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The Week in Ideas 3/10

Posted by Kevin Hartnett  March 10, 2014 10:15 AM

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Putin’s long game? Meet the Eurasian Union: Leon Neyfakh on the ideas behind the Eurasian Union and how they might be driving Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. The Eurasian Union would unite Russia and other Central Asian countries in an economic alliance. It carries undertones of a philosophy known as Eurasianism, which one political commentator explained, means “that the Slavic world must follow a separate path—that it should not be a second-rate Europe, but another type of civilization altogether.”

How grand hotels shaped modern life (and not just as a Wes Anderson set): Rebecca Onion on the grand hotels of the 19th century, which “foreshadowed our own favorite privatized public spaces, like theme parks, cruise ships, shopping malls, and resorts.”

‘Seed libraries’ try to save the world’s plants: I wrote about a small but growing group of “seed libraries” across the country, often housed in public libraries, that lend seeds and aim to promote heirloom gardening and revive a more grass-roots approach to seed breeding.

Plus: Britt Peterson on the quickly shifting language of the transgender community.

And: Kevin Lewis on how the use of high-precision drones may make people more sensitive to civilian casualties; how generosity can backfire on you; how affirmative action may lead to self-imposed segregation in college; 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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