Ram Mukul Fishman (Columbia): Gross National Happiness: A Real Alternative or a Romantic Wish? Impressions From the Fourth International Conference on Gross National Happiness in Bhutan. From Frieze, an interview with Simon Critchley on community, collaboration, avant-garde rituals and being "religious without religion". The religious excuse for barbarity: Why are we sitting silently while our treatment of many of our animals regresses to the standard of the sixth century? The rise of the lazy locavore: Why grow your own food when you can kick your feet up and watch somebody else farm your backyard? At serious restaurants all over town, carrots, peas, and the like are no longer just the supporting cast, they’re the stars — move over locavores, here come the vegivores. 10 traditions you never thought needed protecting: An article on UNESCO's oddest intangible national treasures. Should we stop wasting time on housework? In an age of fast living and a culture of convenience, do we still care about keeping up appearances? Freaks, Geeks, and Economists: A study confirms every suspicion you ever had about high-school dating. What King James wrought: How the Bible still shapes the language. From Vice, meet the Gregory Brothers, the Double Rainbow Bed Intruder guys. Welcome to the new world of shaming, in which the ancient fear of public humiliation and ostracism (once a homely, low-tech business of the stocks and pillories) has become a high-tech tool to motivate and incentivize. Good for goodness' sake: Are secularists Scrooges? Governmental Marks: Malla Pollack on what souvenirs say about speech and sovereignty. Is ballet really dying? Don't believe the diagnosis in Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet by Jennifer Homans. Every day's a holiday at the UN — including today.
From Popular Mechanics, Joe Hasler on the truth about TSA airport scanning; an article on airport security vs personal privacy: 3 things no one wants to talk about; Valerie Ross fact-checks the pilots' letter; how animal behavior scientist Temple Grandin would fix airport security; and an interview with Bruce Schneier: TSA scans "won't catch anybody". Here is a five-step plan to a sane airport security system. Against the odds, "Don’t touch my junk" has become a clarion call for frustrated air travelers. Don’t Scan Me, Bro! Why it’s men leading the TSA backlash. Why body-scanner fury is unhinging America: 5 theories. Why we are angry at the TSA: As long as it's just Muslims being tortured rather than Grandma being strip-searched, the price of liberty seems all too abstract (and more). Don't tread on my junk: How Republicans learned to hate the TSA all over again. Republicans in a post-post-9/11 era: National security is no longer a higher priority than undermining Obama. Deadly terrorism existed before 9/11: We've been dealing with the same threats for decades, but we used to be a lot calmer about it, less self-defeating. Mark Greenberg on why the much-maligned earmark is good for America. Why anyone claiming to be a fiscal conservative is probably wrong. If the bipartisan deficit commission doesn't work, how about a partisan one? Dean Baker on the Deficit Commission’s parallel universe. Would you be willing to accept these hard choices, all offered by the President’s commission? 7,000 ways to fix the deficit: A puzzle gave readers a chance to post their own solutions — together, they show that compromise won’t be all that easy (and more at The Economist). In a letter to President Obama, members of the group Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength argue that it is time to tax the rich. Warren Buffett says rich Americans should be paying "a lot" more in taxes. This time, Senator Ron Wyden says, his tax reform plan really has a chance. What America needs is more tax brackets, not fewer.
From New Scientist, extreme survival: A series on the toughest life forms on Earth. From Fast Company, Danielle Sacks on the future of advertising: Advertising is on the cusp of its first creative revolution since the 1960s — but the ad industry might get left behind. America’s toughest sheriffs are corrupt, mustachioed. If I’m hot, then why are you not? (and part 2) The Raw and the Cooked: An interview with Catalin Avramescu on cannibalism and the moral order of society. A review of The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Alice Popejoy on genetic discrimination, the best reason for universal healthcare you’ve never heard of. Garry Wills reviews 40: A Doonesbury Retrospective by G.B. Trudeau. The forgotten freedom: We say that everything in our nation is political, but in a deeper sense of the word, almost nothing anymore in our nation is political, and that is the problem. Unlearning to tawk: After being mocked, some New Yorkers have turned to speech therapists to reduce or eliminate their distinctive accents. Thinking you can learn anything about sex from a Color Me Badd song isn't all that different from imaging you'll learn anything about verifiable facts from a Business Insider article. DNA and geneaological records of native Icelanders reveal that an Amerindian woman may have been the first native American to set foot in Europe. Pascal's endgame: Animals have often been our tools, but these days we’re also using animals to augment our epistemology, in a deadly race between perception and perfection. Culture and Its Discontents: Matthew Arnold understood that culture is a permanent invitation to all to stand upon the shoulders of giants who have gone before. Ahmed Ghailani's trial shows that courts should admit all reliable evidence.
The latest issue of Catholic Education is out. Patrick McKinley Brennan (Villanova): Human Law and Natural Law in the Catholic Tradition: Authoritative Guides to the Good Life. A review of The Mind that Is Catholic. Philosophical and Political Essays by James V. Schall, S.J. Fired, in a crowded theater: Can a Catholic professor speak about homosexuality without risking his job? From Inside Catholic, Marian Crowe on the case for Catholic Studies; and a look at how John Locke influenced Catholic Social Teaching; and who is the "real" Christian? Habemus Economistem: Christopher Westley on some economics of Papal deaths and successions. From First Things, “country” provides an anchor against the vanity or dreaminess of “mere cosmopolitanism,” and “God” provides an antidote to the excesses of national chauvinism — but beware those who use religion to rally believers to serve a political cause; and a sanctified patriotism is dangerous — both for sane politics and for the integrity of religious faith. Is Catholicism in China different from elsewhere? The Church is learning how to make media controversy an opportunity to evangelize, some leading Catholic communicators are asserting. A review of Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed by Tracey Rowland. Eight reasons why men only should serve at Mass. Is the Church lost? Where the Church has gone wrong and how we can get back on track. A new breed of theological conservatives has taken to blogs and YouTube to say the church isn't Catholic enough. An interview with Thomas Worcester, author of The Papacy Since 1500: From Italian Prince to Universal Pastor. For a Catholic sexual counterrevolution: A review of A Tremor of Bliss: Sex, Catholicism, and Rock 'n' Roll by Mark Judge. For Roman Catholics, a renewed interest in exorcism. From Eureka Street, a look at what Catholics expect from politicians. A Polish town erects the world's largest Jesus statue.
M.V. Krishnakumar (JNU): Development or Despoliation? The Andaman Islands Under Colonial and Postcolonial Regimes. Poachers targeting rich fishing grounds in India’s Andaman Islands are endangering the world’s most isolated tribe. What does the future hold for the Inuit people of Baffin Island? From Popular Mechanics, a look at the world's 18 strangest man-made islands. Named for the Dafoe novel inspired by a stranded sailor, Robinson Crusoe island is known for its rare plants and extreme beauty. Correspondent's diary: The Economist visits Ascension Island. Two years after the Maldives become a multi-party democracy, a political struggle between the president and the opposition-dominated parliament has thrown the country into political deadlock. Asylum seekers held on Christmas Island sewed their lips together in grisly protest at their detention. If a country sinks beneath the sea, is it still a country? Who, what, why: What happens when a country loses its "birth certificate"? An expected flood of money in Papua New Guinea could throw a country already beset by corruption into further turmoil. Palau announces Ukraine-sized sanctuary for whales and dolphins. Lost and Cast Away: Ten amazing uninhabited islands. The Dark Side of Defending Freedom: The fate of the Chagossians, the former residents of the Chagos Islands in the Indian Ocean, is particularly harrowing. The Dutch Antilles gain new autonomy from the Netherlands. From TED, Greg Stone on saving the ocean one island at a time. Easter Island's indigenous leaders want to sever link with Chile. From Foreign Policy, a Bush administration official recounts how, in the high stakes diplomacy over disputed territory, a tenuous peace can unravel because of a single typo; and a look at Asia's most controversial islands. From The Ecologist, Kiribati and Tuvalu will drown without global climate action. An interview with a drowning president, Anote Tong of Kiribati.
From Miller-McCune, to reach consensus, let’s talk less: Talking out our differences on controversial scientific and technological issues may be just the wrong way to reach agreement; real diversity means we’re not all the same: The way Americans often squirm when terms like race and diversity are introduced suggests that even many best-intentioned approaches to these defining issues are all wrong; and beauty leads to a closer look: New research finds physically attractive people are viewed both more positively and more accurately. The Stuxnet worm was perfect for sabotaging centrifuges — experts reached the conclusion by dissecting the program suspected of being aimed at Iran’s nuclear program. Something big is going on at the center of the galaxy, and astronomers are happy to say they don’t know what it is. A review of Prime Movers of Globalization: The History and Impact of Diesel Engines and Gas Turbines by Vaclav Smil. Is the only good Muslim a bad Muslim? John Zmirak investigates. From Lapham’s Quarterly, Marcello Simonetta on the renaissance of city-states. The case for total failure: Nathan Rabin on why flops are good for the movies. Earmarks are not a big deal, say political scientists — most are perfectly justifiable, and they definitely aren’t to blame for the “eruption of spending” from Washington. The idea is rapidly spreading that a ban on earmarks doesn't affect spending, since earmarks are a way of distributing what's already been appropriated — it's basically false, for three reasons. An article on Silvio Berlusconi: Will someone please pull the plug? Broken Taboo: A major journal publishes evidence of ESP — is precognition possible? Treason to whiteness is loyalty to humanity: In defense of Tim Wise. How iTunes undermines the Beatles' music: Why you can't appreciate the band by listening to singles instead of albums.
Irus Braverman (Buffalo): Governing with Clean Hands: Automated Public Toilets and Sanitary Surveillance. Urinary segregation: Public toilets are an important civil-rights domain, writes Laurie Essig, and a semiotic mess, too. “Peeing is political:” An interview with Harvey Molotch, co-editor of Toilet: Public Restrooms and the Politics of Sharing (and a sample chapter, "The Restroom Revolution: Unisex Toilets and Campus Politics" by Olga Gershenson; and here's the tumblr The Toilet Book). Here is the website of Rose George, author of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. The World Toilet Organization celebrates World Toilet Day on November 19 of every year. From TED, Melinda Gates on how women are refusing to marry men without toilets: "No loo, no 'I do.'" Mozambique's music icon Feliciano dos Santos uses his songs to educate people about the importance of sanitation and hygiene. In India, cellphones abound, toilets don't. Stopping peeing in public: In New Delhi, the humble public toilet goes by any number of names: wall, footpath, tree, abandoned car, occupied car. Too drunk to care: Staggering students urinate on war memorial and vomit in gutters as Carnage revellers shame our streets again. In praise of outdoor peeing: When nature calls, you should go in nature. A review of Poop Happened! A History of the World From the Bottom Up by Sarah Albee. Mike the Mad Biologist on how to take a government-approved poop. Don’t call it bullshit: Manure can power farms, heat homes and run engines — presenting the twenty-first century’s most undervalued hope for renewable energy. Pee is for power: Why let your waste go to waste when it could be powering your mobile phone — or even your car? A movement is taking the "waste" out of human waste — transforming sewage sludge into fuel, heating buildings with it, using composting toilets to produce fertilizer.
From Prospect, the influential moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre has long stood outside the mainstream — has the financial crisis finally vindicated his critique of global capitalism? The northernmost mosque in North America officially opened in Inuvik, a town of 3,300 people north of the Arctic Circle. A hipster’s paradise: In the late 1990s, a down-at-heel ’hood in New York’s Lower East Side became an enclave for rich white kids — they were like a new ethnic arrival (and more). Hello, Newman: A lieutenant's deployment blog says Iraq’s easy, but skip the breakfast burritos. Tim Wu on Ted Turner, the Alexander the Great of Television. Peter Singer on clarity about diamonds. From the Nazis to the US presidential campaign of 2008, choosing which font to use has been anything but simple — and always political. Luciano Floridi on how to update your personal online identity. "I had an abortion" in 140 characters or less: An exchange with Steph Herold and Aspen Baker. It’s hard to imagine a longer or more pressing “to do” list than that of Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh. From NYRB, Jonathan Raban on those damned Seattle liberals! An interview with Jenn Pozner about the reality of reality TV. Look on the bright side: Things are better than they seem — honest (and more). Has the world already passed “peak oil”? New analysis pegs 2006 as highpoint of conventional crude production. Greg Ip on 5 myths about the Fed. Sarah Palin was certainly not the first person to use the word "refudiate" — in fact, it has come up in enough other places over the past hundred and twenty years that it seems fair to ask why it isn’t in the dictionary already. GOP to jobless: Drop dead. Antimatter atoms have been trapped for the first time — "a big deal", but no applications for bombs, energy sources, or engines.
We can only provide quality online and distance-learning experiences today if we understand that what we are living through is not the first but rather the fourth online-learning revolution (and more). Should academics participate in the war on terror? A new documentary explores the case of social scientist Michael Bhatia, killed in Afghanistan while using his knowledge to help U.S. troops. An article on the PC academy debate: Questions not asked. Can the innovative "do-it-yourself" education movement really replace the dying university model? More on The Great American University by Jonathan R. Cole and Higher Education by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus. Jonathan B. Imber on the forty-year failure of American sociology. Does academic freedom protect Holocaust deniers? Two views on the question. The Woe-Is-Us Books: If there's any hope for liberal arts education, might it take shape at a new college planned for Savannah, Ga.? A matter of degrees: U.S. universities are still on top, but Asia is rising. The Shadow Scholar: How an academic ghostwriter for hire produced thousands of pages for undergraduates as well as master's and doctoral candidates. The school that ate New York: By charm and brute force, NYU is planning to add 6 million square feet to its campus across the city — is John Sexton the new Robert Moses? Humanities 2.0: The liberal arts meet the data revolution. A look at the questionable science behind academic rankings. Here are 10 myths about legacy preferences in college admissions (and a response and a reply). Is globalisation becoming a reality in the academy’s top ranks? It’s early days, but there are signs that the barriers are falling as universities look abroad to find the best captains.
A new issue of the Goettingen Journal of International Law is out, including a special section on the International Criminal Court; Bernhard Kuschnik (EICC): Humaneness, Humankind and Crimes against Humanity; and Johanna Fournier (Bucerius): Reservations and the Effective Protection of Human Rights. Andreas Follesdal (Oslo): Universal Human Rights as a Shared Political Identity: Necessary? Sufficient? Impossible? A review of The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History by Samuel Moyn (and more and more and more and more). An interview with Jean Bricmont on the abuse of human rights discourse, relations with Iran and the value of international law. Onur Bakiner (Yale): History, Ethics, Politics: Rethinking the Legacy of Truth Commissions. A review of United Nations Justice: Legal and Judicial Reform in Governance Operations by Calin Trenkov-Wermuth. Eric Reeves on the annoyance of international justice. The July conviction of Kaing Guek Eav, better known as Duch — the 68-year-old head of the Khmer Rouge’s leading torture center — by a special UN–Cambodian criminal court has been seen as a breakthrough in international justice. A review of The Politics of Genocide by Edward Herman and David Peterson (and more). If we’ve learned anything from the trials for genocide and crimes against humanity in Rwanda, Bosnia, and now Cambodia, it’s that they don’t dispense victor’s justice — the sentences lean toward the light side. Paul Kagame is proving to be a pliant Western ally, but a shocking new UN report shows why the Rwandan president can no longer claim to be a victim — and it's time to hold him accountable (and more and more). A review of A Time for Machetes: The Rwandan Genocide — The Killers Speak by Jean Hatzfeld.