The deification of Matthew Shepard: What the gay-rights movement has lost by making Shepard its icon. A review of Gay Rights and Moral Panic: The Origins of America's Debate on Homosexuality by Fred Fejes. A look at how the homosexual came to be: A journey through Freud. Growing up gay — how hard could that be? Just ask Christopher White. A review of Becoming Gay: The Journey to Self-Acceptance by Richard A. Isay. A review of Queer TV: Theories, Histories, Politics. Does his purple mink make him look gay? The rise of no homo and the changing face of hip-hop homophobia. A review of When Gay People Get Married: What Happens When Societies Legalize Same-Sex Marriage by M V Badgett. Gay marriage supporters have not met Brian Brown — they should; he might be more worth knowing about. Is it possible to systematically turn gay people straight? Meet DC's tiniest demographic: The ex-gay movement that wasn't. When public displays of affection by same-sex couples started capturing the attention of law enforcement agents, a few bloggers got fed up and organized the Great Nationwide Kiss-In. Nigger/Faggot: Notes on being gay & white in a black neighborhood. Wondering if she is gay? Your first instinct is probably right. Can gay alcoholics cut back their drinking and still maintain a social life?


From carbon insolvency to climate dividends: How observing the 2-degree target may lead to a new global order. How a carbon cap number can make millionaires: If we take 350 seriously, we can start affecting the climate in ways that we can account for to ourselves. The world's response to global warming is a classic case of all mouth and no trousers: The beauty of 10:10 is that it's both achievable and meaningful (and if you're not fighting climate change or improving the world, you're wasting your life). At least four big conundrums must be confronted if we are to make progress in preventing the worst outcomes from global warming. From Discover, the easiest way to fight global warming? Geoengineering has so far been something of a taboo topic for climate scientists; Peter Cox and Hazel Jeffery explain why it is now time to take it seriously. Is geoengineering humanity's last hope to avoid catastrophic global warming? (and more) From mimicking a volcanic eruption to mirrors in space, some geoengineering schemes are pretty far out there. Here are a few not-so-crazy ways to re-engineer the climate. The way we live will lead, inevitably, to the extinction of half of the planet’s biodiversity by century’s end; how can our morality, or our religion, prepare us for this? Is committed greenery entitled to the same protections as a religion?


From The New Yorker, did Texas execute an innocent man? David Grann investigates. A review of When Law Fails: Making Sense of Miscarriages of Justice. A review of The Problem of Punishment by David Boonin. From City Journal, Heather Mac Donald descends into the nation’s most tumultuous penal institutions, where modern order-maintenance techniques are bringing discipline. Bringing America's real criminals to justice: Two influential voices in the debate over California prison populations speak up on why this country needs more than just health-care reform. An article on the rampant growth of life without parole. Killer@Craigslist: The “Craigslist Murder” was a crime made possible by the Internet, but it is still a very human mystery, with dark sexual overtones and surprising contradictions. The Boy Who Heard Too Much: He was a 14-year-old blind kid, angry and alone; then he discovered that he possessed a strange and fearsome superpower — one that put him in the cross hairs of the FBI. Scott McLemee looks for career advice reviewing Diego Gambetta's Codes of the Underworld: How Criminals Communicate (and the first chapter). Yellowed skulls, medieval torture devices, bloody gloves, newspaper depictions of murder, death masks, rusty axes — the Kriminalmuseum in Vienna, Austria, is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach.


From The New York Times, here's some college advice, from people who have been there awhile, including Harold Bloom, James MacGregor Burns, Stanley Fish, Nancy Hopkins, Martha Nussbaum, Steven Weinberg, and Garry Wills. From The Washington Monthly, here's their annual College Guide, including a different kind of college ranking, an article on how America’s mania for college rankings went global; what happened when billionaire pizza mogul Tom Monaghan tried to build an elite Catholic law school; and a look at how the next generation of online education could be great for students — and catastrophic for universities. The Write Stuff: The world’s most prestigious universities have begun posting entire curricula on the Web for free — but how much can you really learn with a DIY online education? Far from being deceptive, alien and wasteful, branding is essential for telling the world what a university stands for and values (and more). Drew Giplin Faust on the university’s crisis of purpose: How the world economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama will change the future of higher education. From Fast Company, a look at how Web-savvy edupunks are transforming American higher education. From Wired, a special section on gadgets for school.


A review of Alcohol Today: Abstinence in an Age of Indulgence by Peter Lumpkins. Melanie Rehak on Red Wine and Blue: Americans have a long and contradictory history of imbibing and proscribing. Moonshine returns: The fabled liquor of outlaws and gangsters is making a comeback with craft distillers — too bad it's still illegal. A review of The King of Vodka: The Story of Pyotr Smirnov and the Upheaval of an Empire by Linda Himelstein. Cheers: Robert Messenger on the cocktail renaissance. The natural habitat of the Picon Punch — among Basque shepherds, in the wilds of California — is its great appeal. Julian Baggini takes on his toughest assignment yet — drinking wine with Barry C Smith and Tim Crane. Veddy Unfortunate: How the greatest wine hoax ever has diminished a brilliant British oenophile. A review of Alice Feiring’s The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved the World from Parkerization. Amber Ale: An article on brewing beer from 45-million-year-old yeast. Breaking up Big Beer: Should Obama go after the bloated brewers? Why does Coke from a glass bottle taste different? A review of Wellsprings: A Natural History of Bottled Spring Waters by Francis Chapelle. How did a plastic water bottle, imported from a military dictatorship thousands of miles away, become the epitome of cool?


From CACM, the status of the P versus NP problem: It's one of the fundamental mathematical problems of our time, and its importance grows with the rise of powerful computers. A review of Plato's Ghost: The Modernist Transformation of Mathematics by Jeremy Gray (and more). A review of Equations from God: Pure Mathematics and Victorian Faith by Daniel J. Cohen and Is God A Mathematician? by Mario Livio. From Seed, here are photographs and excerpts from Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World by Mariana Cook. Figured out: We don’t understand the math, but can we get the mathematicians? An interview with Steven Strogatz, author of The Calculus of Friendship: What a Teacher and a Student Learned about Life while Corresponding about Math. Did a 16-year-old Iraqi immigrant living in Sweden crack a maths puzzle that had stumped experts for more than 300 years? Unless the parents of all the mathematically-gifted girls in the country are enrolling their kids in the same schools, the evidence suggests that a lot of female talent is just not being tapped. What's luck got to do with it?: An article on the math of gambling. Chris Holloway is encouraging fellow beer drinkers to use math to get their money’s worth. Here are three new ways math can help you stay awake, clear clogged drains, and solve ancient mysteries. An article on the mysterious equilibrium of zombies and other things mathematicians see at the movies.


From The National Interest, Alan Wolfe reviews books on God. Joshua Leach on Judith Shklar and materialist mercy: If appeasing God is what matters most, then our relations with one another seem insignificant at best. From Philosophy Bites, Walter Sinnott-Armstrong argues that God isn't necessary for morality (and more and more on Morality Without God). Imagine no religion: An article on sustaining morality without God. The language of morality has been hijacked by the Right and the religious — it’s about time those who value reason took it back. An interview with Scotty McLennan, author of Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All. A review of William Donohue's Secular Sabotage: How Liberals Are Destroying Religion and Culture in America. Jay Michaelson writes in defense of spiritual vulgarity. Do shamans have more sex?: New Age spirituality is no more pure than old-time religion. An interview with Linda Harvey, author of Not My Child: Contemporary Paganism and New Spirituality. An interview with cult survivor Timothy Wyllie on The Process Church, and a review of Love Sex Fear Death: The Inside Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgment. What are the criteria for a cult and can they be meaningfully applied? Gregory Paul on the chronic dependence of popular religiosity upon dysfunctional psychosociological conditions.


A review of Race, Rights, and Justice by J. Angelo Corlett. Why did James Baldwin, the most incisive and prophetic observer of the painful complexities of race in America, spend most of the turbulent 1960s in Istanbul? An article on T.R.M. Howard, an unlikely civil rights hero. A review of Black Maverick: T.R.M. Howard’s Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power by David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito (and more). A patchwork history of hate: A rare KKK quilt becomes emblematic of how, over time, generations have left racial divisions behind. The race war that isn't: Media anxieties over "lynch mobs" and "brownshirts" demonstrate a telling lack of faith in contemporary America. Racism is not an either/or proposition: When did the R-word become as offensive as the N-word? From Swans, an investigation into the work of liberal foundations and anti-racism activism. In an era of US history marked by unprecedented strides in racial equality, suburban swimming pools seem to maintain time-warpish levels of racism. The Obama administration has told affluent Westchester County it can't continue to segregate low-income and minority housing — is it the end of the all-white suburb? The New Obama: You think you know "hope", "post-racial"? You ain't seen enough of the profound cheese from mogul Tyler Perry. The rise of the new Obamas: Must all black politicians be hailed as Obamas?


From Obit, Robert Roper argues that John O'Hara's Appointment in Samarra is about a time not unlike our own. The idyll memoir: Modern examples of the genre eschew light tales of grape-picking for suffering and adventure. God, living is enormous: How might the novelist reconcile fiction and faith — make-believe and must-believe? Benjamin Anastas investigates (and Bookforum hosts a panel on "Faith and Fiction" at the Brooklyn Book Festival this Sunday). Delia Falconer reviews Summertime by J.M. Coetzee. From Commentary, Algis Valiunas on The Naked Novelist and the Dead Reputation: Re-evaluating the storied career of Norman Mailer; and Terry Teachout on the crafty art of Alan Ayckbourn: Giving a remarkable comic playwright his due at long last. Sentences so good they sing: Robert Pinsky on the unexpected pleasures of George Herbert's sentences. From TLS, a review essay on Samuel Johnson at 300: Why it is time for Dr Johnson to be saved from cosy, clubby Johnsonianism (and more from Literary Review). Chick lit takes on the credit crunch: In hard times, sex-and-shopping sagas are being reinvented — welcome to the world of recessionista lit. A review of Novel Violence: A Narratography of Victorian Fiction by Garrett Stewart. Now we are 60: Andrew Johnson, Gemma Mcintosh and Russell Arkinstall find the literary world's former enfant terrible Martin Amis still dividing critical opinion (and more and more).


Elizabeth Anne Roodhouse (Penn): The Voice from the Base(ment): Stridency, Referential Structure, and Partisan Conformity in the Political Blogosphere. From Seed, a falling out over creationism at Bloggingheads.tv and muddled reactions to a report on geoengineering illustrate what’s at stake in the “framing wars”. Six degrees of trivia, and knowledge: Knowledge, shared, becomes synonymous with the act of sharing frequently leading to a deeper sense of connection, empathy, even love (and more). From Literary Review, dollar sign on his heart: A review of Joseph P Kennedy's Hollywood Years by Cari Beauchamp; and a review of An Infinity of Things: How Sir Henry Wellcome Collected the World by Frances Larson. A review of Why the Dreyfus Affair Matters by Louis Begley. Sea Change of Japan: A landslide victory for Japan's opposition party could have profound effects on regional security. The Soul of Japan: Japan's crisis is not political, but psychological. The man who invented health care's public option: Jacob Hacker reflects on the academic proposal he made a decade ago — and the political fixation it's become. Instead of seeking to justify policies on economic grounds, why don't politicians make "moral cases", or even "romantic cases" for their arguments?

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