From TED, Stephen Wolfram on computing a theory of everything; and Kevin Kelly muses on what technology means in our lives — from its impact at the personal level to its place in the cosmos. Geek Power: Steven Levy revisits tech titans, hackers, idealists. From n+1, an article on the Internet as Social Movement: A brief history of webism. From Fibreculture, a special issue on Web 2.0: Before, during and after the event. The internet’s power to take down tyranny lies beyond Twitter; Jon Evans on the high-tech programs every despot should fear. Authoritarianism vs. the Internet: Daniel Calingaert on the race between freedom and repression. They told us the Internet would usher in a new era of freedom, political activism, and perpetual peace — they were wrong. The Internet’s Last Hope: How the Federal Communications Commission can save the world (wide web). An excerpt from Fatal System Error: The Hunt for the New Crime Lords Who Are Bringing Down the Internet by Joseph Menn. The world's most ingenious thief: With his encyclopedic knowledge of surveillance and electronics, Gerald Blanchard could hack any bank, swipe any jewel — there was no security system the career criminal couldn't beat. What is the Internet if not a clearinghouse for all manner of off-topic, anal-related comments? Backstage with the Wikipedians: The inner workings of the global encyclopedia are "better than a soap opera". When Twitter attacks celebrities: Jim Carrey, Aimee Mann and other famous tweeters finally learn what we all know — the Internet's a bitch, and pretty much as mean as all of us. I'm quitting the Internet — will I be liberated or left behind? On the Web, it seems I can live virtually forever — that won’t get old, will it? Clive Thompson reviews You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier.
From Relevant, is there a church mutiny afoot? Here are excerpts from Saints For Dummies by John Trigilio and Kenneth Brighenti. From Discerning Reader, a review of Scandalous: The Cross and Resurrection of Jesus by D.A. Carson; and a review of A New Kind of Christianity: Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith by Brian McLaren (and more). The perverse core of Christianity: Carl Packman argues that Zizek’s theological atheism beats the crudities of “Ditchkins”. Orthodox paradox: An interview with John Milbank, co-author (with Slavoj Zizek) of The Monstrosity of Christ (and more). An interview with Jonathan Merritt, author of Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for our Planet. A review of Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in the Christian Life by R.C. Sproul. From Geez, a debate on the new monasticism, also known as ordinary life in the neighbourhood. A review of Mother of God: A History of the Virgin Mary by Miri Rubin. A review of Discovering Mary by David Mills. If Mass is boring: An interview with Javier Echevarria Rodriguez, prelate of Opus Dei. A review of Paul Among the People by Sarah Ruden and The Hidden Power of the Gospels by Alexander J. Shaia. From EvilBible.com, a look at the top ten signs you're a fundamentalist Christian. From Inside Catholic, Rev. Dwight Longenecker writes in praise of patriarchy. The Jesus We'll Never Know: Why scholarly attempts to discover the "real" Jesus have failed — and why that's a good thing. A review of Jesus: A Biography From a Believer by Paul Johnson. Christianity and advertising: Donald Miller looks at what the world of advertising might say about our faith. A review of In Harm’s Way: A History of Christian Peacemaker Teams by Kathleen Kern.
From History and Policy, Andrew Blick on why the Cabinet Office quest for a written constitution in the UK should worry historians. From Edge, big thinkers on what the ash cloud means. Can you believe those fucking dumbshits in the Insane Clown Posse don’t know how magnets work? Searching for a democratic alternative: A proposal for a new International has been circulating online and collecting endorsements for some months now. Karin L. Kross reviews Far Arden by Kevin Cannon. Linda Holmes goes hunting for the elusive hipster. Prospects for peace: The American Conservative asked 14 thinkers from across the political spectrum whether conservatives and progressives can join forces against empire; Christopher Layne on an empire we can no longer afford; and democracy delusion: Peter Hitchens on how the West’s interests aren’t always best served by one man, one vote. From The New Yorker, John Lahr on Neil Simon’s theatre, television, and movie empire. The beaches along the Eastern seaboard are about to disappear, says one EPA scientist — why isn't anyone listening? Five years of YouTube: For those looking for innovative and thoughtful views of the phenomenon, The YouTube Reader includes reflections by leading media and film scholars on the site and its immense impact. Haven on Earth: Mark Bergen on how far rich folk (like Mike Bloomberg) will go to avoid taxes. From Wired, Clive Thompson on why we should learn the language of data. From The Weekly Standard, anti-Catholicism, again: Joseph Bottum on the permanent scandal of the Vatican. Anis Shivani on "voice in fiction", a favorite MFA/writing program shibboleth. On Stephen Ambrose: Popular history writing has to entertain first and foremost — but this doesn't mean you can play fast and loose with the truth.
From Africa Spectrum, a special issue on Power-Sharing in Africa. Jeffrey Gettleman on Africa's Forever Wars: Why the continent's conflicts never end. Sahelian vice squad: Niger's coup is wildly popular, but is it a harbinger of democracy and prosperity? Inside a dictator's secret police: Eight years ago, Reed Brody stumbled upon the records of one of Africa's most brutal leaders, Chad's Hissene Habre. Without democratic reforms in Chad, peace is impossible in Darfur. Is Nigeria finally cleaning up its crooked ways? How to cut inflation by 230 million percent: Zimbabwe, the world's most free-fall economy, today is almost normal. A review of The Other Side of Idi Amin Dada by Christopher Colombus Sembuya. The transition to democracy in Guinea-Conakry is both a lesson and a warning to those who would wield rape as an instrument of terror — whether in war or in peace. African ability: Mali makes mileage of being in the middle of the continent. Blood and treasure: Why one of the world's richest countries is also one of its poorest (and more). After decades of international aid and global trade, many African farmers are still only one step ahead of starvation. Congo ignored, not forgotten: When 5 million dead aren’t worth two stories a year. We don’t talk about the genocide in places like the Congo because we can’t face up to who’s really responsible for the rape and slaughter. Cause Celeb: How Africa became the hottest continent for celebrity do-gooders and PR-seekers (and more). Who is to blame for the Rwanda genocide? A review of From Genocide to Continental War by Gerard Prunier. From Afrik, an article on Arabization and a history of Black-African marginalization in Mauritania (and more and more and more on Arabization).
The winners of the 2010 National Magazine Awards have been announced (and more). An interview with Kevin Braddock, the man behind Manzine. The artists whose day job is guarding the Metropolitan Museum of Art have started a magazine to showcase their own work — it's called Sw!pe. Creative Nonfiction begins life anew as a quarterly magazine. A look at how spam filters dictated the fate of Canadian magazine The Beaver. With her "un-Albertan" magazine, founding editor Jackie Flanagan is trying to show her province isn't all rednecks, cowboys and oil tycoons. ChopChop magazine makes cooking a tool in fight against child obesity, with free issues distributed at doctors’ offices. Under the New Statesman’s new editor, Jason Cowley, the Staggers may very well be returning to its roots. Mr. Magazine interviews Josh Tyrangiel, editor of the new Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg LP's ambition for the revamped BusinessWeek magazine is to make it "the American version of the Economist". Ebony shaped the black middle class, then misread its digital moment. Though not quite on a fast track to The New Republic levels of noxiousness, the deterioration of The Nation into a vapid, politically complacent mouthpiece of the establishment has been marked to any candid observer. A magazine, long gone, is given digital CPR: One man’s quest to keep Liberty magazine, the popular mid-20th-century mass-market publication, alive. Gavin Weal is trying to change the world one magazine at a time. The Washington Blade, the 40-year-old DC-area gay weekly that folded late last year, is back. Why is it that print editors are so often seen as having the expertise to oversee a magazine website, whereas web editors aren’t seen as able to oversee (or contribute to) print? A look at the 15 best print magazine runs of all time.
Isaac Kramnick (Cornell): Lockean Liberalism and the American Revolution. From the Journal of Transnational American Studies, David Faflik (SDSU): Housing the "Other" Half: American Studies' Global Urban Turn; and Bryce Traister (UWO): The Object of Study; or, Are We Being Transnational Yet? A review of The Mind of a Patriot: Patrick Henry and the World of Ideas by Kevin J. Hayes. From Slate, John Dickerson on risk, the story of America's greatest idea. From History Now, a special issue on Andrew Jackson and his world. More and more and more on A New Literary History of America by Greil Marcus and Werner Sollors. A review of The Cracked Bell: America and the Afflictions of Liberty by Tristram Riley-Smith. A review of Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It by Michael J. Trinklein (and more and more and more and more and more and more). Real America: Abram Sauer on the Treasure Hunters Roadshow and their small-town newspaper grift. A.C. Grayling on Ralph Waldo Emerson, Olympian mind. A review of Condom Nation: The U.S. Government's Sex Education Campaign from World War I to the Internet by Alexandra M. Lord (and more). A genuinely global figure, Thomas Paine anticipated modern ideas on human rights, atheism and rationalism; David Nash looks at his enduring impact. A review of Radio's Hidden Voice: The Origins of Public Broadcasting in the United States by Hugh Richard Slotten. Claude S. Fischer on his book Made in America: A Social History of American Culture and Character. David O’Neill reviews Knickerbocker: The Myth Behind New York by Elizabeth L. Bradley. A review of The Political Worlds of Slavery and Freedom by Steven Hahn. A review of Betsy Ross and the Making of America by Marla R. Miller.
J. Lawrence Broz (UCSD): Partisan Financial Cycles ("The Right creates financial crises, the Left gets to clean up"). The stock market who cried wolf: Daniel Gross on a brief history of alarmist — and wrong — Wall Street predictions about the effect of new regulations. If banks aren't fighting the financial regulatory bill tooth and nail, then you know the reform isn't worth the paper it's written on. Fixes for the financial system: From out there in academia, there are lots of creative proposals (not that they’ll ever be enacted). Don't wait for reform: There's already a law on the books that holds Wall Street CEOs and executives to account — now it needs to be enforced. Financial Reform 101: Paul Krugman on a brief guide to the debate over financial reform (and more and more) and on six doctrines in search of a policy regime. There is no mystery about how to simplify the financial system — the main obstacles are political. Martin Wolf on the challenge of halting the financial doomsday machine. From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on why investors never learn; and John Cassidy on Goldman Sachs and Wall Street reform. When it comes to its role in the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs has a message for the world: Not guilty, not one bit. Noam Sheiber on the inside story of how Goldman and the banks are getting clobbered on financial reform. The Goldman Casino: Do investment banks do anything that helps America anymore? Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs's cult of self-interest is on trial against the whole idea of civilisation — the collective decision by all of us not to screw each other over even if we can. If we have an honest-to-goodness democracy, where the people really rule, then how can we explain Goldman Sachs? (and more) An excerpt from The End of Wall Street by Roger Lowenstein.
From Swans, Harvey E. Whitney, Jr. on how the current crises in politics are manifestations of greater epistemological disagreements; and the collapse of Jared Diamond: Louis Proyect reviews of Questioning Collapse: Human Resilience, Ecological Vulnerability, and the Aftermath of Empire. Data-Driven Life: What happens when technology can calculate and analyze every quotidian thing that happened to you today. Noah Millman on a new political taxonomy: liberal vs. conservative, left vs. right, and progressive vs. reactionary. In the interest of spreading the gospel of indiemapper, here is a basic tour of its cartographic features. Can Greece "make it"? Huge fiscal adjustments have been possible in the past, but take at least 5 years and the debt to GDP ratio keeps on increasing during the process. From TLS, a review of books on British politics. The annual Roger Shattuck Prize for Criticism are awarded to Marcela Valdes and Adam Kirsch. If the Tea Party were black: Imagine that hundreds of black protesters descended on DC armed with AK-47s — would they be defended as patriotic Americans? At war with The New York Times, Robert Thomson, editor of The Wall Street Journal, wants to shock the bourgeoisie (and more). Quinn Latimer reviews You Are Here by Donald Breckenridge. From The American Conservative, extremism in the defense of liberty: The Oath Keepers have more in common with Henry David Thoreau than Timothy McVeigh; W. James Antle III on the dirty dealings of the Southern Poverty Law Center; and a review of The Roger Scruton Reader. Is it possible to be elitist in a good way? The organizers of TED would like you to think so. Flying the flag for social democracy: A review of Ill Fares the Land by Tony Judt (and more and more and more and more and an excerpt).
From Studia Philosophica Estonica, a special issue on The Role of Intuitions in Philosophical Methodology. From the inaugural issue of Comparative Philosophy, an introduction (and more on comparative philosophy methodology), and Xianglong Zhang (Peking): Comparison Paradox, Comparative Situation and Inter-Paradigmaticy: A Methodological Reflection on Cross-cultural Philosophical Comparison; Zhihua Yao (CUHK): Typology of Nothing: Heidegger, Daoism and Buddhism; and Manuel Vargas (USF): On the Value of Philosophy: The Latin American Case. A review of Bertrand Russell and the Edwardian Philosophers: Constructing the World by Omar Nasim. A review of Language, Reality, and Mind: A Defense of Everyday Thought by Charles Crittenden. A review of How We Reason by Philip Johnson-Laird. A review of Reason in Philosophy: Animating Ideas by Robert Brandom. Here are many chapters from Reading Brandom: On Making It Explicit, ed. Bernhard Weiss and Jeremy Wanderer. A review of Not Exactly: In Praise of Vagueness by Kees van Deemter (and more and more). A review of Selves: An Essay in Revisionary Metaphysics by Galen Strawson (and an interview). A review of Willing, Wanting, Waiting by Richard Holton. A review of Franz Rosenzweig and the Systematic Task of Philosophy by Benjamin Pollock. Terence Rajivan Edward (Manchester): Nagel on Conceivability. A review of Secular Philosophy and the Religious Temperament: Essays 2002–2008 by Thomas Nagel. Here is Michael Ruse's introduction to Philosophy after Darwin: Classic and Contemporary Readings. A review of Cognition and Perception: How Do Psychology and Neural Science Inform Philosophy? by Athanassios Raftopoulos. A review of The Red and The Real: An Essay on Color Ontology by Jonathan Cohen.
How humanity survived its darkest hour: A colossal eruption 74,000 years ago supposedly left modern humans struggling to survive in Africa — so who was making stone tools in India? A review of The 10,000 Year Explosion: How Civilization Accelerated Human Evolution by Gregory Cochran and Henry Harpending (and more). An article on the dawn of civilization: Writing, urban life, and warfare. A review of The Forge of Christendom: The End of Days and the Epic Rise of the West by Tom Holland. Jonah Lehrer reviews The Master and His Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World by Iain McGilchrist. Drifted towards dragons: It’s fair to characterize the last five hundred years of human civilization as a history of not-getting-the-joke of Utopia. Dominique Moisi on the final decline of the West. The volcanic ash cloud from Eyjafjallajokull has caused travel chaos and misery, but we were lucky: An eruption in the future could wipe out the human race. An eruption of reality: Has our society become too complex to sustain? David Eagleman on six easy steps to avert the collapse of civilization. Is industrial civilization doomed? A review of The Ecotechnic Future: Envisioning a Post-Peak World by John Michael Greer. Manuals for Civilization: Amanda Reed on time capsules and doomsday books. The exhaustion of the planet and existing ways of life presents a creative challenge: exploring “uncivilisation”. Robert M. Geraci on 10 ways World of Warcraft could help us survive the end of the world as we know it. Jason Linkins on how to survive the Apocalypse. From Cracked, here are 10 traits that will come in handy during the Apocalypse and 5 ways the world could end (you'd never see coming). How will the world really end? Peter Ward offers a diverse menu of scenarios for humanity’s demise.