Christopher C. Harmon (NWC): How Terrorist Groups End: Studies of the Twentieth Century (and more). From Strategic Insight, could Al Qaeda’s own strategy to defeat itself actually work? Christopher Fettweis (Tulane): Freedom Fighters and Zealots: Al Qaeda in Historical Perspective. A review of Terrorism and the Economy: How the War on Terror is Bankrupting the World by Loretta Napoleoni. A look at how al-Qaida can fix its magazine, Inspire (and more). An interview with Erick Stakelbeck, on-air correspondent on terrorism and national security affairs for the Christian Broadcasting Network. From FP, a look at the world's worst counterterrorism ideas. Why do industrialised nations suffer fewer but larger terrorist attacks? Mathematics can help us understand how asymmetric war is being waged. Loving the enemy: Al-Qaeda's use of liberal categories is central to its rhetoric on war and justice, writes Faisal Devji. Obama's "secret" war on terrorism: Will using drones to take out al Qaeda suspects in more than a dozen countries help keep America safe? Newsweek goes inside Al Qaeda: Nine years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden’s network remains a shadowy, little-understood enemy — the truth, as revealed by one of its fighters, is both more and less troubling than we think. A review of Modernity, Religion, and the War on Terror by Richard Dien Winfield. Engineering Terror: Why are so many extremists from a single profession?
A new issue of The Futurist is out. From New Internationalist, a special issue of life beyond growth. From the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, an article on enhancing aid effectiveness: The case for stronger local government involvement in development; and a review of Finance and Governance of Capital Cities in Federal Systems. From FT, a review of The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuse by Geoffrey Robertson (and more); and Pope Benedict XVI is set to beatify John Henry Newman, one of the Vatican’s most inspirational critics, revising his legacy and presenting him as a model of unquestioning allegiance. From The American Scientist, Adam Garfklinke on the frustrations of infrastructure. The cost of maintaining and rebuilding our infrastructure will inevitably rise as a percentage of GDP, even if our infrastructure needs remain constant — and they won’t. Here is everything you wanted to know about national infrastructure banks but were afraid to ask. From Johns Hopkins Magazine, a special issue on happiness. Are leaders born or made? Evolution may be throwing us a curve ball when it comes to picking them in the modern world. A review of What Matters?: Economics for a Renewed Commonwealth by Wendell Berry. More on 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions About Human Nature. A review of Andy Warhol and the Can that Sold the World by Gary Indiana.
From Philosophy Pathways, an essay on Twentieth-Century Universal Historical Paradigms of the Philosophy of History; and a look at the Identity of the Dead: What does it matter? A review of A Theory of General Ethics: Human Relationships, Nature, and the Built Environment by Warwick Fox. From Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, a review of Pragmatism's Advantage: American and European Philosophy at the End of the Twentieth Century by Joseph Margolis; and a review of Daniel Dennett by David Thompson. A review of The Rewards of Punishment: A Relational Theory of Norm Enforcement by Christine Horne. A review of Philosophical Instruments: Minds and Tools at Work by Daniel Rothbart. From Philosophy TV, Peter Singer and Michael Slote on the ethics of famine relief. From The New York Times's The Stone blog, Galen Strawson on the maze of free will; and how can scientific experiments possibly help us to answer the traditional questions of philosophy? An interview with Joshua Knobe on the new movement known as Experimental Philosophy. Donal DeMarco on Arthur Schopenhauer, architect of the culture of death: Philosophy was born the moment it was discovered that there is a critical difference between appearance and reality. A review of Stoic Ethics: Epictetus and Happiness as Freedom by William O. Stephens. From Talking Philosophy, you can download 42 Fallacies by Michael LaBossiere, a PDF book containing definitions and examples of 42 common fallacies.
A new issue of Catapult is out. Jan Toporowski (SOAS): The Wisdom of Property and the Politics of the Middle Classes. From n+1, a review of Losing My Cool: How a Father’s Love and 15,000 Books Beat Hip-Hop Culture by Thomas Chatterton Williams; and a review of A Short History of Cahiers du Cinema by Emilie Bickerton and The French New Wave: Critical Landmarks. From Failure, an interview with Erik Wesner, author of Success Made Simple: An Inside Look at Why Amish Businesses Thrive; and an interview with Peter H. Gleick, author of Bottled & Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water. On Not Returning to Normal: A determination to go on exactly as before is an understandable human response to attack, but it's not the best one. From The Exiled, Ramon Glazov on how Christopher Hitchens robbed Hunter S. Thompson’s grave. Seeing the pet rock as it exists today, we’ve all asked ourselves this controversial and scientifically unproven question: how does a rock become a pet rock? Retiring later is hard road for laborers: A report found one in three older workers has a physically demanding job, complicating a Social Security overhaul. A panel on Ian Bremmer's The End of the Free Market. There goes the neighborhood: Jonathan V. Last on rage against the "breeders". Where have all the monologues gone? Once, all that stood between you and the part you wanted was the right monologue.
From Bookforum's Paper Trail blog, Chris Lehmann chats about his new book Rich People Things: "If you endorse the idea that a great many of our life outcomes are severely delimited by economic forces far over our heads, you’re going up against the sturdy Horatio Alger myth holding that infinite opportunity awaits every plucky self-made individual doggedly pursuing the main chance."
From Monthly Review, Robert McChesney and John Bellamy Foster on Capitalism, the Absurd System: A view from the United States. From Slate, a special series on The United States of Inequality: Timothy Noah on the Great Divergence, the most profound change in American society in your lifetime. The air-conditioned Puritan: Why Americans, and those who are employed to write about them, cannot enjoy holidays. Thomas Geoghegan on America's misguided culture of overwork: Germany's workers have higher productivity, shorter hours and greater quality of life — how did we get it so wrong? An excerpt from Were You Born on the Wrong Continent? How the European Model Can Help You Get a Life by Thomas Geoghegan (and more and more). Every hotel is now another Motel 6: Whatever happened to America’s “service-based” economy? Gone the way of relaxing airplane flights. How DARPA plans to reinvent U.S. manufacturing: DoD research wing wants to make everything from tanks to bombers in "fabs". We have factories sitting idle for lack of workers — low capacity utilization — while at the same time we have workers sitting idle for lack of factories — high unemployment: This is a fucking disaster. Why are Americans passive as millions lose their homes, their jobs, their families, their hopes of justice, and the American dream? A review of Fubarnomics: A Lighthearted, Serious Look at America's Economic Ills by Robert Wright.
A new issue of Chay Magazine: Sex and Sexuality Pakistan, South Asia and Abroad is out. From Himal Southasian, a cover story on God and the gospel of globalisation: The complex nexus of market, religion and the state behind secularism's failure in the region; the idea of Punjabiyat: Despite fragmentation for centuries, the Punjabi identity today is engaged in a remarkably active attempt at consolidation; beyond Indology: The 18th-century "discovery" by Western academics of Sanskrit allowed a whole new branch of science-minded researchers to delve into the mysteries of the Subcontinent; a review of books on Bhutan; and internationalising Lanka: The idea of Southasia after the war. The Afghanistan War is mainly about Pakistan and India — actually, it's about the whole region. Being forced to choose between supporting the Indian or Pakistani team is now a thing of the past for cricket-crazy Afghans. Nepal is waiting for a constitution and a proper democratic election, but the country’s squabbling political parties have been blocking progress, allowing human rights abuses to continue. From Tehelka, madrassas are the cornerpiece of Muslim community life; in a disturbing twist, some of them are being used as transit shelters for child trafficking — or worse, doubling up as sweatshops themselves; and Sansar Chand is India’s deadliest poacher — here is how he has escaped legal traps for 40 years.
From Cato Unbound, James C. Scott on the trouble with the view from above. From The Independent, Robert Fisk on the crimewave that shames the world: It's one of the last great taboos — the murder of at least 20,000 women a year in the name of 'honour' — nor is the problem confined to the Middle East (and part 2). Do our brains think some people deserve to suffer? If at first you don't secede: Meet Michael Boldin, the legalization-loving, Iraq-War-hating Californian who's become a guru to the state sovereignty movement. More and more and more and more on Running Commentary by Benjamin Balint and Norman Podhoretz by Thomas Jeffers. From The Chronicle, will the book survive Generation Text? Carlin Romano investigates. Chilean miners: That far down, who decides what’s law? Even NASA sees it as a case study in isolation. Participatory culture and the assault on democracy: An excerpt from New Threats to Freedom by Lee Siegel (and more). Untangling the social web: From retailing to counterterrorism, the ability to analyse social connections is proving increasingly useful — but in a data-swamped world, connecting the dots is all too easy. Actor Kelsey Grammer is an investor and public face supporting RightNetwork, a new network with entertainment designed to appeal to political conservatives. A review of The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East by Mitchell Bard (and more).
Building the Brain: Nick Spitzer goes from simplicity to complexity. Reverse-engineering the human brain so we can simulate it using computers may be just two decades away. You are what you touch: How tool use changes the brain's representations of the body. What's so special about the human brain? It turns out that we're no better endowed between the ears than you would expect for a primate of our size. Thinking like a chimpanzee: Tetsuro Matsuzawa has spent 30 years studying our closest primate relative to better understand the human mind. Trouble in the Monkey House: Marc Hauser's disputed claims about primate minds pale next to the versions peddled in popular accounts (and more). A review of The Artificial Ape: How Technology Changed the Course of Human Evolution by Timothy Taylor (and more). Timothy Taylor on the outrageous fortune that made us the dominant ape. How technology created humans: Timothy Taylor explains how a long-vanished artefact explains human evolution and led to "survival of the weakest". The Neanderthal in the Mirror: Now confirmed as our blood relatives, what else might they have shared with us? E.O. Wilson proposes a new theory of social evolution: The dominant evolutionary theory for Earth’s most successful creatures, and a proposed influence on human altruism, is under attack (and more and more).
A new issue of Prelom magazine is out. From Spectrum, a special section on telepresence. The Long Shock: This recession ain't over until never? Joshua Green on how George W. Bush can redeem himself. Edge remembers George C. Williams (1926-2010). Pleasure on the Brain: David Linden explains why we seek pleasure, where we find it, and how it can steer us away from true contentment. John McQuaid on the legacy of the Gulf spill: What to expect for the future? A review of Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11 and Iraq by John Dower (and more). From Reviews in History, a review of A Brief History of Nakedness by Philip Carr-Gomm (and a response). The cultural damage of the war on terror: The baleful effects of the American "war on terror" have not been limited to the political realm — and the cultural damage has been even more grave. When reading the newspaper, Paul Bloom is constantly struck by the extent of human kindness. How can a democracy solve tough problems? Joe Klein investigates. From The Social Contract, a special issue on Southern Poverty Law Center, America’s Left-wing hate machine. A perennial wunderkind: Harold Bloom enters his ninth decade. The roots of pop culture: David Luhrssen explores variety shows and vaudeville. Rob Horning on how the more convenience we introduce to conversation, the more we winnowing away the difficulties that preserve the possibilities of discourse.
Stefan P. Dolgert (Toronto): In Praise of Ressentiment: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Glenn Beck (and more). Danny Duncan Collum on why Glenn Beck hates community organizers. David Weigel reviews The Backlash: Right-Wing Radicals, High-Def Hucksters, and Paranoid Politics in the Age of Obama by Will Bunch (and more) and Boiling Mad: Inside Tea Party America by Kate Zernike. The Revisionaries: Bradford Plumer on the Tea Party’s goofy fetish for amending the Constitution. A Fashion Essentials Guide for the Tea Party Patriot: A movement that's rewriting the rules for politics is also rewriting new rules for fashion. From Forbes, Dinesh D'Souza on How Obama Thinks: The President isn't exactly a socialist — so what's driving his hostility to private enterprise? Look to his roots. David Thomas Smith (Michigan): The First Muslim President? Causes and Consequences of the Belief That Barack Obama is a Muslim. Bryan Adamson (Seattle): The Muslim Manchurian Candidate: Barack Obama, Rumors, and Quotidian Hermeneutics (2009). A review of The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and other Anti-American Extremists by Aaron Klein and Brenda Elliott. Muslims on Main Street: How a small town in America’s heartland fell in love with an Islamic revolutionary — twice. Susan Nance on her book How the Arabian Nights Inspired the American Dream, 1790-1835. Integration has always been the American body politic's best antibody against the virus of radical political ideology. The Ground Zero mosque controversy reveals important fault lines in Americans' thinking about religion. A review of Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race by Thomas Sugrue. A review of The Substance of Hope: Barack Obama and the Paradox of Progress by William Jelani Cobb.