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.
From American Scientist, a review of Science as a Contact Sport: Inside the Battle to Save Earth’s Climate by Stephen Schneider; Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity by James Hansen; and Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming by James Hoggan and Richard Littlemore. From The Nation, Mark Hertsgaard and Johann Hari on Climategate claptrap. An excerpt from Requiem for a Species: Why We Resist the Truth About Climate Change by Clive Hamilton. American Psychosis: We’ve got to confront our collective denial concerning climate change. From Climate Desk, is the planet really warming up? Just ask the corporations that stand to make — or lose — billions due to "climate exposure"; and corporations love to talk about going green, but not many are planning for a changing climate. More on Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus's The Death of Environmentalism. Eli Kintisch discusses his book Hack the Planet: Science's Best Hope — or Worst Nightmare — for Averting Climate Catastrophe. Global warming panic attack: Brad DeLong's plan to address the potential cataclysm of global warming is shrill, impractical and utopian, but you don't have a better one. The Futurist looks at the future of the global environment, with contributions by Dennis Bushnell on the weapons against global warming, Jamais Cascio on the potential and pitfalls of geoengineering, and more. A review of Eaarth by Bill McKibben (and more and more and more and more and more). An excerpt from How to Cool the Planet by Jeff Goodell (and more). A look at why buying green and changing personal behavior won't save the planet. Does James Lovelock have a point: could democracy be an obstacle to planetary safety?
Anthony Lang (St. Andrews): The Politics of Punishing Terrorists. Susan Dente Ross (WSU): Limning Terror: Seams in the Discourse of "Terrorism". John Tures (LaGrange): Do Terrorists “Win” Elections? Just as the US sent the USSR into oblivion, Al-Qaeda has accelerated the economic decline of the US to the benefit of its nearest global rival, China. Ted Galen Carpenter on conservative Leninists and the War on Terror. Small airports, big worries: Sammy Elrom on aviation’s security weakest link. New research suggests that to be effective, counterterrorism efforts should support human rights, rather than violate them. Hardly Existential: John Mueller and Mark Stewart on thinking rationally about terrorism. An interview with Stuart Elden, author of Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty. Social scientists do counterinsurgency: A review essay by Nicholas Lemann on terrorism. Scott Atran on pathways to and from violent extremism and the case for science-based field research. Michael Kazin reviews In the Name of God and Country: Reconsidering Terrorism in American History by Michael Fellman. An interview with Mark Perry, author of Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies. Saif Shahin on how inclusion cools Islamist hotheads. An interview with Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of Son of Hamas. Why some young Western Muslims find al-Qaeda's narrative so appealing. Homegrown Jihad: Why are young Somali men leaving their homes in Minnesota to die in the name of Allah? Jihad Wannabes: Asra Nomani on the rise of the Walter Mitty radical. The Children of George Metesky: Not every terrorist is a product of the left or the right. The mind of a terrorist: A team of researchers examine the motivation of terrorists and the effectiveness of de-radicalization efforts.
Harvard University's Division of Social Science hosts a conference on Hard Problems in Social Science, with contributions (on RealPlayer) by Ann Swidler, Nassim Taleb, Nick Bostrom, Gary King, Emily Oster, Roland Fryer, and more. For an egocentric mogul (Mort Zuckerman), over-caffeinated TV host (Lou Dobbs, Chris Matthews, Larry Kudlow), or out-of-office politician (Newt Gingrich, Harold Ford), there’s no more satisfying source of media attention than the foreplay of running for office. The Art of the Confession: Meghan Daum and Emily Gould on the ups and downs of writing their minds (and Ana Marie Cox reviews And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould). In private pay, an implicit progressive tax: Robert H. Frank on the tax hiding in your paycheck. This won't hurt a bit: K.C. Mason on vibrators, orgasms, and medical masturbation. Masturbation as literature's last taboo: Only the sin of Onan really retains the power to shock readers. A review of Unsanctioned Voice: Garet Garrett, Journalist of the Old Right by Bruce Ramsey. Arifa Akbar analyses the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, psychiatry's biggest brains. A review of Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA by Daniel Carpenter. Digital power and its discontents: Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky on the dreams of network utopians vs. the realists. How do you measure "epistemic closure"? Ezra Klein wants to know (and a response at The Monkey Cage). Ted Cox goes undercover at a Christian gay-to-straight conversion camp. Rich People Things: The SEC doesn't care about your Ponzi schemes. Mandatory calorie posting influenced consumer behavior at Starbucks in New York City, causing average calories per transaction to drop by 6 percent.
From Cosmos, the Wow! signal, the most famous in SETI history, was detected on the night of 15 August 1977; where should we be looking for extraterrestrials? A small, roving telescope is helping scientists to find planets capable of harbouring life; and SETI@50: Only a matter of time, says Frank Drake. We’re all alone and no one knows why — does this mean humanity is trapped inside an expansion boundary from which we can never escape? A review of The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe? by Paul Davies (and more and more and more and more and more and more). Looking for ET: As the search for alien life turns 50, its practitioners find new methods (and more). A radical explanation for a conundrum about extraterrestrial life, and what it means for the future of humanity. Can you hear me now? Astronomers reconsider how extraterrestrials could make contact. Signs of life: Is it time for a new approach to finding extraterrestrials? Stephen Hawking suggests that instead of seeking aliens out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact (and more). From FT, a review of How to Find a Habitable Planet by James Kasting; We Are Not Alone: Why We Have Already Found Extraterrestrial Life by Dirk Schulze-Makuch and David Darling (and more and more); and Life, the Universe and the Scientific Method by Steven Benner. Aliens, Martians, extraterrestrials — how do we find out whether there’s life on other planets? An interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet. U.S. scientists call for the creation of an International Asteroid Defense Agency. Giant rocks or snowballs in space, while more likely to hit in Hollywood than anywhere else on Earth, remain a threat that policymakers are taking seriously.
Deepak Malhotra (Harvard): (When) are religious people nicer? Religious salience and the “Sunday Effect” on pro-social behavior. Does religion cause racism, or is it that are racists drawn to religion? From Design Observer, William Drenttel on signs of religion in the American South. An interview with Gina Welch, author of In the Land of Believers (and more and more and more). Panic over the unknown: A look at how America hates atheists. A Supreme Court case highlights how religious conservatives tend to forget that the separation of church and state protects religion from government. The first chapter from After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by Robert Wuthnow. A review of Islam in American Prisons: Black Muslims’ Challenge to American Penology by Hamid Reza Kusha. A review of America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler. A review of William Connolly's Capitalism and Christianity, American Style (and a response). An interview with Rachel Tabachnick on the dangers of the New Apostolic Reformation. What is the black church and what does it mean to say that the black church is dead? The first chapter from Mormonism for Dummies. A review of Church, State and Original Intent by Donald Drakeman. A review of God in the Obama Era: Presidents' Religion and Ethics from George Washington to Barack Obama by Niels Nielsen. What is behind the movement to create a Christian theocratic state? (and more) Could it be that a heart changed by Christ is politically momentous? Apparently, George W. Bush was right. Grant Elgersma on the Gospel According to David Lynch. Chancellor Falwell is trying to turn tax-exempt Liberty University into a partisan political machine; will the IRS step in?
Christopher Stoney and Robert Hilton (CURE): Sustainable Cities: Canadian Reality or Urban Myth? The world is bracing for an influx of billions of new urbanites in the coming decades, and tech companies are rushing to build new green cities to house them; are these companies creating a smarter metropolis — or just making money? City dwellers of the future will experience more violent thunderstorms more often, and Mother Nature has nothing to do with it: our built environment is manufacturing its own weather. Merging complex systems science and ecology, resilience scientists have broken new ground on understanding natural ecosystems — and now they are bringing this novel science to the city (and more). A review of Urban Design: Health and the Therapeutic Environment by Cliff Moughtin, Kate McMahon Moughtin, and Paola Signoretta. An interview with Joan Fitzgerald, author of Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development. What a longtime American-born resident of Japan has learned about his adopted country's ancient practice of sustainability. The big green apple: Environmentally-sound homes for the poor are a model for everyone else. Green Detroit: Why the city is Ground Zero for the sustainability movement. Is progressive Asheville Obama’s vision for America? Hip, environmentally aware, self-reliant and undeniably quaint, Asheville, NC is a progressive’s vision of what America could be. Portland and “elite cities”: Is Oregon’s metropolis a leader among American cities or just strange? From Cities and the Environment, a special issue on Urban Pollinators and Community Gardens. Through an ancient yet obscure craft, still-living plants can themselves be shaped into bridges, tables, ladders, chairs, sculptures — even buildings.
From Essex Human Rights Review, a special issue on Preventing Torture in the 21st Century (and part 2). A review of Genocide Before the Holocaust by Cathie Carmichael and The Final Solution: A Genocide by Donald Bloxham. A holiday ends in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge gets its day in court. Mark Mazower on the US, Turkey and the Armenian genocide. The Hardest Word: The use of "genocide" as a legal term gets in the way of healing historical wounds. How to apologise for genocide: May it be better to let the perpetrator into the moral circle, to acknowledge the act and the human agency behind it, and to forgive? More and more and more and more on Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. A review of The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All by Gareth Evans. An interview with Andrew Cayley on books on war crimes. A review of Targeted Killing in International Law by Nils Melzer. An interview with Pamela Yates on justice and the International Criminal Court. A review of Prosecuting Heads of State. A review of Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics by Jennifer Lind. In the aftermath of fighting or repression, people are often told to forget things — but in free societies, selective memory cannot be imposed for ever. The first chapter from Unchopping a Tree: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Political Violence by Ernesto Verdeja. The media are fundamental to the reconstruction of broken societies and can have a critical impact on the fragile processes of negotiation and conciliation. A review of When the State No Longer Kills: International Human Rights Norms and Abolition of Capital Punishment by Sangmin Bae.