From New Scientist, a look at six diseases you never knew you could catch. Does the vaccine matter? To prevent a devastating flu pandemic, the government is relying heavily on vaccines and antivirals — some experts say that both are quite possibly useless. From Wired, an epidemic of fear: How panicked parents skipping shots endangers us all. From Wired, placebos are getting more effective; drugmakers are desperate to know why; and a new assault by a leading psychologist on Prozac-style antidepressants claims they are worse than useless — try telling that to the many people who believe they are life-saving. Drug Deals: Prescription drug commercials have proven incredibly effective — how is that possible? A review of Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives by Brian Dillon. What doctors are missing: A review of Carrying the Heart: Exploring the Worlds Within Us by F. Gonzalez-Crussi and The Deadly Dinner Party and Other Medical Detective Stories by Jonathan Edlow. The fat and short of it: Should making Americans taller be one of the goals of health care reform? If Stan Brock can deliver health care to the furthest corners of the developing world (and large swaths of the US) why can’t Congress? America’s blind spot: Daniel Callahan on health care and the common good. A look at how drug-industry lobbyists won on health-care. This land is your land: Henry George and his 19th-century manifesto have a renewed relevance during the current health care debate. Nothing is certain but the current fight at the heart of health-care reform isn't the public option — it's the excise tax.
From The New York Times Magazine, a cover story on Stanley McChrystal’s Long War: Is it just too late for the general to win in Afghanistan? The Front: Peter Bergen on the Taliban-Al Qaeda merger. An excerpt from Combating Jihadism: American Hegemony and Interstate Cooperation in the War on Terrorism by Barak Mendelsohn. An interview with Michael Ledeen, author of Accomplice to Evil: Iran and the War Against the West (and an excerpt). From NYRB, a review of books on Hamas. The truth about Christian Zionists: Why pro-Israel Christians really support the Jewish state, push for sanctions on Iran, and want the US to stop pressuring Jerusalem. Will today's U.S.-armed ally be tomorrow's enemy? The Obama Administration finally has an official Darfur policy — but where’s Obama, and is it any good? From Doublethink, a series on trying to come to terms with Obama’s foreign policy (and part 2 and part 3 and part 4). The unwise men and the decline of a caste: What have been the truly creative moments in American foreign policy during the last three quarters of a century? From The Weekly Standard, Jean Kaufman on Reagan and Obama: Is America a city on a hill or a country in decline?; and decline is a choice: Charles Krauthammer on the new liberalism and the end of American ascendancy. Take me back to Constantinople: Edward Luttwak on how Byzantium, not Rome, can help preserve Pax Americana. A review of Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq by Susan Brewer. A panel on The Science of War: Defense Budgeting, Military Technology, Logistics, and Combat Outcomes by Michael O'Hanlon.
From Economics and Philosophy, Daniel M. Hausmana (Wisconsin) and Michael S. McPherson (Spencer): Preference Satisfaction and Welfare Economics; a review of An Engine, not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets by Donald MacKenzie; and a review of The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth by Benjamin M. Friedman. From the Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, including Jack J. Vromen (EUR): The booming economics-made-fun genre: more than having fun, but less than economics imperialism; an interview with Tony Lawson, author of Reorienting economics; a review of McCloskey’s rhetoric: discourse ethics in economics by Benjamin Balak; a review of Rationality and institutions: on the normative implications of rational choice theory by Bart Engelen; and a review of The invisible hand in economics: how economists explain unintended social consequences by Emrah Aydinonat. Sabine Frerichs (Helsinki): The Legal Constitution of Market Society: Probing the Economic Sociology of Law. From Real-World Economics Review, two issues on how the collapse of the world financial system should affect economics. The market, the state, and the third sector: Paul Dragos Aligica on the remarkable achievements of the Nobel Prize-winning economist Elinor Ostrom. From PUP, the first chapter from After Adam Smith: A Century of Transformation in Politics and Political Economy by Murray Milgate and Shannon Stimson; and the first chapter from The Sense of Dissonance: Accounts of Worth in Economic Life by David Stark.
From Cracked, a look at the world of tomorrow (if the Internet disappeared today). Hillary Reborn: At State, as in the Senate, she often talks softly — but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t carry a big stick. An interview with Sara Wheeler, a writer in residence with the US Polar Program, on the uplifting grandeur of the polar regions. Jeet Heer reviews The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (and more and more and more and an excerpt). A striking graphic history tells the story of the Honduras coup and unrest (and more). Dissecting the List, an Excursus: It’s probably its hospitality to debate that makes the “Best Of” list so popular in the first place; as with any mirror, it is fearsomely hard to look away. Haaretz profiles Christopher Hitchens and Jacques Attali. From Esquire, a special section on The Language of Men, an illustrative (and illustrated) guide to the way we talk now — the euphemisms, the idioms, and the curses that represent us. Clearly, Matt Drudge has developed a fascination with the declining U.S. dollar. Decline of the Dollar: Don't believe everything you read on the Drudge Report — well into the next few decades, the global economy will still be all about the benjamins. Roald Dahl's children's books are full of barely submerged misogyny, lust and violence; the new film version of Fantastic Mr Fox is an ideal introduction to this fabulous, cruel world. Robert Farley on the EMP threat: Lots of hype, little traction. A review of The Cartoons That Shook the World by Jytte Klausen. From THES, Bruce Krajewski on Microcosmographia Administrativa: Being an Incomplete Set of Etiological Considerations.
You are the woman of the Other and I desire you: "Thus, women are unfaithful, even if they are faithful. They are essentially unfaithful". For the love of the muse: Scott Barry Kaufman on how the mating motive can spark creativity, but interacting with women makes men stupid. Why do men catcall? Screaming at women about their appearances is street harassment. Despicable, yes, but not inexplicable: A review of Sexual Coercion in Primates and Humans: An Evolutionary Perspective on Male Aggression Against Females by Martin Muller. Darwinian psychology meets the female body: A review of Natalie Angier's Woman: An Intimate Geography and Hannah Holmes' The Well-Dressed Ape. A review of Why Women Have Sex: Understanding Sexual Motivations from Adventure to Revenge (and Everything in Between) by Cindy Meston and David Buss (and more and more and more and more). A look at why some women prefer casual sex to dating. David Barash and Judith Eve Lipton, authors of How Women Got Their Curves and Other Just-So Stories, on female sexual mysteries. An interview with Alison Huang on the sexuality of older women. The fatwa on fake-virginity kits: Conservative Muslims try to ban a device designed to fool men on their wedding nights. Daddy's girl: A non-obvious explanation for why girls without fathers have sex earlier. Can stripping be “empowering”?: Sirens investigates the allure of taking it off. Elvis, my old boss, and other lead players in sexual fantasies: Welcome to "The Desire Lab". What women want, according to Match.com: It helps to be a nonexistent composite of masculine archetypes.
A look at how Moses shaped America (and more and more on Bruce Feiler’s America’s Prophet: Moses and the American Story). More than 10 years after her groundbreaking Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy was released, Annette Gordon-Reed is back with the next chapter of this great American saga. A review of A Nation of Counterfeiters: Capitalists, Con Men, and the Making of the United States by Stephen Mihm. A review of American Transcendentalism: A History by Philip F. Gura. A review of Abraham Lincoln: A Life by Michael Burlingame. Paul Johnson reviews The American Civil War: A Military History by John Keegan (and more). From HistoryNet, an interview with Richard C. Rattenbury, author of Hunting the American West: The Pursuit of Big Game for Life, Profit and Sport, 1800–1900; and Glenn Boyer answers six questions about Wyatt Earp. From The Nation, a review of Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920 by Jackson Lears. A review of Slumming: Sexual and Racial Encounters in American Nightlife, 1885-1940 by Chad Heap. A review of New Deal or Raw Deal?: How FDR’s Economic Legacy Has Damaged America by Burton W. Folsom, Jr. and Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by H.W. Brands. More and more and more on Morris Dickstein's Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression (and more at Bookforum). An excerpt from Rendezvous with Destiny: Ronald Reagan and the Campaign That Changed America by Craig ShirleyLINK. A review of Life between Two Deaths, 1989-2001: U.S. Culture in the Long Nineties by Phillip E. Wegner.
If Darwin ran baseball: A modest proposal for ensuring that the best teams play in the World Series. The boys of autumn: A review of The First Fall Classic by Mike Vacarro, Perfect by Lew Paper and The Machine by Joe Posnanski. Gregory McNamee on Baseball: America’s game, and the world’s. A review of Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America by Joseph Price. Baseball continues to be the sport where Jews have the most success — why is that? An interview with Jennifer Ring, author of Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don't Play Baseball. Baseball is a game of failure, as these bizarre and unfortunate occurrences illustrate (and part 2). Dealing with tragedy in the minor leagues: When Mike Coolbaugh died on the field, the lives of his family members and of the man whose foul ball killed him were changed irrevocably. Youkilis, Padilla and beanball surrogacy: Is it morally right to throw at the wrong guy? Why won't baseball adopt instant replay already? Recent bad calls have critics howling for better umps, but maybe it's a job for machines. Fay Vincent on why Major League Baseball should establish a thoroughly professional training system for umpires and ensure that every official it hires is up to the job. From Smithsonian, tomatoes in the bullpen: Surprising trivia about America's beloved baseball fields. Can Topps save baseball cards? Major League Baseball just signed an exclusive deal with the legendary card maker — bad idea. What are some of the biggest differences between baseball and football?
From Monthly Review, Bruce Robbins is Against Literary Imperialism: Storming the barricades of the canon. Tim Harford reviews Superfreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (and more and more and more). A world redrawn: When America showed up on a map, it was the universe that got transformed. Where the news comes from: Jeff VanDam walks back a single day’s top stories. Rich People Things: Chris Lehmann on how the rich rehab differently, like by hugging horses. For and against foreskin: here's a comprehensive investigation into the pros, cons, and controversies of circumcision. A look at a study of the controversies surrounding the circumcision of Jesus Christ. American literature, words without borders: This year’s National Book Award nominations suggest that the American idea not only translates, it disregards national boundaries. Let us now praise the cliche: It’s concise, time-tested, and instantly familiar — what’s not to love? The Predictioneer's Game: Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on using the logic of brazen self-interest to see and shape the future (and more). The creators of "The Simpsons" and Fox lawyers did everything they could to stop John Ortved's unauthorized history — here's the inside story of why he wrote it anyway (and 10 things you never knew about the Simpsons). A nation of attention whores: Balloon boy's bizarre dad, Meghan McCain's tweeted cleavage, the Gosselins — why is everyone so starved for fame? The Sweet Life on the D-List: Kathy Griffin wins big as a Hollywood loser.
When we consider how slow democracy and integration emerge to an European level we can suspect that it is not that easy on the planetary level either. The long road to revolution: Radical social change will only emerge through the endless interplay of confrontations, withdrawals, foundations and subversions. The transition from a world of protests to a world marked by their relative absence is linked to a transition from a dirigiste to a neo-liberal economic regime. Ten years after Seattle: The global justice movement evolves. Athens on the Net: Perhaps the biggest big idea to gather speed during the last millennium was that we humans might govern ourselves — but no one really meant it. Why hasn't Obama been energizing young voters while in office? What went wrong: Barack Obama promised a sharp break from the Bush era, yet he seems to have stepped into the shoes of his disgraced predecessor. Post-Bush Stress Disorder: The Democrats don't need to move right. A review of The Tyranny of Liberalism by James Kalb. From Democracy Corps, a look at why Republican leaders will have trouble speaking to the rest of America. A review of The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right by David Neiwert. Pioneering hate radio: What Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck owe 1930s commentator Father Coughlin. Alex Massie on how Glenn Beck’s outrageous brand of conservatism is playing across the pond. The meaning of conservatism: Disraeli followed Burke’s “politics of imperfection”, while Thatcher favoured Hayek’s free-market ideas — to which line of political thought are today’s Tories the heirs?
From The Chronicle, a series on animals, including an article on how animal studies explores the murky boundaries between human and beast, and between academe and advocacy; and a look at how recent research suggests that animals have codes of conduct; and Donna Haraway argues that humans and animals are "companion species" — but does that mean they're equal? From PopSci, is it ethical to engineer delicious cows that feel no pain? If the proposal to create pain-free animals achieves anything, it is to force us to confront the pain and suffering that our diets inflict. Do we still need zoos? Charles Siebert wants to know. This case is a dog: The Supreme Court mauls the law banning animal-cruelty videos. Why do dogs sniff each other? Is it like a handshake? A review of Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz (and more). An interview with big cat expert Dave Salmoni on living with problem lions and how to fend off an attack if one has you in its jaws. Saving the last lions: Big cats are in trouble everywhere. An excerpt from Jane Goodall's Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink (and more and more). In the past few decades, the Asian tiger mosquito has travelled from its natural home in Southeast Asia to the ends of the earth, becoming one of the world’s most invasive species. A look at why immigrant species aren't all bad. A review of The Earwig's Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-Legged Legends by May R. Berenbaum.