From Mother Jones, what happens when profit margins drive clinical research? Two-thirds of clinical trials are now privately run — a primer on the contract research organizations (CROs) that run them. A review of The Thief of Time: Philosophical Essays on Procrastination. Did somebody say "fringe"? With the help of his dad and a legion of devoted Tea Partiers, chances are good Ron Paul will soon be the most radical member of the U.S. Senate. School for Hackers: The do-it-yourself movement revives learning by doing. The C.L.R. James Library in London is being renamed; Scott McLemee wants to halt the vandalism. Financial regulation goes international: Basel III is a tough new international regime; it is a rare sign of optimism in the battle with the banks. From Inside Catholic, this is where Steve Skojec begins to wax theological about coffee; and what is it about us that makes us willing to stand in line for an eternity at a coffee shop just to get a cup? Here are two stories about Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward (and more). The Bravery Trap: What does the Medal of Honor tell us about the nature of bravery? Waaaaah Street: Max Abelson on executives, emotion, and outbursts of Obama rage. The Guardian's Jonathan Franklin documents a day in the subterranean life of the 33 miners trapped 700 metres below the Chilean desert. An eXiled eXclusive: An advance copy of Martin Amis's eulogy for (the nearly-departed) Christopher Hitchens.

From The Nation, one year later, the blockbuster Game Change can be read as much for how little election narratives explain about history as for the story of the 2008 campaign. From The Atlantic Monthly, Joe Biden really, truly did not want to be vice president, but almost two years in, he’s found his stride, and his unique life trajectory — by turns tragic, comic, and triumphant — may have made him the perfect man for a highly imperfect job. From FDL, a book salon on The Empire’s New Clothes: Barack Obama in the Real World of Power by Paul Street. Obama’s Chief Issue: If Rahm Emanuel departs and the Dems lose the House, who should run the White House? James Surowiecki on the political failure of Obama’s stimulus package. Obama's big problem is with liberals and the left wing. Progressivism is not as amorphous as the current state of affairs indicates — this is no time to despair or retreat; it is a time to reengage and reassert progressive positions in more compelling ways. America is a joke: The worst of times for politics and media has been the best of times for The Daily Show’s John Stewart — and unfortunately things are getting even funnier. As much as Jon Stewart can make you laugh, there is something about all this Middle as Magically Absent of Ideology claim that just isn’t very funny. Laurie Essig thinks the Middle is just as ideological a stance as the Tea Party movement. The Forever Culture War: Even as we make progress on specific issues, the broader culture war seems to get uglier and uglier. We are no longer Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives — now we are utopians or not.

Kaz Ross (Tasmania): An "Army of Bachelors"? China’s Male Population as a World Threat. From New Left Review, an assessment of Wang Hui’s landmark Rise of Modern Chinese Thought: Can the seeds of an alternative, non-Western modernity be located in the worldviews of earlier thinkers? From Beijing Review, can "mixed living" connect the rich and the poor? A Breakfast Solution: How to lift millions of China's rural poor out of destitution? What kids eat is crucial, and Beijing is taking action. Chicago on the Yangtze: Welcome to Chongqing, the biggest city you've never heard of (and more). China's state capitalism poses ethical challenges: When state-owned companies go abroad, they can do business with a high level of secrecy. China's Potemkin Cities: Vacant skyscrapers, empty malls — the surreal fruits of a nation's obsession with growth. China's looming 2019 deadline: Is there a 70-year deadline for political parties? One set of shoulders: Mark Lilla on China's hidden revolution. Waiting for WikiLeaks: Perry Link on Beijing’s seven secrets. Rivalry grows between China's top leaders Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao, as both are nearing retirement and go different ways on reform. The People's Republic is becoming a technological superpower, but who's checking the facts? Sam Geall seeks out the Chinese science cops. A review of Sovereignty at the Edge: Macau and the Question of Chineseness by Cathryn H. Clayton. Two hundred members of a Chinese family are reportedly changing their surname because the character used to write it is so rare computers do not recognise it.

From Bookforum's Paper Trail blog, an interview with Jessica Duffin Wolfe, editor of the forthcoming Toronto Review of Books.

From M/C Journal, a special issue on waste, including Cornelia Sears and Jessica Johnston (Canterbury): Wasted Whiteness: The Racial Politics of the Stoner Film; Rodney Taveira (Sydney): Don DeLillo, 9/11 and the Remains of Fresh Kills; and Donna Lee Brien (CQU): From Waste to Superbrand: The Uneasy Relationship between Vegemite and Its Origins. Why cell phone talkers are annoys-makers: Unpredictable “halfalogues” distract those trying to do other things. The foods you eat often affect how your neurons behave and, subsequently, how you think and feel — from your brain’s perspective, food is a drug. The Numbers Guy on how report cards for consumers don't always make the grade (and more). Why business books suck: The problem with business books is that they're too much about Star Wars and not enough about Glee. A review of The Wave: In Pursuit of the Rogues, Freaks, and Giants of the Ocean by Susan Casey. The Athenian Agora, the ancient Greek "place of assembly" and marketplace, is being revealed layer by layer below the modern Athens cityscape. Small Wars Journal compares nation building in Korea and Iraq. George Monbiot on how Meat: A Benign Extravagance by Simon Fairlie has forced him to reconsider his views on food. A review of Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture. On the scope-severity paradox: Why millions of deaths can be “just” a statistic. Did the Great Pyramid have an elevator?, asks Peter C. Sundt in the latest issue of the journal Elevator World. Prep is dead, long live prep: How a subculture gained the world and lost its soul.

From Minding the Campus, a review essay on our colleges and their many critics. From Forward, at what cost has Jewish learning entered the academy? The truth about your T.A.: Teachers’ assistants are just like you — overworked, overwhelmed and a full-time student, just a little older, and maybe more stressed. Incentives work for pigeons — can they motivate American college students? How to improve the academic atmosphere of contemporary high schools and colleges. The Tenured Radical on Cultural Studies; or, the perils of mislabeling campus problems. Wikipedia for Credit: While many professors still distrust the popular encyclopedia, some have joined a new effort in which they will work with students to improve entries. Rereading the university classics: A new series on classic texts about higher education begins with Jose Ortega y Gasset's Mission of the University. A review of It's All About Jesus!: Faith as an Oppositional Collegiate Subculture by Peter Magolda and Kelsey Ebben Gross. The sincerest form of flattery: We can expect colleges in many countries to copy and improve on the American model in the 21st century, just as we adapted the German model long ago. Here is the Top 200 of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2010-2011. A review of Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities by Mark C. Taylor. Why are colleges so selective? There's "Room for Debate" at the New York Times. Is your campus library valuable? Prove it. A look at the 6 best college majors (for filling you with regret).

From Thought Catalog, Noah Cicero on Beatniks and the roots of hipsters. BP's Shock Waves: Matt Taibbi on how the oil giant's catastrophic spill in the Gulf could trigger another financial meltdown. Some small businesses are struggling to get credit, but that’s the least of their problems — those that survive the recession will be stronger for it and lead the economy’s recovery. In Iraq, Western clocks, but Middle Eastern time: Patience is a strategy in a region that knows the American attention span is limited. Muslims around the world could soon be setting their watches to a giant clock in Saudi Arabia — could "Mecca Time" really replace Greenwich Mean Time? A look at how 250 years of progress gave us the most complicated clock ever. From The Distributive Review, in the early years of the twentieth century, the English Catholic writers Hilaire Belloc and Gilbert and Cecil Chesterton derived a distinctive political philosophy called Distributism from the social teachings of the Catholic Church; a look at the mistake about Distributism; and is Distributism agrarianism? The United States Mint releases the latest coin in the ongoing Presidential $1 Coin Program, this time featuring our 15th President, James Buchanan (1857-61). Sexual selection is, for lack of a better term, a sexy concept — but notwithstanding the inevitable press which the theory gets, and its centrality to several popular science books, the main action in the area of sexual selection is in the academic literature.

The trouble with civilization: Ancient cities reveal the vulnerabilities of modern societies. Researchers are beginning to unravel the stories of Earth's mysterious lost civilisations, and separate the evidence from the prolific myths. The first chapter from The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World by David W. Anthony. To better understand the ancient Roman world, one archaeologist looks at the graffiti, love notes and poetry alike, left behind by Pompeians. From Archeology, foreign religions grew rapidly in the 1st-century A.D. Roman Empire, including worship of Jesus Christ, the Egyptian goddess Isis, and an eastern sun god, Mithra; and crossroad of cultures: Dura-Europos was a melting pot of the ancient Middle East. A review of The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization by Jonathan Lyons. Revisiting Civilization: Scott Locklin on Sir Kenneth Clark's documentary on Western Civilization. Enlightened and Enriched: Joel Mokyr on how we owe our modern prosperity to Enlightenment ideas. Theodore Dalrymple on modernity’s uninvited guest: Civilization makes progress, but evil persists. A review of Ego and Soul: The Search for Meaning in the Modern West by John Carroll. Westerners vs. the World: Life-long members of societies that are Western, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic — people who are WEIRD — see the world in ways that are alien from the rest of the human family. Dialogue, debate or disagreement: How useful is the distinction between East and West in today’s world?

The introduction to Hard Line: The Republican Party and U.S. Foreign Policy since World War II by Colin Dueck. The war socialism of the American right: Conservatives do not object to Keynesianism — as long as it involves the military. Frat House for Jesus: Peter J. Boyer on The Fellowship and C Street. A look at the top 10 right-wing conspiracy theories. They're with stupid: Anti-intellectualism rears its head. Not only will conservatives continue to lose as long as they persist in indulging creationist fools, they will deserve to do so, for they will be attacking the best of what they claim to conserve. How conservatives and the GOP destroyed the "traditional family" they claim to treasure. When blue-collar pride became identity politics: Remembering how the white working class got left out of the New Left, and why we're all paying for it today. Contrary to stereotypes, there's good evidence that conservatives worldwide are more likely than liberals to have non-vanilla sex lives. The death of conservatism was greatly exaggerated: In 2008 liberals proclaimed the collapse of Reaganism — two years later the idea of limited government is back in vogue. An interview with EJ Dionne on the appeal of conservatism. Jonah Goldberg on his book Proud to Be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation. A look at 10 young right-wingers being prepped to take over the conservative movement. Students can get a good idea of how much they missed in their education by reading 10 Books Every Conservative Must Read: Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter by Benjamin Wiker.

Erik Olin Wright (Wisconsin): Understanding Class: Towards an Integrated Analytical Approach. A review of Overhaul: An Insider's Account of the Obama Administration's Emergency Rescue of the Auto Industry by Steven Rattner (and more and more). The Jackass Effect: As Johnny Knoxville and friends release their newest film, has everyone finally wearied of their absurdist, violent, and sublime daredevilry, or is it now in our cultural DNA? An interview with Meredith Maran, author of My Lie: A True Story of False Memory. A look at why 30 is the new 20. The Devil Wears Taupe: Not all the world's dictators are clotheshorses, but as these leaders show, sometimes politics, power, and polyester combine to make fashion magic. Re-Animators: Ever since Steven Spielberg brought Jurassic Park to the big screen, teams of biotechnologists have been working to bring extinct animals back to life. From The Christian Post, John Whitehead on Lady Gaga and the pornification of America. Polygyny can actually be economically beneficial to women because of “Pareto efficiency”. The risks and rewards of royal incest: King Tut’s family was not the only royalty to have close relations among its close relations. You can download the book The Professionalized Self: Learning to Succeed in a Middle-Class World by Melvyn L. Fein. Save the parks, charge more! Some state parks are closing due to budget shortfalls — others are raising their user fees. Why do terrorists blow themselves up? Riaz Hassan on his book Life as a Weapon: The Global Rise of Suicide Bombings.

From Quest, a special issue on Jews in Europe after the Shoah. The Old New Synagogue, built from the stones of Solomon's temple, contains the golem of Prague. A review of In Ishmael’s House: A History of the Jews in Muslim Lands by Martin Gilbert. Christopher Hitchens reviews Trials of the Diaspora: A History of Anti-Semitism in England by Anthony Julius and A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad by Robert S. Wistrich (and more). How anti-Semitism helped create Israel: At a desperate moment in World War I, British elites appealed to what they saw as the monolithic, all-powerful forces of "international Jewry" to turn the tide of the conflict — and promised them Palestine. Even as it has served as a cornerstone of the State of Israel, the Law of Return has also been at the epicenter of fierce battles over the identity of the Jewish state. Jay Michaelson on peoplehood vs Israel, the split at the heart of Jewish identity. Of the People: Israeli democracy is strengthening, not weakening — and that might be the problem. Making History: Israeli President Shimon Peres reflects on his mentor, his peace partner, and whether the State of Israel will survive. Good fences: JJ Goldberg on the Israeli Right’s "post-nationalism" excuse. The Jews’ Jews: Anti-Semites paint Jews as different and strange; many Jews do the same to the so-called "ultra-Orthodox". Young Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox men, in Israel have long been protected from the world of violence and gun use that pervades Israeli civil society — no longer.