A review of The Human Footprint: A Global Environmental History by Anthony Penna. An excerpt from A Brain for All Seasons: Human Evolution and Abrupt Climate Change by William H. Calvin. An interview with John Shepherd on books on science and climate change. Is Earth past the tipping point? A review of How to Cool the Planet by Jeff Goodell. Despite its potential to trigger conflict, geoengineering will likely be part of the global response to climate change. Could a rich man's experiment trigger an Ice Age? A new effort will be launched to craft research restrictions for geoengineering, or large scale efforts to tinker with the planet's climate system (and more and more). From Wired, 200 scientists gather in an attempt to determine how research into the possibilities of geoengineering the planet to combat climate change should proceed; six ways we’re already geoengineering Earth; and an interview with Eli Kintisch, author of Hack the Planet: Science's Best Hope — or Worst Nightmare — for Averting Climate Catastrophe: "Geoengineering is a bad idea whose time has come" (and an excerpt). Hacking the planet: who decides? An interview with James Lovelock: Humans are too stupid to prevent climate change (and more). Marc Morano broke the Swift Boat story and effectively stalled John Kerry's presidential run; now he is working against an even bigger enemy — belief in climate change, and, somehow, he seems to be winning. More on Why We Disagree about Climate Change by Mike Hulme. The doubters of global warming are emboldened, but the experience of comparable assaults on the discipline of peace studies in the 1980s suggests that hostile scrutiny can have longer-term benefits. Urgent calls to escalate the war against climate skeptics may lead scientists and their organizations into a dangerous trap.
From Genders, Chris Coffman (UA-Fairbanks): Woolf’s Orlando and the Resonances of Trans Studies; and a special issue (2008) on female celebrity in reality, tabloid and scandal genres. Saviors & Sovereigns: Mark Mazower on the rise and fall of humanitarianism (and more on No Enchanted Palace: The End of Empire and the Ideological Origins of the United Nations). Rocker Matthew Roberts learned that Charles Manson might be his biological father, then came the strange part: His whole life suddenly made sense. An excerpt from Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves. Global Inheritance is a growing network of progressive-minded citizens with well-developed artistic sides, who plan to save the world through art and music. Benjamin Anastas reviews Ian McEwan's Solar (and more and more and more and more and more and more). The Strange Case of the Chevalier d’Eon: In the mid-18th century a French spy with a peculiar personal agenda came to prominence in London. Savior vs. Savior: George Tiller was one of the last men in America willing to provide late-term abortions; Scott Roeder was convinced that killing his kind was the duty of the righteous — Devin Friedman re-creates the fateful day their paths and their convictions finally crossed. Anglophone science fiction writers fear not to tackle alien beings, civilizations, and consciousnesses from other planets — but what about the ones on this one? (and a response) Machiavelli 2.0: Alexander Schellong on the fundamentals of network society. Could Google (eventually) put translators out of business? A review of Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic That Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries by Molly Caldwell Crosby. A review of Obliquity: Why Our Goals Are Best Achieved Indirectly by John Kay (and more).
The first chapter from Capital Ideas: The IMF and the Rise of Financial Liberalization by Jeffrey Chwieroth. A look at how the global rush to develop modern financial institutions — including stock markets — has had a huge downside. Who needs Wall Street? Society profits little from a dizzying casino. Ponzi Nation: Andy Kroll on how get-rich-quick crime came to define an era. Dan Jones looks at past episodes of runaway greed and the moral lessons learnt. From Economic Principals, three books about the CDS market have appeared recently, a triptych that reveals a great deal about the process of financial innovation (and more); and here’s a relatively light-hearted way to tackle the question of what caused the macroeconomic mess of 2008 and 2009. More on Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Simon Johnson reviews Henry Paulson's On The Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Finance System (and more). A review of Getting Off Track: How Government Actions and Interventions Caused, Prolonged, and Worsened the Financial Crisis by John Taylor and The Fundamental Principles of Financial Regulation. Heading off the next financial crisis: David Leonhardt on the case for more — and more nuanced — regulation. Seize power, shareholders: More regulation won't fix Wall Street, but a shareholder revolution will. A review of The Crisis of Capitalist Democracy by Richard Posner (and more and more). Austerity is not the only way to make up for massive government debt and lack of revenue following self‑induced disasters in private finance — there are fairer ways to balance the books. An excerpt from The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money by Brad DeLong and Stephen Cohen (and more and more and more and more and more).
From The Futurist, a series on 2020 visionaries: Andrew Hessel showcases his vision for open-source drug manufacturing and Robert Freitas details the medical future of nanorobotics; Janna Anderson and Mark Bauerlein present two distinct visions for education in the twenty-first century; Cory Ondrejka and Andrew Keen on how the Internet will redefine culture in the next 10 years; and Roy Speckhardt and Ayya Gotami on how spirituality, science, and the Internet may influence one another in the decades ahead. Lionel Shriver's health care novel So Much for That just so happens to be insanely topical. Blame Canada, for it has made, by way of protest and free-speech ignorance, a martyr out of wingnut Ann Coulter — which is about the stupidest thing a country can do these days. From the Enfield Poltergeist to the most haunted pub in England, Gary Day has still to see proof of ghosts. From Dissent's new blog "Arguing the World", Michael Walzer on what ought to be done, and Richard Wolin on an age of identity politics. Antoine de Saint Exupery wrote his classic, world-famous novella The Little Prince in 1943, but he was even more famous for his other career as an aviator. Priests and Pedophilia: A look at what authoritarian religion, families and schools have wrought. From Vice, a special issue on fashion, including an interview with the Kaiser himself, Karl Lagerfeld (and more); and an article on the return of the hat. One wonders how George Orwell avoided despair — hadn't he read Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom? Growing Up Gaga: The self-invented, manufactured, accidental, totally on-purpose New York creation of the world’s biggest pop star. Are essays viable in the twenty-first century? Quotidiana author Patrick Madden sure hopes so. Hitler is long gone but Mein Kampf still haunts.
The first chapter from The Torah for Dummies by Arthur Kurzweil. A review of The Biblical Saga of King David by John Van Seters. A review of Introduction to the Prophets by Paul L. Redditt. A review of Disability in the Hebrew Bible: Interpreting Mental and Physical Differences by Saul M. Olyan. A review of The Natural History of the Bible: An Environmental Exploration of the Hebrew Scriptures by Daniel Hillel. A review of Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible by Ellen Davis. From Review of Biblical Literature, a review of Body, Soul, and Human Life: The Nature of Humanity in the Bible by Joel Green; a review of Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture by Peter J. Leithart; and a review of Sustaining Fictions: Intertextuality, Midrash, Translation, and the Literary Afterlife of the Bible by Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg. A review of Pen of Iron: American Prose and the King James Bible by Robert Alter. The first chapter from Lost Books of the Bible for Dummies by Daniel L. Smith-Christopher and Stephen Spignesi. An excerpt from Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (and Why We Don't Know About Them) by Bart Ehrman. A review of Bible Babel: Making Sense of the Most Talked About Book of All Time by Kristin Swenson. A review of The Good Book: The Bizarre, Hilarious, Disturbing, Marvelous, and Inspiring Things I Learned When I Read Every Single Word of the Bible by David Plotz. The Greatest Business Story Ever Told: How Bible publishers went forth and multiplied. Is the Bible more violent than the Quran? The origins of a holy book: Using ancient texts, scholars have begun an audacious effort to unravel the story of the Koran — what will they find? The first chapter from The Koran for Dummies by Sohaib Sultan.
Robert Paul Wolff (UMass): The Future of Socialism. From Mediations, Sarah Brouillette (Carleton): Creative Labor; Mathias Nilges (UIC): Marxism and Form Now; a review of From Marxism to Post Marxism? by Goran Therborn; and a review of Valences of the Dialectic by Fredric Jameson. What is intended here is an attempt to foreground the relationship between loss and revolutionary politics by exploring how loss can be perceived, articulated and (re)defined within the Marxist paradigm. Here are the online lectures that make up David Harvey’s new book, A Companion to Marx’s Capital. From Monthly Review, John Bellamy Foster on Istvan Meszaros, pathfinder of socialism. A review of The New Spirit of Capitalism by Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello. Michael Perelman on his Manufacturing Discontent: The Trap of Individualism in Corporate Society. From the fiftieth anniversary issue of New Left Review, an editorial by Susan Watkins; and founding editor Stuart Hall on the life and times of the first New Left. Stefan Collini on New Left Review at 50: "Can a left intellectual project hope to thrive in the absence of a political movement?" Fifty years after Greensboro, whatever happened to the American Left? For the generation that came of age intellectually in the 1970s and 80s, Staughton Lynd’s Intellectual Origins of American Radicalism (1968) was one of those tattered Vintage paperback (number V-488 to be precise) you came across browsing in used bookstores. An interview with Susan Neiman: “Progressives never know what to do in power”. It's defeatist nonsense to talk of a crisis of leftwing thinking: Progressives have been vindicated — the public are far ahead, and to the left, of government on the reforms we need. Joseph Cassara writes to his incredibly active leftist friend.
It’s not so easy being Han Han, the heartthrob race car driver and pop novelist who just happens to be China’s most widely read blogger. A review of Your Own James: The Montreal Lectures of C.L.R. James by Rico Cleffi. A review of The Allure of Chanel by Paul Morand. Simon Schama on why we like tough guys in politics. A review of books on the history of medicine. The problem with Murdoch's Journal isn't the politics, but his tabloid sensibility. Tal Pinchevsky on the emerging political force that is Snoop Dogg. Robin Hood and the Templars of Doom: John Paul Davis on the forgotten history of England's most famous outlaw. What if our economy was not built on competition? Nobel Prize winner Elinor Ostrom talks about her work on cooperation in economics. A review of Barbie and Ruth: The Story of the World's Most Famous Doll and the Woman Who Created Her by Robin Gerber (and more). An interview with Harvey Klehr on books on communism in America. Everything is political — and you don't have to be a card-carrying Foucauldian to think so. An article on Hitler as the most versatile word on the Internet. Melissa Milgrom on why the Victorian fascination with stuffing animals has become the hot new thing among hipsters and urbanites. Here is CMO's Guide to the Social Media Landscape. Saints on Percocet: Drug-addicted healers are elevating hospital drama to metaphysical art. A review of Albert Camus: Elements of a Life by Robert Zaretsky (and more on Camus). To understand radical Islam, To Padnos pretended he was a Muslim and settled himself into Yemen’s radical mosque scene; years later, his cover has finally been blown. The Coffee Party held its first meetings in cities around the country — is it really the liberal answer to the Tea Party movement? (and more and more).
Daniel Peter Hourigan (Griffith): Zizek and the Ontological Emergence of Technology. Peter Otto (UCSD): Romanticism, Modernity, and Virtual Reality: An Overview and Reconceptualisation of the Field. From The Economist, a special report on managing information: Information has gone from scarce to superabundant — that brings huge new benefits, but also big headaches. Tim Berners-Lee on the year open data went worldwide. Triple Canopy goes Inside the Mundaneum: Snail-mail Google and a card-catalog Web — a fin-de-siecle Belgian information scientist’s proto-Internet. A review of Simulation and Its Discontents. From Popular Science, what the future of America's infrastructure might look like: 25 new technologies that will transform America's systems. Given what technology can now achieve, the enduring crapness of airplanes must serve some psychological purpose, mustn’t it? Steampunk's turn toward the past is more than merely aesthetic — technology is viewed with a turn-of-the-century sense of wonder that opposes our contemporary tendency to take it for granted. An interview with Tom Chatfield on books on computer games. That whole Internet thing's not going to work out: Farhad Manjoo on how to suss out bad tech predictions. An interview with Aleks Krotoski on books on virtual living. Geert Lovink examines the colonization of real-time; comment culture and the rise of extreme opinions; and the emergence of "national webs". A review of Fun Inc.: Why Games are the 21st Century's Most Serious Business by Tom Chatfield. We now face a new threat to our control over our computing: Software as a service — for our freedom’s sake, we have to reject that. Jane McGonigal on how gaming can make a better world. A look at how the Internet will change the world — even more.
From GQ, Manny Pacquiao is the Biggest Little Man in the World: What do you get when you cross Muhammad Ali, Sly Stallone, Vaclav Havel, Michael Vick, Che Guevara, & Clay Aiken? From The Awl, Christopher Conklin on the Henry Blodget/Felix Salmon Twitt-spat and how Web writers get held responsible for the lawyers, the sales guys and even the coffeemaker (and more at FishbowlNY). Are the new diminished payouts causing more Wall Street players to keep their big swinging dicks zipped, and endure the quiet desperation of keeping up their loveless marriage franchises? The Siege of Rome: With stories spreading about the abuse by priests, without effective Vatican intervention, of 200 deaf boys in Wisconsin and of choir boys in Germany, shrubbery may not be enough. A review of The Social and Political Thought of Benedict XVI by Thomas R. Rourke. On “krabattophily”: What is the appeal of a flat cuboidal amalgam of springs and stuffing that someone else has deemed worthless enough to discard? The trials and tribulations of the "perfect mother": The controversial French philosopher Elisabeth Badinter has stirred up a storm with her critique of the Anglo-American eco-mums whose values are now invading France (and more). American Jeremiad, a Manifesto: Is it possible that some of our current manifestos are really jeremiads, trapped in the wrong packaging? The Huffington Post features the most surprising college drop-outs, celebs who are currently getting their degrees, the craziest celeb-written theses, and the clebs who teach. Government 'a counting: Does the U.S. Census need a 21st-century makeover? From Time, a look at 10 tech trends for 2010 as seen at SXSW. Do you have an Internet connection, some free time and a penchant for staring off into space? Then Galaxy Zoo needs you.
Common Calamities: What can literature tell us about the tragedies in Haiti and Chile? Work has become central to most people’s self-conception — why does fiction have so little to say about it? A look at why some memoirs are better as fiction. What does the popularity of memoirs tell us about ourselves? (and more and more on Ben Yagoda's Memoir: A History). By marrying the intimacy of autobiography with the aesthetic eclecticism of the graphic novel, graphic memoirs occupy the fertile realm between fiction and nonfiction, as well as between literature and art. At a time when comic book culture has never been more mainstream, where’s the line between wannabe and true believer? An interview with Tom Gauld on picture books for adults. Authors may gear their novels toward the junior and senior high crowd, but adults are snapping up the books, often about misfit teens or fantasy worlds. Do the edgy offerings for today’s young adults go too far over the edge? You must be having a laugh: Comic literature rarely wins prizes but the best examples are still a serious joy to read. A contemporary spin on age-old myths: Sam Munson on why we can’t help reinventing classics like the Odyssey. Something weird this way comes: Meet the 21st century's new literary movement. Critics like to denigrate horror by pointing out that unlike mystery, western or romance, horror specifies no content beyond the emotion it is intended to arouse — but this absence of specificity is not at all a limitation. From Hipster Book Club, Kyle Olson on the dearth of good horror and the downside of hot vampire sex; and an interview with Seth Grahame-Smith on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Is monster lit worth unearthing? Here are a few examples of artificially engineered genres to get you brainstorming.