James Clay Moltz (NPS): Toward Cooperation or Conflict on the Moon? Considering Lunar Governance in Historical Perspective. 40 years after the Apollo 11 mission, let's stop kidding ourselves about why we really want to go back. Now that we know there is water on the Moon, the solar system may now be open to us. From Popular Science, here are five human achievements that could top walking on the Moon. Mars, and step on it: When it’s not the journey but the destination that counts. How to get humans on Mars: Make it a one-way trip. We are the martians: Why we've never lost our enthusiasm for space travel. Flying high: America’s government has no money for its human-spaceflight plans — the private sector has plenty. We’re a long way from the “basestars” from Battlestar Galactica, but the concept of large manned orbiting platforms for military operations may not wholly be in the realm of science fiction. Asteroid attack: An article on putting Earth's defences to the test (and more). A review of The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars by Christopher Cokinos. From Vision, an essay on a New Earth; an article on the Drake equation, or how alone are we? From Cosmos, are we alone? There could be more than 200 extraterrestrial civilisations humming away in our galaxy right now. Why do we only search for aliens that resemble life here on Earth? Wired on how the hunt for extraterrestrial life gets weird. While hundreds of exoplanets have already been discovered, it could just be a matter of time before we find some truly bizarre ones.
A review of Liberal Beginnings: Making a Republic for the Moderns by Andreas Kalyvas and Ira Katznelson. A review of Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1783-1939 by James Belich (and more). A review of Democracy: 1,000 Years in Pursuit of British Liberty by Peter Kellner. A review of The New British Constitution by Vernon Bogdanor. Scott Bradfield reviews The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British by Sarah Lyall. A review of The Social Contract in America: From the Revolution to the Present Age by Mark Hulliung. An interview with John Curl, author of For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America. Thomas Frank on why the Left should reclaim "freedom". Civilising as a continuing Australian project: A review of Empire of Political Thought by Bruce Buchan. Kevin Rudd sees social democracy as the only terrain on which the "great financial crisis" can be overcome; Tom Nairn argues that this idea is more widely relevant to the search for a politics beyond neo-liberalism. From New Matilda, five years ago, John Howard's version of Australia reigned supreme — now the left must find its own national sentiment or it will be eclipsed again. Christopher Hitchens on how Sydney's spectacular storms remind Australians of their history. From Literary Review of Canada, John Ralston Saul on how cramming northerners’ needs into a southern model just isn’t working; and books and pundits tackle the Plains of Abraham, but do they go far enough? The Observer profiles Michael Ignatieff: Prime Minister in waiting?
A panel on Losing the News: The Future of the News That Feeds Democracy by Alex S. Jones. How to save the news: William Baker on the case for public funding of journalism and news outlets. Nonprofit journalism comes at a cost: Jack Shafer on the downside of nonprofit news organizations like MinnPost, Voice of San Diego, and the Washington Independent. If newspapers are dying then it's their own fault; the internet merely exposes newsprint's failure to deliver what readers want. From Vanity Fair, Rupert Murdoch is going to battle against the Internet, bent on making readers actually pay for online newspaper journalism — is he also ignoring his industry’s biggest problem? Two cheers for Andrew Breitbart: Sometimes it takes an outsider to show the press corps the way. The death of the media mogul: There may be someone out there who will become the 21st-century equivalent of Bertelsmann's Reinhard Mohn — but we shall not see his like again. Censored: The top 10 stories not brought to you by mainstream news media in 2008 and 2009. With the publication of this piece, Kevin Gosa enters the ranks of the many great (imaginary) journalists who shook off naysayers’ shackles and found a way — found the story. Between recklessness and bravery in their hunt for the story: A review of Unembedded: Two Decades of Maverick War Reporting by Scott Taylor and Murder Without Borders: Dying for the Story in the World’s Most Dangerous Places by Terry Gould. The showbiz writer who went to war: Jane Bussmann used to pen facile interviews with Hollywood starlets, then she decided to cover genocide in Africa — why?
From First Things, Edmund Phelps on economic justice and the spirit of innovation. The killing fields of inequality: Goran Therborn on why inequality matters. From Too Much, a profile of Emmanuel Saez, the Berkeley economist who many now consider the world’s top authority on the incomes of the super rich; watch out Wall Street, here come the Dutch; have we missed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to trim the wealthy down to democratic size?; and the Great Depression gave us the minimum wage — might we now see a “maximum wage”, thanks to the Great Recession? Misleading Indicators: Charles Wilber on how U.S. economists missed the Great Recession. The uselessness of economic forecasters: Charles Morris looks at the terrible track record of economic oracles, and the reasons why very few of them get it right. Gilles Saint‑Paul offers a defence of contemporary economics against those demanding forecasts of crises and complaining about the profession’s mathematical intensity. Robert Shiller on reinventing economics. Economics is not so much the queen of the social sciences but the servant, and needs to base itself on anthropology, psychology — and the sociology of ideologies. Historical events, finding a dusty old book or debates at the dinner table: anything can inspire a Nobel Laureate — so what makes an economist tick? "A new science of governance for a new age": Elinor Ostrom and Oliver Williamson, who study the way decisions are made outside the markets on which many other economists focus, are awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics (and more and more and more and more).
From Human Affairs, a special issue on Ernst Gombrich. Can a global climate pact save our behinds? An interview with prominent game theorist Bruce Bueno de Mesquita. Jose Maria J. Yulo on Love's Imperative: A Study on Kant and Kolbe. Mathematics has never been so exciting: More and more on Logicomix by Apostolos Doxiadis and Christos H Papadimitriou. An interview with Peter Minowitz, author of Straussophobia: Defending Leo Strauss and Straussians Against Shadia Drury and Other Accusers. What's so bad about being part of H.L. Mencken's "boobocracy"?: The Great Books looked great to one 70s teenager. Credit where credit's due: Why civilian aid and military aid shouldn't mix. A review of The Least Worst Place: How Guantanamo Became the World’s Most Notorious Prison by Karen Greenberg. The bailout in under ten minutes: The Nation's Chris Hayes on the bailout's limited trajectory and what its limitations mean for the Obama administration. We've given trillions to the super rich, but there are many better uses for your money. Salon interviews the late Adam Smith: The 18th century's patron saint of free markets shares his surprising views about Barack Obama and the U.S. economy. Is there any way to tell if a polling firm's data are reliable? A recent imbroglio within the polling industry raised that question. Dr. Philip Nitschke has caused uproar from Australia to the UK over his unapologetic pro-suicide philosophy — and now he's bringing his cause to the States. People who reject the theory of evolution should be placed on a level with Holocaust deniers, argues Richard Dawkins (and an interview).
From ResetDOC, an article on Martha Nussbaum and the Indian laboratory. An interview with Arundhati Roy on the human costs of India's economic growth (and more). A review of Red Sun: Travel in Naxalite Country by Sudeep Chakravarti (and a response on India’s Maoists). You say Dilli, I say Delhi: Rebranding Indian cities, streets and landmarks with "authentic" Hindi names is parochial and chauvinistic. A review of Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India by William Dalrymple (and more and more on Maharaja, the splendour of India's royal courts). A review of The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger. The conversion to intolerance: How the Missionaries are destroying the ancient Hindu culture. From Hard News, thousands of Dalits still clean shit with their bare hands and carry it on their heads; so how come a 9 per cent growth rate economy can’t generate alternative professions for them? (and more on sacred shit); and a look at the best world class open-air male public urinal in the world. India's genes uncovered: Genetic exploration of the subcontinent has been slow to get going, but the latest findings offer some amazing insights. Winning literary prizes abroad is a habit with Indian writers; one we need to view with scepticism rather than naively accept as a sign of superior standards. Passage through India inspires literary tours: Twelve book club members read six books on the country — then travel there. Living in a region where you dress differently from everyone else, you begin to notice the little things; Jil Wheeler undergoes an education in Indian fashion.
Ken Jowitt (UC-Berkeley): Setting History’s Course: Nations, identities, and influence. A review of Hollow Hegemony: Rethinking Global Politics, Power and Resistance by David Chandler. States are not so much declining, failing and yielding as transforming their very nature. An interview with David Kinley, author of Civilising Globalisation. The imaginary pirate of globalization: The terrorist, the hacker and the financier are the new pirates, taking advantage of the spatial revolution brought about by globalization. A review of Spaces of Security and Insecurity: Geographies of the War on Terror. Michael Vlahos on American power and the fall of modernity: Nation-state, identity and governance. From The American Interest, pillars of the Next American Century: James Kurth trace the foundations of American global strength, from past to future. America's Limits: The financial meltdown put America in a different mental place — President Obama’s challenge lies in how to manage reduced expectations. America's Image: U.S. standing in the world matters, Americans care about it, and a weakened stature continues to hamper U.S. policy. Twilight of Pax Americana: With American military and economic dominance waning, capitalism and global security are threatened. A review of After America: Narratives for the Next Global Age by Paul Starobin. While you are minding your own business, the US is constantly making war around the globe. A review of War, Revenue, and State Building: Financing the Development of the American State by Sheldon Pollack. Conservatives are all for shrinking government spending, except when it comes to the Pentagon; why more skepticism about military funding is a matter of national security. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants to overhaul the Pentagon.
Why Copenhagen doesn't matter: Rather than pinning our hopes on global solutions, anyone concerned about mitigating climate change should be hoping that the few big emitters decide to act now, regardless of what other countries decide to do. The Center for American Progress on myth vs. reality on international climate change negotiations. Planetary boundaries: Scientists propose guardrails for how far mankind can push the planet tomorrow, while others examine how far collapsed civilizations pushed it yesterday. Should we seek to save industrial civilisation? George Monbiot debates Paul Kingsnorth. A look at why green Catholics are not communists. From TNR, a review essay on the usefulness of cranks: Is environmentalism a natural ally of liberalism?; Earth to Obama: You can't negotiate with the planet; and what would Jesus drive? Republicans may think denying climate change is wrong, but at least it’s politically useful. To support the launch of the 10:10 climate change campaign to reduce carbon emissions, The Guardian asked artists, authors and poets to respond to the crisis. Call it eco-angst, the moment a new bit of unpleasant ecological information about some product or other plunges us into a moment (or more) of despair. A review of Eric Roston’s The Carbon Age: How Life’s Core Element Has Become Civilization’s Greatest Threat. A review of Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability by David Owen (and more).
An impulse for a new Central Europe, the Nobel Prize for Literature goes to Herta Muller, a patriot of an estranged homeland, for work "steeped in Europe's terrible history", which includes the novel Everything I Own I Carry With Me (and an excerpt). From Sign and Sight, twenty years after Ceausescu's execution his secret service is still active; for the first time, Romanian-German writer Herta Muller describes her ongoing experience of Securitate terror (and more on the tenacity of Romania's corrupt secret service). A look at how great literature knows no bounds — in time or place. From LRB, James Wood reviews The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt (and more; and an interview at Bookforum). A review of Peter Lamarque’s The Philosophy of Literature (Blackwell’s "Foundations of the Philosophy of the Arts") by Peter Lamarque. So what exactly is conceptual writing?: An interview with Kenneth Goldsmith. Does the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy still answer the ultimate question? From TNR, a review of Arthur Miller by Christopher Bigsby. A review of Knut Hamsun: Dreamer and Dissenter by Ingar Sletten Kolloen. A review of The Beats: A Graphic History. From Boston Review, a review of The Yeats Brothers and Modernism’s Love of Motion by Calvin Bedient and Our Secret Discipline: Yeats and Lyric Form by Helen Vendler. Thoughts on form: An interview with Philip Pullman. How to read a masterpiece: An essay on coming to terms with Marie-Claire Blais. Next time you finish reading a book, take a minute to write a note to the author — you will likely soon have a story of your own to tell.
A review of War: A Short History by Jeremy Black. A review of War and Peace in Ancient and Medieval History. A review of Soldiers of Fortune: A History of the Mercenary in Modern Warfare by Tony Geraghty. A review of Why America Fights: Patriotism and War Propaganda from the Philippines to Iraq by Susan Brewer. A review of Advice to War Presidents: A Remedial Course in Statecraft by Angelo Codevilla. The first chapter from The Science of War: Defense Budgeting, Military Technology, Logistics, and Combat Outcomes by Michael E. O'Hanlon. By eschewing certainties and formulas, Carl von Clausewitz developed a powerful and controversial philosophy of war. Their martyrs, our heroes: Armies and guerrilla movements both deploy suicide missions, and both believe in a shared culture of heroic sacrifice; the difference between a "just war" and terrorist targeting of civilians has been blurred for a long time. A review of Frames of War: When is Life Grievable? by Judith Butler and Killing in War by Jeff McMahan (and more). The first chapter from The Cognitive Challenge of War by Peter Paret. Lawfare: An article on preserving the balance between the law and war. Geneva conventions at 60: The chasm is still too wide between noble Swiss ideas and the hard reality of locations where war is hell. The first chapter from How Wars End by Dan Reiter. Does peace have a chance? Wars are less deadly than they've been for 12,000 years. In trouble spots around the world, Peace Brigades International volunteers observe and protect, reminding human rights violators that the world is watching. Dangerous Prize: Why Nobel Peace Prize victories have a poor track record of producing change; and here are seven people who that never won the prize, but should have.