Around the Web:
- In Slate, economist Steven Landsburg reviews a study showing that female pro tennis players choke more (make more unforced errors on critical points) than do male pros. That women tend to be more at the mercy of their emotions hardly sounds implausible, but there could be a couple of other explanations: (A): Women pros tend to be younger; and (B) There may be less competition to be a female pro than a male pro, since so many women with good muscle tone would prefer to be dancers than athletes -- so, women tennis players are subject to less selective pressure, so negative traits like choking aren't as fatal to making it on tour.
- Obama as the new Justin Timberlake: In the Nation, a 24-year-old girl plants an 800-word big wet one on the handsome kisser of the junior Senator from Illinois.
- Stanley Kurtz on cousin marriage in the Middle East in National Review: Here's Part 1:
So to understand the kinship structure of a traditional society is to make sense of a good deal of life there. Unfortunately, our contemporary thinned-out notion of kinship has made it tough to recognize just how profoundly societies are shaped by variations in marriage practices. That’s why we’re far more comfortable making sense of the war on terror through the lens of a familiar phenomenon like religion, than in the light of something alien, like cousin marriage.
If we want to change any of this, it will be impossible to restrict ourselves to the study of religious Islam. The “self-sealing” character of Islam is part and parcel of a broader and more deeply rooted social pattern. And parallel-cousin marriage is more than just an interesting but minor illustration of that broader theme. If there’s a “self-sealing” tendency in Muslim social life, cousin marriage is the velcro. In contemporary Europe, perhaps even more than in the Middle East, cousin marriage is at the core of a complex of factors blocking assimilation and driving the war on terror.