Anthony Lang (St. Andrews): The Politics of Punishing Terrorists. Susan Dente Ross (WSU): Limning Terror: Seams in the Discourse of "Terrorism". John Tures (LaGrange): Do Terrorists “Win” Elections? Just as the US sent the USSR into oblivion, Al-Qaeda has accelerated the economic decline of the US to the benefit of its nearest global rival, China. Ted Galen Carpenter on conservative Leninists and the War on Terror. Small airports, big worries: Sammy Elrom on aviation’s security weakest link. New research suggests that to be effective, counterterrorism efforts should support human rights, rather than violate them. Hardly Existential: John Mueller and Mark Stewart on thinking rationally about terrorism. An interview with Stuart Elden, author of Terror and Territory: The Spatial Extent of Sovereignty. Social scientists do counterinsurgency: A review essay by Nicholas Lemann on terrorism. Scott Atran on pathways to and from violent extremism and the case for science-based field research. Michael Kazin reviews In the Name of God and Country: Reconsidering Terrorism in American History by Michael Fellman. An interview with Mark Perry, author of Talking to Terrorists: Why America Must Engage with its Enemies. Saif Shahin on how inclusion cools Islamist hotheads. An interview with Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of Son of Hamas. Why some young Western Muslims find al-Qaeda's narrative so appealing. Homegrown Jihad: Why are young Somali men leaving their homes in Minnesota to die in the name of Allah? Jihad Wannabes: Asra Nomani on the rise of the Walter Mitty radical. The Children of George Metesky: Not every terrorist is a product of the left or the right. The mind of a terrorist: A team of researchers examine the motivation of terrorists and the effectiveness of de-radicalization efforts.

Harvard University's Division of Social Science hosts a conference on Hard Problems in Social Science, with contributions (on RealPlayer) by Ann Swidler, Nassim Taleb, Nick Bostrom, Gary King, Emily Oster, Roland Fryer, and more. For an egocentric mogul (Mort Zuckerman), over-caffeinated TV host (Lou Dobbs, Chris Matthews, Larry Kudlow), or out-of-office politician (Newt Gingrich, Harold Ford), there’s no more satisfying source of media attention than the foreplay of running for office. The Art of the Confession: Meghan Daum and Emily Gould on the ups and downs of writing their minds (and Ana Marie Cox reviews And the Heart Says Whatever by Emily Gould). In private pay, an implicit progressive tax: Robert H. Frank on the tax hiding in your paycheck. This won't hurt a bit: K.C. Mason on vibrators, orgasms, and medical masturbation. Masturbation as literature's last taboo: Only the sin of Onan really retains the power to shock readers. A review of Unsanctioned Voice: Garet Garrett, Journalist of the Old Right by Bruce Ramsey. Arifa Akbar analyses the relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, psychiatry's biggest brains. A review of Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA by Daniel Carpenter. Digital power and its discontents: Evgeny Morozov and Clay Shirky on the dreams of network utopians vs. the realists. How do you measure "epistemic closure"? Ezra Klein wants to know (and a response at The Monkey Cage). Ted Cox goes undercover at a Christian gay-to-straight conversion camp. Rich People Things: The SEC doesn't care about your Ponzi schemes. Mandatory calorie posting influenced consumer behavior at Starbucks in New York City, causing average calories per transaction to drop by 6 percent.

From Cosmos, the Wow! signal, the most famous in SETI history, was detected on the night of 15 August 1977; where should we be looking for extraterrestrials? A small, roving telescope is helping scientists to find planets capable of harbouring life; and SETI@50: Only a matter of time, says Frank Drake. We’re all alone and no one knows why — does this mean humanity is trapped inside an expansion boundary from which we can never escape? A review of The Eerie Silence: Are We Alone in the Universe? by Paul Davies (and more and more and more and more and more and more). Looking for ET: As the search for alien life turns 50, its practitioners find new methods (and more). A radical explanation for a conundrum about extraterrestrial life, and what it means for the future of humanity. Can you hear me now? Astronomers reconsider how extraterrestrials could make contact. Signs of life: Is it time for a new approach to finding extraterrestrials? Stephen Hawking suggests that instead of seeking aliens out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact (and more). From FT, a review of How to Find a Habitable Planet by James Kasting; We Are Not Alone: Why We Have Already Found Extraterrestrial Life by Dirk Schulze-Makuch and David Darling (and more and more); and Life, the Universe and the Scientific Method by Steven Benner. Aliens, Martians, extraterrestrials — how do we find out whether there’s life on other planets? An interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, author of The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America's Favorite Planet. U.S. scientists call for the creation of an International Asteroid Defense Agency. Giant rocks or snowballs in space, while more likely to hit in Hollywood than anywhere else on Earth, remain a threat that policymakers are taking seriously.

Deepak Malhotra (Harvard): (When) are religious people nicer? Religious salience and the “Sunday Effect” on pro-social behavior. Does religion cause racism, or is it that are racists drawn to religion? From Design Observer, William Drenttel on signs of religion in the American South. An interview with Gina Welch, author of In the Land of Believers (and more and more and more). Panic over the unknown: A look at how America hates atheists. A Supreme Court case highlights how religious conservatives tend to forget that the separation of church and state protects religion from government. The first chapter from After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shaping the Future of American Religion by Robert Wuthnow. A review of Islam in American Prisons: Black Muslims’ Challenge to American Penology by Hamid Reza Kusha. A review of America's Prophet: Moses and the American Story by Bruce Feiler. A review of William Connolly's Capitalism and Christianity, American Style (and a response). An interview with Rachel Tabachnick on the dangers of the New Apostolic Reformation. What is the black church and what does it mean to say that the black church is dead? The first chapter from Mormonism for Dummies. A review of Church, State and Original Intent by Donald Drakeman. A review of God in the Obama Era: Presidents' Religion and Ethics from George Washington to Barack Obama by Niels Nielsen. What is behind the movement to create a Christian theocratic state? (and more) Could it be that a heart changed by Christ is politically momentous? Apparently, George W. Bush was right. Grant Elgersma on the Gospel According to David Lynch. Chancellor Falwell is trying to turn tax-exempt Liberty University into a partisan political machine; will the IRS step in?

Christopher Stoney and Robert Hilton (CURE): Sustainable Cities: Canadian Reality or Urban Myth? The world is bracing for an influx of billions of new urbanites in the coming decades, and tech companies are rushing to build new green cities to house them; are these companies creating a smarter metropolis — or just making money? City dwellers of the future will experience more violent thunderstorms more often, and Mother Nature has nothing to do with it: our built environment is manufacturing its own weather. Merging complex systems science and ecology, resilience scientists have broken new ground on understanding natural ecosystems — and now they are bringing this novel science to the city (and more). A review of Urban Design: Health and the Therapeutic Environment by Cliff Moughtin, Kate McMahon Moughtin, and Paola Signoretta. An interview with Joan Fitzgerald, author of Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development. What a longtime American-born resident of Japan has learned about his adopted country's ancient practice of sustainability. The big green apple: Environmentally-sound homes for the poor are a model for everyone else. Green Detroit: Why the city is Ground Zero for the sustainability movement. Is progressive Asheville Obama’s vision for America? Hip, environmentally aware, self-reliant and undeniably quaint, Asheville, NC is a progressive’s vision of what America could be. Portland and “elite cities”: Is Oregon’s metropolis a leader among American cities or just strange? From Cities and the Environment, a special issue on Urban Pollinators and Community Gardens. Through an ancient yet obscure craft, still-living plants can themselves be shaped into bridges, tables, ladders, chairs, sculptures — even buildings.

From Essex Human Rights Review, a special issue on Preventing Torture in the 21st Century (and part 2). A review of Genocide Before the Holocaust by Cathie Carmichael and The Final Solution: A Genocide by Donald Bloxham. A holiday ends in Cambodia: The Khmer Rouge gets its day in court. Mark Mazower on the US, Turkey and the Armenian genocide. The Hardest Word: The use of "genocide" as a legal term gets in the way of healing historical wounds. How to apologise for genocide: May it be better to let the perpetrator into the moral circle, to acknowledge the act and the human agency behind it, and to forgive? More and more and more and more on Worse Than War: Genocide, Eliminationism and the Ongoing Assault on Humanity by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. A review of The Responsibility to Protect: Ending Mass Atrocity Crimes Once and For All by Gareth Evans. An interview with Andrew Cayley on books on war crimes. A review of Targeted Killing in International Law by Nils Melzer. An interview with Pamela Yates on justice and the International Criminal Court. A review of Prosecuting Heads of State. A review of Sorry States: Apologies in International Politics by Jennifer Lind. In the aftermath of fighting or repression, people are often told to forget things — but in free societies, selective memory cannot be imposed for ever. The first chapter from Unchopping a Tree: Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Political Violence by Ernesto Verdeja. The media are fundamental to the reconstruction of broken societies and can have a critical impact on the fragile processes of negotiation and conciliation. A review of When the State No Longer Kills: International Human Rights Norms and Abolition of Capital Punishment by Sangmin Bae.

From Public Reason, Stefan Bird-Pollan (Harvard): Rawls: Construction and Justification. From Lapham's Quarterly, a special issue on Arts & Letters. From The National Interest, so long as Washington continues to nationalize uncompetitive companies, and handpick winners and losers, our innovative preeminence will be in jeopardy. Why we need ACORN: The group, once a top anti-poverty organization, fought to empower those whose interests and needs get short shrift. Karin L. Kross reviews Cecil and Jordan in New York by Gabrielle Bell. From RAND Review, an article on Esther Duflo and how science can help fight the War on Poverty. The philosopher kings of UK politics: Are Clegg, Brown and Cameron just modern-day versions of Locke, Hobbes and Rousseau? From Education Next, Paul Peterson on the legacy of James Coleman. Rashid Khalidi on Bad Faith in the Holy City: How Israel’s Jerusalem policy imperils the peace process. Glee is one of a handful of television shows offering unabashedly smart, awkward, nerdy, female characters — will Hollywood take to the trend? The Great West Coast Newspaper War: An article on the crazy alt-weekly war in San Francisco. Alternative cartoonists nearing the punch line? As alt weeklies go, so go alt comics. The Edge, too has its edge: Fridolin Schley on reading Uwe Johnson in New York. Collateral damage denialism: Why do we keep on acting like a kinder, gentler form of warfare is even possible? Hypatia, ancient Alexandria’s great female scholar: An avowed paganist in a time of religious strife, Hypatia was also one of the first women to study math, astronomy and philosophy. Haiti and the Dominican Republic may share a tiny Caribbean isle, but they have always despised each other; the earthquake may have changed that.

The Golden Football: Tom Palalma on the University of Texas’ bad example. To ESPN's Seth Wickersham, sportswriting is a pursuit to be perfected, much like his subjects' efforts to throw a perfect spiral or build a better football team. From Bookforum, Clay Risen reviews Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France by Daniel S. Pierce and and He Crashed Me so I Crashed Him Back: The True Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR's Feudin', Fightin' Good Ol' Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map by Mark Bechtel (and more); and literary authors have always been drawn to boxing, and many have written beautifully about the sport; over the past half century and more, talented writers have chronicled its appeal while dissecting its ugliness. From Curator, an essay on football as art. Despite the dangers, hockey's old-school, rough justice is essential to its appeal. A review of The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to The Sports Guy by Bill Simmons. An excerpt from Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession by Dave Jamieson. There will come a time, inevitably, where nearly every fan will find themselves backing a loser. A look at the 5 most badass (and possibly insane) athletes of all-time. Keep your team out of my book: Joe Queenan simply refuses to read any books whose authors or characters have any affiliation with the Yankees, the Dallas Cowboys or the Duke University men’s basket­ball team. Tim Tebow is the Virgin King in the Land of Strangelove: Given that we will no doubt continue to read about future scandals to come, might we hold out future hope for a positive sexual role model among our athletes? Andrei Markovits on the last legitimate bastion of "separate but equal". An interview with Mike Huber on sabermetrics.

From The National Interest, Sam Tanenhaus, Grover Norquist, and Jacob Heilbrunn debate the future of conservatism. From the annual meeting of the OAH, Angus Burgin, Beverly Gage, and Jennifer Burns on the new intellectual history of conservatism. From CRB, a review essay on American conservatism. The Tea Party movement, with its educated, middle-class supporters, can trace its roots to ’60s-era conservatives. The Koch family, America's biggest financial backers of the Tea Party, would not be the billionaires were it not for the USSR. Who owns the American Revolution? Jill Lepore on tea parties past and present. Why would Sarah Palin want to be president in 2012? She’s already the CEO of right-wing America, a job that’s paid her $12 million in just ten months. Rush Limbaugh on liberals and the violence card: Conservative protest is motivated by a love of what America stands for. Here are 200 examples of anti-Obama merchandise. Don’t Mess With Texas: What Gov. Rick Perry's hard-right turn says about America in the age of Obama (more). A Plague of "A" Students: PJ O'Rourke on why it’s so irksome being governed by the Obami. For Obama and past presidents, the books they read shape politics and perception. More and more and more and more and more and more and more and more on The Bridge by David Remnick. Obama's health-care gamble: History is on his side. Obama Unleashed: How a calm, reasonable president gets exercised about financial regulation. Just as ultraliberal capitalism is floundering, social democracy is unable to step up to the plate. Bill Quigley on nine myths about socialism in the US; and misrepresenting the Left: We are not liberals. A look at why liberals abhor populism. Here are the rules on how to start a new left wing group.

Orlando Figes, a historian with a history of litigious quarrels, admits posting Amazon reviews that trashed rivals, and "apologises wholeheartedly to all concerned" (and more on sock puppetry). Rachel Polonsky on how she rumbled the lying professor: The story behind the discredited don who rubbished rivals on Amazon, then left his own wife to take the blame. Should internet commentators use their real names? A debate on whether online anonymity brings out the worst in us — or safeguards one of the internet's essential freedoms. Bonfire of the intellectuals: Ron Rosenbaum reviews The Flight of the Intellectuals by Paul Berman. More on The Task of the Critic by Terry Eagleton. Pound them keyboards: Why are fights between critics so tame? You suck, and so does your writing: Writers have always loathed and envied other members of the tribe — and boy is it fun when it shows up in words! Michelle Kerns on the 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time (and part 2). Bookstores are packed with score-settling tomes; Lloyd Grove on the irresistible allure of backstabbing books. What can writers learn from Gawker Media? Gaby Darbyshire explains. Can you really rank writing programmes? (and a response) Here are six simple tips for writing a literary manifesto. Jami Attenberg reviews Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by David Shields. Trouble seeing the line between fact and fiction: Have we suddenly become a nation of liars, or have we just forgotten that there's a limit to what we call nonfiction? Juliet Gardiner on writing non-fiction: "Even on bad writing days there was something I could spend time finding out". Every writer of reportage ought to learn from the Kapuscinski controversy: Creative non-fiction is a slippery slope.