From the New York Times Magazine, a special issue on the Olympics. The ideology of the Olympics: Robert L. Kehoe reviews Power Games: A Political History of the Olympics by Jules Boykoff and The Games: A Global History of the Olympics by David Goldblatt. Is the IOC’s protection of the Olympic brand over the top? The worst predictions about Rio haven’t come true — that tells us a few things about Brazil and the media. Fiji’s rugby team could be the best story of the Rio Olympics. Rooting for your own country in the Olympics is for losers and suckers. Laurel Raymond on the fun, inescapable (and kind of worrisome) psychology of “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” Most nations going to the Olympics won’t bring home a medal — here’s why they compete anyway. The introduction to Success and Failure of Countries at the Olympic Games by Danyel Reiche.
What are the worst Olympic sports? Walt Hickey investigates. Clean athletes, and Olympic glory lost in the doping era. Ian Johnson on the new face of Olympic doping. The drugs won: Patrick Hruby on the case for ending the sports war on doping. What does it really mean to be an Olympic alternate? Tim Struby explores the hidden lives of the greatest athletes who might never compete for their country. Jordan Sargent on how a bronze medal is better than silver.
Donald McRae on on the return of Caster Semenya: Olympic favourite and ticking timebomb. The humiliating practice of sex-testing female athletes: For years, international sports organizations have been policing women for “masculine” qualities and turning their Olympic dreams into nightmares — but when Dutee Chand appealed her ban, she may have changed the rules. The media’s Olympics coverage reminds us just how taxing it is to be a female athlete. Allison Stokke is the most popular pole vaulter in the world, and I wish that weren’t so depressing.
The Tumbler Tumblr: Eslpeth Reeve on how hard-core gymnastics fans are revolutionizing the way the sport is covered. The last perfect gymnast: Sarah Marshall reviews The End of the Perfect 10: The Making and Breaking of Gymnastics’ Top Score — from Nadia to Now by Dvora Meyers. Lindsay Gibbs on America’s painful journey from prejudice to greatness in women’s gymnastics.
Jack M. Balkin (Yale): Republicanism and the Constitution of Opportunity. Why shouldn’t the law ignore emotion? If the justice system becomes an assembly line devoid of feelings, reconciliation and social justice will suffer. Inside the Fox News bunker: In the subterranean newsroom, fear is everywhere — “hacking was bad,” says one person familiar with the internal investigation, “this is arguably worse.” Are we reaching the end of world records? As we near the limits of human strength and speed, technology and culture keep moving the finish line. Can a burgeoning Satanic movement effect political change? Riding on the popularity of The Witch, one group hopes to change America’s identity as a “Christian nation”. A text analysis of Trump’s tweets confirms he writes only the (angrier) Android half.
Stephen Morse (Penn): Law and the Sciences of the Brain/Mind. Jairus Grove (Hawaii): Something Darkly This Way Comes: The Horror of Plasticity in an Age of Control. Christof Koch reviews Soul Machine: The Invention of the Modern Mind by George Makari. 2300 years later, Plato’s theory of consciousness is being backed up by neuroscience. Alex Rosenberg on why you don’t know your own mind. Man missing most of his brain challenges everything we thought we knew about consciousness. Michael Graziano on how consciousness is not mysterious — it’s just the brain describing itself to itself. George Johnson on how consciousness is the mind messing with the mind. Do we need an ethics of consciousness? Derek Beres wants to know. Zombies must be dualists: Sean Carroll on what the existence of zombies would do to our philosophy of mind.
Your brain does not process information, retrieve knowledge or store memories; in short, your brain is not a computer. Ray Kurzweil: In the 2030s, nanobots in our brains will make us “Godlike”. Robert Lawrence Kuhn on the Singularity, virtual immortality and the trouble with consciousness.
Dan Moller (Maryland): Dilemmas of Political Correctness. Former NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen: Donald Trump is a global risk. Dozens of Republicans to urge RNC to cut off funds for Trump. GOP donors, fearful of Trump-fueled electoral rout, direct big money down-ballot. Obamacare appears to be making people healthier. This Daily Beast Olympics Grindr stunt is sleazy, dangerous, and wildly unethical. Can the New York Times weddings section be justified? Jesse Hyde on the rise and fall of Warren Jeffs: The largest polygamist community in America is run by a madman in jail — who’s started a civil war. From LARB, the question concerning Heidegger: Richard Polt reviews Heidegger: The Question of Being and History by Jacques Derrida; and Matthew Farish reviews Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World by David Vine.
Benjamin Waddell (Adams State): Migrant Remittances: An Untapped Resource for International Development? Chris Dillow on how immigration is a great way of reducing poverty. You're only an “economic migrant” if you’re poor and brown. Michael Clemens on why today’s migration crisis is an issue of global economic inequality. What are the economic effects of immigration? An interview with Ian Goldin. The surprisingly simple economic case for giving refugees cash, not stuff. There is a trade-off between citizenship and migration: Immigration threatens to diminish the premiums enjoyed in rich countries, writes Branko Milanovic. “Do not come to Europe”, Donald Tusk warns economic migrants.
Sarah Horton (Colorado): Ghost Workers: The Implications of Governing Immigration Through Crime for Migrant Workplaces. Michelle Chen on how undocumented immigrants contribute over $11 billion to our economy each year: The notion that they do nothing but drain public coffers is a myth. Immigration isn’t that bad for native workers. In defense of immigrants: Richard V. Reeves on why America needs them now more than ever.
Andrzej Kobylinski (UKSW): From Nihilism to Communism: In Search of the Philosophical Roots of Totalitarian Regimes. Stanislav Markus (Chicago) and Martin Mendelski (Luxembourg): Institutional Complementarity, Economic Performance and Governance in the Post-Communist World. Ondrej Cisar (Charles): Social Movements after Communism. Towards an intellectual history of post-socialism: The introduction to Thinking Through Transition: Liberal Democracy, Authoritarian Pasts, and Intellectual History in East Central Europe After 1989, ed. Michal Kopecek and Piotr Wcislik. A bastion for democracy in an illiberal world: Twenty-five years after it was founded to promote openness in the post-Soviet era, the Central European University is grappling with new threats to democracy. Igor Jovanoski (SEEU): Laclau in the Balkans: Translating “Populist Reason” in an Illiberal Political and Cultural Context. Just how democratic are the former Yugoslav countries today?
Natalie Koch (Syracuse): Why No “Water Wars” in Central Asia? Lessons Learned from the Aral Sea Disaster. A perfect storm in Central Asia: For years, the five ex-Soviet republics have enjoyed surprising stability — but Russia’s economic crisis is shaking their foundations. With U.S. and Russian support, Tajikistan’s iron-fisted dictator Emomali Rahmon crushes religious expression and democratic protest. Should the U.S. worry about tensions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims in central Asia? Akhilesh Pillalamarri on the weird case of the Uzbek language: Central Asia’s history under the Soviet Union resulted in distorted nomenclature and language across the region.
Daniel Howard-Snyder (Western Washington): Does Faith Entail Belief? Alexander A. Boni-Saenz (Chicago-Kent): Sexual Advance Directives. Pedro T. Magalhaes on Max Weber and Carl Schmitt: Crossroads of crisis. Philippe Huneman and Anouk Barberousse on the Tripodi Hoax. Meet the most hated man in the Pentagon: Company executives accuse Shay Assad of pursuing a “personal vendetta” by hounding firms large and small to justify what they charge for weapons or services. The so-called alien megastructure just got even more mysterious. Maddie Crum on why it’s time for a new word to describe modern relationship statuses. The first chapter from Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction by Arvind Narayanan, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller and Steven Goldfeder.
In 2007, Trump was forced to face his own falsehoods, and he did, 30 times: For two straight days, lawyers for a reporter Trump had sued asked the businessman question after question on the same theme — Trump’s honesty. Kathy Kiely interviews David Cay Johnston, author of The Making of Donald Trump. The Trump campaign has been a disaster for the Trump brand. It may be true that Donald Trump has read the Constitution — but it’s unclear if he understands it. Jim Rutenberg on how Trump is testing the norms of objectivity in journalism. Don’t blame Nietzsche for Donald Trump: Stanley Fish on how “facts” may not be what they used to be, but philosophers aren’t responsible for the GOP candidate’s slippery grasp on reality.
Charlotte Werndl (LSE): On Defining Climate and Climate Change. A study suggests humans have made most of the planet’s ecosystems “unsafe”. From Boston Review, a forum on the New Nature: It is impossible to divorce nature from human influence — can that influence be democratic? The unnatural kingdom: If technology helps us save the wilderness, will the wilderness still be wild? A wild way to save the planet: Jedediah Purdy reviews Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward O. Wilson (and more). Could we set aside half the Earth for nature? Renowned biologist E.O. Wilson wants to set aside half of the planet as protected areas for nature. Bron Taylor (Florida): The Sacred, Reverence for Life, and Environmental Ethics in America. In New Zealand, lands and rivers can be people (legally speaking). Rebecca Jarvis reviews The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, ed. Teena Gabrielson, Cheryl Hall, John M. Meyer and David Schlosberg.
The inaugural issue of Continental Thought and Theory is out (“What does intellectual freedom mean today?”) Catalina Arguello Gutierrez, Hugo Carretero-Dios, Guillermo B. Willis, and Miguel Moya Morales (Granada): Joking about Ourselves: Effects of Disparaging Humor on Ingroup Stereotyping. Who are the trolls? Malcolm Harris reviews This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture by Whitney Phillips. Michael Lipka on 10 facts about atheists. Meet the men behind your favorite women’s websites. Wikileaks is now in the biz of pushing Hillary Clinton conspiracy theories. Ben Shattuck reviews Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin. Matt Novak on why America beat the Russians at building the Internet.
“Second Amendment People” solutions: Trump’s Clinton “joke” was no coincidence — the GOP espouses a right to bear arms whose logical conclusion is political assassination. Here’s the thing about “just joking”. Anyone who thinks Trump was “just joking” about shooting Clinton is missing the point. Donald Trump’s most WTF moments happen when he tries to speak conservative: Dara Lind on why Trump’s comments on subjects like guns and abortion end up sounding monstrous. Stranger in a strange land: For Trump, conservatism is a foreign realm to visit on the way to his final destination. Inside Donald Trump’s meltdown: Sinking polls, unending attacks and public blunders have the GOP reconsidering its strategy for November. Republicans support Trump’s behavior until it endangers their reelection: Letting Trump run wild exposes GOP’s lack of principles.
Michael J. Graetz (Columbia): “Death Tax” Politics. The earth belongs to the living: We are averse to damning children to a lifetime spent paying off their parents’ debts, yet we provide a mechanism for them to spend a lifetime living off their parents’ wealth. Tyler Antone LeFevre on justice in taxation. Jennifer Bird-Pollan (Kentucky): Why Tax Wealth Transfers? A Philosophical Analysis. Is the U.S. due for radically raising taxes for the rich? That’s what has usually happened whenever a large proportion of Americans have been upset with the distribution of their country’s wealth. Mark Thoma on tax hikes on the wealthy: Good or bad for growth? Lane Kenworthy on how the record over the past century offers no observable adverse effect of high overall levels of taxation on either economic growth or employment growth. The best sin tax is a carbon tax.