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.