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The Week in Ideas (7/24)

Posted by Josh Rothman  July 24, 2012 02:58 PM

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Revealed! Obama's secret agenda: Leon Neyfakh surveys the "alternate universe" created by Obama's detractors, in which his second term will finally give him a chance to enact a variety of "secret plans," like seizing huge quantities of land or turning America into a "Muslim nation." "Taken as a whole, this other Obama -- and what you might call his “Muahahaha strategy” of post-election bait and switch -- offers a vivid picture of the fears that the president has inspired in some critics." Now the paranoia is slipping into the mainstream, with Romney telling reporters that Obama "doesn’t want to share his real plans before the election, either with the public or with the press."

Thailand's war without an audience: Joshua Kurlantzick on Thailand's little-known southern war. Even as tourists gather at coastal resorts, "the nation’s deep south is home to a longstanding conflict between local Islamic rebels and the Buddhist-dominated Thai security forces that now stands as one of the deadliest insurgencies in Asia.... If you wonder why some tragedies -- even the worst -- go all but ignored for years, the southern Thailand conflict, so near to some of the fanciest beach resorts in the world yet essentially invisible to outsiders, almost perfectly illustrates the blind spots in the world’s response to violence."

Lost events of the Olympics: Ruth Graham on some of the best old-skool Olympic sports -- including the equestrian long jump and swimming obstacle course.

The Higgs boson 'nightmare scenario': James Owen Weatherall on a fear among physicists. The discovery of the Higgs only confirms what we already know -- "and if the largest and most powerful particle accelerator humans have ever managed to build can’t show us anything beyond the Higgs boson, it may be a very unwelcome sign that we’ve hit the limits of what we can learn."

And Kevin Lewis on amnesiac voters, stressed-out moms, and proof that women navigate as well as men.

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About brainiac Brainiac is the daily blog of the Globe's Sunday Ideas section, covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more. You can follow us on Twitter @GlobeIdeas.
Brainiac blogger Kevin Hartnett is a writer in Columbia, South Carolina. He can be reached here.

Leon Neyfakh is the staff writer for Ideas. Amanda Katz is the deputy Ideas editor. Stephen Heuser is the Ideas editor.

Guest blogger Simon Waxman is Managing Editor of Boston Review and has written for WBUR, Alternet, McSweeney's, Jacobin, and others.

Guest blogger Elizabeth Manus is a writer living in New York City. She has been a book review editor at the Boston Phoenix, and a columnist for The New York Observer and Metro.

Guest blogger Sarah Laskow is a freelance writer and editor in New York City. She edits Smithsonian's SmartNews blog and has contributed to Salon, Good, The American Prospect, Bloomberg News, and other publications.

Guest blogger Joshua Glenn is a Boston-based writer, publisher, and freelance semiotician. He was the original Brainiac blogger, and is currently editor of the blog HiLobrow, publisher of a series of Radium Age science fiction novels, and co-author/co-editor of several books, including the story collection "Significant Objects" and the kids' field guide to life "Unbored."

Guest blogger Ruth Graham is a freelance journalist in New Hampshire, and a frequent Ideas contributor. She is a former features editor for the New York Sun, and has written for publications including Slate and the Wall Street Journal.

Joshua Rothman is a graduate student and Teaching Fellow in the Harvard English department, and an Instructor in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He teaches novels and political writing.


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