Cecile Vandewoude (Ghent): The Rise of Self-Determination Versus the Rise of Democracy. Propaganda and Disinformation: Marc Adler on Olbermann vs. Limbaugh and Fox. Rise of the Preppers: Can disaster preparedness become a lifestyle without turning into survivalism? So long, Oprah: You get all the accolades, without even dying. A review of Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life by Karen Armstrong. Is hummus the next guacamole? Middle Eastern chefs are trying to push one of the world's most complex and ancient cuisines into the culinary mainstream. We now expect long life, a beautiful body, sexual and job satisfaction; the illusion that we can perfect ourselves dooms us to failure and misery. That guy who called the big one? Don’t listen to him — inside the paradox of forecasting. An interview with Dayna Tortorici on late capitalism, the death of the poser and why refusing to understand hipsters is a cop-out. From Big Think, how to see the world like Malcolm Gladwell. Cryptic Fascist: A review of The German Stranger: Leo Strauss and National Socialism by William H.F. Altman. The first chapter from Why Everyone (Else) Is a Hypocrite: Evolution and the Modular Mind by Robert Kurzban. A review of Fear of the Animal Planet: The Hidden History of Animal Resistance by Jason Hribal. Reunion Island's UNESCO designation puts spotlight on its medieval and colonial legacies — including its relationship with famous scholar Joseph Bedier.

From The Atlantic Monthly, the tyranny of the Defense Inc.: Fifty years later, Eisenhower's warnings about the military-industrial complex look not only prescient, but dramatically understated (and more at Slate: "Eisenhower's farewell address has been completely misunderstood"). Gary Hart on the case for a new national security act; and why our best officers are leaving: A growing lack of faith in the military’s meritocracy. Freedom fighters for a fading empire: What it means when we say we have the world’s finest fighting force. Empire of Bases 2.0: Does the United States really have more than 1,000 military bases across the globe? Why canceling unnecessary military programs is good finance and good strategy. From The Chronicle, an article on bridging the gap between the military and elite campuses. Military metamorphoses: What Ovid can teach West Point plebes about their lives as soldiers and storytellers. From Foreign Affairs, a review of The Culture of Military Innovation: The Impact of Cultural Factors on the Revolution in Military Affairs in Russia, the US, and Israel by Dima Adamsky and Beer, Bacon and Bullets: Culture in Coalition Warfare from Gallipoli to Iraq by Gal Luft. There have never been so many books written about the armed forces and military history. Never in its history has the military been quite so squeamish about sex. Don’t tell Sgt. Snorkel, but perennially put-upon private Beetle Bailey’s Army green fatigues are influencing a new collection of limited-edition designer duds.

Edward B. Foley (OSU): Democracy in the United States, 2020 and Beyond. Hong Geng (Bonn), Arne Robert Weiss (Erfurt), and Irenaeus Wolff (Konstanz): The Limited Power of Voting to Limit Power. Bryane Michael (SSE): The Size and Structure of Government. Richard L. Hasen (Loyola): Lobbying, Rent Seeking, and the Constitution. Petrik Runst (George Mason): De Gustibus Est Disputandum: A Tentative Outline for a Constitutional Political Psychology. A book salon on Presidential Party Building: Dwight D. Eisenhower to George W. Bush by Daniel Galvin. The gap can’t be bridged unless those in power want it to be bridged: Justin Logan reviews Michael W. Mosser’s article addressing “the alleged disconnect between academics and military practitioners” (and more and more). Does Big Government result in more housework? A review of Government Size and Implications for Economic Growth by Andreas Bergh and Magnus Henrekson. A review of Thinking About Leadership by Nannerl O. Keohane. David RePass on why the "silent" filibuster is unconstitutional. From Foreign Policy, Francis Fukuyama and Fareed Zakaria remember Samuel Huntington. The practical effect of cultivating selflessness: A UCLA researcher argues that rather than assuming people are basically selfish, government could more profitably encourage pro-social behavior. An interview with Darryl Gonzalez, author of The Children Who Ran for Congress. Toasting government’s good ideas from 2010: Despite the year’s bitter politics, the government found some new ways to encourage nonpartisan innovation and transparency.

Kate Kovarovic (American): Our "Jack Bauer" Culture: Eliminating the Ticking Time Bomb Exception to Torture. Where news is power, a fight to be well-armed: Before dawn, young staff members in Washington scan dozens of news sources, summarizing, spinning and compiling reports for their bosses. A study has found that studies need to find more previous studies to cite in current studies. Is the iPhone bad for the American economy? From U.S. Intellectual History, a look at the strange, transatlantic career of "neoliberalism" (and more). A new ark for humanity: The rising sea waters caused by global warming have inspired a Russian architect to design a hotel that could be built on water as well as land. Newly published research finds people give more generously to relief efforts following natural disasters, effectively penalizing the people caught up in man-made catastrophes. The unfree world: Freedom House's 2011 list highlights an ongoing democratic decline (and more). Wikileaks and Karl marx: The most obvious source of profit, the very reason for a capitalist society to invest in information technology, is to extract value by selling information as a commodity — meanwhile information technology has steadily undermined the practicality of treating information as property. Did we learn anything from the BP oil spill? The National Oil Spill Commission has given marching orders on how to prevent another disaster — but will Congress listen?

Dead languages reveal a lost world: Gonzalo Rubio spends his days reading dead languages that stopped being spoken thousands of years ago. The linguistic innovation of trendsetters and troublemakers is a barometer of society’s inner life — a review of books on slang. Christian missionaries have become strangely vital to conserving endangered languages. It's one thing to learn foreign words; it's another to learn their true meanings. Free dictionary: At play in the fields of the OED. Overuse injury: Inside our long impulse to banish trendy words. Men of words: Ben Zimmer remembers four great wordsmiths. Out of the gutter: Erin McKean on how slang sneaks into the language. American Sign Language is close to surpassing German as the third-most-studied foreign language at America's colleges. An article on Piraha, the world’s most controversial language. David Crystal on languages in danger of dying out. At a loss for words: Modern lessons from a lost language. Michael Rosen gives a brief history of a language that has grown to world domination with phrases such as "cool" and "go to it". Primero hay que aprender espanol — ranhou zai xue zhongwen. The Language Tree: Words don’t care about language barriers. Friending, trending, even evidencing and statementing: Plenty of nouns are turning into verbs. Google Translate "Conversation Mode" translates a multi-language conversation in real-time, spitting out a translation just as soon as you finish speaking (and more).

Morteza Dehghani (USC), Scott Atran (CNRS), Rumen Iliev, Sonya Sachdeva and Douglas Medin (Northwestern), and Jeremy Ginges (New School): Sacred Values and Conflict over Iran’s Nuclear Program. More than three decades ago, before there was an Islamic Republic, the West sought desperately to prevent the Shah of Iran from getting his hands on the bomb — new revelations show just how serious the crisis was and why America's denuclearization drive isn't working. An interview with IAEA head Yukiya Amano: "We still know too little about Tehran's nuclear activities". Do we have Ahmadinejad all wrong? New WikiLeaks cables add evidence that Iran's blustery president might be a force for liberalization? Tunisia's deposed president Ben Ali once swept to power with bold promises of reform — what went wrong? Joshua Tucker on the Tunisian Jasmine Revolution in the larger context of the Colored Revolutions (and more). The Forum for the Future was supposed to be an instrument of George W. Bush's Middle East freedom agenda — seven years later, it embodies everything that was wrong with it and the Arab street is taking matters into its own hands. A decade after the 9/11 attacks were mounted by a team of mostly Saudi terrorists, America needs Saudi Arabia more than ever. Before trying to fit the term “Christian Arab” to a soothing and pleasing explanation, a definition of what, or who, constitutes an Arab is perhaps in order. Richard Gross on man at his best: the Middle East version.

Paul Royster (Nebraska): The Art of Scanning. The latest victim of the fight against junk food? Little ol' Tweety! A review of We Have Met the Enemy: Self-Control in an Age of Excess by Daniel Akst (and more and more). The unexpected return of "duck and cover": Why the Obama Administration has brought back some much-maligned advice from the 1950s on how to respond to a nuclear attack — and why it makes a lot of sense. Two spaces after a period: Why you should never, ever do it. A review of Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture by Naomi Cahn and June Carbone. Nerd violence: Swords are the murder weapon of nerds. A defense of "May-December" marriages like Hugh Hefner's. Ethan Trex on the road to street sign standardization. Get the energy sector off the dole: Why ending all government subsidies for fuel production will lead to a cleaner energy future — and why Obama has a rare chance to make it happen. David Carr reviews Marshall McLuhan: You Know Nothing of My Work! by Douglas Coupland (and more). Tyranny has a witness: Meet the man behind Human Rights Watch — Kenneth Roth, who has been leading the group for nearly two decades. Wired's Clive Thompson argues that info-nibbles like status updates, tweets, and news briefs increase our appetite for in-depth, long-form writing. Shade of Home: Christopher Buckley on reckoning with the ghosts of Mum and Pup.

Measuring hell: Was modern physics born in the Inferno? A review of Richard Panek's The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality. Gregg Easterbrook on the wonder of the universe. We still don’t know exactly how the universe was created — and, given the limits of the human brain, perhaps we never will. Ten questions science must answer: Martin Rees considers today's big issues, while leading thinkers describe the puzzles they would love to see solved. Science's breakthrough of the year: The first quantum machine. How science changed our world: Robert Winston presents his top ten scientific breakthroughs of the past 50 years. The rise of "convergence" science: Engineering and physical sciences, among other disciplines, are joining forces with the life sciences. David Berreby on using Google to tell real science from fads. Jonah Lehrer has more thoughts on the "decline effect" in science (and more by John Allen Paulos). Announcing Scientific Reports, a new open access publication covering the natural sciences. Does peer review work? Reviewers are only slightly more likely to agree than they would be if they were just flipping coins. John Horgan on Freeman Dyson, global warming, ESP and the fun of being "bunkrapt". George Musser writes in praise of scientific error. Science in the Obama White House: An interview with John Holdren (and part 2).

Evan Smith (Flinders): Conflicting Narratives of Black Youth Rebellion in Modern Britain. You pay your taxes, or go to prison — unless you are super-rich, or a corporation. Latin and ancient Greek are making a comeback in British state schools and helping improve literacy levels; Harry Eyres welcomes the return of the classics’ rich mix of culture and philosophy. A review of Violent London: 2000 Years of Riots, Rebels and Revolts by Clive Bloom. "Do we really need a Supreme Court?": A lecture by Lord Hope of Craighead, Deputy President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom. Simon Head on the grim threat to British universities. Mill, Smith and Friedman, look away now: Coalition plans to marketise the academy are a corruption of laissez-faire ideology. Nick Clegg tells David Goodhart how he shrugs off the cries of “Judas” and accepts that “you often cannot defeat emotion with reason”. When the accent is on creating a good impression: Young British Asians are changing the way they speak in formal contexts, according to new research. A review of Beating the Fascists: The Untold Story of Anti-Fascist Action by Sean Birchall. The Blair Hitch: Debating Tony Blair in Toronto, Christopher Hitchens finds the former prime minister battered but unapologetic. A review of The Big Society: The Anatomy of the New Politics by Jesse Norman (and more). An interview with Mary Warnock: "The 'big society' doesn’t speak to me. It doesn’t speak to anyone". A review of Sex Before the Sexual Revolution: Intimate Life In England 1918-1963 by Simon Szreter and Kate Fisher. Could it be that UK governments have just been looking for allies in the wrong parts of the European continent?

Tony D. Sampson (UEL): Contagion Theory Beyond the Microbe. From Asia Times, Spengler on sodomy and Sufism in Afgaynistan. Obama's Building Boom: Will his architecture legacy be as lasting as FDR's? Blood Loss: Christopher Beam on the decline of the serial killer. Passion and the pursuit of truth: How do contemporary intellectuals corrupt their calling? Steven Pearlstein on how the day of reckoning for public employees unions is here. Which country has the simplest taxation system? Intellectual Entrepreneur: Denis Dutton’s genius lay not in his philosophy, but in his capacity to provoke intelligently. No big deal: The key to solving the planet’s most daunting problems — think small. Here, revealed in public for the first time, is the Conservative Constitution of the United States of Real America. Can a computer beat a human in the most challenging trivia game on TV? Jeopardy! All-Stars defeated by IBM's supercomputer. George Scialabba reviews Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch by Eric Miller. Slavok Zizek on good manners in the Age of WikiLeaks. Ethno-spolitation Groups: Richard Rushfield and Adam Leff shed light on reality TV’s trashy stereotypes. From n+1, has any concept more completely defined and disfigured public life over the last generation than so-called elitism? Here are 10 reasons why you should never write a "10 Reasons" article. Drug experiment: What happens when an entire country legalizes drug use?