From Axess, where did the money go? A special issue on the financial crisis. An interview with Doug Henwood of Left Business Observer. Daniel Gross on the little-known reason why investment banks got too big, too greedy, too risky, and too powerful. From FT, Philip Stephens on how the big banks rigged the market. Tunku Varadarajan on how Wall Street made money soaking savers and taxpayers, rather than adding value. A review of The Quants: How a New Breed of Math Whizzes Conquered Wall Street and Nearly Destroyed It by Scott Patterson. More and more on Too Big to Fail: Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street by Andrew Ross Sorkin. Raghuram Rajan on a better way to reduce financial sector risk. Banks make money, literally, money is their output, but social guarantees are their input — should they be the ones making money? The Wall Street Pay Puzzle: Do big bankers deserve their high salaries? From Too Much, a review of "What is Fair Pay for Executives?" by Venkat Venkatasubramanian; an article on Wall Street’s bonus binge in perspective: A relative handful of Americans will take home more this year than half the nation’s taxpayers combined — when will the White House wake up? An interview with Neil Barofsky, special inspector general of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. A review of Freefall: America, Free Markets, and the Sinking of the World Economy by Joseph Stiglitz (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). The Needle’s Eye: Why America’s economic recovery needs the Global South. From American Scientist, can control theory save the economy from going down the tubes?

From Anthropological Notebooks, Karolina Bielenin-Lenczowska (Warsaw): Visiting of Christian Holy Places by Muslims as a Strategy of Coping With Difference; and Begonya Enguix (UOC): Identities, Sexualities and  Commemorations: Pride Parades, Public Space and Sexual Dissidence. From the Great Generals Series, a review of MacArthur by Richard B. Frank; and a review of LeMay by Barrett Tillman. From smallpox and the Berlin Wall in the recent past, to post offices and glaciers in the near future, extinction is all around us — but is there hope for the extinction of death itself? Dodonomics preaches that the government should be "run like a business", but what business doesn't borrow money? Imperial Movements, Round-by-Round: It was not long ago that Filipinos and Puerto Ricans were the gloveless, unprotected, and militarily inferior populations fighting for their lives. Do people prefer to spread good news or bad news, and which stories do social creatures want to share, and why? Syracuse schoolchildren are upset over a White House response to their letter. When school kids sing Obama's praises: An article on education the politics of critical thinking. The difference between a million and a billion is a number so vast that it would seem nearly impossible to confuse the two, but who's counting? The Art of the Ambush: Critics dismiss the practice of surprising reluctant sources with a camera and a microphone as more showbiz than journalism, but television reporters and producers argue the tactic is not just legit, but also good for the story. A review of History of the Mafia by Salvatore Lupo.

From Dissent, Michael Walzer on Obama's first year: It could have been worse (and more by Todd Gitlin, Lillian Rubin and Nelson Lichtenstein). From The Nation, a forum on Obama at One. From Harper's, Kevin Baker on Barack Hoover Obama: The best and the brightest blow it again. A look at how Obama is from the 80s Left, not the 60s. From PUP, the first chapter from Demanding Democracy: American Radicals in Search of a New Politics by Marc Stears. Bill Fletcher Jr. on why it’s time for the Left to get serious. No We Can't: Obama had millions of followers eager to fight for his agenda, but the president muzzled them — and he's paying the price. An excerpt from Stoking the Fire of Democracy: Our Generation's Introduction to Grassroots Organizing by Stephen Noble Smith. A review of Democratic Promise: The Populist Movement in America by Lawrence Goodwyn. Is democracy killing democracy? The founding fathers saw this coming, but the walls they erected to contain the mob may no longer hold. Down with the People: Blame the childish, ignorant American public — not politicians — for our political and economic crisis. Populism is democracy at work: The president is merely speaking for the people. The Populism Problem: James Surowiecki on why voters and economics don’t mix. Why do people vote against their own interests? David Runciman investigates (and a response). Realignment revisited: Until the Republicans come to their collective senses, depriving them of power must be the most urgent aim of progressive politics. Apostles of nihilism: Republicans are winning the war of political rhetoric — the president needs to fight back. Night of the Living Dead: An essay on the party of Palin and the brainless and soulless living-dead conservatives who will eat your brain. From Reason, a review of books on Sarah Palin. Marc Ambinder on getting Sarah Palin's paradigm (and more).

Simona Segre Reinach (Venice): Fashion and National Identity: Interactions between Italians and Chinese in the Global Fashion Industry. The entirety of Greil Marcus' famous 1970 "What is this shit?" review prefigures the sense of profound, disturbed wonder in the best of Marcus’ criticism. A review of Structure and Randomness: Pages from Year One of a Mathematical Blog by Terence Tao. From Psychology Today, why do so many self-help books sound the same? From The Root, an article on Haiti's "orphans" and the transracial adoption dilemma. Christian imperialism in Haiti?: An article on missionaries, theo-tourism, and the invasion of the Global South. From Salon, an article on JD Salinger, a "recluse" with an ugly history of women. Nerd porn of the day: "We love xkcd": Neil Gaiman and a bevy of Internet celebs sing a tribute to our favorite Web comic. Bryan Curtis on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue: An intellectual history. From The Tablet, Wieseltier vs. Sullivan: Your guide to the brawl. You can’t handle the truth: David Nutt set out to determine which drugs are actually the most dangerous — and discovered that the answers are, well, awkward. Failing the IQ Test: A review of Intelligence and How to Get It by Richard E. Nisbett. The shop that gives: Where would we be without our cafes? Deep Doo-Doo: A review of The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George; The Last Taboo: Opening the Door on the Global Sanitation Crisis by Maggie Black and Ben Fawcett; and The Culture of Flushing: A Social and Legal History of Sewage by Jamie Benidickson.

From Ars Technica, Matthew Lasar on the noosphere in 1996, when the Internet was Utopia; Rudolf van der Berg on ENUM: Dragging telephone numbers into the Internet Age; and a tale of two qubits: Joseph Altepeter on how quantum computers work. For half a century computer performance has roughly doubled every two years, but the laws of physics place insurmountable barriers on how long this growth can occur. The trend in supercomputing is not only one of faster machines, but a steady erosion of how super supercomputing actually is. From Wired, in the next Industrial Revolution, Chris Anderson says, atoms are the new bits (and more). Lo-fi vs hi-tech: You don’t need to have access to the latest or most expensive technology to create your own media — you can do it your own way. Andrew Sullivan on how the iPhone and IED rule the Age of Asymmetry: Everywhere, technology is subverting the old forces of order. Gizmos and the City: How our new toys can derange civic life. The rebellion of the tools: Geoff Olson on techno-Darwinism, cyber addiction and natural play. Computers were supposed to be labor-saving devices — how come we're still working so hard? What happened to those inventions of the future?: Real life hasn't always lived up to the visions of science fiction in books and movies. Tending the garden of technology: An interview with Kevin Kelly. Clive Thompson reviews You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more).

From The Economist, Hispanics, long under-represented as voters, are becoming political kingmakers (and more on the power of America’s fastest-growing minority); and the Trans-Texas Corridor: Population growth means a looming transportation challenge. Despite a US Supreme Court ban, Texas has continued to send mentally retarded criminals to death row; will a Mexican immigrant's case correct this injustice? From Texas Observer, Child X-ing: An article on Del Rio's controversial crackdown on border-crossing students. From Aspeers, Caroline Erb on Hardened Borders: A Case Study on Inefficient Solutions to the Immigration Problem in El Paso. All walled up: How Brownsville’s battle against the federal government’s border fence ended in defeat and disillusionment. Legalize 'Em: Think tanks on both ideological sides agree — legalizing undocumented workers in the United States would be an economic boon. New research finds the presence of Mexican immigrants in the United States is good for democracy in Mexico. Helping Mexico help itself: A more prosperous, democratic southern neighbor would reduce crime and illegal immigration. Is US to blame for Mexico's drug war? Behind the headlines, relations between the governments of Mexico and the United States are better than they look, though still unequal. An article on Mexico's Abortion War: The culture clashes aren't just in the United States anymore. A review of Mexico Unconquered: Chronicles of Power and Revolt by John Gibler. A review of El Monstruo: Dead and Redemption in Mexico City by John Ross. Denise Dresser is swimming with sharks in Mexico.

Bruno Frey and Susanne Neckermann (Zurich): Awards: A Disregarded Source of Motivation. From TED, Sendhil Mullainathan on solving social problems with a nudge. From The Village Voice, an article on the life and death of Alan Carton, 23, the RIAA-defying creator of @diditleak. How not to be an atheist: A review of Becoming Beside Ourselves: The Alphabet, Ghosts, and Distributed Human Being by Brian Rotman and Bioethics in the Age of New Media by Joanna Zylinska. An ancient Amazon civilisation is laid bare by felled forest. Where politics and democracy fail, nature eventually wins, and a number of tyrants and world leaders are currently sick; Mike Deri Smith surveys and ranks the illest. Shuttles for Sale: Three orbiters in search of good homes — not cheap. A review of When Is Discrimination Wrong? by Deborah Hellman. A review of The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too by James Galbraith. From the Mises Institute, Jeffrey Tucker on Mark Twain's radical liberalism. Hannah Frank on Deconstructing Disney: The following five books are for the more cynical and knowing among us — for those who find the ubiquity of the Disney empire as inescapable as the flypaper that besets Mickey's dog in "Playful Pluto". A review of The Earl and His Butler in Constantinople: The Secret Diary of an English Servant Among the Ottomans by Nigel Webb. A review of The Two Cultures Controversy: Science, Literature and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain by Guy Ortolano (and a response). Were the Maya noble savages? Thomas Kluyver investigates.

From Armed Forces Journal, hybrid vs. compound war, the Janus choice: Defining today’s multifaceted conflict; there is increasing awareness within the Defense Department that wars are interactively complex or “wicked” problems; America’s military is overdue for a dramatic overhaul; and what about the future of cyberwarfare, and what could it look like? (and more) You can download Aerospace Power in the Twenty-first Century: A Basic Primer by Clayton K. S. Chun. From Air & Space Power Journal, John D. Jogerst on Preparing for Irregular Warfare: The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be; and Robert Wilkie on Hybrid Warfare: Something Old, Not Something New. From Air Force Magazine, airpower for hybrid war: This new type of warfare aligns closely with US Air Force strengths; the vanishing arsenal of airpower: Negative events have begun overtaking the once mighty and innovative US aerospace industry; and the nation’s armed forces are edging toward what may prove to be a laser revolution. The military commonly enlists science in its efforts — but when science is humanity, the relationship gets a little stickier. Higher Miseducation: Patrick Poole on how our military schools of higher learning are contributing to our strategic blindness. Some influential voices have argued that the service academies should be shut down because they are too expensive and do not compare with their civilian counterparts — enormous damage will be done to our military and national security if such ideas are accepted (and more). An end to the "Long War": The current Quadrennial Defense Review underscores the stark contrast between Obama's and Bush's visions for US military engagement (and more). Fred Kaplan on why Obama's spending freeze should apply to (most of) the military.

From Words Without Borders, a special issue on international graphic novels. From Americana, Eniko Bollobas (ELU): The Marking and the Telling: Versions of the Stigma Narrative as Given by Anne Hutchinson, Emily Dickinson, and Philip Roth; and Zsofia Anna Toth (Szeged): American Cinema at the Crossroads of American Studies. A chronicler of the world now looks inward: The historian Tony Judt, who has written nine books and scores of essays, has lost the ability to move nearly every muscle in his body. Jim Tice on the highest-ranking generals in US history. Break me off a piece of that breakup song: Thao Nguyen on the perverse pleasure of musical pain. The 9/11 Trial: Jane Mayer on Eric Holder and the battle over Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. From THES, a review of Stuff by Daniel Miller. Drive that Hummer: Is it a car or a statement? Specific studies have not yet proven that full-scale nudity directly benefits brain performance, but here’s peripheral evidence indicating that skin-only is superior. Can creative writing ever be taught? Rachel Cusk investigates. Smile, you too can understand statistics: Converting statistics into the features of a face makes statistical analysis into a recognisably human activity. A review of The 188th Crybaby Brigade: A Skinny Jewish Kid From Chicago Fights Hezbollah by Joel Chasnoff. A profile of Tereska Torres, the reluctant queen of lesbian literature. A review of Lost Land of the Dodo: An Ecological History of Mauritius, Reunion, and Rodrigues by Anthony Cheke and Julian Hume. An interview with Jytte Klausen, author of The Cartoons That Shook the World.

From The New Yorker, is there a better way to be bereaved? A review essay by Meghan O’Rourke. You are diagnosed with a terminal illness: Do you want your physician to deliver the news to your face, and if so, when, and how? A review of Nothing to Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes. How we feel, deal with and talk about death and transition is an ongoing, evolving process. A review of Last Acts: Discovering Possibility and Opportunity at the End of Life by David Casarett. An article on a hard choice for a comfortable death: Sedation. When does death start?: A new approach to organ donation doesn’t require waiting until the donor’s brain death. From Metapsychology, a review of A Commonsense Book of Death: Reflections at Ninety of a Lifelong Thanatologist by Edwin Shneidman; and a review of The Philosophy of Death by Steven Luper (and more). An interview with Sheldon Solomon on books about death. A review of Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous and the Notorious by Alix Strauss. A look at how photos in obituaries tell a different story. People talking openly about the subject of death and the afterlife can be so touchy about their souls. Survivors of near-death experiences attest to a mysterious helping presence. The first chapter from Surviving Death by Mark Johnston. What happens after death remains a mystery, but as John Casey has drawn upon his religious struggles to illuminate the way. A review of books on images of the next world. Is there life after death? An interview with Jeffrey Long, author of Evidence of the Afterlife. An interview with Carlos Eire, author of A Very Brief History of Eternity (and more).