From World Policy Journal, David L. Phillips (Columbia): The Balkans' Underbelly; Michael J. Jordan on the roots of hate. From Notre Dame magazine, a look at what we can learn from Transylvania (really!). From a political party to a cultural lifestyle: Danilo Breschi on trends of post-communism in Italy. An article on Spain's integration of Gypsies as a model for Europe. From Baltic Review, why do Scandinavians work? Minority rules: How Sweden's far-right rose from neo-Nazi skinheads to populist Muslim-baiters to the country's new kingmakers. For the first time in the postwar era, far-right extremists garnered enough votes to enter Sweden’s parliament — even in troubled times, this is shocking news. Doesn’t anyone out there care what’s happening to Sweden? Richard Svensson on the mystery dragons of Sweden, from Norse sagas to modern sightings. How to become an Estonian: Don’t have a ready-made national epic? Get Friedrich Reinhold Kreutzwald to write one. The Seven-Headed President: Switzerland celebrates Europe's strangest system of government. As Wall Street hangs on the question “Will Greece default?,” Michael Lewis heads for riot-stricken Athens, and for the mysterious Vatopaidi monastery, which brought down the last government, laying bare the country’s economic insanity. With pot laws changing, GQ sends a weed-averse correspondent to see what life is really like in Amsterdam, the world's cannabis capital. The King's Two Bodies: They recently dug up Nicolae Ceausescu's corpse — a dictator never really dies.

The inaugural issue of the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research is out. Tara Maller (MIT): Diplomacy Derailed: The Consequences of Diplomatic Sanctions. A review of Revolution 1989 by Victor Sebestyen. Gauging the "yuck factor": A poll tries to get a handle on how far Americans are willing to take a chance on the brave new world of synthetic biology. How did China displace Japan as Asia's main partner in Latin America? A look at 5 ridiculous ancient beliefs that turned out to be true. Why using "like" in conversation isn't a sign of stupidity. A review of Colossus: Hoover Dam and the Making of the American Century by Michael Hiltzik. Betrayed by Spain and oppressed by Morocco, the Saharawi people of Western Sahara compare themselves to the Palestinians or the black majority in apartheid South Africa — and they want the world to know their story. Morocco and Spain are to face their toughest test yet as Spanish and Sahrawi activists prepare to launch a flotilla to call for the independence of Western Sahara. Two yentas walk into a bar: Old Jews make us laugh with "not-so-kosher" jokes. A review of Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future by Robert B. Reich (and more). An interview with Michael Robinson, author of Why Coolidge Matters. Geoff LeGrand on how Venezuela's communes are not as radical as you might think. Hegel on Wall Street: In a practical world, motives do not matter, actions do.

Friedrich Schneider (Johannes Kepler), Tilman Bruck (GIER), and Daniel Meierrieks (Paderborn): The Economics of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism: A Survey (and part 2). From The Ecologist, an undercover investigation on the shocking cost of US "mega-dairies". The First Celebrity Tell-All: Before Jenna Jameson, before Paris Hilton, even before Kirk Douglas, Benvenuto Cellini wrote the original memoir of sex, catty gossip, and murder that defined the genre. Does social democracy have a future? As cultural preference, yes; as movement, no. People's apparent lack of awareness about choices they themselves have just made not only raises awkward questions about the limits of conscious awareness, but surely also has real-world implications. A look at 5 absurd (but mind blowing) pop culture conspiracy theories. Don't walk, stand: Why did moving pavements never take off? Atlas Obscura goes inside Museum of Eroticism, a former cabaret, seven floors of erotic art. Should progressives embrace entitlement reform, or look elsewhere to narrow the gap? Fiscal experts Isabel Sawhill and Greg Anrig debate. Here are samples from A Dictionary of 20th-Century Communism, ed. Silvio Pons and Robert Service (and a quiz and more). A rose by a local name: The fascination with "ethnic chic" in nomenclature reveals much about the cultural insecurities of Pakistan’s art world today. A review of Engaging Heidegger by Richard Capobianco.

From Axess, a special issue on music. In the Congolese capital Kinshasa, just surviving is hard enough, but one group of people spends hours traveling across town to sit in a sweltering compound and practice Handel — they are members of the Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste, Central Africa's only symphony orchestra. Those ubiquitous wires connecting listeners to you-name-the-sounds from invisible MP3 players — whether of Bach, Miles Davis or, more likely today, Lady Gaga — only hint at music's effect on the soul throughout the ages. Heather Havrilesky reviews Lady Gaga: Behind the Fame by Emily Herbert, Poker Face: The Rise and Rise of Lady Gaga by Maureen Callahan, and Lady Gaga: Critical Mass Fashion by Lizzy Goodman. A look at why it's time to stop paying attention to Lady Gaga. What happens when musicians smash the metronome of developmental time and the prison-house of language? The puritans among us would like to declare that the great God Pan is dead but he is not and his music lives on. What is it about music that gets true believers so hot and bothered? From Vice, a special issue on anti-music. The music industry's new business model: Thanks to web streaming and MP3 players, album sales are in freefall — but bands shouldn't panic. Two of Us: Joshua Wolf Shenk goes inside the Lennon/McCartney connection. Ain't that a shame: Four biographies of rock'n'roll greats try to place music legend in the world of documentable fact. A review of The Music Instinct: How Music Works and Why We Can’t Do Without It by Philip Ball. Not fade away: Should music end abruptly or fade out?