jon Wiener on the best argument for the Afghan War — and what's wrong with it. As the Obama administration prepares to send more troops to Afghanistan, what are the problems U.S. forces will face, and what, if anything, can they do to overcome them? In Afghanistan, where avoiding civilian deaths is a top priority, U.S. military sharpshooters may have found the war that needs them most. Michael Crowley on the cult of counterinsurgency. From Boston Review, a forum on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, including Nir Rosen on why counterinsurgency doesn’t make sense — it asks soldiers, concerned primarily with survival, to be Wyatt Earp and Mother Theresa (and responses by Helena Cobban, Syed Saleem Shahzad, Andrew Bacevich, and more). A review of Decoding the New Taliban: Insights from the Afghan Field and Empires of Mud: Wars and Warlords in Afghanistan by Antonio Giustozzi. From NYRB, Rory Stewart on Afghanistan: What could work. Sean McFate built an African army — now here's what it will take to build Afghanistan's. Lowering its sights and concentrating on order, the international community helped stabilize Tajikistan — the same approach could work in Afghanistan, too. The next Afghanistan: Pirates, Al Qaeda, unruly sheiks — Yemen has it all (and more and more). How did Yemen get so poor? (and more and more). Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula: What you need to know about the organization that gave us the Christmas bomber (and more and more).

Olga Danglova (SAS): Popular Traditions, Folklore and Politics. Can the Twitterverse perfect the pizza? Walk away from your mortgage: Why should underwater homeowners behave any differently from banks? Only a poltroon despises pedantry: Introducing new words is all very well, but sticklers prefer the traditional approach to language. Are we more rational than our fellow animals? Dan Ariely investigates. More and more and more on Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals (and more at Bookforum). From The Psychologist, a special issue on the power of music. What is the age of responsibility? From sex to driving to juvenile justice to drinking, state and local laws send young people mixed messages about their own maturity — is there a better way? Singularity proponent Ray Kurzweil reinvents the book, again. Let us put aside these noisy resolutions, these petty contractions of the will; let us rather sit in the cold gatehouse of the year and cheerfully contemplate the futility of such efforts. Jagdish Bhagwati reviews Dead Aid by Dambisa Moyo. From SCQ, global issues for breakfast: The banana industry and its problems FAQ. O Lucky Man: Sometimes "WTF?" is the only rational response to a situation. From The New York Times, writers consider events large and small that helped shape the last 10 years. Female soldiers in Iraq report an epidemic of sexual assault and harassment — is the military taking them seriously? The lost script: It’s a writing system called Ajami, it’s a thousand years old, and linguistics professor Fallou Ngom thinks it could help unlock the story of a continent.

Chris Phoenix (CRN): Cellular differentiation as a candidate “new technology” for the Cambrian Explosion. A study finds new species might arise as a result of single rare events, rather than through the gradual accumulation of many small changes over time. Let us contemplate one of evolution’s great works: the origin of giants. A review of Here Be Dragons: How the Study of Animal and Plant Distributions Revolutionized Our Views of Life and Earth by Dennis McCarthy. A look at the top mysteries of the first humans and the things that make humans special. What happened to the hominids who were smarter than us, and did we mate with Neanderthals or did we murder them? Evolution’s bad girl: Ardi shakes up the fossil record. Want to find out where you fit on the human family tree? The Human Origins Genotyping Laboratory is on the case. Epigenetics, DNA: An article on how you can change your genes, destiny. Should evolutionary theory evolve? Some biologists are calling for a rethink of the rules of evolution. Research suggests our future evolution is going to lead to a devastating decline in our health. Genetically enhance humanity or face extinction: Julian Savulescu on why we must either alter our political institutions, severely restrain our technology or change our nature — or face annihilation by our own design. Philippe Verdoux on transhumanism, progress and the future. Are we too selfish to survive, and is there really a link between consumer society, moral relativism and having fewer children? An excerpt from The Empathic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis by Jeremy Rifkin.

From Forward, a review of Israel vs. Utopia by Joel Schalit, The Myths of Liberal Zionism by Yitzhak Laor, and A Living Revolution: Anarchism in the Kibbutz Movement by James Horrox. From NYRB, an article on Israel and Palestine: Can they start over? Whether the new-found interest in governing will transform and even tame Hamas has not yet been decided. Is Israel a democracy? Gershom Gorenberg wonders. More and more and more and more on Shlomo Sand's The Invention of the Jewish People. From TNR, Moshe Halbertal on The Goldstone Illusion: What the U.N. report gets wrong about Gaza — and war (and Israel without illusions: David Shulman on what Goldstone got right). An interview with Richard Goldstone: “I’m certainly a friend of Israel — I don’t mind being called a Zionist”. A review of Allis and Ronald Radosh's A Safe Haven: Harry S. Truman and the Founding of Israel. All rise for the Palestinian anthem: A parody of a nationalistic Palestinian song ridicules the intractable dispute between Hamas and Fatah leaders. Jonathan Campbell reviews Right to Exist: A Moral Defense of Israel's Wars by Yaacov Lozowick. An interview with former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy on the peace with the Palestinians and why Israel is indestructible. An interview with Michael Goldfarb on books on Israel. With their rampaging special sales, the bookstore chains are destroying Israeli culture. Tony Judt on why Israel must unpick its ethnic myth. Benny Morris reviews Israel and Palestine: Reappraisals, Revisions, Refutations by Avi Shlaim. An interview with Dan Senor, author of Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (and more and more).

From Culture Machine, a special issue on (Internet) Pirate Philosophy. The supermajority’s use of the procedural filibuster is, at worst, unconstitutional and, at best, at odds with the founders’ intent. The Noughties, a fond(ish) farewell: Toby Young takes an irreverent look back at a decade characterised by a yearning for chaos. The world in 2020: What will life be like a decade from now? Words have replaced sex as the cause of the classic Washington scandal: John McWhorter on Reid's three little words: The log in our own eye (and more and more and more). Getting a new word into Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary is easier said than done, which explains why Ron Gagliardi decided to publish his own Noah’s Desktionary and Allmanack. If no action is taken against alleged war criminals who have advocated torture, history must be the judge. Would you wear a serial killer's sweater? How our intuitions lead us into strange territory. Down in the valley: A journey into the "uncanny" place where the not-quite-human can be found. A review of Max Weber: A Biography by Joachim Radkau. Fox’s 24 is exquisite nonsense, but can its limerick logic survive in the post-Cheney era? A review of Running: A Global History by Thor Gotaas. Here are 100 things your kids may never know about. An interview with Daniel Ellsberg on his willingness to go to jail, the political effectiveness of lying, and why war is prolonged. Lane Kenworthy on four things citizens and policymakers think they know about taxation but are wrong. Good asks the world’s most prominent futurists to explain why slowness might be as important to the future as speed.

A review of Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century by Masha Gessen (and an interview; and more). A mad, principled genius Russian math prodigy: Grigory Perelman should be a celebrated millionaire — instead, he is a poor recluse who lives with his mother (and more). Mathematics by collaboration: The Polymath project harnesses the power of the Internet to use massive collaboration to solve a major problem in record time. Rejecta Mathematica is a new math journal specializes exclusively in research papers that have been rejected by other math journals. A worldwide study of nearly half a million boys and girls found no significant gender gap in math ability. Warp-Speed Algebra: A new algorithm does algebra in a snap. Many mathematicians find the pure and tight patterns of juggling as irresistible as those of mathematics. A review of Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football by Wayne L. Winston. Ta Da: Amazing feats of mathematics — it’s magic. Humanity's other basic instinct, math: New research suggests that math has evolved its way right into our neurons — and monkeys', too. 19th-Century mathematician Charles Babbage finally proves himself. A review of The Princeton Companion to Mathematics. A review of Those Fascinating Numbers by Jean-Marie De Koninck. From Plus, Liz Newton takes you on a journey of origami, maths and science; Burkard Polster and Marty Ross explore the maths behind bell ringing; and how do you go about modelling catastrophes? Think a coin toss has a 50-50 chance? Think again.

From Dissent, a symposium on Intellectuals and their America. Are progressives depressed or too privileged to produce social change, or are we just failing to organize effectively? Without a movement, progressives can't aid Obama's agenda. The Party of Obama: What are the president’s grass roots good for? Barack Obama reminds John Judis of Herbert Hoover — but it doesn’t have to be this way. From The Atlantic's first annual Washington Ideas Forum, what, if anything, can we predict about the next three or seven years of Obama’s presidency, based on its first year and on the trajectories of past presidencies? In a sequel to her acclaimed 2004 essay for Metropolis, Karrie Jacobs observes what the White House website says about Obama's administration. Andrew Sullivan on how Barack Obama is locked in dirty war with the Right. Is the Secret Service targeting the Birthers? Why agents investigating threats to the president have been paying visits to the right-wing activists questioning his citizenship. Tunku Varadarajan writes in defense of tea parties. Who are you calling crazy?: A review of The Protest Psychosis: How Schizophrenia Became a Black Disease by Jonathan Metzl. Is this McCarthyism 2.0? John Richardson goes inside the Right's battle with ACORN. GOP Hipster Makeover: Stephanie Mencimer on the radical right's Twittertastic search for young blood. A look at why John Thune is the GOP’s future. From Commentary, Jennifer Rubin on why Jews hate Palin (and more and more). A review of Michael Steele's Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.

In China, ancient human sacrifice has given way to modern tomb-tending ceremonies, but the dead still make demands. A look at how China is using art (and artists) to sell itself to the world. From Asia Times, Henry C K Liu on China's Revolution, 90 years on (in 5 parts). Robert Fogel on $123,000,000,000,000, China’s estimated economy by the year 2040 — be warned (and a response). A brave new world: Is there a good response to China's "resilient capitalist authoritarianism"? Tom Scocca reviews When China Rules the World by Martin Jacques (and more). Peter Savodnik travels to Arunachal Pradesh, the Himalayan state whose contested border marks the front lines of the increasingly combative rivalry between India and China. Himalayan histrionics: Asia's two giants China and India still cannot agree where one stops and the other begins. A hostile diplomatic battle has erupted in recent months between China and India; do tensions over visas and the two countries' shared border pose a threat to one of Asia's most formidable partnerships? Barbara Crossette on how India gives global governance the biggest headache (and a response). Sandwich theory and Operation Green Hunt: It is the duty of middle India to "rescue" the hapless Adivasis and rural poor from armed Maoist "terrorists" and a militarised Indian state. Raped by the law: A controversial case shakes India's faith in the rule of law. One woman's hunger strike, in protest of India's Armed Forces Special Powers Act, proves that the spirit of Gandhi lives on. India could be an ancient "motherland" of Thailand and Asia in a more literal sense, according to a new study.