A new issue of The Incongruous Quarterly is out. From Numeracy, Dorothy Wallace (Dartmouth): Parts of the Whole: Cognition, Schemas, and Quantitative Reasoning. Kent Slinker, Jared Lee Loughner's philosophy professor, on the shooting in Arizona. The mathematics of beauty: Christian Rudder investigates female attractiveness, without the usual photo analysis stuff, past a woman's picture, into the reaction she creates in the reptile mind of the human male. The Commandments: Jill Lepore on the Constitution and its worshippers. Science: Most of what we know about how the world thinks comes from research on a handful of American undergrads. Rules for Rascals: David Weigel on why Republicans are better at fomenting outrage, real and pretend, than Democrats are. Some hasty wording was hyped as a feud within anthropology, but the hysteria was misleading, and the field's real enemies remain at large. Prominent intellectuals rate President Obama after two years. Social animal: David Brooks on how the new sciences of human nature can help make sense of a life. A look at what psychology could add to the Wikileaks debate. The Best of Times: What’s bad for liberals has been very good for Bill Maher. An article on Mario Vargas Llosa, the stateless statesman. Liberals should target the casual assumption that the only real terrorist threat we face is from jihadist Islam — not good old-fashioned white Americans.
The new eugenic intention seems to be not only pro-life but pro-quality of every life; the choice will be for every person against nature’s randomness and indifference. New year, new you: Living longer than ever, we can reinvent ourselves, time after time. Do you really want to live forever? Science is striving to reverse the ageing process so we can all live longer, but that does come with its drawbacks. The quest for individual immortality is admittedly tempting yet fundamentally irrelevant to the great project we have inherited: to build and improve the Enlightenment Civilization. Can you live forever? Maybe not, but you can have fun trying. Never say die: How radical will radical life extension be? Thoughts about our species’ future: Nicholas Agar on his book Humanity’s End: Why We Should Reject Radical Enhancement (and a review, and an interview and part 2). How do we deal with a purposeless universe and the finality of death? John Gray on humanity's quest for immortality. From Cryonics, a review of Confessions of an Antinatalist by Jim Crawford; The Conspiracy Against the Human Race by Thomas Ligotti; and Better Never to Have Been: The Harm of Coming Into Existence by David Benatar. Is a life worth starting? Mike Perry has some personal views. Exactly when is a person dead? Exit with dignity: Many turn to God in the face of death, but two critics of religion, 230 years apart, have the same calm courage. Would death be easier if you know you’ve been cloned?
A new issue of Studies of Transition States and Societies is out. From Eurozine, a symposium on the western European media: A picture of traditional media emerges that suggests they urgently need to prove they are fit to perform the role of the "Fourth Estate"; and a look at how Europe's collective memory is as diverse as its nations and cultures and cannot be regulated by official acts of state or commemorative rituals. The nuances of European politics are enough to demand a clarifying steamrolling of emoticonisation. Nouriel Roubini on how Europe's stronger economies can rescue its weaker ones. A look at how economic pain in the euro zone is aggravating old continental tensions. Predictions of European decline rely on an outmoded understanding of power; on all issues that require power with — rather than over — others, Europe has impressive capacity. A review of The Fable of the World: A Philosophical Enquiry into Freedom in our Times by Gerard Mairet. Orhan Pamuk on the fading dream of Europe. Will Germany be a divided nation again? Turkish-born German sociologist and critic of Islamism Necla Kelek and the classical liberal economist Karen Horn discuss the failure of integration. Sweden's problem isn't immigrants, it's the Internet: As a country tries to recover from a shocking attempted attack, the normal accusations don't really stick. The not-so-great Islamist menace: Terrorist plots against Europe are on the decline, statistics show, and the majority are not coming from Muslims.
Xinglong Cao (Zhejiang): What Speech Should Be Outside of Freedom of Expression? Danny Postel, new editor of The Common Review, on tough acts to follow. The cost of too much data: Meet big government's next big problem — "digital overload". Gone are the days when we wore clothes simply to look hot, or — how dated — to shield us from the elements; get ready to wear everything from invisibility cloaks and fabrics that can generate electricity to T-shirts you can hear and spray-on. Geoffrey Jones on his book Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry. If Scalia had his way: What the United States might look like under an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. From The Economist, a debate on same-sex marriage. The race is on to figure out the author of a new novel about the Obama administration — and no one has even read the book yet. Ezra Klein on pinning down "Obamanomics". From sea beasts that disembowel themselves to lizards that make knives out of their own broken bones, you don't want to mess with these kick-ass critters. Elizabeth Dickinson on a brief history of the GDP: One stat to rule them all. Have scientists discovered how to create downpours in the desert? Probably the best advertising strategy in the world: Carlsberg don't make TV programmes, but the future of advertising could be content produced by advertisers themselves. A look at how electronic trading is creating a new financial landscape.
When might be a convenient time to ask the richest Americans to help solve problems? The rich lack empathy, a study says — and wealth really does go to your head. Rich man, poor man: Can affluence be a form of poverty? Why the rich are getting richer: A review of Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson's Winner-Take-All Politics. From The Atlantic Monthly, a cover story on the rise of the new global elite; how the recession changed us: Economic disaster by the numbers; and the war against a living wage: Why are politicians attacking unions with good paychecks and benefits while millions are being forced into low-paying jobs? It’s the unions, Jack: Why America’s working class would fare better in a social democracy. Profits are booming — why aren’t jobs? (They're gone overseas.) Ten percent unemployment forever: Why the good news about the economy doesn't necessarily mean that jobs are coming back anytime soon. From The Awl, the 99ers may be the new Tea Party. An interview with Lisa Dodson, author of The Moral Underground: How Ordinary Americans Subvert an Unfair Economy. Jacob Weisberg on Obama's War on Inequality: How he's losing it. The key to economic growth: Even if we could level the domestic playing field, we won’t solve our wage stagnation and inequality problems — redistribution of income appears to be the only answer. Prizewinning Policy: Can Washington get America's economy moving again with cash rewards? Tim Fernholz on five positive economic signs for '11.
From Lapham's Quarterly, a special issue on The City. From City Journal, Victor Davis Hanson on the destiny of cities: Throughout history, forces both natural and human have made cities rise and fall; Asian megacities, free and unfree: How politics has shaped the growth of Shanghai, Beijing, and Seoul; and Brandon Fuller and Paul Romer on cities from scratch and a new path for development. From THES, a review of The Just City by Susan S. Fainstein; and a review of City Life by Adrian Franklin. There is a growing understanding that it is actually “love” that will be the prime force in the future economy of successful 21st century cities. The 30 most dynamic cities on Earth: Which metropolis is leading the world out of the recession? The answer is Istanbul — and the rest of the list is equally surprising. Mario Polese on seven reasons why big cities matter more than ever. Ross Perlin on ten megacities of the near future. What makes a city grow and thrive, and what causes it to stagnate and fall? Geoffrey West thinks the tools of physics can give us the answers. Tom Vanderbilt on how a planned highway can change a city, even if it never gets built. A new era for the city-state: Joel Kotkin on the New World Order. An article on predicting the climate-changed city of the future. An innovator in every apartment: Conor Friedersdorf on how cities should unravel their pre-digital regulations.
A new issue of Human Affairs is out. William Beaver (RMU): The Failed Promise of Nuclear Power. From The Dark Mountain Project, an interview with with David Abram, author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-Than-Human World. The birth of power dressing: Why the Renaissance was a turning point in people’s attitudes to clothes and their appearance. All science fiction looks towards the future of our race, but that is a broad brush — but some of science fiction is really just the simple reiteration of Luddite fears. Vanity Fair profiles Julian Assange, the man who spilled the secrets. What if WikiLeaks' dream of open society became reality? Maria Bustillos on our desperate, 250-year-long search for a gender-neutral pronoun. Picking the Wrong Witch: Dubravka Ugresic creates exquisite art from the pain of war and exile. Why we must own up to the human cost of our obsession with cheap clothes: 100 Bangladeshi workers died in a fire, just the latest tragedy in a country where 40 million toil for a pittance to keep our high street shelves stocked. How did the Jimmy Choo label become a $200 million business in just a decade? A review of The Jimmy Choo Story: Power, Profits and the Pursuit of the Perfect Shoe by Lauren Goldstein Crowe and Sagra Maceira de Rosen. Shami Chakrabarti on Human Rights: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is a thinly veiled metaphor for the War on Terror.
Communicating across the academic divide: Universities must nurture interdisciplinary relationships, which can lead to creative ideas that could fuel the economy's long-term health. Are English departments killing the humanities? From Minding the Campus, Russell K. Nieli on why Caltech is in a class by itself. What does a relationship between the intuitive symbolic work of children and the design of contemporary technologies mean for the academic world? The man who financed Facebook is offering 20 two-year $100,000 fellowships to teenagers with big ideas — as long as they leave university. An article on the 7 most important classes to take in college. With a cross-disciplinary approach to education, we can train a new class of problem-solvers to address current global challenges, from poverty to climate change. No talking in class: Campus liberals sacrificed free expression on the altar of political correctness. What happens when college is oversold: Why are more and more college graduates not entering the class of professional, technical and managerial workers that has been considered the main avenue of employment? An interview with Ronald A. Smith, author of Pay for Play: A History of Big-Time College Athletic Reform. For-profit college companies are taking in enormous amounts of federal student aid money by recruiting and enrolling members of the military, veterans and their families, with questionable returns.
Understanding American liberalism in the twentieth century is the single most important issue facing U.S. intellectual historians today. EJ Dionne on why the progressive movement needs Wall Street CEOs. The progressive netroots settle in for the long haul: RootsCamp is one of those important yearly political meetings you may never have heard of. David Bromwich on the disappointment in Obama. Jeffrey C. Alexander on his book The Performance of Politics: Obama's Victory and the Democratic Struggle for Power. Richard Ben Cramer's What It Takes: The Way to the White House is the book that defined modern campaign reporting (and more). Power and the Presidency, from Kennedy to Obama: For the past 50 years, the commander in chief has steadily expanded presidential power, particularly in foreign policy. Peter Beinart on how Tea Party outrage over government spending ignores the fact that deficits are often caused by wars. We're headed for a major battle with the Tea Party crowd over the constitution itself. Strict Obstructionist: Mitch McConnell is poised to take down the president and win the Senate majority he covets — if he can fend off the Tea Party and keep his own caucus together. The politics of victimization: A review of America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag by Sarah Palin. A review of Leadership and Crisis by Bobby Jindal. All politics is local? Andrew Gelman on the debate and the graphs.
A new issue of the International Journal of Multicultural Education is out. From Judgment and Decision Making, Ross E. O’Hara (Dartmouth), Walter Sinnott-Armstrong (Duke) and Nicholas A. Sinnott-Armstrong (Brown): Wording Effects in Moral Judgments; and Ro’i Zultan (UCL), Maya Bar-Hillel (HUJ) and Nitsan Guy: When Being Wasteful Appears Better than Feeling Wasteful: "Minimizing waste is economically and morally admirable, and not being a freier is good for the soul. What is remarkable is what people might sometimes prefer to endure rather than face up to occasional waste or the semblance thereof". Thomas J. Scheff on genuine romantic love: Attraction, attachment, and attunement. Sheena Iyengar on the culture and psychology of choice. From Vanity Fair, what do Arianna Huffington and Mark Zuckerberg have in common? William D. Cohan delves into a suit claiming that Huffington’s top-ranked Web site was two other people’s idea. From FP, unconventional wisdom: A special anniversary report challenging the world's most dangerous thinking. From Coca to Capital: The War on Drugs, together with unequal free trade legislation, have provided first world junkie-capitalism with the liquidity and "bio-tools" it needs to drive its delusional and unsustainable growth. Postmodernism's new typography: In an act of rebellion against the prevailing Sans serif aesthetic, designers looked to celebrate creativity in their digital fonts.