From Ars Disputandi, Eric Steinhart (William Paterson): Theological Implications of the Simulation Argument; Brian Garvey (Lancaster): Absence of Evidence, Evidence of Absence, and the Atheist’s Teapot; and a review of The Uses of Paradox: Religion, Self-Transformation, and the Absurd by Matthew Bagger. An interview with Rodney Stark, author of God's Battalions: the Case for the Crusades. What Christians can learn from Muslims: Please ask yourself whether you would like others to judge Christianity based on the picture of it now being presented in the modern Western media. The first chapter from Wicca and Witchcraft for Dummies by Diane Smith. A review of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement by Kathryn Joyce. A review of Should We Fire God? Finding Hope in God When We Don't Understand by Jim Pace. A review of After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters by N.T. Wright (and more). I Wanna Hold Your Hand: Wayne Adams on finding common ground between religion and philosophy. Jason Boyett on 3 wrong ways to read the Bible: How to read the Bible without trying to make it into something it's not. A panel on The Evolution of God by Robert Wright. Philip Pullman creates a darker Christ in new assault on the church (and more). Uppercase: Why does God have an initial capital letter? An interview with John Allen, author of The Future Church: How Ten Trends are Revolutionizing the Catholic Church. A review of Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology by Marc Headley. An interview with Stephen Prothero, author of God is Not One (and more and more and more). Jonathan Cuff on the funny, strange stuff Christians like (and more). Forgive Not: Gary Wills on his struggle with the sins of his church.

From The Economist, a special report on water. Like Demand Media and AOL’s new Seed project, Yahoo has joined the race to mass-produce content for the web with its purchase of Associated Content for a rumored $90 million. Michael Yessis asks Andrew Potter, author of The Authenticity Hoax, if authentic travel experiences exist — and about the cost of our search for them. You've been framed: Consumers are suckers for “special” deals that are costlier than they first appear. A review of Meaning in Life and Why It Matters by Susan Wolf. Treasure Island: Richard Beck on how TV serials achieved the status of art. Michael Miller reviews Evening's Empire: The Story of My Father's Murder by Zachary Lazar. The power of a gentle nudge: Phone calls, even voice recordings, can get people to go to the gym. From THES, a review of The Myth of Popular Culture: From Dante to Dylan by Perry Meisel; a review of Gothic Histories: The Taste for Terror, 1764 to the Present by Clive Bloom; and a review of Boys will be Boys: The Story of Sweeney Todd, Deadwood Dick, Sexton Blake, Billy Bunter, Dick Barton, et al by Ernest Sackville Turner. Some experts say exposure to a variety of bacteria, viruses and parasitic worms early in life helps prime a child's immune system; that raises a question: Are we too clean? A large chunk of missing matter — theorised but never before measured — has been discovered as a vast smear of extremely hot intergalactic gas 400 million light-years away. The Joy of (Outdated) Facts: Older books of supposedly impartial information can be a useful reminder of just how slippery facts really are. North Korea, a nuclear-armed state, seems to be increasingly unstable — what can the big powers do about it? Time for North Korea’s friends and foes to start preparing for the worst.

From The Tablet, would Israel launch a preemptive strike — despite U.S. opposition — to prevent an Iranian bomb? Despite its bluster, probably not. Lost Jewish tribe found in Zimbabwe: The Lemba people of Zimbabwe and South Africa may look like their compatriots, but they follow a very different set of customs and traditions. The Unwelcome Mat: Today's rabbinic culture is closing the door to converts, and ignoring its own history in the process. A review of Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero by Abigail Green (and more). An interview with Steven Katz on books on the Holocaust. From Slate, that's no way to run a blockade: Fred Kaplan on how Israel botched what should have been a straightforward military operation; and what's to investigate? We know what happened to the Gaza flotilla. A review of The Mystical Origins of Hasidism by Rachel Elior. Thanks to a history of scarcity in a hostile region, Israel is poised to lead the world in clean technology. A review of The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship With Apartheid South Africa by Sasha Polakow-Suransky (and more and more and more). Middle East Plan B: It's time to consider alternative paths to peace. From Forward, an article on the kibbutz at 100: Reflecting changes in Israeli society; and this is Theodor Herzl’s Judaism: An inclusive religious tradition separated from the state, imbued with Western liberal values and combining the old with the new, offering inspiration once again to the world. Why won't Israel admit it has nukes? Linked In: Why do Arab governments — and the US — insist the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is at the heart of all the Mideast’s problems? Good Samaritans: Israel's smallest religious minority offers Jews a glimpse of what might have been. Lawrence Davidson on the present state of anti-Semitism.

Susan Ball (Sorbonne) and Petros Petsimeris (Vincennes): Mapping Urban Social Divisions. Signs of the zeitgeist: The vain battle to promote German. The battle over taxing soda: The classic way for lobbyists to defend their client's interest is to insist that they are not actually defending their client's interest — really, they say, they are just looking out for ordinary Americans. A review of The English Lakes: A History by Ian Thompson, The Making of the British Landscape: How We Have Transformed the Land, from Prehistory to Today by Francis Pryor, and The Hidden Landscape: A Journey into the Geological Past by Richard Fortey. A review of books about silence — the harder you look for it the more it resists. A review of Geekspeak: A Guide to Answering the Unanswerable, Making Sense of the Nonsensical, and Solving the Unsolvable by Graham Tattersall. A new sort of togetherness: With new technology and new concerns, emigres reinvent themselves. A review of Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law by Gabriel Schoenfeld (and more). From The Economist, a truck in the dock: How the police can seize your stuff when you have not been proven guilty of anything; and the world according to 24: Jack Bauer is a cartoon — yet some people take him seriously. A review of Dying, Assisted Death and Mourning. If the universe as we know it ends, when will it happen? In praise of oversharing: The Web is making us more intimate strangers — why going public can be a civic good. What is behind the U.S.-led push to create global norms against texting while driving? This is speculation, but it may be Samantha Power and Cass Sunstein. Melissa Anderson reviews The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith by Joan Schenkar.

From Marx & Philosophy Review of Books, a review of The Ecological Revolution: Making Peace with the Planet by John Bellamy Foster; a review of The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy and A Postcapitalist Politics by J.K. Gibson-Graham; and a review of Bonfire of Illusions: The Twin Crises of the Liberal World by Alex Callinicos. From Global Politician, Kyle Bristow on Western Man and Liberalism. From Cato Unbound, Patrick Deneen (Georgetown): The Dead End of Contemporary Liberalism (and a response by Jacob T. Levy). From City Journal, Benjamin Plotinsky on Varieties of Liberal Enthusiasm: The Left’s political zealotry increasingly resembles religious experience. Neither naive nor foolish nor misguided: Edward Cline on how Obama is perilously and vastly worse than Woodrow Wilson, Jimmy Carter, or Bill Clinton. From Policy Review, Mark Blitz on what conservatism retains: A commitment to liberty; and Lee Harris on the Tea Party vs. the Intellectuals: A movement of attitude, not ideas. Glenn Beck, America’s Historian Laureate: The Tea Party’s guide to American exceptionalism (it is all about race). Tea Party rage is just the beginning: Simon Schama warns that great economic disruptions take time to transform into revolutionary rage. Limbaugh and Hannity are fans, and so are millions of others — Imprimis is the most infuential conservative publication you've never heard of. A look at how the Pauls (Ron and Rand) are reshaping politics. Does Rand Paul understand his own conspiracy theories? Garbage and gravitas: Corey Robin reviews Ayn Rand and the World She Made by Anne Heller (and more at Bookforum) and Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right by Jennifer Burns. Of Creators and Men: How Christian is America's government?

From Smithsonian, an article on Barrow, Alaska: Ground Zero for climate change. Like scenes out of Gary Larson's Far Side comic strip, scientists have discovered a tragicomedy playing out in deaths of Arctic seabirds. What happens to polar bears as Arctic ice shrinks? An excerpt from Alun Anderson's After the Ice: Life, Death and Geopolitics in the New Arctic (and more). An excerpt from Who Owns the Arctic?: Understanding Sovereignty Disputes in the North by Michael Byers. A review of The Scramble for the Arctic by Richard Sale and Eugene Potapov. A review of The Future History of the Arctic by Charles Emmerson (and more and more). An interview with Henry Pollack, author of A World Without Ice. A message from the glaciers: A review essay on global warming. An interview with Nikolas Kozloff, author of No Rain in the Amazon: How South America’s Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet. At some point in the nearish future, much of the Maldive Islands will slip beneath the sea; the country's young president has an audacious plan: To buy a new homeland for his people. Living world: An article on how to save an island. Scientists announce they believe they have discovered sunken islands in the Caribbean Ocean. For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal; now rising sea levels have resolved the dispute for them: the island has gone. If global warming throws us into a WaterWorld like future, Adre bin Sarkum's aqua-condo looks like much sweeter digs than a rickety boat captained by a urine-drinking fish-man. Europe's plan to simulate the entire planet: The "Living Earth Simulator" will mine economic, environmental and health data to create a model of the entire planet in real time.

From Ethic@, Matthias Kiesselbach (Potsdam): Warring Tautologies: Moral Dissent from a Cognitivist Perspective. The battle for voting rights: Could reassignment of the Bush-era head of the Justice Department section charged with protection of voting rights mean real change? Wendy Lesser reviews Collected Stories by Deborah Eisenberg. John Allen Paulos reviews Perfect Rigor: A Genius and the Mathematical Breakthrough of the Century by Masha Gessen. A review of The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power by Benjamin Kleinerman. From n+1, a review of books on zombies. Funky Vilnius: Residents fight to keep this Lithuanian burg as weird as it's always been. An interview with Gary Solis, author of The Law of Armed Conflict: International Humanitarian Law in War. In Search of Arrogance: The legislative giants of past decades were not smarter or better people — they simply had no hesitation about their entitlement to rule. From Asia Times, Andray Abrahamian on how the evangelical Pax Koreana, a blend of conservative politics and religion that has attracted a steadily growing 10,000 or so members, crosses the line. How the paperback novel changed popular literature: Classic writers reached the masses when Penguin paperbacks began publishing great novels for the cost of a pack of cigarettes. Collect ‘em all: 6 paperback series worth fetishizing. Does oral sex confer an evolutionary advantage? Evidence from bats. A review of Who Knew? Responsibility Without Awareness by George Sher. The introduction to Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race by Thomas J. Sugrue. In praise of writers' bloc: How the tedium of life under Communism gave rise to a literature alive with surrealism and comedy.

From The Walrus, what happens when political debates escalate into a culture of arguments, attack ads, and anonymous Internet assaults? A Parliament effectively shut — and shouted — down; writer, literary activist, public intellectual, John Ralston Saul is both a man of the world and an articulate proponent of values he thinks are quintessentially Canadian (and more); Nick Mount on what Thunder Bay burned — and how Lady Chatterley wrote our obscenity law; and does Canada’s “Top Secret” sports technology program undermine the Olympic spirit? Digging for gold, mining corruption: Congo is prey to Canadian mining companies searching for the last great gold mine. Brian Bow on his book The Politics of Linkage: Power, Interdependence and Ideas in Canada-US Relations. The border between Canada and the US pits two great countries against each other; Les Horswill makes the case for a greater North American federation. From LRC, a review of Beyond the Indian Act: Restoring Aboriginal Property Rights by Tom Flanagan, Christopher Alcantara, and Andre Le Dressay; and the calamity of Caledonia: What BC can teach Ontario about Native land claims. When a Canadian is not a Canadian: An article on Canada's Mohawks. A look at why the Canadian mosaic is in crisis. A review of The Armageddon Factor: The Rise of Christian Nationalism in Canada by Marci McDonald (and more). From Stephen Harper's refusal to fund abortion to the outcry that forced the cancellation of Ontario's sex ed curriculum, the religious right is making its growing muscle felt on the political landscape (and more). Oh, Canada: Nina Kouprianova on the death of the West up north. In the wake of the BP calamity, another potential environmental disaster is already in the making in the Canadian western province of Alberta.

From Dissent, Andrew F. March reviews Paul Berman's The Flight of the Intellectuals (and a response by Berman; and more at The New Yorker and more at Guernica and more at The Daily Beast and more at Bookforum). Next week, Teddy Graubard would have graduated from Dalton, a brilliant teenager, with a mild form of Asperger’s, whose path seemed almost limitless — so what led him to the window? WikiLeaks goes for total transparency; founder Julian Paul Assange oversees a populist intelligence network. Whatever happened to deglobalization? The best response to calls of, "Globalization, heal thyself!" would seem to be, "It already has". Seth Lerer on his book Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter. What happens if the oil gushes until August? What if the oil spill just can’t be fixed? A little context for the BP oil spill: It isn't the Apocalypse. From Esquire, long before the Eric Massa scandal broke, the congressman carried the lonely burden of another secret that, if revealed, would turn his world upside down. Tom Vanderbilt reviews Mechanization Takes Command: A Contribution to Anonymous History by Sigfried Giedion. Ezra Klein on three types of arguments over policy. Gay porn's most shocking taboo: "Twincest" is pushing limits in an industry known for extremes. This post will do something extraordinary — it will make you interested in a Bayesian heteroskedastic ideal point estimator: How do we know whether a legislator is a maverick? From Reason, Radley Balko on the subversive vending machine: The liberatory history of automated commerce; Greg Beato on the implications of attaching digital reviews to real world objects; and what’s a diploma worth? Americans have always loved college and real estate — so why do these assets need government support?

A new issue of Pathways is out. Amanda Reiman (UC-Berkeley): Moral Philosophy and Social Work Policy. From Dissent, Peter Edelman on welfare and the poorest of the poor. Peter Edelman and Barbara Ehrenreich on why welfare reform has failed. Don't blame the billionaires: Who cares about the excesses of the rich? It's the fate of the poor that matters. The introduction to Upward Mobility and the Common Good: Toward a Literary History of the Welfare State by Bruce Robbins. The next war on poverty: Conventional wisdom aside, some '60s-era inner-city programs have been a success — now it's time for Obama to launch phase two. Does mixed-income housing ameliorate poverty? Christopher Leo investigates. Whose food politics: The chasm between foodies and those relying on food stamps doesn't have to be so wide. Making Bank: Are simple savings plans the first step to combating poverty? A review of American Dream Dying: The Changing Economic Lot of the Least Advantaged by Peter McClelland and Peter Tobin and Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs (Most) Americans Won't Do by Gabriel Thompson (and more). The jobs of yesteryear: An article on obsolete occupations. On the books: Can tapping into the informal economy improve the lives of the urban poor? A mother's Catch-22: Low-income mothers can't work without child care and can't afford child care without working. A review of Poor Women in Rich Countries: The Feminization of Poverty over the Life Course. Daddy Issues: Is promoting responsible fatherhood really the best way to lift families out of poverty? From City Limits, a special issue on the Harlem Children's Zone. Open borders or high-wage welfare state: Too many progressives are afraid to admit that secure borders are essential to a strong social safety net.