Mikel Burley (Leeds) Immortality and meaning: Reflections on the Makropoulos debate. A review of Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life—For the Better by Jeanne Safer (and an interview). Lots of animals learn, but smarter isn’t better. From National Journal, the Bush administration's campaign to spread democracy in the Arab and Islamic world is in danger of imploding — the next administration will have to pick up the pieces. Obama and Orwell: What the master Brit can teach Democrats about elitism. The introduction to Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power, from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond by David Runciman. Former Republican Congressman Bob Barr talks about his quest for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination. From Reason, who's going to get your wasted vote? A guide to the wildest Libertarian Party nomination fight in decades; and from liberal hawks to "National Greatness" conservatives: More on They Knew They Were Right by Jacob Heilbrunn. Mommy, how did your bosom get so big? There are books to explain grief, jealousy, digestion — but there was one untapped niche. From Mute, is a rabble run media becoming a possibility? And are artists in the vanguard or blocking the way? Larry Gagosian is the man who changed the art world — and he doesn't want to talk about it. More on The Commission by Philip Shenon.

Scott McLemee interviews one of the “new sociologists of ideas", Neil Gross, author of Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher (and an excerpt). Research shows Socrates in the classroom develops students' thinking and changes the distribution of power. A look at how hoax anti-Obama e-mails still fool dumb white guys. A review of US Versus Them: How a Half-Century of Conservatism Has Undermined America's Security by J. Peter Scoblic. A review of The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria (and more and an excerpt). Despite its negative image, nuclear energy may be the most efficient and realistic means of meeting the rapidly-growing demand for power in the United States.  From Der Spiegel, a special report on A Day in the Life of Germans. Why are the presidential candidates—and so many counterterrorism experts—afraid to say that the Al Qaeda threat is overrated? The good news in a dreary scenario is that venues for book reviewing seem to be increasing exponentially on the Web. Fred Barnes writes in praise of the "long" campaign. From Nerve, here is a list of the 50 greatest commercial parodies of all time. Not Black and White: William Saletan rethinks race and genes. Airbrushing celebrity and model photos has become so common that it's a popular pastime for magazine readers to spot the digital manipulations; have photo editors gone too far?

The first chapter from Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism by Sheldon S. Wolin. From TLS, Edward Said still dominates debate: Robert Irwin reviews Daniel Martin Varisco's Reading Orientalism: Said and the unsaid and Ibn Warraq's Defending the West: A critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism; and a review essay on Dante, Primo Levi and the intertextualists: Language makes us capable of talking about ourselves and itself, and does one only by doing the other. How we know global warming is real: An article on the science behind human-induced climate change. The introduction to Saving the Constitution from Lawyers: How Legal Training and Law Reviews Distort Constitutional Meaning by Robert J. Spitzer. Tongue tied: Lynn Harris on the romantic, bumpy road to learning a new language. Sorry, but family history really is bunk: The current craze for genealogy reflects an unhealthy combination of snobbery and inverse snobbery, and is a poor replacement for national history. A review of Susan Neiman's Moral Clarity. From the Mises Institute, Robert Higgs on the dangers of Samuelson's economic method. If there's anything wrong with the modern male, the answer is in his wallet, not his pants. Forget Paris: Why is the capital of French snobbery starting to look like a mini-America?