Katherine Guthrie (William and Mary) and Jan Sokolowsky (Michigan): Utility - Discontentment = Happiness. From Stanford Social Innovation Review, a special 10th Anniversary issue includes essays on how the field of social innovation has evolved and what challenges remain ahead. Robert Henderson reviews The Significance of Borders: Why Representative Government and the Rule of Law Require Nation States by Thierry Baudet. Susan Cheever on the case for closing liquor stores. Should striving ever stop? Cass Sunstein reviews On Settling by Robert Goodin. What are we to make of the impact of the detritus of love denied, when happily ever after eludes us? The invisible hand does not exist: David Sloan Wilson on how a return to the original texts of Adam Smith and a look at the theory of evolution can help us craft a better metaphor for how markets actually function.
From Technology Review, welcome to the Malware-Industrial Complex: The U.S. government is developing new computer weapons and driving a black market in “zero-day” bugs — the result could be a more dangerous Web for everyone. Adam Fish on the Internet: Who built that? The US calls loudly for “Internet freedom”, but it is Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon that have built up the dotcom services used by people all over the world. Muzzled by the bots: Intermediaries online are more powerful, and more subtle, than ever before. Redesigning Google: How Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution. Google’s impossible plan to fix our broken world: Self-driving cars and a better shopping experience will not mend our messy human imperfections. Nassim Taleb on being aware of the big errors of “Big Data”. David Gelernter on the end of the web, search, and computer as we know it.
Christina Lefevre-Gonzalez (Colorado): Restoring Historical Understandings of the “Public Interest” Standard of American Broadcasting: An Exploration of the Fairness Doctrine. Brad Plumer on how Americans still don’t want to cut any actual government programs. Nazis in the Amazon Revisited: Felipe Fernandes Cruz on the power of rumor and gossip. Is poverty in our genes? A critique of Ashraf and Galor, “The ‘Out of Africa’ Hypothesis, HumanGenetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development”, forthcoming in American Economic Review. One of the hardest things for us to remember about Stalinism is that, as well as being a system of horrors, it also represented modernity, and social mobility, and opportunity for lots of people. Stop demonizing preppers: There's more to this subculture than the media stereotypes suggest.
From e-flux, Keti Chukhrov on epistemological gaps between the former Soviet East and the “Democratic” West. Gerald M. Easter on his book Capital, Coercion, and Postcommunist States. Did Chernobyl cause the Soviet Union to explode? Mark Joseph Stern on the nuclear theory of the fall of the USSR. Vladimir Kara-Murza reviews The Next Generation in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan: Youth, Politics, Identity, and Change by Nadia M. Diuk. Authorities in Uzbekistan continue to dismantle Soviet past. Freedom House finds Eurasia region now “worst in the world” in political rights. Tania Raffass on her book The Soviet Union: Federation or Empire? The post-Soviet twilight: Bruce P. Jackson on the stubborn political culture of Russia and the Ukraine. Patrick Slaney interviews Audra Wolfe, author of Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America.
Gunther Teubner (Frankfurt): The Law Before It Is Law: Franz Kafka and the (Im)possibility of the Law’s Self-Reflection. Joshua Prager traces the life of Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, and why she’d favor an abortion ban. From TNR, why do we keep anointing "it" cities? Chuck Thompson wants to know. John Banville reviews The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths by John Gray (and more and more). Janet Yellen explains our crummy recovery in three charts. The House of Pain: Ryan Lizza on Eric Cantor and the Republicans. Peter Frase on post-work: A guide for the perplexed. Is sex necessary? It’s the only reproduction that prepares for the worst. Reliving Groundhog Day: On the 20th anniversary of the beloved Bill Murray comedy, it’s time to recognize it as a profound work of contemporary metaphysics.
From Studia Philosophica Estonica, a special issue on practical realist account of science. It may have been awhile since you wondered, what exactly is a second? But think about it now and the question will nag at you. Are there parallel universes? The answer is "possibly". Stephen Mumford is cool, calm and collected as he broods on the big issues in the metaphysics of science. Is scientific truth always beautiful? David Orrell says the quest for elegance leads too many researchers astray. According to Max Tegmark, it’s not enough to say that math governs our universe; rather, he believes that reality itself is a mathematical structure. Philosophy under attack: Patrick Stokes on Lawrence Krauss and the new denialism. An “embarrassment” to science: Brad Plumer on a simple breakdown of why physicists still can't agree on how to interpret quantum mechanics — and why it matters. What is the purpose of the Universe? Here is one possible answer.
Matt Smith-Lahram interviews Reiland Rabaka, author of Hip Hop’s Amnesia: From Blues and the Black Women’s Club Movement to Rap and the Hip Hop Movement. Brandon Maxwell on hip hop: A free-market history. Anarchy on hip-hop: While it’s clear from their music that some rappers actually get the punk thing, others are clearly posing. A case for the Michael Boltons of this world: If Rap’s opponents could see the value it brings, how it keeps people moving, how it gets them excited, they might not be so quick to dismiss it. Who put the heeb in the hippity hippity hop? For the last nine years, three friends have been making long-format rap songs dedicated to the NBA All-Star Game — is it impolite to ask why? Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” are wildly popular, signifying either a tremendous cultural victory for hip-hop or the moment when hip-hop has begun to lose its meaning. Adam Tod Brown on 4 classic rap albums that ruined rap music.
Donn Short (Manitoba): Queering Schools, GSAs and the Law: Taking on God. Alan Sears considers whether the graphic novel version of the Communist Manifesto from Red Quill Press can do the work of the Quebec students’ red square. What is Canadian cuisine, anyway? Losing the land again: Kyle Carsten Wyatt on the risks of privatizing property on First Nations reserves. The decent fix for aboriginal rights: Aboriginal peoples of Canada deserve justice, says Barbara Amiel, but negotiations will be complicated. Does Canada still stand for something? Resistance begins with remembering who we are. The Accidental Activist: Energy economist, Nobel laureate, and former government adviser Mark Jaccard found himself blocking a coal train. Selling out for survival: If The Walrus wants to continue to survive it needs to sell what the editorial team calls ad space and what some readers call its soul.
From Newtopia, Brian Griffith on the trouble with Gnostics. Most religions teach that after death, a soul within us leaves the body and lives on for eternity — many people assume it is also a biblical belief, but is it? Donald Prothero reviews The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood by David R. Montgomery. Joel Stephen Williams reviews Reading the Bible for All the Wrong Reason by Russell Pregeant. How did people know about God before the Bible came into being? Ann Naffziger answers. Was Jesus a drama king? Peter Wallace on six ways Jesus was emotionally real — and why it matters. Does the Christian church damage women by idolizing virginity? David Sessions on what it will really take to bring down the cult of virginity. Brian D. Earp on why it's OK to criticize religious practices. Dan Delzell on why it feels natural to criticize Christians.
Mark Fenster (Florida): The Implausibility of Secrecy. Guess which other amendment Mississippi hasn’t gotten around to ratifying? This year’s Oscars, as usual, will have nothing to tell us about artistry — but they appear a particularly lucid reflection of the stake Hollywood’s owners have in the global power structure. From Chaos of Memories, Perry Anderson meets the Rolling Stones. From Google's Policy by the Numbers, Erica Johnstone on the legal landscape of involuntary porn. Total liberation: An interview with Walter Bond on anarchy, abortion rights, anti-colonialism and animal liberation. Diana Furchtgott-Roth reviews The Declining Importance of Race and Gender in the Labor Market: The Role of Employment Discrimination Policies by June E. O'Neill and Dave M. O'Neill. Is the uncredited voice behind “con los terroristas” sample in “Harlem Shake” song suing DJ Baauer?