Robert Anderson (Edinbugh): The "Idea of a University" Today. Good for business: Ross McKibbin on the Higher Education Funding Council for England's Research Excellence Framework: Second Consultation on the Assessment and Funding of Research, a document written in a bureaucratic vocabulary that reflects little credit on those who commissioned it. Anthony Grafton on the disgrace of the universities in Britain. The American Advantage: Itamar Rabinovich on how diversity, autonomy and philanthropy define the US university model. A review of The Great American University by Jonathan Cole (and more and more and more). From Academe, a review of Unmaking the Public University: The Forty-Year Assault on the Middle Class by Christopher Newfield; and how have Historically Black and Universities responded to the current crisis? More and more and more and more and more on Louis Menand's The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University. A review of Socrates in the Boardroom: Why Research Universities Should Be Led by Top Scholars by Amanda Goodall. From New Proposals, a special issue on universities, corporatization and resistance. Beyond scholar activism: An essay on making strategic interventions inside and outside the neoliberal university. Liberal education after Antioch: The story of the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute suggests a radical alternative to corporatization. From The New Atlantis, how science has transformed the humanities: Non-scientists Patrick Deneen, Ivan Kenneally, Peter Augustine Lawler, Shilo Brooks, and Rita Koganzon remark on the state of the modern university. Oh, the Humanities: Rochelle Gurstein on what liberal arts are good for. From Expositions, a symposium on Mark C. Taylor’s op-ed "End the University as We Know It".

Juan Cole on how Zoroastrianism influences the worldview of Iran's leadership. Homage to Hasselhoff: Philipp Kohlhofer on trying to be German in South L.A. Figuring out the media’s one-percent rule: An interview with Joachim Blunck, a career media/entertainment professional who’s had his hands in alternative newspapers, Rupert Murdoch’s start-up Fox channel, film and web design. A man of darkness and dreams: An article on the undeniable brilliance, and underlying torment, of fashion star Alexander McQueen. Pavor Nocturnus: An interview with Mike Bremner on night terrors. Lessons from eastern Europe's flat tax: A theory in the US is reality in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the region — does it work? Seven ideas to beat the crisis: From bovine meditation to organic bird buffets, Der Spiegel brings you seven strange business ideas that should never have worked but did. Autopsy entertainment makes painfully clear that no amount of Twitter and Prozac, Friending and Unfriending, Outplacement and Outsourcing, Bail Outs and Stimulus, Surges and Drones, Mii and Wii, Nunchuck and Netois can save us. An interview with Peter Kuznick on Oliver Stone's secret history. Scariest forum on the Internet?: The University of Chicago Press launches Chicago Manual of Style Online forum for wordsmiths — at least, those brave enough to post. A review of Grimoires: A History of Magic Books by Owen Davies and The Religion of Fools? Superstition Past and Present. The introduction to The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism by Pascal Bruckner. Living with the crazy, fearless young men who risk life and limb to document Burma's genocide. A review of The Lost Origins of the Essay by John D'agata. Here are the best ideas generated at Slate's live discussion about "The Efficient Life".

From AI, Jakub Grygiel on the coming competition over failed states. Let's face it: America just isn't very good at nation-building. Sheri Berman (Barnard): From The Sun King to Karzai: Lessons for State Building in Afghanistan. Jonathan Stele on Afghan Ghosts: American Myths. Meet Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the sadistic Afghan warlord who wants to be our friend. Can individual agency triumph over deep-seated historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic forces? Drawing on his experiences, Stanley McChrystal has his own answer to that question. Obama has staked his entire foreign-policy vision on his decision to escalate in Afghanistan — what if he made the wrong choice? From Der Spiegel, a special report on America's Drone War, including an interview with P. W. Singer: "The soldiers call it war porn" (and Seth Hettena reviews Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century by P. W. Singer). From NJ, a debate: What should Obama do next on Iran? Appeasing Iran: Can the strategy the US successfully pursued towards the USSR also work towards Iran? From FP, Obama’s top advisors think they can get results from dictators and autocrats without making odious moral choices — time to prove it, says James Traub; and how should Barack Obama deal with evil? Washington may be deeply polarized on domestic matters, but when it comes to foreign affairs, a remarkable consensus is taking shape. From declamations in Cairo to silence over Gaza, occupation of Iraq and escalation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Tariq Ali asks what has changed in US foreign policy since the departure of Bush. What the neocons got right: Believe it or not, they made a few good calls. The conventional wisdom isn't always wrong: Five things you think are true that are.

From Homeland Security Affairs, Philip Palin on Resilience: The Grand Strategy; Thomas L. Rempfer (NPS): The Anthrax Vaccine: A Dilemma for Homeland Security; Marcus Holmes (OSU): Just How Much Does That Cost, Anyway? An Analysis of the Financial Costs and Benefits of the “No-Fly” List; a review of Thomas Ridge's The Test of Our Times: America Under Siege And How We Can Be Safe Again and Michael Chertoff's Homeland Security: Assessing the First Five Years. What happened to teen movies? Sacco and Vanzetti were executed not in spite of global protest but because of it: Moshik Temkin on his book The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial. A riddle of life and death proportions: Richard T. Hughes on why conservative Christians so often fail the common good (and part 2). From History Today, Peter Mandler gives a fairly short introduction to Very Short Introductions. Let us now praise jet lag. Only Direct: Ed Gillespie on why conservatives should not cede the precincts of popular culture. In different voices: Indo-Canadian author Shauna Singh Baldwin holds forth on writing, xenophobia and life. From New Humanist, the last of the bohemians: Tom McDonough celebrates the subversive poetic vision of the Situationists; and from the latrine to the loo, the pissoir to the powder room, Sally Feldman explores the sexual politics of toilets. Dennis Baron, author of A Better Pencil: Readers, Writers, and the Digital Revolution, on the success of the Internet and Wikipedia. A shift in the Earth's axis, pricier paper? Chile's catastrophic quake is triggering some unexpected consequences.  A review of Irving Thalberg: Boy Wonder to Producer Prince by Mark A. Vieira. Minutemen return to the border — this time locked and loaded.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of Art Historiography is out. It's exciting to think about new and expanded models for architecture criticism; but of course the immediate test of survivability — of whether the job is doomed — won't be conceptual but economic. Going to a museum of contemporary art is now a bit like being present at a tacit contest in which "the art world" attempts to do everything but what was once called "art", in order to assert its continued dominion over all the arts. From Antiquity, a review of Cave Art by Jean Clottes. Why so many artists, from Proust to Warhol, are frequently under the weather. Oh Yoko!: 20 ways of looking at an art-world icon. Witold Rybczynski on Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe, and why we're still fascinated by the Bauhaus. Donald Dewey on how hard times and humour are as inseparable as cinema and celluloid. Are artists shaped by their times, or do they shape them, and does it matter where you see a piece of art? Surprising new research suggests non-experts’ receptiveness to modern artworks may be lessened when contextual information is presented. Are Vettriano, Lloyd Webber and Dan Brown really so naff?: Our judgements about art and culture are beset with insecurity and anxiety. The Museum of Bad Art: The artists of MOBA suffered for their art — now it's your turn. Robert Bruegmann on the Architect as Urbanist (and part 2). Knock Knock: Who’s There? That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore examines the delicate relationship between art and humor. Twenty years after the Gardner heist, detective Charles Hill says art thieves aren’t so clever. What's with exhibition names that are unmemorable and uninviting? A review of Rogues’ Gallery: The Secret History of the Moguls and the Money That Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross.

From Vanity Fair, Michael Wolff on how Britain seems ready to elect David Cameron, a man who has re-invented his party, as well as himself, by airbrushing out all divisions. What if: Cameron is worse than we imagined — much worse. A group of evangelical Christians has formed a power base within the Conservatives — will a victory at the general election give them influence over social policy? Fat cats and evangelicals: Johann Hari on what a Tory win would really mean and on how Cameronomics has already been tried — in Ireland. Will Britain's Conservatives blow it? From Lawrence & Wishart Books, you can download Is the Future Conservative? for free. Anthony Barnett on Red Blondism. A review of The Conservative Party: From Thatcher to Cameron by Tim Bale (and more and more). An excerpt from Andrew Rawnsley's The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour (and more and more and more). Could Gordon Brown become the Harry Truman of British politics? Camila Bassi (Sheffield Hallam): The Anti-Imperialism of Fools: A Cautionary Story on the Revolutionary Socialist Vanguard of England’s Post-9/11 Anti-War Movement. The white far-right BNP and the Islamist fringe Hizb ut-Tahrir fight for their survival. An interview with Peter Kellner on books on British democracy. An Age of Anger: An article on the London Review of Books and the British crisis of democracy. Jonathan Jones on the strange death of liberal England. The baby boomers had everything — free education, free health care and remarkable personal liberties — but they squandered it all, and now their children are paying for it. A review of The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers Stole Their Children's Future — And How They Can Give it Back by David Willetts (and more and more and more and more and more).

The latest issue on Harp & Altar is out. From Genders, Jennifer Reed (CSU-Long Beach): Lily: Sold Out! The Queer Feminism of Lily Tomlin; and Purnima Bose (Indiana): From Humanitarian Intervention to the Beautifying Mission: Afghan Women and Beauty without Borders. The mutual inspiration of art and mathematics: Economics, origami and other fields trigger new and original creations. Starbucks’ midlife crisis: The coffee giant can’t quite accept its own customers’ tastes. More and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Big Short by Michael Lewis. From h+, here's the geek’s guide to getting girls. The perils of pay less, get more: Demand for government services grows, but taxes don’t — this is the main reason for our budget problems. Clive Crook on why taxes will go up — get used to it. What can lists tells us about the personality of the list-maker? This is officially Not Good: Jamais Cascio on pushing back against the Methane Tipping Point. Post Romantic: A love letter to mail carriers everywhere. A world without signs: Does the advent of GPS mean we'll no longer need them? A review of Ernst Cassirer: The Last Philosopher of Culture by Edward Sidelsky. Macmillan is introducing software that will allow college instructors to edit digital editions of textbooks without consulting the original authors or publisher. A review of Courting Disaster: How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack by Marc A. Thiessen (and more). The writing advice industry: Fiction is near death, but advice about writing fiction? It’s thriving. Did you know that no two farts are exactly alike? An interview with proctologist Lester Gottesman. Omega males and the women who hate them: They're unemployed, romantically challenged, and they're everywhere.

Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule (Harvard): Conspiracy Theories. A look at 6 elements every conspiracy theory needs. Making sense of the paranoid mind: Robert A. Goldberg reviews Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History by David Aaronovitch and Strange Days Indeed: The 1970s: The Golden Age of Paranoia by Francis Wheen (and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more and more). A nation of conspiracies: Coup plots and growing extremism — why the West can't ignore Turkey's paranoia. Conspiracy Theory With Jesse Ventura presents a world divided into elites and Joe Sixpacks, where the hidden masters of the universe plot against you and me. A review of American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies that the Government Tells Us by Jesse Ventura (and more). A review of Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation by Mitch Horowitz. The Illuminati X-Factor: Richard Leon on the mind-controlled showbiz celebs. Why the Templars have always attracted obsessives: A Vatican filing error helped to fuel centuries of conspiracy theories. Lodges, aprons, and funny handshakes: The first chapter from Freemasons for Dummies by Christopher Hodapp (and more); and everything you know is wrong: The first chapter from Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies for Dummies by Christopher Hodapp and Alice Von Kannon. From Reviews in History, a review of The Hell-Fire Clubs: Sex, Satanism and Secret Societies by Evelyn Lord; and a review of Invented Knowledge: False History, Fake Science and Pseudo-religions by Ronald H. Fritze.

A carefully crafted f@&% you: An interview with Judith Butler, the gender-theorist-turned-philosopher-of-nonviolence, on the choices that make people expendable, and the role grief can play in setting a new course. No jacket required: A review of The Oxford Companion to the Book, ed. Michael F Suarez SJ and Henry Woudhuysen; The Case for Books: Past, Present and Future by Robert Darnton; Reading Matters: Five Centuries of Discovering Books by Margaret Willes; and The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree. The way things are and how they might be: An interview with Tony Judt. A manifesto for a new politics  As a culmination of his political thinking, Tony Judt, paralysed by motor neurone disease, makes an impassioned plea for a new arrangement of society. A review of The Culture of Flushing: A Social and Legal History of Sewage by Jamie Benidickson. On December 30, in one of the deadliest attacks in CIA history, an Al Qaeda double agent schemed his way onto a U.S. base in Afghanistan and blew himself into the next life, taking seven Americans with him — how could this have happened? Richard Hayman traces the changing significance of the Green Man, a term coined in the 1930s for a medieval image of a face sprouting foliage, the meaning of which has transformed itself across the centuries. Born to Blush: Dacher Keltner reveals why embarrassment is good for all of us. Elif Batuman on dangerous friends in literature. More and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman (and more at Bookforum). Fast Changes: An interview with David Paterson from a month ago shows how quickly politics can shift.

From National Affairs, Tevi Troy on Bush, Obama, and the Intellectuals. From Tikkun, Bob Anschuetz on why Obama is disappointing us, and what we can do about it. Help for the too-conscious liberal: An excerpt from Fran Hawthorne's The Overloaded Liberal: Shopping, Investing, Parenting, and Other Daily Dilemmas in an Age of Political Activism. What would happen if people just refused to buy health insurance even if a law ordered them to? The feminist case for flawed reform: The anti-abortion provisions of both the House and the Senate versions of health care are a serious setback for reproductive rights — we need to support it nonetheless. Sink or Swim: Jonathan Chait on the GOP’s Dickensian fix for health care (and more). The bogus Republican claim that Obamacare is a government takeover of one-sixth of the economy. Today, loose, dangerous talk about "government tyranny" is back in vogue and on a political amptitude far beyond where it was during the Age of McVeigh a generation ago. Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason: Meet the fast-growing "patriot" group that's recruiting soldiers to resist the Obama administration. An interview with Michael Wolraich, author of How Bill O’Reilly Saved Christmas: A Fair and Balanced Account of Right-Wing Persecution. Inside the White House Press Corps: Tommy Christopher interviews WorldNetDaily correspondent and radio host Lester Kinsolving (and part 2). The making of the president, then and now: The great campaign books of the past are about more than the back-room drama that dominates recent releases. What is the least-accurate political memoirs ever written? More and more and more and more and more and more and more on Courage and Consequence by Karl Rove.