The 2009 Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings came out today, and Inside Higher Ed has a good rundown of both the results and the controversy behind them.

Some of the key takeaways:

* The United States and Britain continue to dominate the very top ranks with one university in Cambridge, Mass., leading the rankings and one in the original Cambridge in second place.

* The number of North American universities in the top 100 fell to 36 from 42 in just a year.

* The list saw increases in universities from Europe (39, up from 36) and Asia (16, up from 14 last year).

These rankings, like all rankings, are worth taking with a grain of salt, of course. Inside Higher Ed notes that, like the much maligned U.S. News & World Report rankings, they are overly reliant on reputational surveys.

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Jesse Singal is a former opinion writer for The Boston Globe and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. He is currently a master's student at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy. Follow him on Twitter at @jessesingal.