Taha Yasseri and Mark Graham (Oxford), Anselm Spoerri (Rutgers), and Janos Kertesz (BME): The Most Controversial Topics in Wikipedia: A Multilingual and Geographical Analysis. Leigh Ellen Gray (Charleston): Thumb War: The Facebook “Like” Button and Free Speech in the Era of Social Networking. Kurt Eichenwald pieces together the largely unnoticed shift in Facebook strategy: new content, new algorithms, and new alliances, combined to power a marketing model that could have the rest of the world scrambling to catch up. The great Facebook exodus has begun. Bringing back the Internet portal: Yahoo’s mission creep is a useful case study in why web companies like Google and Facebook continue to grow their functionality and why startups keep selling to the seemingly bloated leviathans. This ambitious nonprofit wants to fact check the web.
A new issue of Five Dials is out. Patrick E. Murray (UCLA): Friends with Benefits: A Guide to Detecting Corruption in Politics After Citizen's United. When does plastic surgery become racial transformation? Leo Jiang grew up in an English industrial town, emotionally scarred by bullies who taunted him about being Chinese — a few years and tens of thousands of dollars later, he’s not really Chinese anymore. The Equator once marked the edge of the civilised world; if we put it at the centre, we might see our place in the heavens. Super sleuth: Colleen Fitzpatrick solves historical mysteries, deciphering centuries-old records and spelunking through the past, near and distant, like a time-traveling gumshoe. Where Thomas Nagel went wrong: The philosopher's critique of evolution wasn't shocking — so why have his colleagues raked him over the coals?
Andre Douglas Pond Cummings (Indiana Tech): Derrick Bell: Godfather Provocateur. Joseph Amditis (Rutgers): White Men Can't Joke: Racial Hierarchy and Traditional Race Narratives in Humor and Comedy. Stephen Clowney (Kentucky): Doing Affirmative Action. From TNR, Stuart Taylor on why race-based affirmative action makes things worse, not better; and will the end of race-based affirmative action improve diversity? Blaine Greteman investigates. Race matters: Larry Alexander and Maimon Schwarzschild review Should Race Matter? Unusual Answers to the Usual Questions by David Boonin. Zalfa Feghali reviews Articulate While Black: Barack Obama, Language, and Race in the U.S. by H. Samy Alim and Geneva Smitherman. The NAACP's Benjamin Jealous has become one of America's most forceful and influential progressive voices — so what does he want? (and when does he want it?)
From Liminalities, a special issue on studying ourselves and others, including Julie Cosenza (SIU): Once Upon A Time: Looking to the Ecstatic Past for Queer Futurity; and Robin M. Boylorn (Alabama): Blackgirl Blogs, Auto/ethnography, and Crunk Feminism. After catastrophe: Scholars who perceive the world as interconnected systems know that there are surely more disasters to come. When reading a review for a book with a title like How to Stay Sane, one ought to keep in mind that the proof is yet to come in. Ivar Paulo Hartmann, a journalist in Brazil, has been found guilty of discrimination against Indians, who he described as “ignorant” and “dirty”. Psychology is WEIRD: Western college students are not the best representatives of human emotion, behavior, and sexuality. The First New Atheist: 200 years after his birth, Kierkegaard’s philosophies are more relevant than ever (and more).
Daniele Conversi (Basque Country): Majoritarian Democracy and Globalization Versus Ethnic Diversity? Nicholas Sambanis (Yale) and Moses Shayo (HUJ): Social Identification and Ethnic Conflict. Patrick Giddy (Kwazulu-Natal): More Than Tolerance: Ethics for a Multicultural Society. From Living Reviews in Democracy, Antoinette Scherz (Zurich): The Legitimacy of the Demos: Who Should Be Included in the Demos and on What Grounds?; Marc Helbling (WZB): Nationalism and Democracy: Competing or Complementary Logics? David J. Arkush (Harvard): Direct Republicanism in the Administrative Process. Robert Talisse interviews Philip Pettit, author of On The People’s Terms: A Republican Theory and Model of Democracy. The introduction to The Importance of Being Civil: The Struggle for Political Decency by John A. Hall. Sibyl A Schwarzenbach is the funky philosopher of civic friendship.
From LARB, John B. Thompson reviews Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War by Stephen R. Platt and What Remains: Coming to Terms with Civil War in 19th Century China by Tobie Meyer-Fong; and Nick Holdstock interviews Lisa Ross, author of Living Shrines of Uyghur China. How do Chinese intellectuals construe social instability? Deng Yuwen on how to understand China's foreign policy: China can become a beacon for the world — if it trades in its conservative foreign policy for one that emphasizes universal values. On criticizing China: James Fallows on a unified field theory on assessing goods and bads. Andrew Sheng and Xiao Geng on China and the night-watchman state’s last shift. Benjamin F. Carlson on China's France fetish: The new rich want wine, cheese, and savoir vivre — underemployed Frenchmen are glad to deliver it.
A new issue of the Journal of Conflictology is out. Nicolas Salamanca (Maastricht) and Daniel S. Hamermesh (Texas): Endophilia or Exophobia: Beyond Discrimination. Jonathan Chait on how Yuval Levin has harnessed himself, at least rhetorically, to a series of falsifiable claims; they are being falsified, but the restraints of his ideology give him no room to do anything but obfuscate. UN reinscribes Polynesia on list of non self-governing territories, France calls it "blatant interference". From Fathom, an interview with Michael Walzer on excavating the Jewish political tradition; and an interview with Richard Perle on George W. Bush, Barack Obama and the Arab Spring. Jean-Clement Martin on the multiple meanings of revolution: Upheaval, crisis and imponderables. Death of the Salesmen: Derek Thompson on technology's threat to retail jobs — should we mourn them?
From Edge, Lee Smolin on thinking about nature and how to make a theory of the universe as a whole system. James Gleick reviews Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe by Lee Smolin. Lisa Randall’s Guide to the Galaxy: The famed cosmologist unveils her latest theories on the invisible universe, extra dimensions and human consciousness. Dark matter is the commonest, most elusive stuff there is — can we grasp this great unsolved problem in physics? Big news from the annals of science last week: A British newspaper reports that the mysteries of the universe may have been solved by a hedge-fund economist who left academia 20 years ago. Jon F. Wilkins on Eric Weinstein and an outsider’s Theory of Everything. Philosophy isn't dead yet: Far from having replaced metaphysics, fundamental physics is in a metaphysical mess and needs help — Einstein saw it coming.
From Interface, a special issue on anticolonial and postcolonial social movements. From New York, Jennifer Gonnerman on the stop-and-frisk trials of Pedro Serrano: NYPD rat, NYPD hero. From LARB, Anne Richardson reviews The Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay by Jess Bravin (and an interview); and Jon Wiener interviews Jeremy Scahill, author of Dirty Wars: The World is a Battlefield. Why are Republicans determined to waste money on government? Neil H. Buchanan on the upside-down logic of taking responsibilities (and funding) away from the IRS. Unacceptable: Judith Levine on recovering Paul Goodman. “Politics and Ideas: A Think Net” is a joint initiative of researchers and practitioners to produce and share innovative knowledge linking ideas and politics in developing and emerging economies. Is it the end of Sykes-Picot? Patrick Cockburn on the war in Syria and the threat to the Middle East.
Robert Marantoa (Arkansas) and Matthew Woessnera (PSU): Diversifying the Academy: How Conservative Academics Can Thrive in Liberal Academia. Why is communist iconography still cool? Dalibor Rohac wants to know. Aspiring line: Why Eric Alterman, as a young lefty writer, let conservative brahmin William F. Buckley make a monkey out of him — over and over again. An excerpt from An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal's Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media by Joe Muto. How to Save the GOP: Molly Ball on what Republicans can learn from the Democrats’ revival. Stephen Kruger on American semi-totalitarianism. Progressives with bombs: Peter Collier on the whitewashing of the Weather Underground. Adam Kokesh, leader of armed march on Washington, calls for “revolutionary army” to topple government. This is how to convince conservatives to recycle: A new study reveals how to appeal to different political ideologies.