From Cabinet, readymade remade: An article on Pierre Pinoncelli and the legacy of Duchamp's "fountains"; an interview with Robert Macfarlane on "peak aesthetics"; and here's a minor history of giant spheres. From Slate, say cheese! A history of the American snapshot. Anyone can take a photo, so why are some worth millions? A look at how photos became fine art. From The Believer, an interview with art critic Dave Hickey. From Harvard Magazine, ancients reborn in bright array: An article on "gods in color" and painted sculpture of classical antiquity. The last picture show: Five books attempt to make sense of the history of art from a 21st-century viewpoint. A review of Art After Conceptual Art. Apres-garde, not avant: Art that is behind its time is art that expresses something that is already in the air but has not yet been creatively articulated. Shock Tactics: Ivan Navarro’s neon sculptures may look like furniture, but his politically charged agenda is not to be taken lightly. A review of A Life of Picasso, Volume III: The Triumphant Years, 1917-1932 by John Richardson (and more). Nature imitating art: Tired of boring Picassos, Rothkos and Hirsts? How about a stone from space? From The New Yorker, Peter Schjeldahl on the Frida Kahlo cult. The colour of music: The dissonance and abstraction of 20th-century composers influenced a generation of visual artists. Hot wheels: Wole Soyinka on how the art of mammy-lorry painting offers keen insights into the politics of ordinary Africans.


From Dissent, Zimbabwe's slow suicide: A review of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun: A Memoir of Africa by Peter Godwin; Mukiwa: A White Boy in Africa by Peter Godwin; Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood by Alexandra Fuller; African Laughter: Four Visits to Zimbabwe by Doris Lessing; The Stone Virgins by Yvonne Vera. A review of Diamonds, Gold, and War: The British, the Boers, and the Making of South Africa by Martin Meredith. The rise of the buppies: An article on the economic and political consequences of the black middle class in South Africa. Oasis of defiance: Nomads in Niger defy a government ban. A Tuareg revolt, coveted uranium resources, geopolitical rivalries, endemic poverty: Is Niger becoming the latest patient in Africa's emergency-ward? An article on consolidating democracy in Sierra Leone. From TomDispatch, young refugees return home, traveling through the southern part of a Sudan poised at the edge of the abyss (and part 2). Breaking into even smaller bits? Even the parts of Somalia that were steady are looking shaky again. The fight to save Congo's forests: A history of colonial neglect and endemic corruption has unleashed a lawless logging binge in the heart of Congo's massive woodlands.


From National Journal, a cover story on judging the 2008 health plans, including the plans' effects on the uninsured, the economy, quality of care, the consumer and employers. Do Americans want universal coverage enough to put up with significant additional cost and added government interference? If so, the Democrats' health care plans could work. Who's afraid of socialized medicine? Two dangerous words that kill health-care reform. More on Sick: The Untold Story of America's Health Care Crisis by Jonathan Cohn. From Science, a look at how HIV took the world by storm. A review of The Secret History of the War on Cancer by Devra Davis and Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream: A Day in the Life of Your Body by Jennifer Ackerman. Science that the government doesn't want to exist: Stem-cell research lurches along through roadblocks and red tape. A review of The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia by Neil M Gorsuch. The Invincible Man: Aubrey de Grey, 44 going on 1,000, wants out of old age. From Literary Review, a review of  A Life Decoded by J. Craig Venter (and more).


From Technology Review, the Semantic Web goes mainstream: Radar Networks is unveiling a new tool that provides a smarter way to find information and increase productivity. Images uploaded to photo-sharing websites like Flickr could find a surprising new application – they could help build accurate 3D models of the real world. What’s Russian for "hacker"? A formula for Web schemes: a lot of mathematicians, a lax legal system and Western targets. Can Google kill PowerPoint? A look at how mighty Google is ringing changes by aiming to break open the closed world of social networking (and more). From Carnegie Council, a talk with Cass Sunstein on Republic 2.0. Where's my free Wi-Fi? Why municipal wireless networks have been such a flop. Even though online advertising is growing fast, that growth is being stunted, industry executives say, because nobody can get the basic visitor counts straight. The Internet gets its first full census for 25 years.


From PS: Political Science and Politics, a symposium on the future of election reform in the states, including an introduction, and Lonna Rae Atkeson (UNM) and Kyle L. Saunders (CSU): The Effect of Election Administration on Voter Confidence: A Local Matter?; Bruce E. Cain (UC- Berkeley): Reform Studies: Political Science on the Firing Line; Paul Gronke, Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum and Peter A. Miller (Reed): Early Voting and Turnout; Thad Hall ( Utah), J. Quin Monson and Kelly D. Patterson (BYU): Poll Workers and the Vitality of Democracy: An Early Assessment; Timothy Werner and Kenneth R. Mayer (Wisconsin): Public Election Funding, Competition, and Candidate Gender; Barry C. Burden (Wisconsin): Ballot Regulations and Multiparty Politics in the States; Michael P. McDonald (GMU): Regulating Redistricting; and Todd Donovan (WWU): A Goal for Reform: Make Elections Worth Stealing.


From The Telegraph, a list of the 100 most influential conservatives and liberals in America. From The Washington Monthly, an interview with Tom Tancredo. Will illegal immigration destroy the Democrats? E.J. Dionne investigates. From The New York Observer, a look at why the next Democratic era might be different. Take the FDR: Eric Rauchway on why Democrats should embrace Roosevelt's legacy. The Sisyphus from Searchlight: Harry Reid has united Senate Democrats on shutting down the war, but the Republican votes just aren't there. Chuck Schumer says Iran war would destroy the GOP. Free the running mates: Anne Applebaum on what Americans can learn from Cecilia Sarkozy. Vote early, count often: There is a simple way to establish a national primary and yet still allow retail politicking to meaningfully affect the course of the campaign over several months. Evan Thomas on the politics of arrogance: Why candidates don't tout humility on the stump. A look at why Tim Russert is a terrible moderator for our presidential debates. John Dickerson on Obama's challenge to Clinton's candor. Doing the Math: The races look like Hillary's and Rudy's to lose, but numbers can deceive. From The Village Voice, no skeletons in my closet: How Michael Mukasey and Bernie Kerik are haunting Rudy's run; and Rudy's pants on fire: Secret testimony shows that Rudy's stump speech is inflated, at best. A look at the Christian phenomenon of a Giuliani presidency. Dirtier! Nastier! Slimier! South Carolina '08 is already muddier than ever before, and it'll only get worse. Fred Thompson vs. the moonshiners: Ex-moonshiner Dwayne Kent served as a witness in a Thompson prosecution.


From Small Wars Journal, Thomas P. Odom (Army): America's Cultural First Battles: Understanding the Influence of Culture on War. A review of Clausewitz in the Twenty-First Century. An interview with former Assistant Secretary of Defense Philip Coyle on the military-industrial complex.  From The Economist, brains, not bullets: Western armies are good at destroying things, but can they be made better at building them too? After smart weapons, smart soldiers: Irregular warfare may keep Western armies busy for decades; they will have to adapt if they are to overcome the odds that history suggests they are up against. From Carnegie Council, a talk with Robert Kaplan on Hog Pilots, Blue Water Grunts: The American Military in the Air, at Sea, and on the Ground. The false decline of the US Navy: Robert Kaplan is convinced the US Navy is in decline—too bad his argument ignores the Navy's true strategic strength and capabilities. From Regulation, should we bring back the draft? Is the all-volunteer force a "mercenary army"? Ambush in War Zone D: Wesley Clark on the Vietnam War draftees who fought with valor and saved my life. A review of A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country by Wesley Clark.


From The Economist, a cover story on the new wars of religion: Faith will unsettle politics everywhere this century, and it will do so least when it is separated from the state, and a special report on religion and public life. A review of The Stillborn God: Religion, Politics, and the Modern West by Mark Lilla (and more). From TLS, a review of John Cornwell's Darwin's Angel: An angelic riposte to The God Delusion and John Humphrys' In God We Doubt: Confessions of a failed atheist. An interview with Dinesh D'Souza on What’s So Great About Christianity. From Carnegie Council, a talk with Garry Wills on Head and Heart: American Christianities. A review of The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy and The Prince of War by Cecil Bothwell.  A review of On God: An Uncommon Conversation by Norman Mailer with Michael Lennon. A review of Beyond Toleration: The Religious Origins of American Pluralism by Chris Beneke. Theocracy now! Max Blumenthal reports from the 2007 Values Voters Summit. A look at how the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary espouses the role of the godly woman 101. From The Simon, an article on the best/worst deceased televangelists


From The New Criterion (reg. req.), a special issue on the 20th anniversary of Allan Bloom's The Closing of the American Mind, including essays by Roger Kimball, Mark Steyn, and Heather McDonald; and Jeffrey Hart on Jacques Barzun at 100. From Inside Higher Ed, regrets, I’ve had a few: Half of education is knowing what you don’t know. Scott McLemee checks out a new pamphlet for undergraduates; a skeptic’s take on academic blogs: Adam Kotsko has seen their benefits, but also how difficult they are to sustain in productive ways; and an enthusiast’s view of academic blogs: Scott Eric Kaufman writes that blogging gives him two invaluable things: community and an audience. Liaisons in the lecture theatre: Surely romantic trysts in the tutorial room are alright between consenting adults? From Prospect, data from Sweden suggests that vouchers could offer the government a truly equitable way of combining its educational ideals with pragmatism. What every child needs: How universal pre-K could benefit middle- and upper-class children as much as poor ones.


This week is Fall Fiction Week at Slate, which includes Paradise Lost: Cees Nooteboom takes on our jet-fueled millennium; Is It a Chamber Pot? Nope! Joshua Green on a century-old literary mystery, solved; The Invisible Lesbian: Sarah Schulman on challenging the myth of merit-based publishing; "I was Gordon Lish's Editor: Not that he let me do any editing"; When Poetry Meets Politics: Nathan Heller on Robert Hass' poetic journey; and No Second Chances: Emily Johnston on the bracing vision of William Trevor. From TLS, a new term for French literature: Five recent novels show that contemporary French fiction is self-reflexive, steeped in Paris – and in good hands. Has Her Majesty read any good books lately? A review of The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett. From Political Affairs, an essay on Marxism, language, and the Laureate who wasn't: Doris Lessing says "Communism debased language" (and more). From Eurozine, Zinovy Zinik traces the history of the shadow as metaphor for exile through Evgeni Shwartz's play "The Shadow" back to earlier fables by Hans Christian Andersen and Adelbert von Chamisso. From California Literary Review, a brief account of the decay of selfdom: The question of meaning has been asked, and the new millennium must abide its answer. An article on Edgar Allan Poe and the publicity hounds of Hell. X-X-excesses: A review of Harold Robbins: the Man Who Invented Sex by Andrew Wilson.

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