Jesse Keith Anttila-Hughes (USF) and Solomon M. Hsiang (UC-Berkeley): Destruction, Disinvestment, and Death: Economic and Human Losses Following Environmental Disaster. From New York, a special issue on the Year in Culture 2013. The science of sex: Katherine Rowland interviews Daniel Bergner on researching lust, the myth of female monogamy, and why “voyeurism is essential to good writing”. Alec MacGillis on why Democrats shouldn't be scared to talk about inequality. The new Pope — now officially Time's person of the year — is wildly popular; fans of change in the church should temper their optimism. Nobel-winner Edmund Phelps on his plan to help low-wage workers without raising the minimum wage. Mailing unemployment insurance checks to people who aren't so much unemployed as unemployable is obviously not an ideal public policy, but simply doing nothing for them is cruel and insane — what we need are targeted "mobilization" programs that don't rely on the outbreak of an enormous war. “Paul Ryan is the Jesus of our conference”: The Ryan-Murray deal is not is the beginning of anything — it’s the end. Simulations back up theory that Universe is a hologram. Lenin’s lost his head: What’s going on in Kyiv? Yana Gorokhovskaia investigates (and more). The Alfred Russel Wallace revival club: Liz Leyden on a modern effort to pull a scientific pioneer out of Darwin’s shadow. Zach Beauchamp on 5 reasons why 2013 was the best year in human history.

From Vanity Fair, is Marissa Mayer helping Yahoo — or hurting the struggling tech giant? Bethany McLean investigates. Yahoo hasn't been known for search since Google took that crown long ago — can CEO Marissa Mayer turn the company into a player again? Derrick Harris on the fall (and rise?) of Yahoo: How the web giant crumbled and built some great tech in the process. Is this the death of Apple? Steve Jobs’s creation, long thought to be the smartest company in the world, is in danger of falling behind Google and Facebook in the race to be the internet platform of the future. Apple vs Google: Did Apple learn anything from its war with Microsoft? Google in jeopardy: What if IBM’s Watson dethroned the king of search? Mat Honan on how Google's new tools show how deep Glass will embed in our lives. From The New Yorker, has the self-driving car at last arrived? Gary Marcus on what Facebook wants with artificial intelligence. Sentient code: John Koetsier on an inside look at Stephen Wolfram’s utterly new, insanely ambitious computational paradigm. The new monuments to digital domination: Technology giants in the US are building bombastic new headquarters to immortalize their grandiose ambitions, while inside they plan to turn traditional office culture on its head. Like the world fairs of old, Silicon Valley runs on booms, busts, and showboating impresarios — that's a good thing. In Silicon Valley, partying like it’s 1999 once more. Evgeny Morozov on why we are allowed to hate Silicon Valley. New Tech City: Will Oremus on how New York became the Silicon Valley of the East.

Lorne Sossin (York): Administrative Justice in an Interconnected World. Thom Brooks (Durham): How Global is Global Justice? Towards a Global Philosophy. Benjamin McKean (OSU): Disposing Individuals to Solidarity in the Theory and Practice of Global Justice. Iason Gabriel (Oxford): Explaining Inaction in the Face of Extreme Poverty: Why We Come Up Short. Ilan Benshalom (HUJ): How to Redistribute? A Critical Examination of Methods to Promote Global Wealth Redistribution. You can download A Unified Approach to Measuring Poverty and Inequality by James Foster, Suman Seth, Michael Lokshin, and Zurab Sajaia. Here are sample chapters from The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality by Angus Deaton. The global upper class makes 32 times as much as the global lower class. The typical American household is richer than 93 percent of the world — meanwhile, the typical Indian household is richer than 23 percent of the world. Why does capital flow from poor to rich countries? The world’s leading development economists can’t agree on how to tackle inequality: Addressing global inequality is more complicated than it may seem. Giving money directly to poor people works surprisingly well — but it cannot deal with the deeper causes of poverty. An issue of life or death: Nancy Koppelman reviews From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice by Madhavi Sunder.

Hugo Cyr (Quebec): The Distinctive Federal Imaginary. Asher Maoz (Peres): Judaism and Democracy. From The Symptom, Ellie Ragland on what Lacan thought women knew; and Slavoj Zizek on femininity between goodness and act and on the real of violence, cynicism, and the “right of distress”. Jon Nathanson on the economics of infomercials. Tom Lamont reviews The Library: A World History by James WP Campbell and Will Pryce. Want the best person for the job? Don’t interview — a dreaded ritual doesn’t help employers make good decisions; in fact, it may even hurt. Cinzia Arruzza on the (sad) story of (Banksy’s) beaver. The Right-wing washing of Mandela: Much of the American right supported apartheid, almost to the bitter end — why we must remember that. The fetish has become an endangered species: David Rosen on the mainstreaming of sexual perversion. Homage to the idols of idleness: Jessica Kerwin Jenkins on how our productivity obsession denies the whimsy and the freedom that living fully demands. Spare us your monogamy speech: Your view of your own moral superiority is not going to make someone else’s relationship better or worse. The introduction to Everyday Utopias: The Conceptual Life of Promising Spaces by Davina Cooper. The idea of life after death lives on in near-death experiences and messages from beyond the grave — what’s the evidence? The photographer who took Obama/Cameron selfie is ashamed of mankind.

From Boston Review, Jeff McMahan on the moral responsibility of volunteer soldiers: Traditional just war theory has it wrong — soldiers are morally culpable for fighting in unjust wars, and thus deserve the option of selective conscientious objection (and a series of responses). David M. Kennedy's The Modern American Military reveals the trade-offs we've made for our super-efficient, all-volunteer forces. Uncle Sam wants who? Rosa Brooks on the real reasons people join the military. Stop saying “support the troops”: Steven Salaita on how compulsory patriotism does nothing for soldiers who risk their lives — but props up those who profit from war. Rachel Maddow reviews Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country by Andrew J. Bacevich. Katherine Rowland interviews David Finkel on PTSD, the difficulties of returning home from the front lines, and the “haphazard system” of care available to Americans veterans. Laura Kasinof on women, war, and PTSD: Are female warriors more likely to be traumatized by combat? The Army should use photos of “average-looking women” when it needs to illustrate stories about female soldiers — images of women who are too pretty undermine the communications strategy about introducing them into combat roles. A hypermasculine ethos that fosters predation: Sara Sorcher on how the military's “bro” culture turns women into targets. Erika Eichelberger on the fight over how to stop military sexual assault, explained (and more and more). A study finds military children and their families remain an invisible subculture.

From The Economist, a special report on how Britain has lost its global swagger — it needs to abandon its separatist dreams and rediscover its open, trading heritage; and Great Britain or Little England? Fingers crossed that the country will choose wisely (and more). From Open Democracy, do the Scots really hate the English? Adam Ramsay investigates; and dear England, please listen to what the Scots are actually talking about. Robin McGhee on Orwell’s Anglomania: George Orwell was a romantic — his politics represents the clang of his aspirations against the cold steel of reality. From Scottish Review of Books, George McKechnie on nationalism and the BBC; and shopping for Tartan: Richard Holloway reviews Scotland the Brave: A Scottish-American Mosaic by W. B. Carnochan. Henry Hitchings on what happens when the British stop being polite and start getting real: Intimacy and the decline of manners in society. Louis Pattinson on the beautiful dystopian hell of a post-riot Britain. Niki Seth-Smith on how the pro-independence Scots who want to turn their country into a socialist utopia. Nicola Shulman reviews Sorry! The English and Their Manners by Henry Hitchings. Tom de Castella and Sam Judah on Scottish independence: What would it mean for the rest of the UK? (and more) An England of the mind: Gabriel Roberts reviews The Making of the English Landscape by W.G. Hoskins. Is cheekiness a truly British concept? Will Self on how Jamie Oliver represents everything wrong with contemporary Britain. What would the union jack look like if the Scottish bit were removed?

From Public Seminar, for Edward J. Snowden and Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley), heroes of transnational publicity: Nancy Fraser is against anarchism. The refusal of Republican states to accept Obamacare's Medicaid expansion surely ranks as one of the most sordid acts in recent American history. Rightbloggers (some of them, anyway) pay tribute to their new friend, Dead Nelson Mandela. If Nelson Mandela really had won, he wouldn't be seen as a universal hero: Slavoj Zizek on how Mandela must have died a bitter man — to honour his legacy, we should focus on the unfulfilled promises his leadership gave rise to. Bryan Caplan on the evil in plain sight: Will our descendants ever look back on us with contempt for our blatant wickedness? Kate Marshall reviews Alien Phenomenology, or, What It’s Like To Be a Thing by Ian Bogost. Emily Shire on how period pride takes pop culture by storm: From songs to T-shirts, artists are embracing menstruation in all its bloody glory. Kataryna Wolczuk and Roman Wolczuk on what you need to know about the causes of the Ukrainian protests. Paul Krugman on the punishment cure: The Republican response to the unemployed is a mix of callousness and bad economics. What was Greek to them? Mary Beard reviews The Riddle of the Labyrinth: The Quest to Crack an Ancient Code by Margalit Fox. Stop demonising McMansions, says Steve King.

Rishabh Shrivastava (UPES): Surveillance: From History Till Present. Steven Friedland (Elon): The Third Amendment, Privacy and Mass Surveillance. Jon M. Peha (Carnegie Mellon): The Dangerous Policy of Weakening Security to Facilitate Surveillance. Peter M. Shane (OSU): The NSA and the Legal Regime for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance. Keep spying on foreigners, NSA: They have no right to privacy from U.S. surveillance — and they shouldn’t. ​From The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza on the State of Deception: Why won’t the President rein in the intelligence community? Nicholas Weaver on how our government has weaponized the Internet — here’s how they did it. Martha Mendoza on techies vs. NSA: Encryption arms race escalates. The empires strike back: After being swept up in the furore over government spying on their customers, some of America’s biggest tech companies are finally mounting a rearguard action. Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter have a new lobbying target — the NSA. System and conscience: Yochai Benkler on NSA bulk surveillance and the problem of freedom. Saving the Net from the surveillance state: Glenn Greenwald speaks up. Conor Friedersdorf on how surveillance-state insiders try to discredit NSA critics. After 30 years of silence, original NSA whistleblower Perry Fellwock looks back. A survey of American writers finds government surveillance is having a chilling effect on freedom of expression. From Infoshop, here’s an antagonist’s guide to destroying the surveillance state. You can't beat politics with technology, says Pirate Bay cofounder Peter Sunde.

Will Brazil 2014 be the last time the football world cup matters? International football could be the purest of competitions, but the dominance of the global club brands, the bloated finals tournament and lack of surprise factor together with distaste for FIFA mean that it's increasingly becoming irrelevant. Jens Gluesing on Brazil's crumbling football dream (and more). Brazil gets military training to prepare for street protests at World Cup. Joshua Keating on potential geopolitical grudge matches of the 2014 World Cup. Adidas reveals the Brazuca, a World Cup soccer ball two and a half years in the making. Conz Preti and Marie Telling on everything you need to know about the most important part of the World Cup: Hot guys, yeah, hot guys. How many more must die for Qatar's World Cup? In hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, Fifa is choosing to ignore the abuse of migrant workers. From Crazy Facts, the 2022 World Cup final is planned to take place in a city that doesn’t exist yet. Kanishk Tharoor on the next truly great World Cup. Anthropomorphized weirdos: Jon Terbush on all the World Cup mascots, ranked. Et tu, Etas Unis? Tyler Huggins on soccer and the American Dream. Major League Soccer is the only pro sports league in America where superstars can earn 140 times more than their teammates — how much longer will it be able to convince talented, internationally coveted young players like the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Kofi Opare to stay in the U.S. for $35,000 a year? Dmitry Dagaev and Konstantin Sonin on how game theory works for football tournaments.

Roger Magnusson (Sydney): Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Christopher Hitchens, and the Libertarian Critique of Bloomberg's Public Health Legacy. John Reynolds (NUI-Galway): Apartheid, International Law, and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. From LRB, Seymour Hersh on how Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. It is commonly agreed that we have many general and specific moral or religious duties to avoid sexual activity (no rape, no pedophilia, no adultery, no bestiality, etc.); it is less acknowledged and infrequently discussed that we might have moral or religious duties to engage in sexual activity — and that engaging in sexual activity in certain circumstances may be morally or religiously required as a duty commanded by a secular principle or benevolence or by "Love Thy Neighbor." Michael J. Lewis on philanthropic tyranny at the NYPL: The Central Library Plan's renovations to the New York Public Library will hurt both scholars and average users. Of the 7,776 languages in use in the greater offline world, less than five percent are in use online. Scott Barry Kaufman on the heritability of intelligence. Kathleen Geier writes in praise of viciousness: The case for negative reviews, plus links to twelve classic hatchet jobs. Janet Reitman on Snowden and Greenwald, the men who leaked the secrets: How two alienated, angry geeks broke the story of the year.