The latest issue of Salisbury Review is free online. The inescapability of the Gospel: Mark P. Shea on Annalee Newitz and the insufficiently lefty liberal power fantasy that energizes stories like Avatar. Whether it’s the Mayan prediction of the 2012 cataclysm or the theology of the rapture, predictions of the end of the world tell us as much about ourselves as about the coming apocalypse. Denis Dutton on how it’s always the end of the world as we know it. Scott McLemee reviews The Task of the Critic: Terry Eagleton in Dialogue. From Newsweek, a special section on Issues 2010, including Francis Fukuyama on why history is still over; David Frum on why America still needs the neocons; and John Horgan on how the world may be entering a new age of peace. Gene Weingarten has advice on the art of angry e-mail writing: use RaNDOm CAPITaliZATion and as many exclamation points as possible!!!!!!!!! The Day the Journal Died: GQ interviewed dozens of people — including reporters, Bancroft family members, and executives — to recreate NewsCorp's acquisition of one of the last great newspapers. From Slate, it's like Slate for terrorists: What's in al-Qaida's Web magazine, and why do so many terrorists have engineering degrees? Stanley Crouch on Bette Davis, the greatest white bitch of all (and a response). The Boomers broke it, trading the early revolutionary impulses for a status quo of greed, selfishness and temper tantrums — can Gen X-ers fix it? Large, international corporations are doing away with cubicles; how will the shift affect workers and the quality of their work?
Shelby Steele on Obama and our post-modern race problem: The president always knew that his greatest appeal was not as a leader but as a cultural symbol. An interview with Richard Benjamin, author of Searching for Whitopia: An Improbably Journey to the Heart of America (and a map). The Beck Supremacy: How a right-wing conspiracy hijacked the thriller genre. A review of books on Sarah Palin. Mark Walker (NMSU): Uninsured, Heal Thyself, Or: A New Argument for Universal Health Care. From The New Yorker, James Surowiecki on why the health care bill is worth passing. And the rest is just noise: Jonathan Chait on why the health care bill is the greatest social achievement of our time. A progressive marriage: Michael Lind on what the Democrats can learn from the Republicans about managing the menage a trois within the party. No-commoner Obama: He isn’t a populist — that doesn’t mean he’s not a progressive. Michael Tomasky on Obama's one-eighth of a presidency. Andrew Sullivan on how, inch by inch, Barack Obama is moving mountains. Is this really an intelligence failure? Spencer Ackerman on real talk on Abdulmutallab. The truth about airplane security measures: Why are we so bad at detecting the guilty and so good at collective punishment of the innocent? James Traub on Obama’s Foreign Engagement Scorecard: What do we have to show for it? (and more) Saying no to Obama: The U.S. president is popular, but world leaders are finding it easy to defy his wishes. Obama's foreign policy could hardly be called radical, but it has noticeably improved America's global position all within the short span of a year.
From Smart Set, saving dough: Greg Beato on the costly mistake of ending complimentary bread; we speak what we eat: In Greece, to talk of food is to talk about morality, clothing, religion, health, history; and getting stuffed: Being vegetarian doesn't mean you have to give up the historic decadence of meat stuffed in meat stuffed in more meat. A review of Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly by James E. McWilliams. Mayo dripping at the Gates of Hell: A viral-media expert by trade, Jessica Amason crafted a web sensation out of bacon and melted cheese. From The New Yorker, does Whole Foods’ C.E.O. John Mackey know what’s best for you? Nick Paumgarten investigates (and an interview with John Mackey at Reason). Tony Judt on English food: "Just because you grow up on bad food, it does not follow that you lack nostalgia for it". A look at how Britain has had a long and sometimes problematic relationship with alcohol. Brewing up a civilization: Did our Neolithic ancestors turn to agriculture so that they could be sure of a tipple? A review of The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World by Stephen Mansfield. We're all wine critics now: How the Internet has democratized drinking. They pour, sip and, with passion and snobbery, glorify or doom wines — but studies say the wine-rating system is badly flawed; how the experts fare against a coin toss. A review of Roger Scruton’s I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher’s Guide to Wine (and more and more). A review of Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks by Bryant Simon.
A review of Maimonides, Spinoza and Us: Toward an Intellectually Vibrant Judaism by Rabbi Marc D. Angel. Is Joe Lieberman a bad Jew? Depends whom you ask, these days. From The Tablet, a special section on the Jewish body. The rise of the hot Jewish girl: Why American men are lusting after women of the tribe. A review of The Passionate Torah: Sex and Judaism. From Jewcy, Patrick Aleph on changing your Jewish last name. Walter Isaacson on how Einstein divided America's Jews: The physicist’s first trip to the U.S. placed him at the center of contentious debates over Zionism. Why we shouldn't put too much faith in what Albert Einstein had to say about Israel (and more). A review of How To Be a Mentsh (& Not a Shmuck) by Michael Wex. Slips of the Tongue: What the use of Yiddish phrases can tell us about contemporary American Jewry. A review of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen by David Sax (and more and more and more and more). Jewish Mother Russia: Masha Gessen on the worst good idea ever. Jewspotting: In which The New York Times expresses astonishment at members of the tribe living in out-of-the-way places. A review of Contemporary American Judaism: Transformation and Renewal by Dana Evan Kaplan. Old world Jewish jokes: A review of Is It Good for the Jews? by Adam Biro. So you call yourself Jewish? A look at what it takes to be considered "one of us". Nathan Schneider on hipsters v. Hasidim over Brooklyn bike lane. A review of Mitzvah Girls: Bringing Up the Next Generation of Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn by Ayala Fader.
Let’s bid a not at all fond farewell to the Big Zero, the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing. Time and again, the calendar comes up short: Sticklers for symmetry lament imperfections in the 400-year-old Gregorian system. Handwriting is history: Writing words by hand is a technology that's just too slow for our times, and our minds. U.S. government documents crime spree by dictator’s son: Why no action by the feds? Over the past 30 years, Eliot Weiss has patiently built one of the greatest chess programs in the country. Armenia excels at chess, and its top player now has a shot at becoming world champion — how did this tiny country become a giant at the game? Old kings, new game: Ex-champions Karpov and Kasparov meet again, but the stakes have changed. A review of The Narcissism of Minor Differences: How America and Europe are Alike by Peter Baldwin (and more). Giving and receiving presents is a simple pleasure, isn't it? No, it's a social and economic battlefield. A review of High Society: The Life of Grace Kelly by Donald Spoto. Federal plans for a green economic revolution need more discipline — and a long-term partnership with the venture capitalists who know startup winners from losers. A review of The Value of Nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy by Raj Patel. If Google has its way, all of English literature will one day exist as searchable digital text, and Franco Moretti wants to be ready for the deluge. The introduction to Terror in Chechnya: Russia and the Tragedy of Civilians in War by Emma Gilligan.
And please take advantage of Special Holiday Savings from Bookforum, with offers of 1 year (5 issues) for only $12.00, or 2 years (10 issues) for $24.00.
An interview with Marc Bekoff, author of Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals (and more). A review of Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity by G. A. Bradshaw (and more). The modern conception of dogs as personal property has done very little to advance their position. Bitch, Please: An article on dog shows in the age of dog show ridicule. Dogs vs cats: The great pet showdown. Oscar the cat and the science of kindness: When Oscar the cat snuggles up to a patient, purring and nuzzling, the nurses at the hospital where he lives immediately call relatives. A look at 6 adorable cat behaviors with shockingly evil explanations. An article on fixers, feeders, and the strange, hidden world of feral cats. The truth about lions: The world's foremost lion expert Abigail Tucker reveals the brutal, secret world of the king of beasts. The Great Guinea Hen Massacre: Good intentions collide with dumb birds on a small farm in Pennsylvania. A review of Mustang: The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West by Deanne Stillman. A review of The Horse in Human History by Pita Kelekna. A new bat fellatio study gives insights into the question raised in Thomas Nagel’s essay “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” An interview with Jeremy Mynott on books on birdwatching (and more). Zombie Creatures: What happens when animals are possessed by a parasitic puppet master? A review of On Thin Ice: The Changing World of the Polar Bear by Richard Ellis. A review of Dazzled and Deceived: Mimicry and Camouflage by Peter Forbes. Ancient origins of pet rats: Millennia with man, but only recently a great pet (and more on the rat-catcher's art).
A new issue of Plato is out, including Arnaud Mace (UFC): The New Frontier: Philosophy of Nature in Platonic Studies at the Beginning of the XXIth Century; and a review essay on "Socratic" dialogues. A review of Reason and Persuasion: Three Dialogues by Plato: Euthyphro, Meno, Republic Book I by John Holbo. The first chapter from Descartes's Changing Mind by Peter Machamer and J. E. McGuire. From Kritika & Kontext, leading Spinoza experts discuss the seventeenth-century philosopher's relevance today. A review of Adam Smith and the Character of Virtue by Ryan Patrick Hanley. A review of The Philosophers' Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume, and the Limits of Human Understanding by Robert Zaretsky and John T. Scott. Why Rousseau still matters: Christopher Bertram argues that understanding self-love is essential to solving the big political problems we face today. A review of Kant's Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Aim: A Critical Guide. A review of Force and Freedom: Kant's Legal and Political Philosophy by Arthur Ripstein. A review of Kant and the Limits of Autonomy by Susan Meld Shell. Seizing power from the divine: Nicholas Rescher argues that Kant’s radicalism is widely underestimated. A review of Kierkegaard, Metaphysics and Political Theory: Unfinished Selves by Alison Assiter (and more). A review of Pious Nietzsche: Decadence and Dionysian Faith by Bruce Ellis Benson. The problem of dogmatism: Oskari Kuusela on why Wittgenstein rejected theories. The introduction to Taking Wittgenstein at His Word: A Textual Study by Robert J. Fogelin.
From 3:AM, Max Dunbar on The Great Underground Myth: Why self publishing doesn’t work (and a response). New books from old, turning classics into comics: Graphic novel adaptations of classic and contemporary prose works have surged in the past few years. Rich Cohen on what to wear to sell a book. From THES, free, immediate and permanently available research results for all — that's what the open-access campaigners want — unsurprisingly, the subscription publishers disagree; and books are essential tools of the scholarly trade, but Matthew Reisz meets some people whose relationship with texts goes beyond close reading. Steve Haber on how the death of print doesn't have to mean the death of publishing. Steal these books: At independent bookstores, thieves are more likely to be following Abbie Hoffman than the Ten Commandments (and more). The 2110 Club: What books published in the past 10 to 15 years might still be read a century from now? Google versus Publishers, the Sequel: Can’t everyone just get along? Apparently not, and here’s why. The literate burglar: Allison Hoover Bartlett on the curious psyche of a rare-book thief. As books go beyond printed page to multisensory experience, what about reading? Long thought lost to ruthless commercialism, some recent publishing triumphs suggest editors could be making a welcome comeback. Biblio Tech: The public library takes browsing back from Chapters. From Spotify to Bookify: How playlists could revolutionize the books market. A study finds rumors of written-word death have been greatly exaggerated.
From M/C Journal, a special issue on Cultures of Disclosure, including Nick Muntean and Anne Helen Petersen (Texas): Celebrity Twitter: Strategies of Intrusion and Disclosure in the Age of Technoculture; Christine Lohmeier (Rotterdam): Disclosing the Ethnographic Self; Jenny Lawson (Leeds): Food Confessions: Disclosing the Self through the Performance of Food; Luis Carlos Sotelo-Castro (Northampton): Participation Cartography: The Presentation of Self in Spatio-Temporal Terms; and Donna Lee Brien (CQU): Disclosure in Biographically-Based Fiction: The Challenges of Writing Narratives Based on True Life Stories. A review of I'm Dying Up Here: Heartbreak and High Times in Stand-up Comedy's Golden Era by William Knoedelseder. L.L. Zamenhof and the Shadow People: Esther Schor on the amazing story of how Esperanto came to be. From Foreign Affairs, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is not the powerful anti-Western bloc it appeared to be a few years ago — the organization should deliver some tangible accomplishments before the West rushes to condemn or cooperate with it; and a review of books on foreign reporting. Gregory McNamee on the top 10 post-Apocalyptic films, from A Boy and his Dog to the Mad Max trilogy. David Brooks hands out the Sidney Awards for the best magazine essays of the year (and part 2). Simon Winchester on the case against the new year: Midnight revelry amounts to sheer malarkey. Here's The Noughtie List, a list of all the "best ofs" from the 2000s. Tony Judt on suffering from Lou Gehrig's disease: "My nights are intriguing; but I could do without them".
And please take advantage of Special Holiday Savings from Bookforum, with offers of 1 year (5 issues) for only $12.00, or 2 years (10 issues) for $24.00.
From THES, a review of No Small Matter: Science on the Nanoscale by Felice C. Frankel and George M. Whitesides (and an excerpt). A review of Living at Micro Scale: The Unexpected Physics of Being Small by David B. Dusenbery. New microscope reveals the shape of atoms: Improved field-emission microscope images electron orbitals, confirming their theoretical shapes. Superheavy Element 114 Ununquadium's synthesis confirmed, dashes hopes of "island of stability". It was a pleasant surprise to chemists at Oregon State University when they created a new, durable and brilliantly blue pigment by accident. A review of The Chemical Choir: A History of Alchemy by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart. The Genetic Science Learning Center
shows the relative sizes of very small objects, from a coffee bean to a carbon atom. National Geographic has produced a map of every space exploration in the last 50 years. From New Scientist, an article on building a second sun: Take $10 billion, add coconuts. A look at how Venus died and why Earth survives. From Wired, a special report on Plutomania. From Popular Mechanics, a look at the 9 wildest exoplanets ever spotted (and more). From Scientific American, astronomers are beginning to uncover nearby "Super-Earths"; and looking for life in the multiverse: Universes with different physical laws might still be habitable. The video "The Known Universe" takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. How long is time?: The cosmos was already nearly 10 billion years old when our Sun was born, yet we're still quite a young universe.