From Prospect, the pre-Socratic philosopher Parmenides sparked an intellectual revolution that still echoes today — yet for philosophy and science to continue to progress in the 21st century, we may need to embark on an entirely new cognitive journey. From Scientific American, this year's SciAm 50 awards are replete with instances of new machines or chemicals that come close to the true meaning of innovation as something entirely new; and Michael Shermer on Evonomics: Evolution and economics are both examples of a larger mysterious phenomenon. Norman Levitt reviews Steve Fuller’s Science vs. Religion: Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution. From NPQ, an interview with J. Craig Venter: "Microbial manufacturing is the next phase of evolution". The undiscovered planet: A look at how microbial science illuminates a world of astounding diversity. The Body Engineers: Hormone researchers seek new life for old brains and bones. Desperately seeking a kidney: What you learn about people — and yourself — when you need them to donate an organ.
Vladimir Putin is named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" of 2007, with runners-up and people who mattered; and you had a great run as Person of the Year 2006, but what have You done for us lately? From Financial Times, Gideon Rachman on five events that have defined 2007. From Foreign Policy, here are the top 10 stories you missed in 2007. Here are the top 20 viral videos of 2007. Here are the questions Slate's Explainer never answered in 2007. From Popular Mechanics, here are 10 tech concepts you need to know for 2008. The spirit of Christmas: Americans are in a funk — they should cheer up a bit. Reason magazine celebrates a "Very Special, Very Secular Christmas Party" with dramatic reading of Tom Lehrer's "Christmas Carol" by Christopher Hitchens. The Hitch reviews How's Your Drink? Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well by Eric Felten.
Who strangled the FDA? Charting the phases of the FDA's decline lays bare the responsibility borne by movement conservatism. The 100th anniversary of the FDA marks a milestone in medicine before which cranks and charlatans ran amok. A review of Medicating Modern America: Prescription Drugs in History. All evidence points to a mandate being the best strategy for achieving universal health care — why's Barack Obama fighting it? Take a chill pill: Henry Aaron on why everyone squabbling over the candidates' health care plans needs to take a deep breath and get some perspective. A review of Political Economy of Health Care: A Clinical Perspective by Julian Tudor Hart. A review of Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer by Shannon Brownlee. From Discover, an article on the perfect storm of health risk: In some situations, rare illnesses become downright probable. Why don't we get cancer all the time? The seemingly inefficient way our bodies replace worn-out cells is a defense against cancer. Thank you for smoking: While Washington is encouraging Americans to quit, it has been helping big tobacco push cigarette smoking in other countries.
Matthew Gentzkow, Edward L. Glaeser, and Claudia Goldin (NBER): The Rise of the Fourth Estate: How Newspapers Became Informative and Why It Mattered. In the early 1900s Walter Lippman laid the groundrules for public debate in America — have the US media followed his prescriptions? A review of Liberty and the News by Walter Lippmann. A review of The Granta Book of Reportage: Classics of Reportage. From CJR, a case study on the fight for clarity in language: "surge" meet "escalation". More on Turning Back the Clock: Hot Wars and Media Populism by Umberto Eco. From the Center for Media and Democracy, here are the 2007 Falsies Awards. From The Weekly Standard, an article on media gatekeepers as the new fundamentalists. Is Andy Rooney a brilliant satirist or batshit looney? Time columnists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer are on their way out the door. Did you know that Time actually stands for The International Magazine of Events? What's new at The New York Review of Books: News on a successor? Not really, but there are some changes afoot at the intellectual journal. How many magazines debuted this year? The Numbers Guy investigates.
From Counterpunch, an article on the politics of teen pregnancy: It's not about sex; and Britney Spears' little sister Jamie Lynne is pregnant — should we blame hip hop? Invasion of the Postmodern Body Snatchers: An article on female contraception discourse in cyberspace. Once women burned their bras, today they send photos of their breasts to lad mags and call it liberating — is this really a new form of feminism or just the old objectification? Men propose, women dispose: Women often complain that dating is like a cattle market, and a paper just published suggests they are right. The Opt-out Marriage: Increased mobility goes hand in hand with increased economic uncertainty, especially among young professionals — their romantic lifestyles are adapting to the new pressures. The case for open relationships: Polyamorous relationships need trust and communication, not so different from monogamous ones. Homo erectus extinctus: Is nature determined to make men extinct? Senior scientists believe that women may evolve as humanity’s sole representatives — and social and political trends are lending weight to their theories.
From Graduate Journal of Social Science, Jade Boyd (UBC): Considering Performance. From Fast Capitalism, Irving Goh (EGS): Disagreeing Preemptive/Prophylaxis: From Philip K. Dick to Jacques Ranciere. From Public Resistance, Robert de Beaugrande (Primorskem): Critical Discourse Analysis from the Perspective of Ecologism: The Discourse of the "New Patriotism". A review of Agency and Causation in the Human Sciences. A review of Illuminations: Essays and Reflections and Reflections: Essays, Aphorisms, Autobiographical Writings by Walter Benjamin. A review of Self-Transformations: Foucault, Ethics, and Normalized Bodies by Cressida J. Heyes. A review of Bodily Citations: Religion and Judith Butler. A review of Narrating Social Order: Agoraphobia and the Politics of Classification by Shelley Z. Reuter. An interview with Terry Eagleton, the armchair revolutionary.
From Campus Progress, an interview with David Horowitz. A Princeton University student who is a member of a conservative campus group admitted to police that he fabricated an assault that he said had occurred Friday (and more and more). From Inside Higher Ed, how to cut PhD time to degree: The key may be changing faculty behavior, not just grad student behavior. A look at how scholars link up Facebook with data. An article on how computer-free students find life hard without them. How to get into Harvard: A study finds that certain high schools have a remarkable record of sending their students to elite colleges. Brown University announces it will give a $10 million endowment to local public schools to atone for its involvement in the slave trade, but reparations alone will not address the ongoing segregation of the American education system. Pennsylvania and Illinois have made early childhood education a priority; can other states — and Washington — learn from their example? Teaching toughness: More on Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles Over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy by Richard Kahlenberg.
Brad T. Gomez (Georgia), Thomas G. Hansford (UC-Merced), and George A. Krause (Pittsburgh): The Republicans Should Pray for Rain: Weather, Turnout, and Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections. Iowa’s undemocratic caucuses: The news media need to quit tolerating the practice of denying the public access to factual information about how much support each candidate actually has on caucus night. Whose nominee is it, anyway? Why Florida and Michigan don't mind being disenfranchised. The "hot or not" solution: A mathematical—but controversial—idea for fixing the flaws in voting. The 95% turnout for Australia's recent elections was a direct result of compulsory voting — other countries should consider its benefits. From Radar, Throw Papa From the Trail: Meet the presidential candidates' biggest liabilities. Reading the mind of the body politic: The subconscious is the new frontier in politics, but is it good for democracy? A lecture by Garrett Graff, author of The First Campaign: Globalization, the Web, and the Race for the White House (and a review).
Handmade 2.0: What are so many crochet-hook-wielding, papermaking, silversmithing handicrafters doing online? Trying to prove that the future of shopping — and of work — is all about the past. Scholars are falling into line to maneuver through new territory: Online socializing as academic discipline. Erich Fromm, one of the 20th century's most prescient thinkers, predicted half a century ago that we need proper human warmth, not keyboard friends. When the bullies turned faceless: Cellphone cameras and text messages, social networking Web sites, e-mail and instant messaging, all give teenagers a wider range of ways to play tricks on one another. Email and the end of civilization: Com’on everbody, ligten up — wats so bad about email? Spam, spam, spam, spam, and poetry: Is there art in those bizarre, indecipherable come-ons in junk e-mails? And those "enlarge your manhood" e-mails — who is sending them? Wikipedia doubled its number of articles in just 18 months, but who are the “Wikipediots” writing them? And why do they do it? After 10 years of blogs, the future's brighter than ever. Bloggers of the world, unite: The journalists' union has recruited its first blogger, and why not? Moving with the new media to represent working people is what they do.
From American Heritage, Jack Kelly on the last day of the great trains. High-speed trains and the meaning of time: Why should every waking moment be taken up with work? Spend time thinking in beautiful surroundings. Automobiles and immigration are both about freedom – and American society must get the best out of both, as it will not survive without either. Garage Mahals: Architects turn their attention to the problem of parking. On the bustling New York subway, prudence keeps people silent in the face of all sorts of irritating behaviour – including the ugliest misogynist rant. Here's a transit map of the world’s transit systems. Air travel is booming as the world gets richer, but one issue looms: who will pilot all those planes? Guilt tripping: Flying tops the list of eco-sins, but redemption is in sight. How much global warming results from air travel? The answer depends on whom you ask.