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).