If Americans have an impending sense that our present moment represents a capitalized End of Something, let us take the moment to exhale and appreciate the tranquility of finality.
"Just as healthy optimism can turn into irrational exuberance, a clear-eyed realism about the challenges facing the United States can gradually inflate a pessimism bubble," says Ross Douthat today.
In just 3,000 years, an evolutionary microsecond, Tibetans have developed a unique version of a gene that helps them adapt to living at high altitudes. This according to a study published in Science.
"Fiction has now become a museum-piece genre most of whose practitioners are more like cripplingly self-conscious curators or theoreticians than writers," says the polemical Lee Siegel.
"What exactly is the Iranian threat?" asks Noam Chomsky in his latest article. The linguist turned political activist finds glaring hypocrisies in U.S. foreign policy toward the Middle East.
"It seems like we in the West have made a tradeoff between self-reliance and physical comforts and social well being. So, which is more important?" asks a Notre Dame psychology professor.
"Those who haven’t abandoned Juárez may be watching the death of it, both day and night." Sarah Hill gives a tragic account of the Mexican city gone from boom to bust to nearly dust.
Matthias Ringmann, a minor scholar and cartographer working in landlocked Eastern France, was responsible for putting America on the map, literally. History, however, has since forgotten him.
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, or SETI, made assumptions quite different from Stephen Hawking's dire warnings about aggressive alien life. Should we keep looking?
"We love them, of course, but new research suggests that having children makes us unhappy — it's just that none of us feels able to admit it." The Independent researches a taboo issue.
Robert Grenier, a former CIA station chief in Pakistan, can envision only breakdown in Afghanistan: Congress has divergent goals and counter-insurgency tactics are insufficient.
Documentation made during the late 1960s of how one liberal German after-school center attempted to teach sexual liberation demonstrates the thin line between freedom and abuse.
"What's so bad about deflation?" asks Slate. "After all, it's a pleasant surprise when prices of many items fall." As it turns out, there is good deflation and bad deflation, but which is which?
"The letters of Pliny the Younger provide gripping insight into Roman life — and the last hours of a city." Michael Dirda reviews the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of Pompeii.
Just give money to the poor, says a new book by the same name. In it, three British professors say direct cash payments to the developing world's poor will help economies to grow.