Paul A. Gowder Jr. (Iowa): Equal Law in an Unequal World. With nearly limitless funds from the Qatari royals and plans to hire up to 700 staffers, Al Jazeera America will launch in 45 million U.S. homes in July, but it needs a star and a clean slate, says David Freedlander. Maggie Koerth-Baker sheds light on the Black Death. 18 academic papers about '90s TV shows: If we can learn about the ancient Romans by studying their drinking songs, surely we can learn about ourselves by studying our TV shows. Land of the K, Home of the W: Frank Jacobs on America's radio nations. The American mind: Sam Tanenhaus on how the historian Garry Wills has written better than anybody else about modern America. Rats in a maze: Wayne Curtis on how walking shapes our minds — maybe. Pauli Poisuo the 4 worst things people are making with 3D printers.

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