Kendy M. Hess reviews The Environment: Philosophy, Science, and Ethics. When the Earth moved: Nicholas Lemann on the fate of Earth Day. The environmental movement must broadly mobilize for a new, green society that people can believe in, but is "nature" enough motivation? Erik Martiniussen wonders. How nature resets our minds and bodies: Adam Alter on the research behind an understanding that natural environments refocus our attention, lessening stress and hastening healing. Jack Tuholske on the Great American Commons: Our National Forests cover 191 million acres in forty states. Dan Handel on Dietrich Brandis and the birth of modern forestry. Not the portrayal of part of nature — Adorno’s final words on natural beauty: Tom Allen relates bourgeois “nature” to the founding violence of judgement. Amy Shira Teitel on how the Aurora Borealis nearly started World War III.
Ashutosh Avinash Bhagwat (UC-Davis): Terrorism and Associations. The biggest question surrounding the marathon bombings is the one of motive: Why did they do it? If you’re looking for a conversation starter, calling your next book Why Democracy Encourages Terrorism would probably work. Everything you've been told about radicalization is wrong: Despite the rhetoric, scary YouTube videos don't turn people into terrorists. How much danger do we face from homegrown jihadist terrorists? Since 9/11, successful domestic terror plots like the Boston Marathon bombing have been rare exceptions. Karen Greenberg on five myths about Guantanamo Bay. Jack Goldsmith on how Obama's secrecy is destroying American support for counterterrorism: When Obama took office, he promised not to expend "the rule of law" for "expedience's sake" — he did, and now we all face the consequences.
Sune Laegaard (Copenhagen): What does “Respect for Difference” Mean? The Spy Who Owned the Yankees: Michael Burke’s life reads like an adventure story — several of them, actually. JoAnn Wypijewski on primitive heterosexuality, from Steubenville to the marriage altar: Straight culture teaches its children that sex is either of the jungle or the picket fence. Bryne Purchase on why catastrophic events like the sub-prime mortgage crisis and climate change are inevitable. Europe’s wild men: They become bears, stags, and devils; they evoke death but bestow fertile life — they live in the modern era, but they summon old traditions. W. Elliot Brownlee reviews The Founders and Finance: How Hamilton, Gallatin, and Other Immigrants Forged a New Economy by Thomas K. McCraw. The Power Map: A special Foreign Policy issue on the 500 most powerful people on the planet.
A new issue of Democratic Left is out. Roger D. Congleton (West Virginia): A Short History of American Liberalism. Bhaskar Sunkara on why liberalism needs socialism — and vice versa. Why is the organized socialist movement in the United States so small and so clearly wanting in light of the potential for building its numbers and influence? Big Government made that: Charles Mudede on the most important leftist book of the year, The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire by Leo Panitch and Sam Gindin (and more). Why is socialism doing so darn well in deep-red North Dakota? Meet the New Left — small-business owners: Surveys demonstrate remarkably progressive attitudes on everything from taxation to regulation to the environment. From ThinkProgress, Ruy Teixeira writes in defense of utopia (and part 2). Rick Perlstein on why a Democratic majority is not demographic inevitability (in 4 parts).
Marja Schuster (RKH): Hermeneutics as Embodied Existence. From Jacobin, Gavin Mueller on the rise of the machines: Automation isn’t freeing us from work — it’s keeping us under capitalist control; and Sarah Jaffe on a day without care: What does it mean to strike when “production” isn’t the production of widgets, but care for children, the ill, disabled, or elderly? Clive Cookson takes an exclusive look at MIT’s Media Lab, one of the world’s most exciting laboratories and meets the scientists unfolding our future. And then there was one: Tom Engelhardt on imperial gigantism and the decline of Planet Earth. Christopher Sellers on how industrial dangers get overlooked. From prison to law school: Matthew Rudow on how former felon Shon Hopwood dedicated his life to law. Is stock market trading good for society? Alex Edmans, Vivian W. Fang, and Emanuel Zur investigate.
From The Economist, a review of Why Growth Matters: How Economic Growth in India Reduced Poverty and the Lessons for Other Developing Countries by Jagdish Bhagwati and Arvind Panagariya. Jon P. Dorschner reviews Poverty Amid Plenty in the New India by Atul Kohli. Could a program tracking identities of 1.3 billion Indians be the secret to ending poverty? Matt Birkinshaw reviews The Great Indian Phone Book: How The Cheap Cell Phone Changes Business, Politics, and Daily Life by Robin Jeffrey and Assa Doron. Make way for high rises: Who benefits from slum demolitions in Mumbai? Martin W. Lewis on new maps of India and of the Indian economy. The failure of technical education and a glut of IT graduates are fuelling resume fraud and a burgeoning background verification industry.
Jonathan Barnett (USC): Copyright Without Creators. From Slate, J. Bryan Lowder on how camp is not dead — it’s alive, well, and here to stay. Breeding baby fiscal hawks: Pete Peterson's long game to reduce the national debt involves wooing college kids with cash prizes and a visit to Bill Clinton's conference. Leon Neyfakh on what we want from the Marathon bombing trial: Boston expects a lot from the Tsarnaev prosecution — if things go right, we won’t get it all. The first chapter from Looking for Rights in All the Wrong Places: Why State Constitutions Contain America's Positive Rights by Emily Zackin. Kevin Smokler gave himself a tough assignment when he set out to write Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven’t Touched Since High School, and not just because he had to compose the equivalent of fifty book reports in less than ten months.
Rick Swedloff (Rutgers): The Trouble With Happiness. What makes us happy, revisited: A new look at the famous Harvard study of what makes people thrive. Barry Schwartz reviews The Myths of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t, What Shouldn’t Make You Happy, but Does by Sonja Lyubomirsky, Love 2.0: How Our Supreme Emotion Affects Everything We Feel, Think, Do, and Become by Barbara Fredrickson, and Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending by Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton. Yes, money really can buy happiness: The data suggests that the more money you make, the happier and more satisfied you become — there is no end to the striving. Wayne G. Rollins reviews The Bible and the Pursuit of Happiness: What the Old and New Testaments Teach Us about the Good Life. John Cullen reviews An Ecology of Happiness by Eric Lambin.
Walter Scheidel (Stanford): Evolutionary Psychology and the Historian. From U.S. Intellectual History Blog, a series of roundtable essays on Kerwin Lee Klein's From History to Theory. David Greenberg on Howard Zinn's influential mutilations of American history. Piero Scaruffi on a new history of prehistory. Richard Overy reviews The Undivided Past: History Beyond Our Differences by David Cannadine (and more). A specter is haunting university history departments: the specter of capitalism. Mathematicians predict the future with data from the past: Peter Turchin is turning himself into a real-life Hari Seldon — and he’s not alone. Eric Schultz on why history students should love Big Data. Ben Thompson is the Michael Bay of historians, and that's completely alright: Sam Riedel reviews Badass: Ultimate Deathmatch: Skull-Crushing True Stories of the Most Hardcore Duels, Showdowns, Fistfights, Last Stands, Suicide Charges, and Military Engagements of All Time.