From Wired, Scott Brown on why the Doomsday Clock needs to be abolished; if we’ve learned anything from Hollywood, it’s that the world will end in spectacular fashion — thankfully, it also schooled us on how to survive; you need the right reference books if you’re going to live to see the sun again; a look at the best vehicles for navigating the Apocalypse; and here are seven signs that Judgment Day is nigh. Dystopias are the hot, newish trend in the teen world; they've become so popular they're bumping vampires down a few notches in the bestseller lists — but are they just a passing fad? A review of Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations by Andrew Rimas and Evan DG Fraser. Colin Long on how utopianism could fix politics. An interview with Robert Jensen on the threat of environmental catastrophe. An interview with Slavoj Zizek: Wake up and smell the apocalypse. A review of From Utopia to Apocalypse: Science Fiction and the Politics of Catastrophe by Peter Y. Paik. When will we face the planet's environmental problems? Failure to act on threats to global sustainability brings the world closer to disaster. No More Arcs: Is the West officially over? Why our agricultural empire will fall: An expert tells us how our food system is repeating the history of doomed civilizations. Heading for a world Apocalypse: Conditions that could lead to a planetary apocalypse are developing in many categories.

From Vice, a special issue on catastrophes. How geography explains history: Many reasons have been given for the West’s dominance over the last 500 years, but, Ian Morris argues, its rise to global hegemony was largely due to geographical good fortune. A review of Making the Social World: The Structure of Human Civilization by John R. Searle. An interview with J.C. Hallman, author of In Utopia (and more). David Roberts on the environmentalist’s paradox: We do better while the earth does worse (and more), but how bad are the next few years going to suck? More than a generation of Americans have been urged to save the Earth; after surveying the current climate and every H.G. Wells-inspired geoengineering project, Anthony Doerr says it’s time to pray for Homo sapiens. Michael Dirda reviews The Classical Tradition, ed. Anthony Grafton et al. David Brin, a scientist and best-selling novelist, explores the concepts and facts behind end-of-the-world tales and discusses how modern civilization can start limiting the risk. An interview with Mark Reid, senior radio astronomer at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, on Doomsday scenarios, considered. From Oxford American, a look at Ten Great Novels of the Apocalypse. Nina Paley and Mike Treder debate the merits of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement. Douglas Coupland on a radical pessimist's guide to the next 10 years.

The introduction to Utopia/Dystopia: Conditions of Historical Possibility. A review of Why the West Rules — For Now: The Patterns of History and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris. Eternal fascinations with the End: Why we're suckers for stories of our own demise. Lady nerds and utopias: Speculative fiction is sociology's dream journal; nerds want a place to belong — all women want from these stories is a place where nobody cares if they're girls. If the world is going to hell, why are humans doing so well? Life in 2050: To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Smithsonian magazine, Big Think asked top minds from a variety of fields to weigh in on what we might expect our world to be like 40 years from now. The end is near, no? Two-thousand years and we’re still here. Cyber Armageddon: Robert W. Lucky reflects on the latest fashion in end-of-the-world scenarios. Of dystopia, utopia, Aldous Huxley, and true love: An interview with Mary Ann Braubach of the documentary film Huxley on Huxley. A review of Weeds: How Vagabond Plants Gatecrashed Civilisation and Changed the Way We Think About Nature by Richard Mabey. Phil Plait outlines five things in the universe that could spell the end for humankind. Failed Utopia: Chris Higgins explains the Koreshan Unity Settlement. Lester Brown on the race to save civilization. History boils down to biology, and geography can be unfair, but the advantages they confer may not last forever.

We have long looked to novelists, artists, philosophers, and poets to articulate our yearning for a better world — as well as our dread of a worse one — and to conjure a geography of the possible; at this particularly anxious moment in our political and cultural lives, Bookforum sets out to explore this most placeless of places, including Paul La Farge on how perfect worlds are games to be played by following the rules to the letter; and is it time for dystopian novelists to end the reign of the free-market idealists? Keith Gessen wonders. An interview with Aton Edwards, executive director of the International Preparedness Network on simple steps to prepare for disasters, the types of threats to think about, and technologies that might help mitigate risks (and part 2). Cosmic accidents: 10 lucky breaks for humanity. From wipe-outs in life's deep history to future dead oceans, Earth sciences have no shortage of apocalyptic visions to offer. How much is left? A look at the limits of Earth's resources, made interactive. A review of Destination of the Species: The Riddle of Human Existence by Michael Meacher. Best Decade Ever: The first 10 years of the 21st century were humanity's finest — even for the world's bottom billion. A review of The Empire of Civilization: The Evolution of an Imperial Idea by Brett Bowden. JC Hallman on Jurassic Park and the Utopia Wars. Here's a history of the next millennium according to sci-fi.

From Discover, Razib Khan on the rise and crash of civilizations. A floating city, in its total disconnect from both humanity and nature as we know them, is inherently both dystopian and utopian. Crank up the gloom and doom: Global apocalypse could be just around the corner, and you might never see it coming — unless you read this article. The Earth's busted up, yet humanity's doing just fine — why is that? Toytown Utopias: Hitler and Stalin may have put paid to Thomas More's vision of hope, but Fred Inglis knows he can always rely on The Clangers. Death to Humans! An article on visions of the Apocalypse in movies and literature. A look at how a lack of energy may increase the size of human civilization (and more). The biggest of the Big Five extinctions is what is known as the end-Permian — it took place some 250 million years ago and is named after the geologic period that it brought to a disastrous conclusion. Here are some images from various archives on catastrophes. How far have we come, and where do we go from here? A look back at science during Discover's first 30 years, and some predictions for what the next 30 will bring. Utopian designs for the ideal society are both impractical and dangerous — only by finding the right balance between the "holy trinity" of the French Revolution may the world steer its way through the challenges of libertarianism and laissez faire. A review of A User's Guide to the Crisis of Civilization And How to Save It by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed.

Attack ads, circa 1800: Have this year's negative political ads really "taken dirty to a whole new level"? Er, not exactly. Divisive election-season politics is again stirring fantasies about a new, sensible party, but third parties don’t catch on in the U.S. John Dean on why the tea party elections on November 2, 2010 will ultimately make no difference. Where are the peasants with pitchforks? Republicans embrace populism but fight statism, while Democrats champion statism but fear populism. It's not fascism yet; but if the Tea Party manages to get its hands on the levers of power, it will be. Barack Obama, Fabian Socialist: Who needs Molotov when we've got Alinski? How not to understand Obama: A review of The Roots of Obama’s Rage by Dinesh D’Souza. An interview with Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, authors of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America. The latest issue of Perspectives on Politics includes a series of articles on the Obama Presidency. Education of a President: As a candidate, Barack Obama promised to change Washington — two years in, he may have to change his approach to his job. To James T. Kloppenberg, author of Reading Obama: Dreams, Hopes, and the American Political Tradition, the philosophy that has guided President Obama most consistently is pragmatism. Recession Election: Hendrik Hertzberg on why voters will blame Obama. The Case for Obama: The charges are familiar — he's a compromiser who hasn't stood up to the GOP or Wall Street, but a look at his record reveals something even more startling, a truly historic presidency. A look at why divided government is bad for Obama. What is the probability that Barack Obama will be re-elected? Jonathan Chait on the coming impeachment of Barack Hussein Obama (and more). Joel Hirschhorn on why Americans elect awful presidents. A review of The Discretionary President: The Promise and Peril of Executive Power by Benjamin Kleinerman. A review of "Ready to Lead on Day One: Predicting Presidential Greatness from Political Experience" by John Balz.

Peter J. Boettke (GMU): Is the Only Form of "Reasonable Regulation" Self Regulation?: Lessons from Lin Ostrom on Regulating the Commons and Cultivating Citizens. Susan Daicoff (Florida Coastal): On Butlers, Architects, and Lawyers: The Professionalism of "The Remains of the Day" and of "The Fountainhead". William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand on an introduction to graphic design. From The Caravan, Britain’s libel laws, the harshest in the democratic world, have increasingly been deployed to suppress freedom of expression — can a diverse new coalition of scientists and writers make the United Kingdom safe for free speech? A review of A Story Waiting to Pierce You: Mongolia, Tibet and the Destiny of the Western World by Peter Kingsley. How do you write a Very Short Introduction to English Literature? We feel instinctively that real work has to be physically demanding, based on manufacturing, agriculture and mining, but perhaps it is time for manufacturing fetishists to move beyond categories set by Stone Age man’s requirements for food and shelter. How do beauty product ads affect consumer self esteem and purchasing? An interview with Wayne Robb, co-founder of NORM (National Organisation of Restoring Men), an international group set up to promote the benefits of foreskins. Lies, damned lies, and medical science: John Ioannidis has proved that much of what gets published in medical journals is wrong — does your doctor know? Drew Dernavich on the Baseball Card Hall of Infamy. Despite all our attempts to find big meaning in Titanic, the ship offers just one simple lesson: mistakes happen. Unlocking the conservative closet: From Ken Mehlman to Ted Olson, a short list of GOP icons now taking a stand for gay rights primes the next generation of Republicans to come out.

Dirk Matten (York): The Impact of the Risk Society Thesis on Environmental Politics and Management in a Globalizing Economy. Svitlana Kravchenko (Oregon): Procedural Rights as a Crucial Tool to Combat Climate Change. Andrea Kollmann and Friedrich Schneider (Linz): Why Does Environmental Policy in Representative Democracies Tend to Be Inadequate? Shanna Gong (UCLA): What Can the Environmental Movement Learn From Feminism? An interview with Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International and author of Boiling Point: Can Citizen Action Save the World? The death of cap and trade doesn’t have to mean the death of climate policy — the alternative revolves around much more, and much better organized, financing for clean energy research. Hot Mess: Why are conservatives so radical about the climate? The new climate-change denialism: Who promotes it, and how to answer it. A handful of US scientists have made names for themselves by casting doubt on global warming research; in the past, the same people have also downplayed the dangers of passive smoking, acid rain and the ozone hole — in all cases, the tactics are the same: Spread doubt and claim it's too soon to take action. Can one climate change scientist change the minds of a roomful of climate change sceptics? Beware the fierce climate hawk: Keep your eyes peeled — there's a bold new raptor in the sky, eager to pounce on weaselly warming skeptics. The Miracle Seeker: Bill Gates is investing millions to halt global warming by creating an inexhaustible supply of carbon-free energy. The Doomsday Machine and the race to save the world: Geoengineering emerges as Plan B at the 11th hour. It’s amazing what can happen in five years: Not only has the idea of geoengineering become a mainstream topic, it’s being taken as a deadly serious possibility.

The inaugural issue of Mythological Studies Journal is now out. John D. Inazu (Duke): Liberty's Refuge: The Forgotten Freedom of Assembly. Elizabeth F. Emens (Columbia): Intimate Discrimination: The State's Role in the Accidents of Sex and Love. Funerals for medical cadavers have become increasingly common of late. If you were desperate and hopeless enough to log on to a suicide chat room in recent years, there was a good chance a mysterious woman named Li Dao would find you, befriend you, and gently urge you to take your own life. David Cay Johnston on measuring the public benefits from taxes. Bruce Bartlett on taxing sin: A win-win for everyone? Overoptimism and overpessimism sells, but let’s face reality: Here are 10 things we won’t have by 2030. Stories vs. Statistics: How do the worlds of storytelling and scientific probability differ? John Allen Paulos counts the ways. Looking at the world's tattoos: Photographer Chris Rainier travels the globe in search of tattoos and other examples of the urge to embellish our skin. Gizmodo takes a look at the Nokia 1100, the most popular phone in the world. Russia and Kazakhstan share an endless border, a language and many mutual interests; there should be no relationship crisis, yet the young central Asian republic is increasingly trying to assert its independence. Humour is their rubber sword: Welcome to the world of Indian-American stand-up comedy. Fascism as an ideology grounded in global notions of history and politics: Federico Finchelstein on his book Transatlantic Fascism: Ideology, Violence, and the Sacred in Argentina and Italy, 1919-1945. A review of The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects by Roberto Abadie. Is "modern culture" bad for our health and well-being?

A review of The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English by Roy Peter Clark (and more). Why do exclamation points get a bad rap? The pause that annoys: Jan Freeman on when a comma makes life needlessly hard. A look at words that don’t exist in the English language. My BFF just told me “TTYL” is in the dictionary — LMAO: A look at new words, senses, and phrases have been added to the New Oxford American Dictionary. An interview with Bernard Lamb, author of The Queen’s English: And How to Use It. Pesky pedant, moi? If Jane Austen can flout the rules of grammar so can Sally Feldman. A most noticeable thing is the paucity of Indo-European words for “right hand”, as opposed to the abundance of names coined for its opposite. A review of Word Catcher: An Odyssey Into The World of Weird and Wonderful Words by Phil Cousineau. The English language, which arose from humble Anglo-Saxon roots to become the lingua franca of 600 million people worldwide and the dominant lexicon of international discourse, is dead. UCLA's Emanuel Schegloff on the many meaning(s) of “Uh(m)”s. World's largest English-Chinese dictionary: After five years of work undertaken by 60 editors, the new Oxford University Press Chinese Dictionary is finally complete. OMG, etc: When did we start speaking in sets of capital letters? Lane Greene looks into the rise of the acronym and its sibling the initialism (and part 2 and more). A look at the history of the word “Rum”. A literal paradox: “Literally” generally means "figuratively". A review of OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf (and more).