From Discover, Carl Zimmer on how Google is making us smarter: Humans are "natural-born cyborgs," and the Internet is our giant "extended mind". Who says the book business is dead? Now that the Kindle and other electronic readers are finally catching fire, publishing can start to rise from its ashes. From The Economist, the frat boy ships out: Few people will mourn the departure of the 43rd president; and George Bush has left a dismal legacy, but Barack Obama can do much to repair the damage. A review of books about the rise of Barack Obama. A reading list that shaped a president: Obama’s love of language and reading has helped him to communicate and shaped his sense of the world. From The Washington Monthly, contributors suggest what Obama should read: Twenty-five books the new president should have by his bedside. You can tell a lot about a tyrant from his bedside reading. Crack-smoking sociologist friends: A review of Disorientations: Art on the Margins of the Contemporary by Travis Jeppesen. A review of Schopenhauer by Robert Wicks. The age of mediocre banks: What happens when banks are too big to fail and too big to succeed. A see-through society: Micah Sifry on how the Web is opening up our democracy. Playboy's list of the most important people in sex from the past 55 years reminds Daniel Radosh why we still need America's smartest smut.
From Esquire, what the hell just happened? A look back at the last eight years (and more); and Nate Silver on how Obama won the election. From FP, here are 5 new jobs for George W. Bush. How George W. Bush can be the best ex-president he can be, but will anyone give ex-President Bush a job? From New Scientist, an article on ten extinct beasts that could walk the Earth again; and when it comes to convincing people of the need for action on climate change, the threat to the polar bear doesn't come close to representing the urgency of the situation. From The Nation, a review of Morton Smith and Gershom Scholem: Correspondence, 1945-1982. Your personality isn't necessarily set in stone — with a little experimentation, the ornery and bleak can reshape their temperaments and inject pluck and passion into their lives. Can technology clear the air? Robert Kunzig and Wallace Broecker investigate. An interview with David Keith on geoengineering and climate stabilization. A review of A People’s History of American Empire by Howard Zinn, Paul Buhle and Mike Konopacki. An excerpt from The Secret Currency of Love: The Unabashed Truth About Women, Money, and Relationships. A review of Defusing Armageddon: Inside NEST, America's Secret Nuclear Bomb Squad by Jeffrey T. Richelson. A look at why culture shock may explain similarity between humans.
Steven M. Teles (JHU): Transformative Bureaucracy: Reagan’s Lawyers and the Dynamics of Political Investment. From New Statesman, a special issue on the ten people who could change the world. From The Nation, can Labor revive the American Dream? Esther Kaplan wants to know. A review of Human Rights and Health Care by Elizabeth Wicks. A review of A Natural History of Seeing: The Art and Science of Vision by Simon Ings. A review of Behind The Bedroom Door: Getting It, Giving It, Loving It, Missing It. A review of The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America by James Bamford. It so happens that we can give an exact date for the birth of musical romanticism, more than two centuries ago. From PhysicsWorld, a look at the Periodic Table of Videos. An interview with Woody Tasch, author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered. From Ctheory, three meditations on aspects of the screen as it relates to knowledge and technological living. A review of Bernard Williams. From Popular Mechanics, a look at the 9 most important watches in the world. Keynes is back in fashion, but his policies did not give to the state, at all levels, the leading role in investment that is now necessary. Are local journalists and fixers in hot spots cut loose by our news media?
From Rolling Stone, Bush apologizes: The farewell interview we wish he'd give. From LiveScience, an article on the myths and realities of bipartisanship in D.C. Research suggests revenge can be counterproductive. You might be a liberal if: Here are 10 findings on the party in your mind. No one seems to care about global warming; the problem is the dull and nannyish way we are beseeched to "save the planet". A review of The Man Time Forgot: A Tale of Genius, Betrayal, and the Creation of Time Magazine by Isaiah Wilner. I Dream in Malcolm Gladwell: A new sport is taking hold, one that involves marshmallows, sticks, and fire. From n+1, here are the confessions of a DJ. Iason Athanasiadis explores America’s quixotic and sometimes clumsy attempts to engineer non-violent regime change by promoting democracy in Iran. What would our forebears have made of test-tube babies, microwave ovens, organ transplants, CCTV and iPhones? A review of America Anonymous: Eight Addicts in Search of a Life by Benoit Denizet-Lewis. Preach what you plan to practice: People will change behavior rather than be seen as hypocrites. Surfing the satellite: How Jordanian TV is a window to the world's soul. An interview with Mark Micale, author of Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness. An interview with Sarah Weinman on how to read 462 books in one year.
From Mute, with Mastaneh Shah-Shuja's recent book Zones of Proletarian Development, the anti-capitalist movement has finally found its political theorist; and how can the economy's need to wipe out a mountain of fictitious value be squared with its need to maintain social control?A review of Nationalism in the New World by Don H. Doyle and Marco Antonio Pamplona. How birthrate is turning modern conventional warfare on its head: An excerpt from The War Nerd by Gary Brecher. An interview with Louis Fisher, author of The Constitution and 9/11. An interview with Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Art of the Public Grovel: Sexual Sin & Public Confession. Pulp Friction: A private equity firm’s decision to shut down a profitable paper mill devastates a Wisconsin community. A review of Deployed: How Reservists Bear the Burden of Iraq by Michael Craig Musheno and Susan M. Ross. From The Chronicle, Gregory Pence on how to be happy in academe. From IHE, history beyond the nation-state: An article on "transnational" history. Capitalism's demise?: An interview with Immanuel Wallerstein. Stephanie Klein, author of Moose: A Memoir of Fat Camp, goes on a rant about japs. As the philosopher Mel Brooks once remarked, it’s good to be king — but does being king make you good? An article on Hesiod versus Aristotle on generational wealth.
From The Atlantic, who is responsible for the past eight years of dismal American governance? “George W. Bush” is a decent answer, but we should reserve some blame for the Founding Fathers, who created a presidential office that is ill-considered, vaguely defined, and ripe for abuse. How will Bush’s legacy fare? Politico asked the experts to consider his place in history. Worse than Hoover: Alan Brinkley on the personality flaw that's made Bush one of the worst presidents ever. As George W. Bush ends his eighth and final year as president, The Daily Beast takes stock of the aftermath. Bush's Achievements: Fred Barnes on ten things the president got right. All politicians are prone to make slips of the tongue in the heat of the moment — and President George W Bush has made more than most. When a college drinking buddy invited C. Brian Smith to hang out with her parents, he tried not to sweat the fact that they lived in the White House; he even had fun — until 9/11 made watching bad movies with the president feel like a guilty pleasure America. Here is The Beast's annual 50 most loathsome people in America, 2008. Why didn’t a consensus of economists at universities and other institutions warn that a crisis was on the way? The field of social psychology provides a possible answer. Back on Tracks: A nineteenth-century technology could be the solution to our twenty-first-century problems.
From The New Yorker, like men betrayed: James Wood revisits Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (and more by Christopher Hitchens; and more from Slate; and more from TNR; and more from Bookforum). From Ceasefire, an interview with Michael Albert on the death of capitalism; an interview with Norman Finkelstein: "The left is not a political force in American life"; articles on radicalism for beginners and remembering 1968; Jeremy Bates on the struggle for academic freedom; and should we regulate political research? Murray Goulden wonders. We must add another field to the list of those in need of rescuing — economics itself. All work and no play still might not get Jack into Harvard: High-school seniors are more stressed out than ever — just like the rest of us. Is it true that comic books are now turning partisan? The Great Boob Bust: Maura Moynihan on why a smaller cup size is good for America; and an article on Iran's hottest porn video, a hidden camera that catches an Iranian cleric committing adultery. At one point in his life, he did very good technical work in general relativity, but Frank Tipler is a crackpot. The hundred years' war: How growing rejectionism, the rise of religion, a new military doctrine and a new cold war keep peace at bay. Web 2.0 is so over; welcome to Web 3.0: Facebook and Twitter may be more popular than ever among users, but what are they worth?
Brad DeLong (UC-Berkeley): What Has Happened to Milton Friedman's Chicago School? From Eurozine, Jens-Martin Eriksen and Frederik Stjernfelt on Culturalism: Culture as political ideology. Peter Augustine Lawler on 1968 in context: Scarcity and decade analysis. Damon Linker on the two Richard John Neuhauses (and more and more). From Discover, did humans colonize the world by boat? (and more) Why David Halberstam’s The Best and the Brightest should serve as a cautionary tale as Obama reconsiders the Iraq war — and Iran. Whatever happened to preemption? Max Boot on the Bush Doctrine after Bush. The worst is yet to come: Five economists whose prophetic warnings went unheeded preview the next stage of the global financial crisis. Some commentators are finding a tempting comparison between the Madoff scandal and the Social Security system — here's why it's wrong. From Gelf, an interview with George Kimball, author of Four Kings: Leonard, Hagler, Hearns, Durán and the Last Great Era of Boxing; and an interview with John Capouya, author of Gorgeous George: The Outrageous Bad-Boy Wrestler Who Created American Pop Culture. Step aside, Sartre, this is the new face of French intellectualism: While the West threw billions at global poverty, Esther Duflo tried to solve the problem with science — it has made her France's most feted thinker.
From The Wilson Quarterly, the US has settled for a patchwork approach to infrastructure — to stay ahead in the global economy, it needs to build adaptable networks like the 1956 Interstate Highway System; pouring more concrete will not by itself answer our infrastructure prayers — look instead to the transformative power of information technology; and when our roads and bridges crumble and collapse, we have one kind of problem — when they don’t, we have another. From McSweeney's, Jason Roeder on The Elements of Spam. Does going to Mecca make Muslims more moderate? Here's Nat Hentoff's last column: The 50-year veteran says goodbye (as The Village Voice is written off). What Crisis? Some promising futures for art criticism. From Vanity Fair, when Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued a fatwa on novelist Salman Rushdie for The Satanic Verses, it was the opening shot in a war on cultural freedom — two decades later, the violence continues, and Muslim fundamentalists have gained a new advantage: media self-censorship; and Dubya, drawn and quartered: A slide show features favorite depictions of the soon-to-be-former president. There's a lot of talk about using tolls to shift people from roads onto public transportation, but how about taking the toll off transit? Gawker Shocker: How the Web's hottest gossip empire lost its mojo. More and more on Snark by David Denby.
The latest issue of Moment is out. From The Nation, a review of George, Being George: George Plimpton’s Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals — and a Few Unappreciative Observers) by Nelson W. Aldrich Jr. A review of books on the history of the Panama Canal. From The Daily Beast, an article on 20 forgotten Bush scandals; and roll over, Gutenberg! Publishing legend Jason Epstein says the only way to save the book industry is to get rid of all the books. Do you suffer from blogaholism, Twitteritis, RSS Dependency, or Status Update Disorder? Then this is the seminar for you. Look closely: Do you see the onset of another Great Depression? Maybe it's all in your mind. Martin Feldstein might never win the Nobel for economics, but he may be the most influential economist of his generation. Soother in Chief: How Barack Obama calms a panicked nation. M K Bhadrakumar on Obama, soccer and South Asian security. The limits to my self-importance: An interview with David Frum. In the first index of its kind, Foreign Policy ranks the world’s best think tanks. How to live what Michael Pollan preaches: A review of Mark Bittman's Food Matters. A review of America: Empire of Liberty by David Reynolds. The City Where the Sirens Never Sleep: Detroit is dying, but, it is not dead yet.