From New Scientist, what causes some photos, videos, and Twitter posts to spread across the internet like wildfire while others fall by the wayside? What goes viral may be completely arbitrary. The other Internet problem: One of the starkest contrasts between American and Jewish law involves humiliation — today, an American can literally embarrass someone to death. We, the web kids: Piotr Czerski on how the expectations of young people have been conditioned by their experiences of the Internet. Does Facebook turn people into narcissists? With friends like these: Therapists fear that social networking is changing the way we relate to each other. Facebook knows your friends, even if they’re not on Facebook: Facebook can infer many things, even about people who deliberately stay away. New York University philosopher Helen Nissenbaum has put her approach to privacy at the center of the national agenda. From Vice, for someone who likes to talk about the virtues of disconnecting, the media critic Douglas Rushkoff seems surprisingly always on; and why does nobody know what “trolling” means? (somebody who just has very bad manners?)


From Behavior and Social Issues, Mitch J. Fryling (CSPP): The Impact of Applied Behavior Analysis on the Science of Behavior; Angela Sanguinetti (UC-Irvine): The Design of Intentional Communities: A Recycled Perspective on Sustainable Neighborhoods; and Christina A. Lydon and Kerry D. Rohmeier (Nevada), Sophia C. Yi (Loyola), Mark A. Mattaini (UIC), and W. Larry Williams (Nevada): How Far Do You Have to Go to Get a Cheeseburger Around Here? The Realities of an Environmental Design Approach to Curbing the Consumption of Fast-Food. The Perfected Self: Once denounced by critics as a fascist idea, "behavior modification" is making a comeback, powered by smartphone apps that aim to transform us into better versions of ourselves. James Wolcott on how the recent comedowns of Oprah, Howard Stern, Conan O’Brien, and Simon Cowell, among others, reveal the ways a star’s luster can fade. Christopher Hayes on why elites fail: They’re hyper-educated, ambitious and well rewarded — so why are our elites so incompetent? Since right-wingers stupidly decided to make the penguin their official animal of morality in the culture war, it’s of great enjoyment to learn more about the actual sexual behavior of penguins.


From Failure, unable to settle on a candidate, Americans Elect falls out of the 2012 presidential race — what’s next for the non-profit, non-partisan political group? (and more) From Ballot Access News, the Objectivist Party expects to place presidential ticket on ballot in two states (and more). Can Occupy Wall Street trust its own candidate? Running for Congress, George Martinez calls himself the Occupiers' candidate — the rest of the movement isn't so sure. Rolling Stone on the “voter fraud” myth debunked. Geoffrey R. Stone on fixing Citizens United. Steve Clemons on what it really takes to change Washington. Gaffes don't just "happen" — a political rival takes note, sure, but a gaffe is a gaffe when reporters say so. Somewhere along the line it became OK for politicians to ignore facts and present truth as the thing they want to be true — is it too late to restore sanity to political discourse? Once Washington was a happy place where a girl and her mother could be groped simultaneously in good fun by a white supremacist; sadly, it has all been ruined by Kim Kardashian and Ezra Klein.


From The Weekly Standard, a review of Sovereignty or Submission: Will Americans Rule Themselves or be Ruled by Others? by John Fonte. A review of Bowing to Beijing: How Barack Obama is Hastening America’s Decline and Ushering a Century of Chinese Domination by Brett M. Decker and William C. Triplett II. George Scialabba reviews Morris Berman’s three-volume survey of America's decline The Twilight of American Culture, Dark Ages America, and Why America Failed (and an interview). The economic waning of America: A review of Time to Start Thinking: America in the Age of Descent by Edward Luce and Better, Stronger, Faster: The Myth of American Decline and the Rise of a New Economy by Daniel Gross (and more and more and more and more). From whynationsfail.com, there is much talk of failure of the US economy and institutions — but tangible signs of that failure are few; and there are clear and present dangers for US institutions, but there are reasons for optimism: we have been here before, and rebounded. "That's not really destroying America": An interview with Claude Fischer about his new column for Boston Review, "Made in America".


A new issue of Studies in Sociology of Science is out. Jefferson D. Pooley (Muhlenberg): The History of Communication Research. From Culture Unbound, special sections on Fashion, Market and Materiality and on Policies, Government and the Creative Industries. Crossing the Line: A Village Voice Media special report on Freedom Under Fire. A look at how U.S. military suicides now exceed deaths in Afghanistan. Pentagon soon to spend more on vets’ benefits than active personnel, study says. Here is a list of people known as the father or mother of something. From California magazine, a special issue on piracy and the business of patents, cyber grift, the lawless seas, and more. Why do we need sluts? Utsab Nath wonders. From The New Inquiry, Adam Kotsko on why we love sociopaths. Research shows that the smarter people are, the more susceptible they are to cognitive bias. From Rationally Speaking, David Kyle Johnson on the Simulation Hypothesis and the problem of natural evil (in 4 parts). Ok, do it: Teach me how to "get" art. Rush drummer Neil Peart denounces Ayn Rand: I’m a “bleeding heart libertarian”.


Ghassan Hage (Melbourne): Dwelling in the Reality of Utopian Thought. Patrick Baert (Cambridge): The Sudden Rise of French Existentialism: A Case-study in the Sociology of Intellectual Life. From Constellations, a special issue on Claude Lefort. From Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis Across Disciplines, a special issue on Critical Perspectives on Ideology, Identity, and Interaction. From Ctheory, Nathan Van Camp (FWO): From Biopower to Psychopower: Bernard Stiegler's Pharmacology of Mnemotechnologies; and a review of Grey Ecology by Paul Virilio. A review of Wittgenstein’s Antiphilosophy by Alain Badiou. A review of The Beach beneath the Street: The Everyday Life and Glorious Times of the Situationist International by McKenzie Wark. An interview with Simon Critchley, author of The Faith of the Faithless. Big Think's May 2012 Book of the Month is Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism by Slavoj Zizek. Humanity is OK, but 99% of people are boring idiots: Is Slavoj Zizek a genius with the answers to the financial crisis, or the Borat of philosophy?


From The Guardian, a review of How England Made the English: From Hedgerows to Heathrow by Harry Mount. Norm Geras on Englishness. From History and Policy, not protest but direct action: David Goodway on anarchism past and present; and Bryce Evans on “responsible capitalism”: A return to “moral economy” in England? Capitalism on trial: How the BBC rigged capitalism’s acquittal. From BBC Magazine, were single mothers better off in the 19th Century? A review of Splendour & Squalor: The Disgrace and Disintegration of Three Aristocratic Dynasties by Marcus Scriven. Why shouldn't I cheat? Everybody else does: England no longer expects every man to do — or even to know — his duty, and corruption is creeping into our moral culture. Takis Fotopoulos on the insurrection of the English underclass. Writing the riots: Horatio Morpurgo on Paul Goodman and Growing Up Absurd. From Lawrence & Wishart, you can download (reg. req.) the ebook Regeneration, which focuses on the question of intergenerational justice. Does "Blue Labour" fetishise local democratic action at the expense of national institutions and identities?


A new issue of The Undercurrent is out. Emanuel Towfigh (NYU): Old Weimar Meets New Political Economy: Democratic Representation in the Party State. From Jacobin, what are the bankers up to? Josh Mason investigates. As Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art by Norman Hathaway and Dan Nadel shows, Heinz Edelmann’s story isn’t the only exception to some of the generally held rules of sixties psychedelic art. From The Philosopher, the Bankers’ Ramp: Desmond Cohen on risk, social justice and elusive reforms of financial markets. “Osama bin Laden made me famous”: Bernard Lewis is credited with providing the intellectual firepower for the war in Iraq — now he says he opposed it from the start (and more and more). Mark Leon Goldberg on proof that the UN does not want to control your Internet (and more). Kevin Drum on why Obama caved in on national security. A review of Financing Failure: A Century of Bailouts by Vern McKinley. Why are action stars more likely to be Republican? Save the Cato Institute, save the world: The libertarian think tank is fighting off a hostile takeover by strongly partisan donors — here's why it matters.


A new issue of Human Technology is out. From Culture Machine, a special issue on Digital Humanities: Beyond Computing. The dangers posed by Big Data are real — so is the defense inherent in liberal arts study. Have you heard about Big Data? No? Well, that’s okay, because Big Data has heard about you. From Ars Technica, Casey Johnston on the five technologies that will transform homes of the future. A review of Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom by Rebecca MacKinnon. The most famous name in American innovation today isn’t Apple or Google — it’s DARPA, and here’s why. Where’s -why?: What happened when one of the world’s most unusual, and beloved, computer programmers disappeared. Machine politics: David Kushner on George Hotz, the man who started the hacker wars. A review of Originary Technicity: The Theory of Technology from Marx to Derrida by Arthur Bradley. Bit rot: The world is losing its ability to reconstruct history — better regulation could fix that. A review of The Reputation Society: How Online Opinions Are Reshaping the Offline World.


From Democracy, a symposium on Decision 2024: Our Parties, Our Politics, with contributions by Ruy Teixeira, David Frum, Gary Segura, Nancy L. Rosenblum, and Kevin Drum, among others. "It's even worse than it looks": Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein at U.C. Berkeley on the GOP. Christina Romer on why it’s time for the Fed to lead the fight. Conservatives never liked left-wing, government-run solutions to problems like unaffordable health care and climate change; these days they don't seem to like right-wing, market solutions, either. Peter Orszag on the looming showdown: Come next January, our dysfunctional system will have to function — here’s one possible path toward an outside-the-box budget deal. From The New Yorker, what would Obama do if reelected? Ryan Lizza on the second term. Steer the car, don't blame the road: America's economic future will be determined in America, not Europe. Did Republicans deliberately crash the US economy? It is difficult to imagine Paul Krugman cheering for the Republicans, but there is nothing essentially “leftwing” about his analysis. Sasha Issenberg on Michael Tesler’s theory that all political positions come down to racial bias. Obama or Romney — how about both? Leon Neyfakh wonders.

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