From The American Scholar, an article on Morocco: The living and the dead. The Berlin Wall of the Desert: Stefan Simanowitz reports from Western Sahara on the wall that has separated a nation for 29 years (and more). Looting Mali: As demand for its antiquities soars, the West African country is losing its most prized artifacts to illegal sellers and smugglers. A review of The Dark Sahara: America's War on Terror in Africa by Jeremy Keenan. Back in his native Sudan for the first time in years, Jamal Mahjoub observes the capital’s newfound oil wealth and argues that focusing narrowly on Darfur while ignoring the secessionist South could spell big trouble for all of Sudan. The worst country on Earth: Piracy, poverty and perdition — Somalia takes the prize. A review of Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart by Tim Butcher. What’s yours is mine: The scramble for the world’s resources has barely abated with the recession, and our ecological debts are mounting. We are killing in the light of God: More than five million people have died in the war that has been raging in eastern Congo, and now, yet another rebel group is at large in the country. From NYRB, a review of books on the Congo; and Dictator Mugabe makes a comeback. A review of Dinner With Mugabe: The Untold Story of a Freedom Fighter Who Became a Tyrant by Heidi Holland and Mugabe: Power, Plunder, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe by Meredith Martin. Why do South Africans hate Nigerians? Botswana, one of Africa’s most successful countries, sets a trend that more can follow (and more). An interview with Sam Kiley on books about colonial Africa.
A review of Darwin's Universe: Evolution from A to Z. The introduction to The Origin Then and Now: An Interpretive Guide to the Origin of Species by David Reznick. Free Origin of Species given away used as tools to fight evolution. Meet Harun Yahya, the leading creationist in the Muslim world. From The Global Spiral, a special issue on Darwinism, including an essay on Two Tribes: Mechanists, Mentalists and the Real Culture War. Teaching by doing: An article on turning a biology curriculum upside down. The first, and greatest, reality show: Carl Zimmer on sex, death, deception — it's all part of the dances between species. More and more on The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins. A review of The Genial Gene: Deconstructing Darwinian Selfishness by Joan Roughgarden. A review of Evolution: The First Four Billion Years. Evolution can't go backward: In a kind of evolutionary bridge-burning, once a gene has morphed into its current state, the road back gets blocked. Could the novel evolutionary adaptations of animals like the Galapagos tortoise and the Komodo dragon actually leave these species more vulnerable to extinction? Biologists have created a living computer from E. coli bacteria that can solve complex mathematical problems. Loren Coleman defines cryptozoology and says, once and for all, that it is science. Here are the top ten places where life shouldn't exist but does.
Robert Higgs (Independent Institute): The Political Economy of Crisis Opportunism. Marci Hamilton on why Oprah should be Obama's children's czar — and the priorities she should set. Sex, the body, the world: It’s R. Crumb’s Bible now (and more and more; and more at Bookforum). What makes a prison "state of the art"? League of nations: Bored with football stats — are you ready for some fantasy geopolitical ball? Underground Psychology: Researchers have been spying on us on the subway — here's what they've learned. Delayed childbearing and voting behavior: The correlation between religious and moral values and voting behavior did not operate a generation ago. One day, way back in the 20th century, Michel Foucault, Jacques Lacan, Claude Levi-Strauss, and Roland Barthes sat under an equatorial tree, living in their own imagined primitive past, discussing Global Studies. Phwoar: When everyday expletives aren’t good enough. Sleeping with cannibals: Paul Raffaele gets up close and personal with New Guinea natives who say they still eat their fellow tribesmen. From TPM, nice is overrated: Melanie Frappier on the necessity of conflict, as exemplified by House, M.D.; Bonnie Mann on how The Second Sex negotiates the 21st century in Twilight; Briony Addey examines what Lost has to say about coincidence; I’ll be back or not: Bad timing spoils the Terminator movies, argue Robert A. Delfino and Kenneth Sheahan; Colin Davis on the ethical devastation of Renoir’s Le Crime de Monsieur Lange; and what is it like to be a Batman? Ron Novy on why we can’t get under the skin of the caped crusader.
Building a better citizen: How the government can make us better at self-government. To a kid imbued with the idealism of "reform," Robert Dahl's Who Governs? was a bracingly sanguine view of machine politics. From The Monkey Cage, Lee Drutman on lobbyist money, influence and how business gets done in Washington (and part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, and part 6). Squaresville, USA: How to fix American politics, one right angle at a time. We need a bigger House: Expanding Congress to as many as 5,000 representatives would ensure new blood and new ideas. The most frustrating body: The Senate has changed, and not at all for the better (and more). America’s governance crisis is the worst in modern history; moreover, it is likely to worsen in the years ahead. A robust debate over health care reform takes place and Roll Call profiles Members of Congress who will make a difference as the endgame approaches. Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus on hyper-partisanship and the green politics battlefield. The Deadline Presidency: Does it matter that Obama is behind schedule on most of his major plans? Johann Hari on the real reason Obama is not making much progress. Leveraging the Obama Brand: The president may not have coattails, but when it comes to persuading Congress, he has something more important. Where’s the poetry, Mr. President? Obama’s oratorical magic is oddly missing. On the anniversary of Kennedy's death, extremism lives on: A visit to Texas and a lost letter remind one man that the ire aimed at President Obama is something history should have warned us against by now.
An essay is an act of imagination — it still takes quite as much art as fiction: Suffering from "novel nausea", Zadie Smith wonders if the essay lives up to its promise. From The American Scholar, Bob Thompson on covering the "book beat" and how to write about writers. From The Morning News, for a generation of young writers, Joan Didion is more than an icon — she tells them how the world was when their parents were young; and writer seeks pen name — something simple, nothing dippy, and preferably one that avoids implying a lawyer who savors puns. Dances with Werewolves: Kelley Armstrong celebrates the animal within. Evicted from his own head: A review of Memories of the Future by Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. Censored gay sex scenes in From Here to Eternity revealed: Daughter of author James Jones discloses details of cuts insisted upon by the novel's original publisher. The kindness of witches: Stieg Larsson’s fiction replaces Sweden’s socialist dream with an individualist nightmare — is this what has made him the country’s biggest literary phenomenon? A look at why Martin Amis won't shut up about feminism. The problem with Nabokov: Martin Amis confronts the tortuous questions posed by a genius in decline. Controversy surrounds the publication of Nabokov's last, unfinished work: John Banville reviews The Original of Laura by Vladimir Nabokov (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). An interview with Maya Angelou: "I'm fine as wine in the summertime".
From Der Spiegel, an interview with Lieutenant-Colonel Harald Jager, the guard who opened the Berlin Wall: "I gave my people the order — raise the barrier" (and more on the unanswered phone calls and misunderstood memos that helped bring down the wall). From ResetDoc, a special section on the day that changed Europe. From FT, an in-depth report on the fall of the Berlin Wall (and review essay). Three new books argue over how the fall of the Berlin Wall came to pass (and more). From City Journal, a symposium on Communism’s defeat, 20 years later: Have we learned the right lessons? Twenty years on, did we learn the wrong lesson from the fall of the Berlin Wall? The fall of the Berlin Wall may seem like ancient history, but the economic debate has never moved beyond it. 20 years of collapse: Slavoj Zizek on how the Berlin Wall fell, but capitalism did not necessarily rise. The future of markets: 1989 marked the victory of markets over vested interests — 2009 has witnessed the reverse. What today’s capitalist crisis has in common with the crisis of state socialism in 1989. A review essay at The Economist. Tyranny can never be excused, but its sudden absence, as in 1989, leaves a literary vacuum. The Observer profiles Mikhail Gorbachev, the forgotten hero of history. The Gipper or the Guard: If there is a lesson in the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has to do with the dangers of mythmaking. Reagan didn't end the Cold War — leftist intellectuals did. A look at how the West hijacked the Berlin Wall revolution. A look at why 1979 was the year that truly changed the world.
From First Things, Mary Eberstadt on how pedophilia lost its cool. E.T. phones the Pope: Astrobiology has arrived, and religious and social institutions — even the Vatican — are taking note. Chris Lehmann on How Capitalism Will Save Us: Why Free People and Free Markets are the Best Answer in Today's Economy by Steve Forbes and Elizabeth Ames: "The whole point of being Steve Forbes is never having anything explained to you". Where are all the lady bloggers?: An interview with Marian Wang. From Failure, what happened to Joseph White, the last American soldier to defect to North Korea? Beef! is like Esquire, but with meat instead of suits. When a building collapses or a train wrecks, specialized rescue teams can extricate trapped people often in a matter of minutes. Scientific advice may suggest how dangerous things are — like smoking cannabis and horse riding — but risk is not all about numbers. The history of hello is long and mired in many vowels. Not just Hitler's fool: A mistress’s diary shows Benito Mussolini was a rabid anti-Semite. The Explorer: Caryl Phillips reviews American Writings by Lafcadio Hearn. Edward Skidelsky on Ernst Cassirer, the last philosopher of culture. Like the flu, a person's emotional state can be contagious; now a study suggests that we can also catch someone else's irrational thought processes. The dark side of volunteer tourism: Do-gooders on vacation call it voluntourism — but is it doing anyone any good? A look at the top 10 bad messages from good movies. Zen and the Art of Bicycle Riding: An interview with Philip Diprose, editor of The Ride Journal.
A review of The Constant Economy: How to Create a Stable Society by Zac Goldsmith (and more and more). From Esquire, what makes a nation rich? Daron Acemoglu's big answer: Start with free elections. A review of Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet by Tim Jackson. A review of How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities by John Cassidy (and more). From First Things, Reuven Brenner (McGill): The Rule of Law and the Wealth of Nations. From The Atlantic Monthly, did Christianity cause the crash? For millions of followers, the prosperity gospel encouraged financial risk in the name of God; and Lead Us Not Into Debt: Finance guru Dave Ramsey wins followers with a simple message — find God and lose your credit cards. An excerpt from Econoclasts: The Rebels Who Sparked the Supply-Side Revolution and Restored American Prosperity by Brian Domitrovic. Supply-side economics, RIP: An interview with Bruce Bartlett, author of The New American Economy: The Failure of Reaganomics and a New Way Forward (and more and more and more). Simon Johnson on America's economic "doom loop". The Lost Decade: Daniel Gross on why the last 10 years have been an economic disappointment for most Americans. A review of Past Due: The End of Easy Money and the Renewal of the American Economy by Peter S. Goodman. A review of Rich Democracies, Poor People: How Politics Explain Poverty by David Brady. More on Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better. The economics of trust: A review of The Company of Strangers: A Natural History of Economic Life by Paul Seabright.
From The New Yorker, how different are dogfighting and football? Malcolm Gladwell investigates. Michael Oriard on how the NFL became the American war game. Matthew Futterman goes behind the NFL's touchdown binge. The forgotten ghosts of college football: Four schools that had it all — and lost it. From THES, a review of Globalization and Football by Richard Giulianotti and Roland Robertson. How the "Dream Team" changed the world: As a legendary basketball cast is honored, reflections on a global phenomenon. How to fix the WNBA: Why the NBA's plan for selling women's basketball will never work — and what might. Bracingly devoid of triumphalist homily, Andre Agassi’s is one of the most passionately anti-sports books ever written by a superstar athlete (and Brian Gallagher reviews Open: An Autobiography and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). A review of Life in the Ring: Lessons and Inspiration from the Sport of Boxing by John Oden. People with progressive politics shouldn’t reflexively shun sports, says Dave Zirin. Either/Or: Ariel Levy on sports, sex, and the case of Caster Semenya (and more). A look at how better-looking sportsmen more likely to win. Bodies without Bodhis: Karl Palmas on a philosophy of surfing. An interview with Tony Leonardo, author of Ultimate: The Greatest Sport Ever Invented by Man. An article on 6 ancient sports too awesome for the modern world. A new style of sports films: ESPN branches out with 30 original movies from Spike Jonze, Albert Maysles and others. The first chapter from Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football by Wayne L. Winston.
Jeremy Rabkin (George Mason): The Constitution and American Sovereignty. A review of Beyond the Revolution: A History of American Thought from Paine to Pragmatism by William H. Goetzmann. A review of American Political Thought. How do you erect an entire museum to an idea as divisive and abstract as patriotism? A trip to Atlanta’s newest tourist attraction invites the question. The Pledge of Allegiance is un-American: Shouldn't the government pledge allegiance to the people rather than the other way around? Europe and America couldn't be more different, right? Not so fast. Bruce Bartlett on the Europeanization of America: Would it really be so bad? Frenemies: Roland Flamini on the testy relationship between Obama and the EU. The European Council on Foreign Relations says Europe must stop "fetishizing" the American relationship. Friedrich Schiller as Europe's tragedian: "The mediocrity of the Europeans is redeemed in American circumstances, and the peoples emerge as heroic protagonist rather than as tragic hero". A review of Christian Democracy and the Origins of European Union by Wolfram Kaiser. For all the gloom about Europe's single market, it remains an admirable project. The Lisbon Treaty creates an EU president, sure — but it's the new foreign policy czar who might really change the world. The EU is giving itself better means to conduct foreign policy, but does it have the will? The EU has inadvertently become the best democracy promotion organization the world has ever known. The introduction to The Unfinished Democratization of Europe by Erik O. Eriksen. A review of Euroclash: The EU, European Identity, and the Future of Europe by Neil Fligstein.