From Prospect, we used to think that finance performed a useful role, shunting capital to the most profitable outlets — but after the crunch, a new generation of critics are challenging this thesis; and a look at how Merck made a killing. When nobody understands: The electronic age drives some languages out of existence, but can help save others. The west is losing in Afghanistan in part because it misreads its Taliban opponents. Bruce Schneier on the seven habits of highly ineffective terrorists. A look at the 6 most utterly insane attempts to kill a US president. Living la vida Republican: Because at America’s colleges, even the dangerously misguided have a right to be heard. What the free market needs: Without the right political, social and moral institutions, it's just a utopian theory. Obama the Philosopher: Suddenly, Obama's making a pretty good case for why Americans should once again care for one another. Informing as a state of mind: Czechs no longer accept such behavior, and that is a good sign for civil society. Money mags quietly mull "business world's 9/11". From Splice Today, an article on the capital of fashion disasters: A weekend in D.C. sends Manhattanism through the roof; an obituary for the 1980s: The end of retro culture and the ascendance of a generation; and secession maybe not a bad idea: Lincoln's healing efforts aside, perhaps the U.S. should be two separate countries.