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The Week in Ideas 7/8

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  July 8, 2013 10:03 AM

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The case for regional immigration: Leon Neyfakh on the merits of giving states the ability to issue immigration visas. Currently all immigration runs through the federal government, which obscures the fact that states have very different immigration needs. Regional immigration would allow states like Michigan and Ohio that need more workers to issue more visas while states with tighter labor markets continue to limit immigration. The idea is a pipe dream for now but it could prove to be a way through the tangle of politics around immigration reform.

In the 17th century, a world wrecked by climate: Hillary Rosner interviews British historian Geoffrey Parker on how dramatic climate change in the 17th century translated into political and social chaos. Parker is the author of the new book “Global Crisis: War, Climate Change & Catastrophe in the Seventeenth Century,” which details how the “Little Ice Age”—as the global cooling which occurred during that period is known—exacerbated regional and ethnic tensions in a way that had long-running historical effects. To head off similar catastrophes today, Parker argues, we needed to be willing to accept more authoritarian state action that might limit our freedom but would also help to secure food and stability in a time of global warming.

In “The Lone Ranger,” is Tonto really speaking Comanche?: Britt Peterson on the new Lone Ranger movie and the history of Hollywood mangling Indian languages in films.

Plus: Kevin Lewis on how the act of writing might promote physical healing among the elderly; how a belief in meritocracy promotes well-being; how a distrustful attitudes mitigates prejudice; and more.

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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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