From The Atlantic Monthly, Robert D. Kaplan on what Rumsfeld got right; with the Chevy Volt, General Motors—battered, struggling for profitability, fed up with being eclipsed by Toyota and the Prius—is out to reinvent the automobile, and itself; intrigued (and alarmed) by the new science of "neuromarketing", Jeffrey Goldberg peers into his own brain via an MRI machine and learns what he really thinks about Jimmy Carter, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bruce Springsteen, and Edie Falco; a look at why stop signs and speed limits endanger Americans; and the 11 1/2 Biggest Ideas of the Year: Here's a thumbnail intellectual history of the year. Candidate Paul is gone, but not really. Justin Raimondo on libertarianism’s divergent roads. Why she lost: An interview with Mark Penn, Hillary's message man. An article on learning to be Michelle Obama. If you really want to understand what this race is about, look at the two candidates' fathers. Comedians of clout: In a funny way, satirical takes can color perceptions of the presidential contenders. Is Keith Olbermann changing TV news? Peter Boyer investigates. In an ugly world, we need ugly newsreaders: The rise of the husky-voiced, coquettish female newsreader mirrors the decline of that "masculine" value, objectivity. Should we care about book reviews? Reading is a personal act — so why submit to the critical tyranny of the newspaper books pages?

From Cabinet, the most obvious differences between different animals are differences of size, but for some reason the zoologists have paid singularly little attention to them; and a special section on bones. Everything is Cinema: The Working Life of Jean-Luc Godard by Richard Brody argues the director is as dominant and influential as Picasso. From Vanity Fair, every successful society needs its Bohemia, a haven for the artists, exiles, and misfits who regenerate the culture; with the heart of New York’s West Village threatened by developers, London, Paris, and San Francisco have a message for Manhattan: Don’t do it! From n+1, from literature to advertising, we've developed a cultural style of ceaseless babbling; the hype cycle: The important thing is no longer what a song, movie, or book does to you; the big question is its relationship to its reputation; how much money does a writer need? Of course it depends; to the painful post-industrial syndromes of carpal tunnel, repetitive stress injury, and chronic eyestrain is added: Masturbator's Thumb; a review of books on Woman, the New Social Problem; and is Orhan Pamuk bad for the Turks? A 21st-century profile: Art for art’s sake, and for the US economy, too. Michael Wood reviews The Delighted States by Adam Thirlwell. We need these taxes: There are (relatively) painless ways to make it more fair — and reduce the deficit.

From The Global Spiral, a special issue on Transhumanism. For some fans online, Judge Alex Kosinski is on his way to becoming their favorite judge. The Court's new tilt: Everything we thought we knew about the Roberts court seems wrong. From Harper's, what did Anthony Kennedy mean by referring to a Constitution that can be “switched on and off at will” in Boumediene? He was taking dead aim at the notion of a state of exception, a notion that lies in the thinking of Carl Schmitt. A review of The Hitler Salute: On the Meaning of a Gesture by Tilman Allert. From Doublethink, an article on the end of anti-Semitism and other tales: What constitutes legitimate criticism of Israel? A review of Seyla Benhabib's Another Cosmopolitanism: Hospitality, Sovereignty, and Democratic Iterations.  A review of Richard Rorty: The Making of an American Philosopher by Neil Gross. A conversation about a conversation: Ian McEwan talks with Steven Pinker — or does he? The midday snooze has gained new scientific respect; view the steps toward the perfect siesta. Nicole Rudick reviews Chemises by Malick Sidibe. What does gay look like? Science keeps trying to figure that out. A look at how gay couples find marriage is a mixed bag. Because Wilde's worth it: Dorian Gray reimagined as a gay aftershave model for our times? From The Root, how come there are so few brothers on the diamond?

From Green Anarchy, an essay by John Zerzan on silence. A review of The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace (and an excerpt). A review of Reflections of a Wine Merchant by Neal I. Rosenthal. Music's literary side: Songwriter  Joe Henry reflects on a lifetime's worth of reading—and its influence on his music. Words, words, words: Michael Kinsley on a brilliant new way for measuring the productivity of journalists. From TLS, a review of State of The Nation: British Theatre Since 1945 by Michael Billington; a review of books on Stonehenge; and a review of books on the lives of naturalists; and a review of Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon and The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How It Changed America by David Hajdu (and an excerpt at Bookforum). As geeks become chic in all levels of society, an unlikely subset is starting to roar — meet the nerd girls: they're smart, they're techie and they're hot. With celebrity-crazy blogs like Dlisted and Oh No They Didn't growing in prominence and touting an anarchic and egalitarian spirit, has gossip become the ruling media from of our era? Triumph of the Pill: Why brain doping on campus is no cause for concern. From Cracked, a look at the 9 most devastating insults from around the world.

From History of Intellectual Culture, Carl Spadoni (McMaster): How to Make a Souffle; or, What Historians of the Book Need to Know about Bibliography. A review of The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow. A review of Everyday Drinking: The Distilled Kingsley Amis (and more at Bookforum). A review of Amis & Son: Two Literary Generations by Neil Powell (and more). One of the most reassuring things about Obama is that Austan Goolsbee has been with him since his Senate campaign in 2004. The End of Summer Vacation: A workplace crisis that Obama and McCain could actually fix. Everything you always didn't want to know about porn: A review of Chuck Palahniuk's Snuff (and more). The Britney Spears Problem: Tracking who's hot and who's not presents an algorithmic challenge. It must be galling to live next door to the world's best schools, so it goes for Sweden, which must gaze at Finland's classrooms forlornly. More on Fareed Zakaria's The Post-American World (and an interview and more). Imagine a nuclear fuel that produces 70% less toxic waste and nothing a rogue state can use to make a bomb — but is it too good to be true? A review of Howard Zinn: A Radical American Vision by Davis E. Joyce. Are bloggers journalists? Let’s ask Thomas Jefferson. Ben e-mails, George does business?

From Discover, an article on the beautiful mind of Freeman Dyson. From First Principles, what is an appropriate curriculum for our students? China's SAT: If the SAT lasted two days, covered everything you'd ever studied, and decided your future. How about a cap-and-trade dividend? Robert Reich wants to know. Can Wal-Mart save local newspapers? Craigslist, take note: It takes one monolithic villain to beat another. Some argue that it's time to legally recognize the bond of friendship so that some of the rights and privileges restricted to family would be given to friends. Breaking news: Life as a poet not lucrative!!! From Standpoint, an interview with Jung Chang and Jon Halliday and Simon Sebag Montefiore on the two communist dictators who were responsible for up to 100 million deaths. An article on the history of vibrators. Despite popular myth, anti-Americanism in Europe isn’t on the rise. What statistics don't tell us: The bad news about the good news about terrorism. Rick Perlstein reviews The Liberal Hour: Washington and the Politics of Change in the 1960s by G. Calvin Mackenzie and Robert S. Weisbrot. Under George Bush, red states were red and blue states were blue; this year the map could be drenched in purple. The best poverty-fighting bet: The Google IPO event of the nonprofit world. A review of The Hamburger: A History by Josh Ozersky (and more and more).

A new issue of The Quarterly Conversation is out. From IHE, an interview with Frank Donoghue, author of The Last Professors: The Corporate University and the Fate of the Humanities; an two hundred and counting: Scott McLemee takes stock of an "Internet decade". A review of The Overman in the Marketplace: Nietzschean Heroism in Popular Culture by Ishay Landa. From TLS, we are wrong to talk about the Tudors – after all, Tudor England hardly knew the name itself; and a review of books on Richard Wright. Why the brain follows the rules: Clues to understanding the human social brain come from a study of punishment's role in fairness. How might McCain's mind deteriorate over the next eight years? A report finds Maureen Dowd repeatedly uses gender to mock Democrats. From Reason, an article on Obama as the end of identity politics as we've known them; and an interview with Rick Perlstein on Nixonland (and an excerpt at Bookforum). Bruce Bartlett on the rise of the Obamacons. A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. America might be the first country in recorded history whose culture celebrates not only indolence but also the sheer absence of ability. William Saletan on the case for virginity-restoration surgery. Living in the Clouds: Is computer software becoming obsolete?

From LRB, Plato made it up: A review of The Atlantis Story: A Short History of Plato’s Myth by Pierre Vidal-Naquet; Thomas Jones on the last days of eBay; ands who’s afraid of the Library of America? Madeline Albright on the end of intervention: Is the international system a collection of legal nuts and bolts cobbled together by governments to protect governments, or is it a framework intended to make the world a more humane place? Matt Taibbi on Hillary’s Run: The meaning is in her hands. Lack of party recruitment, not voter sexism, limits women’s presence in politics, according to a new study. Are men boring? They're doing well, holding down a good job, they've probably managed to find a wife and have a family — but can they hold a conversation? Taline Voskeritchian reviews Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape by Raja Shehadeh. From The Atlantic, who needs NASA when private enterprise is turning the stuff of science fiction into reality? Gary Becker, Myron Scholes, Michael Spence and Ed Phelps discuss discuss the depth of the U.S. financial crisis. From Ovi, here's a hard look at the European Union's cultural identity (and part 2); and does the Nordic Model need to be reformed? What to do when there are too many of us: An excerpt from More: Population, Nature, and What Women Want by Robert Engelman.

A new issue of Democracy is out. Martha Nussbaum reconsiders John Rawls' Political Liberalism. A look at why Democrats have become more liberal than Bill Clinton because of Ralph Nader. Relax, liberals, you've already won: No matter who prevails in November, the four-decade-long conservative counterrevolution is over. Sean Wilentz reviews The Conservative Ascendancy by Donald T. Critchlow; Comeback by David Frum; and Grand New Party by Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam. From Nerve, here a list of the 50 worst sex scenes in cinema. Does science make belief in God obsolete? A wide range of commentators weigh in. The dream of Afghan democracy is dead: Anatol Lieven offers an exit strategy for the west. From FP, an interview with Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, on the new world energy order; and a look at the top tourist spots Americans can’t visit. Is Google making us stupid? Nicholas Carr on what the Internet is doing to our brains. Amanda Schaffer reviews Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative by Priscilla Wald. It's no wonder New Yorkers have become obsessed with pictures of kittens (and dogs, and ducks) doing cute stuff. Climate chaos is inevitable — we can only avert oblivion. Human wrecking ball: The owner of the L.A. Times is destroying a demoralized institution.

Go start anew: Over three decades have passed since the heyday of radical politics and the counterculture, yet the conflicts and moral contradictions of the time animate four recent novels by writers too young to remember those events firsthand. When bankers went bonkers: A review of The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: the Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means by George Soros. All together now? James Surowiecki on how corporate marriages rarely end in bliss. The Foodie Election: What you can learn from a candidate’s choice of food. Here's a complete listing of vice-presidential coverage from TNR. Haters without a cause: What do the Hillary bashers do now? If the presumed Democratic nominee is elected, he could change the equation for liberal advocacy groups. A review of Political Hypocrisy: The Mask of Power from Hobbes to Orwell and Beyond by David Runciman. A review of Amartya Sen's The Argumentative Indian, Thomas Friedman's The World Is Flat 3.0 and Martha Nussbaum's The Clash Within. Flag Etiquette 101: With the help of a few etiquette experts, the American flag is fighting back. A review of The Biology of Human Longevity: Inflammation, Nutrition, and Aging in the Evolution of Lifespans by Caleb Finch. Joke-tellers found courage in a form of rebellion: An excerpt from Hammer & Tickle: The Communist Joke Book by Ben White.