Anthony Grafton reviews Higher Education? by Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus and Crisis on Campus by Mark Taylor. Is going to an elite college worth the cost? The sluggish economy and rising costs of college have only intensified questions about whether expensive, prestigious colleges make any difference. Michael Konczal on the 21st-century retreat from public higher education. The academy as a commodity: What if the market has already devalued the knowledge on which the entire operation of accountability is based? From Arcade, Gregory Jusdanis on the oppression of peer review. Academics have long been criticised for being out of touch with the real world; many make great efforts to dispel ivory tower attitudes, but others believe such habits will never disappear. An interview with Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, and David Ashton, authors of The Global Auction: The Broken Promises of Education, Jobs and Incomes. The disposable academic: Why doing a PhD is often a waste of time. Can Tolstoy save your marriage? Cultural classics offer vital lessons about how to live, but our universities don't teach them that way. An interview with Martha Nussbaum on the value of the humanities (and more). Victor Davis Hanson writes in defense of the liberal arts: The therapeutic Left and the utilitarian Right both do disservice to the humanities. We're all conservatives now: Academics from the left and right blame each other for the state of higher education, but they're in agreement more than they realize.

A new issue of Surveillance and Society is out. Bite Me: Jesse Bering on an evolutionary case for cannibalism. The beginning is half the battle: John McPhee writes about the importance of the "lead". Virtual world order: What can be done about the theft of a magical sword that doesn’t actually exist? Law professor Greg Lastowka explains. From The New York Observer, a special section on The Power 150. Who are the anarchists behind the Rome embassy bombs? Not all smurfs and sunshine: A look at the brooding moral universe of writer Chris Jones. A review of Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky (and more) and Infinite City by Rebecca Solnit. Grown-Up Startups: Why old people make better entrepreneurs than young ones. The murder of bully Ken Rex McElroy is unsolved, and residents want it that way. How much does age matter when you're looking for a mate? Dan Ariely on how "free" can get us to make foolish decisions. Is there a more Christmas-y sound on God’s earth than the “whumpf” of ghost-written, stocking-stuffing celeb autobiographies landing on the “New Arrivals” table at Barnes & Noble? In an increasingly interconnected world, the actions of the few can rapidly spiral into a global crisis — policymakers must learn from recent events to control the risk latent in our interdependence. A review of When Empire Meets Nationalism by Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier and Benoit Pelopidas.

The 9 biggest conservative lies about taxes and public spending: Here are the things the corporate media won't tell you about the tax-cut rhetoric in Washington. Little Ayn Rand laboratories: How Republican governors are balancing state budgets at the expense of everyone but the rich. Republicans are poised to declare war on welfare state. Tea Partiers see a global conspiracy in local planning efforts. Texas Textbook Massacre: Ultraconservatives approve radical changes to state education curriculum. Sarah Posner on the religious “right” to denounce homosexuality. How Billy Graham brought us the Tea Party — ad lo, there were Pentecostals in Southern California. A review of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era by Michael Gerson and Peter Wehner. More on Daniel K. Williams’s God’s Own Party. How Democrats gave up on religious voters. The best thing that ever happened to the right: Just two years ago, conservatism seemed destined for history's dustbin — then Barack Obama was sworn in. Here are 5 insane Barack Obama comic books you won't believe are real. Is President Obama still a Marxist if he cuts taxes? (and a response) The philosopher president: Alan Brinkley reviews Reading Obama by James T. Kloppenberg. Why is Obama leaving the grass roots on the sidelines? From NYRB, Michael Tomasky on Obama’s second act; and where do we go from here? If progressives want to rebound, they’ll have to fight.

The inaugural issue of Media Fields Journal is out. Josh Chafetz (Cornell): The Unconstitutionality of the Filibuster. Ezra Klein interviews Sen. Jeff Merkley: "This isn't a question of filibuster or no filibuster". From Discover, meet the woman without fear. A look at how powerful predictive models fueled by smarter data sets are the tools that will allow us to know sooner and adapt more quickly to the problems that define our complex age. Bundle up, it’s global warming: Why is it so cold and snowy in Europe and the Eastern United States? Global warming is affecting the snow cover in Siberia. From Newsweek, a special issue on interviews. The Great Islamophobic Crusade: Max Blumental goes inside the bizarre cabal of secretive donors, demagogic bloggers, pseudo-scholars, European neo-fascists, violent Israeli settlers, and Republican presidential hopefuls behind the crusade. The battle for Brazil's slums: Second phase underway of unprecedented effort to maintain order in Rio's most violent regions. In pursuit of the perfect brainstorm: Corporate America wants help coming up with fresh ideas — can a new breed of consultant teach companies how to think? Christian Caryl on why WikiLeaks changes everything. There's nothing that quite says "Christmas" like schadenfreude. The “superstar effect” drives up pay for athletes, entertainers and Wall Street executives, concentrating wealth with only a few Americans and limiting others’ chances of moving up.

From Scholar & Feminist Online, a special issue on Polyphonic Feminisms. Kevin Duong (MTSU): The Other (’s) Skepticism: Levinasian Reflections on Maternal Ethics and Feminist Politics. Aspasia Tsaoussi (Aristotelian): Using the Master's Tools: How the Law Reshapes Gender Boundaries in the Public-Private Sphere. Alexandra Glynn (NDSU): Gender and Language Bias in English: Phonemes. From Canadian Dimension, a special issue on the New Feminism. From TED, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg on why we have too few women leaders. Waking up from the Pill: Fifty years ago, birth-control pills gave women control of their bodies, while making it easy to forget their basic biology — until in some cases, it’s too late. The double life of women: The invisible turns of the reproductive cycle shape the everyday behavior of women and men — a woman's cycle influences not just her preference in a partner, but her personality as well. Molly Castelloe Fong on the last taboo: Menstruation and body literacy. From Christianity Today, a review of What Women Tell Me: Finding Freedom from the Secrets We Keep by Anita Lustrea. Alisa Harris on why it’s suddenly OK for Christian women to be feminists. Does gender matter for academic promotion? Evidence from a randomised natural experiment. The idea of a woman with the potential to kill causes deep unease.

Edward B. Foley (Ohio State): The Founders’ Bush v. Gore: The 1792 Election Dispute and its Continuing Relevance. Even after 150 years full of grief and pride and anger, we greet the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War wondering, why did the South secede? A review of A City So Grand: The Rise of an American Metropolis, Boston 1850-1900 by Stephen Puleo. Did principle or pragmatism start the American Revolution? A review of As If an Enemy's Country: The British Occupation of Boston and the Origins of Revolution by Richard Archer; American Insurgents, American Patriots: The Revolution of the People by T. H. Breen; and Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America by Benjamin L. Carp. Here is the full draft of Law in American History by G. Edward White. From CRB, a review of books on the Progressive Era. James Buchanan was the only bachelor president, William Rufus King the only single vice president — were they Victorian chums or something more? The Great American Argument: Gordon Wood reviews Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 by Pauline Maier. An interview with Richard Francis, author of Fruitlands: The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia. You might say that the American Revolution was won with the help of the most notorious wiki-leaker of his day, the Chevalier d’Eon. A review of Why American History Is Not What They Say: An Introduction to Revisionism by Jeff Riggenbach. American Hustlers: The surprisingly parallel lives of George Washington and Jay-Z.

A new issue of Church and State is out. Michael Rich (Elon): A Snitch, Not a Hero: Philosophical Lessons of Loyalty and Disloyalty in the World of Criminal Informants. An Open Letter from El Diario: Ciudad Juarez's daily newspaper explains Mexico's conflict, beseeches the United States to change its policy, and mourns the deaths of its own. Earth’s oceans are in trouble, but the 2010 Census of Marine Life — the first ever attempt to document all that lives in the sea — will kick-start the recovery effort. In the popular imagination, gifted ones are a breed apart, capable of insights or artistic creations that no amount of training and effort could produce in ordinary folk — you either have it at birth or you don't. How male oil rig staff learned to lose their machismo. From First Things, Joe Carter writes in defense of disgust. The Town That Went Mad: Pont St. Esprit is a small town in southern France — in 1951 it became famous as the site of one of the most mysterious medical outbreaks of modern times. Confederate flag activates racist mindset: White college students exposed to images of a Confederate flag judged a black person more harshly and expressed less willingness to vote for Barack Obama in 2008. A lost civilization may have existed beneath the Persian Gulf (and more). Human beings are little meaning machines who cannot help but create and then leave meanings on everything that pertains to a human world.

J. David Velleman (NYU): There are No "Reasons for Acting". Wesley Buckwalter (CUNY) and Stephen Stich (Rutgers): Gender and Philosophical Intuition (and more at Philosophy TV) From the inaugural issue of Logos and Episteme, Susan Haack (Miami): Belief in Naturalism: An Epistemologist's Philosophy of Mind. From Thought and Practice, Jennifer Lisa Vest (UCF): Perverse and Necessary Dialogues in African Philosophy; and Barry Hallen (Morehouse): “Ethnophilosophy” Redefined? From the inaugural issue of Philosophical News, Michele Marsonet (Genoa): Metaphysics and Naturalism; Angelo Campodonico (Genoa): Human Nature, Desire for Recognition, Freedom; and a review of Free Will as an Open Scientific Problem by Mark Balaguer. From Synthesis Philosophica, a special issue on John Dewey. An interview with Scott Soames on books on the philosophy of language. A review of Relativism and the Foundations of Philosophy by Stephen D. Hales. A review of Seeing Wittgenstein Anew. A review of The End of Comparative Philosophy and the Task of Comparative Thinking by Steven Burik. From Philosophy TV, Ben Bradley and Dale Dorsey debate well-being, subjectivism, and hedonism. Pedro Blas Gonzalez on a life-affirming reconstruction in the discipline of philosophy: What could be the defining characteristics of such a task? A review of A New History of Western Philosophy by Anthony Kenny. From On the Human, do people actually believe in objective moral truths? Joshua Knobe investigates.

Christian Aspalter (BNU-HKBU): Different Worlds of Welfare Capitalism: Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong and Singapore. A look at how trivial decisions will impact your happiness. From TPM, here are your nominees for the 2010 Golden Duke Awards. You can tell a lot from the names of cars. How much disturbance can a system withstand? With roots in ecology and complexity science, resilience theory can turn crises into catalysts for innovation. Over long haul, money doesn’t buy happiness: "Easterlin Paradox" revisited. A review of Capital Offense: How Washington's Wise Men Turned America's Future Over to Wall Street by Michael Hirsh. Walter Donway previews the Atlas Shrugged movie. The Intellectual Value of Caring: Sure, feeling can cloud thinking, but it can also inspire it. Groupon Clipping: What’s the right price for the hot new thing? From NYRB, a review of 
Newman’s Unquiet Grave: The Reluctant Saint by John Cornwell. A new look at classic 19th-century Victorian novels reveals an understanding of behavior that largely mirrors the findings of modern psychological research. From The Awl, Maria Bustillos on Wikileaks and the dangers of hubris. Jamais Cascio on "neodicy", an articulation of futurology as a philosophical approach, not simply a tool for business or political strategy. We really do believe we’ve got more free will than the other guy.

Sky L. Ammann (Wisconsin): Clicking Your Way to the Polls: The Internet and Political Participation 1996-2008. Peter Calcagno (CofC) and Edward J. Lopez (SJSU): Divided We Vote. The first chapter from The Blame Game: Spin, Bureaucracy, and Self-Preservation in Government by Christopher Hood. Rachel E. Barkow (NYU): Insulating Agencies: Avoiding Capture Through Institutional Design. From Democracy, a symposium on The Role of Government including articles by Rick Perlstein, Alan Wolfe, and Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer. A single cook, a specific recipe, quality control and uniform production — a visit to a real sausage factory suggests Congress could learn from the wurst. The Magic of Re-reinventing Government: Before the ideological war over entitlement reform begins, Congress should look to the ways technology can reduce the cost of government. From Applied Semiotics, a special issue on political discourse. An interview with Dietram Scheufele of the University of Wisconsin on political communication. Ten years after Bush v. Gore, a look at five unfinished election reforms. "Celebrating" the Tenth Anniversary of the 2000 Election Controversy: What the world can learn from the recent history of election dysfunction in the United States. Winning Faces: Biologically inspired vision algorithm predicts election results. What's so great about representative government? Stephen Mauzy wants to know. Why do voters tend to stick with whatever political party they join when they turn 18?