From The New Yorker, Claudia Roth Pierpont on Florentine Niccolo Machiavelli, the man who taught rulers how to rule. American Revolutionary: Quiet Boston scholar Gene Sharp inspires rebels around the world. An article on the blessings and curses of military life. From TNR, Benny Morris reviews The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History; and Icon of Evil: Hitler's Mufti and the Rise of Radical Islam by David G. Dalin and John F. Rothmann. Naomi Wolf on veiled sexuality: When a woman in France or Britain chooses a veil, it is not necessarily a sign of her repression. A look at how a topless pinup girl climbed to the pinnacle of celebrity in England while remaining utterly unknown in the United States. Kevin Smith explains how he got the imaginary poo and fake sex in "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" past those dirty minds at the MPAA. From Cato Unbound, Earth and Fire Erowid on a culture of responsible psychoactive drug use. From Culture11, Welcome to Gawkerland: A gossip site invents an imaginary Manhattan; and conscientious objector: Playing referee in the culture wars. From Smithsonian, an article on ten of the most incredible art heists of the modern era. A review of Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Richardson. From Slate, a special issue on old people.

From The Atlantic Monthly, can Obama rally the young, is McCain still a maverick, are the Clintons finished? Here are challenges to the assumptions that have shaped the campaign; and can Republicans find a way to compete on the Web? Reihan Salam wants to know. From n+1, over my dead body: Mark Greif on political theology of the GOP. Shankar Vedantam on 9/11, Iraq and the desensitization of the victimized. Johann Hari on how to tune in to both Muslims and the Deep South. How the religious right is trying to ruin sex for everyone: An excerpt from Sex in Crisis: The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics by Dagmar Herzog. CNN actually does have the best political news team on television — God help us. From Slate, here's a reader's guide to Bob Woodward's The War Within. Does it matter if controversial military columnist Gary Brecher, author of War Nerd, is really an overweight data-entry clerk from Fresno? From The Space Review, an article on market romanticism and the outlook for private space development. From the Brown Journal of World Affairs, a special section on space politics. From Seed, astrobiologist Jill Tarter and game developer Will Wright discuss model-making, the singularity, and the value of scientific revolutions. Brian Grene on the origins of the universe: A crash course. 

From FT, marketing a product is an endlessly curious act; it is crucial to capitalism, and its practitioners are highly rewarded and disdained; pornographic collages of dignitaries may seem a detour, but for Jonathan Yeo, dipping a toe in the contemporary art world is worth the risk; a review of The Fundamental Index: A Better Way to Invest by Robert Arnott, Jason Hsu and John West; and does the return of the miniskirt suggest an uptrend to the American economy? Peter Wilby on the myth of the super-rich: Most of our tycoons are not wealth creators, but wealth drainers. If Obama loses, could it be because of anything other than race? Randall Kennedy on The Big "What If": The hopes of black America ride on his shoulders, but the outcome's way up in the air. A look at the 5 myths about Oprah, Obama and you. What's the matter with Canada? How the world's nicest country turned mean. Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez is lost in cyberspace. In country after country, democratic reforms are in retreat — the surprising culprit: the middle class. More and more and more and more and more on Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded. Doubting Dawkins: A review of Between the Monster and the Saint: Reflections on the Human Condition by Richard Holloway. A review of The Proof of God: The Debate That Shaped Modern Belief by Larry Witham.