Anthony Johnstone (Montana): The System of Campaign Finance Disclosure. Richard L. Hasen (UC-Irvine): Three Wrong Progressive Approaches (and One Right One) to Campaign Finance Reform. From FDL, a book salon on Dollarocracy: How the Money and Media Election Complex Is Destroying America by Robert W. McChesney and John Nichols. The electoral college is halfway to being abolished: The reform effort is picking up steam, but a lot has to happen for presidential elections to be decided by popular vote. Karen Hult reviews Two Presidents Are Better Than One: The Case for a Bipartisan Executive Branch by David Orentlicher. In the age of K Street, soft money, and safe seats, it's tempting to abandon our political institutions and shout down our opponents — here's why we shouldn't. Breaking up is hard to do: Marc Horger on America's love affair with the two-party system. Zeke J Miller on the bipartisan call to bring back the smoke-filled room. Frank Rich on the stench of the Potomac: Bipartisanship is alive and well in Washington — it just takes place once Republicans and Democrats (lots of Democrats) cash in. Congress isn't what it used to be: The definitive source for data on our nation’s legislative branch, Vital Statistics on Congress, has been released online for the first time ever. Brian Christopher Jones on one redeeming quality about the 112th Congress: Refocusing on descriptive rather than evocative short titles.
A new issue of HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory is out. Reva Siegel (Yale): Dignity and the Duty to Protect Unborn Life. What’s an idea worth? Adam Davidson on why the billable hour no longer makes economic sense. Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani makes a promising first move. Rich investors say that it takes at least $5 million to feel wealthy, according to a new investor sentiment report from UBS — meanwhile, two-thirds of millionaires don’t consider themselves to be wealthy. Sarah Kliff on how most Americans would like to die before they turn 100 — radical life extension is not particularly popular. Harry Hopkins explains why stimulus doesn't work: “Don't forget that whatever happens you'll be wrong”. Should trans people have to disclose their birth gender before sex? A study finds military suicides are not correlated with military deployment. Brad DeLong on America’s health-care divide. It gets worse: How come nobody is making educational videos for straight teens? Harry Reid should kill the filibuster, for real this time: Democrats have all the leverage — why won't they use it? Ian Williams on geek culture: What is Superman in the twenty-first century but a corporate mascot, albeit one with a lavish backstory? Andrea Peterson on why a former NSA chief just made a big mistake by dissing hackers: When you desperately need the help of a group, it's usually not a good idea to call them would-be terrorist.
Thomas Grund, Christian Waloszek, and Dirk Helbing (ETH Zurich): How Natural Selection Can Create Both Self- and Other-Regarding Preferences, and Networked Minds. How could we engineer humans to have more empathy? Charlie Jane Anders wonders. A study says some species have become monogamous through evolution and, for primates, infanticide is at its root. The work is only beginning on understanding the human genome: Elizabeth Quill interviews Eric D. Green, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. Marek Kohn on the Neanderthal mind: Troglodytes who couldn't compete, or humans with complex culture? This island life: Lewis Spurgin on the strange biology of island populations highlights the role of chance, not just selection, in evolutionary change. What is the fastest articulated motion a human can execute? On the mechanics and evolution of human throwing. Infections, institutions, and life history: Daniel Hruschka on searching for the origins of individualism and collectivism. Living people linked to 5,500 year-old DNA. What will become of humans as we evolve under the selective pressures of our modern lives and technology? If we adapt to some of the more bizarre elements of the present, humans could undergo some surreal changes. Nobody expects atoms and molecules to have purposes, so why do we still think of living things in this way?