The end of time: Our universe may be housed inside a black hole — if so, we can map out how time and physics will end. A review of Victor Stenger’s The Fallacy of Fine-Tuning: Why the Universe is Not Designed for Us. De-spooking quantum mechanics: Einstein wouldn’t have found entanglement so strange, if he’d thrown out a key pre-twentieth-century misconception. A review of Mathematics of Life: Unlocking the Secrets of Existence by Ian Stewart. Astronomers have always thought that because life emerged quickly on Earth, it must be likely to occur elsewhere — that thinking now turns out to be wrong. Don Quijote may tilt at an asteroid: The most likely way that the universe could eliminate life on planet Earth has to be with an asteroid. A review of Darwin, God, and the Meaning of Life: How Evolutionary Theory Undermines Everything You Thought You Knew by Steve Stewart-Williams. Here is a profile of Richard Dawkins, an original thinker who bashes orthodoxy. A point of view: Can religion tell us more than science? From Improbable Research, a look at the winners of the Ig Nobel Prize for achievements that first make people laugh then make them think. The destiny of the universe: A radical reformulation of quantum mechanics suggests that the universe has a set destiny and its pre-existing fate reaches back in time to influence the past. A look at how gigantic gravitational waves could explain the universe’s biggest mysteries. A review of First Life: Discovering the Connections between Stars, Cells, and How Life Began by David Deamer. The priest-physicist who would marry science to religion: John Polkinghorne leads a disparate group of scientists the controversial search for God within the fractured logic of quantum physics. A look at 5 mind-blowing scientific answers to life's "Big Questions".
A new issue of Nieman Reports is out. Wolfgang Streeck (Max Planck): Taking Capitalism Seriously: Towards an Institutional Approach to Contemporary Political Economy. Thomas Kalinowski (Ewha): Regulating International Finance and the Evolving Imbalance of Capitalisms Since the 1970s. Astrid Mager (Umea): Algorithmic Ideology: How Capitalist Society Shapes Search Engines. Here is Matt Taibbi's advice to the Occupy Wall Street protesters: Hit bankers where it hurts. The Moneyball of Campaign Advertising: Political scientist John Sides urges voters to be skeptical of claims that certain kinds of political advertisements, whether positive or negative, "work" (and part 2). An interview with Nic Marks, author of The Happiness Manifesto: How Nations and People Can Nurture Well-Being. The case for the corrections page: Why news organizations should follow the Times’s example. Who really owns the NYPD? Turns out it's not such a rhetorical question. In killing a chupacabra, did a teen commit a felony? The largest and farthest reservoir of water in the known universe has been located; the water, equivalent to 140 trillion times all the water in the world's ocean, surrounds a distant quasar more than 12 billion light-years away. A black hole is caught in the act of swallowing a star. Stanford and TCU prove that academics and athletics can coexist, so why aren't more schools held to that standard? Impact, Impact, Impact: Bob Liss on anxiety and Lebron James. Research on the mind demonstrates that a whirligig of emotions, instincts and biases, many of which operate outside conscious awareness, shapes our behavior. A review of Perplexities of Consciousness by Eric Schwitzgebel (and more and more). Republicans used to at least talk about poverty — what changed?
Gian P. Gentile (CFR): The Death of American Strategy. Benjamin E. Goldsmith (Sydney) and Yusaku Horiuchi (ANU): In Search of Soft Power: Does Foreign Public Opinion Matter for U.S. Foreign Policy? Philip Alston (NYU): The CIA and Targeted Killings Beyond Borders. Afghanistan, Nicaragua, and Angola were the three rings of the Reagan Doctrine, the war by proxy, and none turned out well — the former president’s support of despots and violent insurgencies guaranteed a future of errant, and deadly, U.S. foreign policy. From The National Interest, a hotline with Iran? Ted Galen Carpenter on dealing with governments we loathe; and Trevor Thrall on ignorance, ideology, and the power of propaganda. How many secret wars are we fighting? U.S. special ops forces are being deployed in more and more nations — and the public has no idea. An excerpt from Intelligence and U.S. Foreign Policy: Iraq, 9/11, and Misguided Reform by Paul R. Pillar. Twilight saga of the American empire? A review of Andrew J. Bacevich's Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War, Philip S. Golub's Power, Profit and Prestige: A History of American Imperial Expansion, and Chalmers Johnson's Dismantling the Empire: America’s Last Best Hope. The All-American: John Kerry knows as well as anyone that diplomacy fails most of the time — but someone has to go to Islamabad. The introduction to The Great American Mission: Modernization and the Construction of an American World Order by David Ekbladh. From Modern Age, a review of Political Violence: Belief, Behavior, and Legitimation; and The Only Superpower: Reflections on Strength, Weakness, and Anti-Americanism by Paul Hollander. Fran Shor on declining US hegemony and rising Chinese power, a formula for conflict? Immanuel Wallerstein on the world consequences of U.S. decline. The West and the rest in a one-model-fits-all world: Pepe Escobar on the decline and fall of just about everyone.