From Cultural Survival, a special issue on rescuing critically endangered Native American languages. A tiny part of the brain appears to play an important role in how well adults can learn another language, a new study finds. A space of her own:  Internet guru Danah Boyd has rare insights into the workings of online communities and the net's failings. Let's hear it for Stumpy, Keano and the zorse: Animals are the unsung heroes of the news agenda. What explains toddlers' linguistic leap? Math: Simple math may explain why toddlers experience a sudden burst of words—and why some talk earlier and more than others.  Why do certain things charm us so? A review of Taking Things Seriously by Joshua Glenn and Carol Hayes.  A review of Marooned: The Next Generation Of Desert Island Discs

From Utne Reader, The Wide World of Online Literary Journals: A guide to literature on the web. Let's Get Killed: Arthur magazine is back from the ashes but still looking for a lifeline. Open Library: Imagine if world’s most complete card catalog were just a mouse-click away. Scott McLemee chats with a young programmer who is making it happen. YouTube vigilantes: Will Internet shaming turn Average Joes into Big Brother? A review of Wrestling Babylon: Piledriving Tales of Drugs, Sex, Death, and Scandal by Irvin Muchnick. An article on curbing homophobia in Reggae. Don't Drink the Balloon Juice: Michael Weiss on good, bad, and ugly things to name your blog. Wars of ideas: An article on the ten greatest legal battles in technology

From The Atlantic Monthly, a review of Frank Sinatra: The Man, the Music, the Legend by Jeanne Fuchs. O’Malley to Murdoch to Chance: A story about how the media mogul was no Midas on the diamond. A genetic string band: A computer programme that turns DNA into music helps to bring the arts and sciences closer. Nope, Yup, Nope, Yup: An ontological treatise on flipping coinage. A review of Cake or Death: The excruciating choices of everyday life by Heather Mallick. The Gospel according to Edward De Bono: Blair to Branson, Gorbachev to Gerry Adams, many and varied are those who have sat at the feet of the lord of lateral thinking and pope of H+. If nothing is what it seems, are you sure this column is real? 

From Moldova's The Tiraspol Times, what on earth is this? Pridnestrovie claims it is a state. But opponents of independence say it isn't. Democracy in action: The gloriously Greek, freedom-loving attitude of Athenians to smoking fits perfectly with the city’s history. Tale of ruling class privilege touches a nerve in Italians: A review of The Caste: How Italian Politicians Became Untouchable. The other Europeans: An integrated 'Romanian' Asia and Middle East, a Swedish safe-haven-no-more for Iraqi refugees, and Africans voyagers dying in Mediterranean waters. How the migration tide has crashed and burned over Europe's east, north and south. The introduction to Democratic Breakdown and the Decline of the Russian Military by Zoltan Barany. 

How the West was won over: The sprawling new Taoist temple north of Toronto is a reflection of the growing popularity of China's ancient faiths. A review of The Khat Controversy: Stimulating the Debate on Drugs by David Anderson. The first cut: Practised for religious, cultural and health reasons, circumcision has not been required by mainstream medicine. But will studies suggesting it protects against HIV sway those who consider it barbaric? Building big, starting small: A radical new way for poor countries to get the phones, power, and roads they need. A review of Merchant of Death by Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun. To Russia, with dub: Want to fight racism in Russia? Send in Lily Allen, some reggae bands and an outspoken Muslim rapper. The Romance of Ruin: The wrecking ball can be an uncannily honest artist, laying bare the hidden truth – and beauty – of a structure. A tour of Toronto the Broken. 

From the Center for American Progress, here's a an Iraq Timeline: The Broken Record on "the Next Few Months". From Forward, a review of Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Iran, Israel and the United States by Trita Parsi (and more). Henry Siegman on the Middle East Peace Process Scam: There is no peace process. A crucial test case for Arab democracy: Can Morocco’s Islamists check al-Qaida? The first chapter from Reaching for Power: The Shi'a in the Modern Arab World by Yitzhak Nakash (and an interview). Split in anti-war left: Congress’s failure to secure a timetable for withdrawing American troops from Iraq has split anti-war activists on the tactical question of whether to attack Democrats.

We should be adult enough to say something as juvenile as, "Wow, your god used to think if you eat meat on Fridays you’d go to hell? Interesting, but I don’t understand that at all. Tell me more". The law of the bus stop: Adolescent behaviour isn't getting any worse, but our media-fuelled obsession with it is. You Don't Say: The celebrity interview is an exercise in ersatz intimacy. Let's talk about reinventing it. From the Freakonomics Quorum, a look at the economics of street charity. A review of Cracks in the Constitution by Ferdinand Lundberg.  The eyes have it: What do we see when we look at ads? First Prize for Weird: A bizarre substance, like "frozen smoke", may clean up rivers, run cell phones and power spaceships. The Numbers Guy on The Mystery of the Median

A review of When The Press Fails by W. Lance Bennett, Regina G. Lawrence and Steven Livingston and Dark Days in the Newsroom: McCarthyism Aimed at the Press by Edward Alwood. A look at how more black women consider "dating out". Left Out: "Gay recovering leftist" explores why the dating life of a political minority can be lonely. The introduction to Services and Employment: Explaining the U.S.-European Gap. A review of Factory of Dreams: A History of Meccano Ltd, 1901-1979 by Kenneth D. Brown. From American History, an article on the curious history of the Purple Heart. Where black and brown collide: The struggle for political dominance pits natural allies against each other. From Forward, an article on the death of genuine dissent in Judaism.

From National GeographicHow to Survive (Almost) Anything: When it comes to surviving a crisis situation, we tend to rely on what we think we know. But sometimes second-guessing yourself is the key to getting out alive. The introduction to Freedom's Orphans: Contemporary Liberalism and the Fate of American Children by David L. Tubbs. So what would it mean to take seriously Jesus' injunction to love our neighbours? How could we recover a sense of the proximity of love? And how could we take seriously the geography of this ethical vision? A review of Plain Secrets: An Outsider Among the Amish by Joe Mackall. The pay phone, 100 or so, served us well in another era: Fewer and fewer people use public pay phones. As prices rise, experts wonder if they have a future. User’s guide: Some habits are rational to acquire but addicts should quit when the need arises.

Stefano DellaVigna and Ethan Kaplan (UC-Berkley): The Political Impact of Media Bias. The Next Nobel? How upstart philanthropist Fred Kavli found a way to rev up tomorrow's hottest fields of inquiry. The first chapter from Mothers and Children: Jewish Family Life in Medieval Europe by Elisheva Baumgarten. Single-sex classes may come soon to a school near you: Experiments are worthy approach for many students, particularly boys.  Earth Speaks in an Inaudible Voice: You can’t hear it, but our planet’s ultradeep hum could save your life. The introduction to American Machiavelli: Alexander Hamilton and the Origins of U.S. Foreign Policy by John Lamberton Harper. 

Prime Vertebrae: PZ Myers discusses the critical difference between having six or seven cervical vertebrae.  In dusty archives, a theory of affluence: Gregory Clark believes that the Industrial Revolution occurred because of a change in the nature of the human population.  The first chapter from War, Wine, and Taxes: The Political Economy of Anglo-French Trade, 1689-1900 by John V. C. Nye. A look at why guilt doesn't keep some of us from making the same mistakes twice.  A review of History of Madness by Michel Foucault. The introduction to Postal Systems in the Pre-Modern Islamic World by Adam J. Silverstein. A Brief History of Infinity: The paradoxical twists and turns of infinity have baffled many great thinkers.

Is anybody out there? Calling all aliens, we want to hear from you … or do we? With plans afoot to transmit new interstellar messages, some say it's foolhardy to broadcast our presence. What if ET wants to eat us? Good Old Cal? A review of The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression by Amity Shlaes. Medical sleuth reveals what killed Poe, Columbus: Mysteries solved by combining detailed histories and modern knowledge. David Warsh reads Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers and Warriors Shaped Globalization and, side-by-side, the June issue of the American Economic Review. The introduction to Chases and Escapes: The Mathematics of Pursuit and Evasion by Paul J. Nahin.

From Mute, Synaesthesia and Reductionism at the Venice Biennale: In 2007 Art has never been so big and apparently neither have the wallets of those stalking it. The Christian artist in the world: Being a Christian artist does not mean that the artist works only in the realm of religious subject matter. Immured in History: A look at how Prague is a city of walls. The Prefab Fad: Prefabrication is everywhere in American home-building. But that doesn't mean your next house is going to be a stylish, Modernist box. The introduction to Bipolar Expeditions: Mania and Depression in American Culture by Emily Martin.

From TLS, a review of L'Origine Du Monde: Histoire d’un tableau de Gustave Courbet by Thierry Savatier. Getting the Proust habit: Chris Power used to be sceptical of the prolix proto-modernist's reputation for addictiveness. Now he's gagging for his next fix. From Sign and Sight, when crime fiction is a crime: Amir Valle's journey from success to exile — a Cuban destiny. A review of Poison Woman: Figuring Female Transgression in Modern Japanese Culture by Christine L. Marran. From 3:AM, The Dirty Avant-Garde: An excerpt from Hijikata: Revolt of the Body, a biography of the founder of the Japanese Ankoku Butoh performance art, by Stephen Barber; and what to make of the apparent disparity between the image of a vibrant “cool Japan”—and a domestic youth culture that is shrinking in size, hope and ambition?

From New York, J.K. Rowling knew what her franchise needed—but she didn’t have the courage to do it. A review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and The Girl's Like Spaghetti by Lynne Truss. Legendary teacher, Thatcher adviser, hero of fiction, exiled maverick, Norman Stone is a great maker of enemies. From LRB, why we have them I can’t think: A review The Mrs Woolf and the Servants: The Hidden Heart of Domestic Service by Alison Light. A review of Victorian Women Writers and the Classics: The Feminine of Homer by Isobel Hurst. A review of The Origins of Beowulf: From Vergil to Wiglaf by Richard North. A review of Passions and Tempers: A History of the Humours by Noga Arikha.

From Foreign Policy, Gold, Silver, and Brazen: The Olympic Games are inherently political—and it’s time we admit it; and a look at the World’s Most Valuable Disputed Turf: A look at real estate that, at least for some countries, just might be worth fighting for. Finders keepers in the Arctic? The Doctrine of Discovery is still alive in the modern world. The Pirate Hunters: Though buccaneering is back with a vengeance, stepped-up law enforcement and high-tech tools are helping protect shipping on the high seas. From Open Democracy, the ties that bind: The fervour of missionaries from the world's great universalist faiths - and of their secular partners in belief - has shaped globalisation; and on the algebra of revolution: Why do some "colour revolutions" succeed and others fail? A mathematical model provides the basis of an answer. 

From Mute, as money expands, society contracts. In the UK the unholy trinity of Private Finance Initiatives, Private Equity and Pensions embodies this logic, turning jobs, services and infrastructure into factories for finance capital. Rob Ray explains how the 3 P's interact to pile up corporate fortunes and devolve risk on to the rest of us. A review of Nationality: Wog: The Hounding of David Oluwale by Kester Aspden. From Prospect, London's new sex "theme park" aims to find a middle ground between pornography and sex education. Does it succeed? Religion is still in the picture in Northern Ireland. But for the first time in history, it no longer frames the argument.

From The Village Voice, Rudy Giuliani's Five Big Lies About 9/11: On the stump, Rudy can't help spreading smoke and ashes about his lousy record. From LRB, a review of A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Hillary Clinton: Her Way: The Biography. How strong is the Democratic presidential field? Not as strong as you think. A devil's advocate probes for weaknesses among the front-runners. The Long View: Before Democrats get excited about taking back the White House in 2008, they'd do well to remember that history is shaped by long-term trends, not short-term revolutions. Don’t Go There: Here are the top 20 taboo topics for presidential candidates. Getting Pssssst-y in Iowa: Whispering campaigns reveals the power of soft sweet slander.

Diplomacy 101: A review of Statecraft: And How to Restore America’s Standing in the World by Dennis Ross. Glenn Greenwald on Samantha Power and the foreign policy community. A review of Making War to Keep Peace by Jeane J Kirkpatrick. A review of Henry Kissinger and the American Century by Jeremi Suri. An interview with Rowan Scarborough, author of Sabotage: America's Enemies Within the CIA. A review of Seizing Destiny: How America Grew From Sea to Shining Sea by Richard Kluger (and more). A review of The Most Noble Adventure: The Marshall Plan and the Time When America Helped Save Europe by Greg Behrman. A review of 15 Stars: Eisenhower, MacArthur, Marshall: Three Generals Who Saved the American Century by Stanley Weintraub and Partners in Command: George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace by Mark Perry. A review of Ike: An American Hero by Michael Korda.

Leon Wieseltier on Our Tacky New Gilded Age: The immorality of the elite .01 percent. The American Dream De-Mythologized: Is the American Dream increasingly belied by societal realities? Who is asking the most pointed questions about the health of American democracy? It’s Not Always Morning in America: We could do with a little more gloominess in American politics. History suggests we aren’t likely to get it. Is the Left unprincipled? The Left is regularly lampooned for its apparent contradictions, but if it can rise to this challenge, then it might be just what was needed. Voting with their hearts: An excerpt from The Political Brain by Drew Westen.

If it's from Europe, forget it: Conservative dismissals of Democratic healthcare plans as "socialist" explains a lot about the hole America is presently in. The Failure of Antigovernment Conservatism: Issues like children's health insurance and maintaining our infrastructure offer progressives the opportunity to finally say, without fear of disastrous political consequences, that sometimes government is not the problem, it's the solution. Dispatches from the Konservetkult: Today's members of the right-wing culture patrol see ideological subtext everywhere they look. The Battle Hymn of The New Republic: Right wing pounces on Beltway bible’s Baghdad diarist; but who’s telling the truth about Iraq? What to make of the New Republic's Baghdad Diarist? Phillip Carter investigates.

From Kritika & Kontext, a special issue on Richard Rorty, including Richard Rorty on democracy and philosophy; "We anti-foundationalists": A response by Béla Egyed; and a rejoinder by Rorty; Richard Rorty can be placed alongside Hume, Montaigne, and Wittgenstein in a tradition of dissident philosophy: All wanted to put an end to the traditional philosophical discussion, but have become, in one way or another, part of the occidental philosophical establishment; and in a fundamentally non-philosophical age, Richard Rorty offered a fast and easy solution to a fundamental philosophical question: His critique of universalism constituted a liberation but left no alternative to moral ethnocentrism

From Edge, Freeman Dyson on Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society. Is the mind physical? Can we explain all human conscious experience in terms of physical events? An interview with David Papineau. From The Global Spiral, Eugen Zelenak (CUR): A Problem for the Kantian-style Critique of the Traditional Metaphysics; Stephen G. Post (Case Western): It’s Good to be Good: How Benevolent Emotions and Actions Contribute to Health; John D. Caputo (Villanova): Richard Rorty (1931-2007): In Memoriam; a review of God and Contemporary Science by Philip Clayton; and a review of Genes, Genesis and God: Values and Their Origins in Nature and Human History by Holmes Rolston.

Life From the Oldest Ice? Team claims to have resurrected microbes from 8-million-year-old Antarctic samples. New research suggests that ancient marine arthropods called trilobites exhibited more within-species morphological variation early in their history than later on. From Skeptic, Frans de Waal responds to a recent New Yorker article on bonobos. Language of the Apes: A review of The First Word by Christine Kenneally. New fossils illustrate "Bushiness" of human evolution: Fossils support the separate evolution of Homo habilis and Homo erectus, point to a gorillalike social structure for the latter. Is the Out of Africa theory out? An examination of over 5,000 teeth from early human ancestors shows that many of the first Europeans probably came from Asia.

From n+1, an article on the receding public shoreline: what's happening over at Jones Beach. The energetic spirit of New York City: A review of Through the Children's Gate: A Home in New York by Adam Gopnik and Mere Anarchy by Woody Allen. A review of The Shape of Things to Come: Prophecy and the American Voice by Greil Marcus. Opening doors to other cultures: An interview with Uma Krishnaswami, an author of Indian origin writing for children in the US. A review of The Book of Love: In Search of the Kamasutra by James McConnachie. A review of Elif Shafak's The Bastard of Istanbul and Maureen Freely's Enlightenment, two novels that bravely address the identity crisis of modern Turkey

We need critics with cojones: For poetry to thrive, we need journalists and academics prepared to argue for absolute not relative value. James Wood, a senior editor at The New Republic, where he has been the literary critic for the past 12 years, is leaving to become a staff writer at The New Yorker. Giving the mainstream "moments of littleness": Small magazines inhabit a tradition of cultivating and nurturing big ideas until they're ready for a larger arena. Lingua fracta: With our common cultural vocabulary splintering or disappearing, it's not so easy to only connect. The greatest stories ever told: Reading to your kids can be rewarding for parent and child alike but, with adult literacy becoming a greater problem, it can also be an important educational tool. Pop Culture in 17 Syllables: In our brave new world of news bytes, instant messaging and dwindling attention spans, the haiku is making a comeback. One of the week's best invented words: Beautox, n.: "a condition that a girl or woman suffers from after bad, especially prolonged exposure to her boyfriend". 

From Cracked, here are the 5 stages of a successful relationship (in a romantic comedy). Going Out With a Bang: A look at why we're hardwired for explosion movies. Joey is to Friends as Blake is to Milton. Discuss: A review of Not Remotely Controlled: Notes on Television by Lee Siegel. From New York, The Near-Fame Experience: Bravo shows like Project Runway and Top Chef are supposed to elevate the reality genre by putting a spotlight on those who actually deserve it. But the programs’ alumni say that meritocratic ideal is just another televised illusion; and The Resurrection of Don Imus: The shock jock rises, with a little help from Lenny Bruce. Ads We Hate: Slate readers nominate the worst of the worst.

From FT, a review of More Than a Game: The Story of Cricket’s Early Years by John Major; Test Match Special: 50 Not Out: The Official History of a National Sporting Treasure; Fatty Batter: How Cricket Saved My Life (Then Ruined It) by Michael Simkins; and Shane Warne: Portrait of a Flawed Genius by Simon Wilde. A review of Men in White: A Book of Cricket by Mukul Kesavan. A review of The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed by J.C. Bradbury. At the Homeless World Cup, one game can change a life. Amid the frenzy over David Beckham's arrival, a different kind of soccer game unfolds.

From Monthly Review, the revolt against U.S. hegemony in Latin America in the opening years of the twenty-first century constitutes nothing less than a new historical moment. A review of Hugo Chávez: The Definitive Biography of Venezuela's Controversial President by Cristina Marcano and Alberto Barrera Tyszka. A review of The Americano: Fighting With Castro for Cuba's Freedom by Aran Shetterly. Myths and Realities of the Arms Race: Despite appearances, Venezuela is far behind Washington's two main allies in Latin America, Colombia and Chile, in the purchase of weapons.

You may not have noticed it, but Africa is booming. Yet just when the world’s poorest continent is finally starting to see real economic growth, the resource curse threatens to snatch it all away.  The downward slide of the fishing industry in Kenya represents an interesting study of economic behaviour, with key actors caught in a classical "tragedy of the commons". The Child Soldiers of Staten Island: While Hollywood swoons over teen guerrillas, the real lost boys are hidden in plain sight. How often do we hear that hackneyed expression, "A picture is worth a thousand words"? For once this cliché has been rejuvenated following the harrowing and powerful drawings made by children in refugee camps, who escaped from the atrocities being committed in Sudan.

Surge of Suicide Bombers: The Iraq war has turned into a veritable "martyr" factory, unlike any seen in previous conflicts; and Profiles in Killing: In spite of the stereotypes, there is no typical suicide bomber. A look at those who believed they would find paradise by sending others to their deaths. Though there was little warmth shared between Gordon Brown and President Bush last week, it seemed the two men were on the same page on issues like Iraq and fighting terrorists. Or were they? A report finds high-ranking Army and Air Force personnel violated long-standing military regulations when they participated in a promotional video for an evangelical Christian organization while in uniform and on active duty. 

George Bush, Hegelian: David Greenberg on the president's quest for a sense of "history". An Unimpeachably Bad Idea: Trying to impeach Bush would be a dumb move for Democrats.  A look at how to resign in public like a coward. An interview with Danielle Crittenden, author of The President’s Secret IMs. Hillary Control: The women of “Hillaryland” have constructed a carefully managed, always on-message, leakproof campaign. But is this a good thing? A review of Bill Clinton: Mastering the Presidency by Nigel Hamilton. Rudy and the Religious Nuts: Why he gets a free pass. The Other Man From Hope: Mike Huckabee, the likable longshot in the Republican presidential race.