Wadie E. Said (South Carolina): The Terrorist Informant. A decade after White House aide Richard Clarke’s famous memo warning against al-Qaeda, it’s time for a reality check: the 9/11 attacks did not achieve what Osama bin Laden had hoped, and the list of his enemies is growing. A review of How Terrorism Ends: Understanding the Decline and Demise of Terrorist Campaigns by Audrey Kurth Cronin. Isolation and engagement: An article on terrorism and American Muslims. Looking at the math behind profiling meant to nab terrorists, William Press realized it may be less effective than purely random sampling. A review of Driven to Death: Psychological and Social Aspects of Suicide Terrorism by Ariel Merari. Talk to terrorists: Thanassis Cambanis on how negotiating will make us stronger. The terrorist search engine: Is Evan Kohlmann qualified to be the government’s expert witness for terrorism cases? The truth about suicide bombers: Are they religious fanatics? Deluded ideologues? New research suggests something more mundane — they just want to commit suicide. A new case in Oregon reignites concerns over how the government catches terrorists. The Physics of Terror: Aaron Clauset thinks he’s found mathematical patterns that can help governments prevent and prepare for major terror attacks. The next Congress will see terror in everything. An expert cites laws of physics to pull the plug on worries that a terrorist attack on a minor substation could bring down the entire US electric grid.

From Vanity Fair, how did Mark Weinberger go from esteemed surgeon to fugitive, accused of mutilating patients to enrich himself? An interview with Eric Metaxas, author of Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Science fiction set the groundwork for our current century, but is it on the decline? Margaret McMillan on how the war to end all wars is finally over: The treaty after the “War to End All Wars” didn’t start the next one. The Stunt Man: Can CollegeHumor’s Ricky Van Veen turn viral funny into the future of TV? Three recently published books bring the realities of Egypt's long history into sharp focus, tackling neatly defined periods from the Predynastic age to the present. Mark Thoma on how a smarter bailout could have shortened the recession. As technology colonises every area of our lives so nerds are the emperors; once the "outcast underdogs", they are, in fact, "the new bullies". Jaron Lanier on the hazards of nerd supremacy and the case of WikiLeaks. Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the US is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators. A review of America's War on Christianity by Brad O'Leary. In order to forgive others, victims must put aside revenge — but what are the other conditions of true forgiveness? A look at 5 typical acts of politeness that are inefficient and should be banned.

Why do Americans claim to be more religious than they are? Fading Faith: James Haught on America’s secular shift. Taking his stand: An interview with Michael Hill of The League of The South. Karen L. Cox on her book Dreaming of Dixie: How the South Was Created in American Popular Culture. If at first you don't secede, try, try again: Why this newfound fervor for all things Confederate is dangerous for America. Of course the Civil War was about slavery: Concrete concerns about saving and expanding slavery, and not the nebulous theology of states’ rights, ignited the U.S. Civil War — why does that message keep getting lost? (and more) The Road from Secession to Sumter: The New York Times has a series called Disunion, which revisits and reconsiders the perilous period when Americans went to war with themselves. An article on the top 12 Civil War books ever written. By constantly invoking American exceptionalism, are U.S. conservatives actually serving to make America less exceptional? An article on the myth of American Dream; Or how we learned to stop worrying and love plastic — surgery and money. Philip K. Howard on how America is choking on laws of our own making. An interview with Alfred McCoy, convener of the global “Empires in Transition” project, on four scenarios for the coming collapse of the American Empire (and part 2). How to keep track of our crumbling empire? Let's put occupied countries on our coins.

Barbara Flagg (WUSTL): "And Grace Will Lead Me Home": The Case for Judicial Race Activism. A real science of mind: Why advances in perceptual psychology, not neuroscience, should be grabbing headlines. Ascension Island is a remote, volcanic island that Darwin, Hooker, and the Royal Navy shaped into a thriving, artificial ecosystem. A look at the dinosaur fossils that changed everything. The world's best living travel writer: Read John Gimlette and you'll want to go wherever he's talking about — even frozen, rocky Newfoundland. More on Matt Taibbi's Griftopia. Dog training philosophies go in cycles — is today's lenient phase coming to an end? From Foreign Policy, an article on nuclear blast zones, floating landfills, volcanic moonscapes, and other must-visit destinations for the disaster tourist. Stefany Anne Golberg on the existential dilemma of bedbugs. Constitutional scripture may be an effective counterpoint to religious scripture: Ran Hirschl on his book Constitutional Theocracy. Some crime victims find their only real healing comes from a face-to-face meeting with the criminals who hurt them — can research into this counterintuitive process help more victims regain control of their lives? Marc Abrahams on Jesus’s IQ, calculated by Bob. Rethinking Innovation: What’s the difference between new ideas that are good and those that are merely novel? David Roberts on the top five stories of the year for climate hawks.

Leigh Michael Harrison (UWO): Factory Music: How the Industrial Geography and Working-class Environment of Post-war Birmingham Fostered the Birth of Heavy Metal. From Maisonneuve, who gets to be part of the pop music canon? Temporal warp, the brain and music: Michael Pulsford on music as an act of recovery. From Wired, Brian Raftery on how two outcast rappers built an insane clown empire. Is music for wooing, mothering, bonding — or is it just "auditory cheesecake"? Older than civilization, music fosters communication, wellness, and bonding across all cultures, but where it comes from is disputed. In the supposedly benighted music business, a lot of things are making money. Eric Lyttle on the death of smooth jazz: Who will mourn its passing? When Rock 'n' Roll Jesus met Rock 'n' Roll Buddha: What happens when Kid Rock ducks into the studio with producing god Rick Rubin? A review of The Big Payback: The History of the Business of Hip-hop by Dan Charnas. Why do we hate modern classical music? Avant garde art and architecture are loved, but in music we cling to the past; forty years after their deaths, Hendrix and Joplin now seem part of the mainstream culture they rebelled against. Murder Music: Jamaica’s dancehall music is being blamed for the country’s violent attacks on gays, but there are many who don’t see the music as homophobic, only the battle cry of a changing nation (and part 2). Where does sad music get its sadness from and whom should you ask, a composer or a cognitive psychologist?

From ISR, a review of Lenin’s Political Thought: Theory and Practice in the Democratic and Socialist Movement by Neil Harding; and what do socialists say about democracy? Socialists are for the fullest democracy, whereas capitalism curtails it. From First Things, Elizabeth Scalia on why Marxism always fails. Jiri Pehe and Benedict Seymour debate Marxism: Radical alternative or totalitarian relic? A review of Marx at the Margins: On Nationalism, Ethnicity and Non-Western Societies by Kevin Anderson. You might be a Marxist if you’re class conscious. A review of books by Alex Callinicos on imperialism. The Bolivian Road to Socialism: Mike Geddes argues we can learn from the Bolivian experiences of working in and against the state. From Social Europe Journal, how to answer populism? Robin Wilson discuss how the Left should (not) react to political populism; and Michael Lind on republican liberty and the future of the centre-left. Social democracy is at death's door, writes John Kearne, but an alternative may be emerging. Instead of concurring with the stance of the overall rejection of formal institutions, Nigel Thrift poses the question of “how one can rework institutions and their work ethic in order for them to be appropriate to our times”. A review of Envisioning Real Utopias by Erik Olin Wright. An interview with John Bake, author of Arguing for Equality and co-author of Equality: From Theory to Action.

Daron Acemoglu (MIT), Georgy Egorov (Northwestern), and Konstantin Sonin (CEPR): A Political Theory of Populism. Mathias O. Royce (SMC): The Rise and Propagation of Political Right-Wing Extremism: The Identification and Assessment of Common Sovereign Economic and Socio-Demographic Determinants. From Edge, who gets to keep secrets? The question of secrecy in the information age is clearly a deep social (and mathematical) problem, and well worth paying attention to. Kathryn Schulz on 2010: The year in mistakes. Five years in, gauging impact of Gates grants. Putting the "American business model" in its place: The key to understanding why market economies have outperformed planned societies is not recognition of the ubiquity of greed, but understanding of the power of disciplined pluralism. A review of The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives by Gilbert Achcar. Cartoonist Darryl Cunningham investigates climate change. The deep pain of awkward silences: Remarks that stop the conversation cold at social gatherings can instantly elicit deep-seated feelings of exclusion. From NYRB, Ahmed Rashid on the way out of Afghanistan. The American Wikileaks Hacker: Jacob Appelbaum fight repressive regimes around the world — including his own. Rachel Botsman says we're "wired to share" — and shows how websites like Zipcar and Swaptree are changing the rules of human behavior.

Denis Dutton, the author, philosopher, and founding editor of the pioneering web digest Arts & Letters Daily, is dead at age 66.

A new issue of Military Review is out. A new issue of Strategic Studies Quarterly is out. The U.S. Navy has created the world's most powerful cannon, which can fire a 23 pound bullet at seven times the speed of sound — should we cheer this futuristic "railgun"? War Nerd Gary Brecher on the Army’s new shoulder-fired cannon, the XM-25: Gee whiz, how can we be losing with such cool stuff? The big (military) taboo: When the U.S. spends almost as much on arms as every other country in the world combined, we’re overinvesting in our military. What Ike got right: Why his warning against the military-industrial complex still matters (and more). The all-volunteer military has developed into an American version of the French Foreign Legion; a national draft, with a cross-section of all Americans serving, would force leaders to think harder about fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan or elsewhere. You can go strangle yourself with that yellow ribbon, or, here is what I want you to do instead of shaking my hand. How the Pentagon turns working-class men into the deadliest killers on the planet: A book salon on War Is a Lie by David Swanson. Citizen Terrorist: Peter H. Schuck on when Americans wage war on the United States. From Military History, a look at 10 battles that shaped America. The Institute of Heraldry, which allows the secretary of the Army to provide heraldic services to all agencies within the federal government, celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Caroline E. Reid (EKU), C. Kamper Floyd (USM) and Valerie Bryan (South Alabama): Social Work, Morally Relevant Properties, and Paternalism: Why Social Workers Need to Know Moral Theory. From New York, for decades, Martin Peretz taught at Harvard and presided over The New Republic — a fierce, if controversial, lion among American intellectuals and Zionists; now, having been labeled a bigot, taunted at his alma mater, and stripped of his magazine, he has found peace in a place where there is little, Israel; and on the trouble with liberty: Libertarians, of both left and right, haven’t been this close to power since 1776 — but do we want to live in their world? The Economist on the rise of the supermarket rag. Chris Lehmann on the Roberts Court: Five easy pro-business terms. The Bible Bee: With enormous cash prizes and endorsements from celebrities like Kirk Cameron, scripture contests are moving out of the church basement and into the limelight. TAP talks to an earmark defender. If robots could talk, would they signal where the food is? Victor Mair first encountered the Bronze Age mummies of China’s Tarim Basin 23 years ago; he and others have been trying to figure out what those people were doing there ever since. Do psychologists make better novelists? What happened when one researcher applied his powers of human understanding to the literary form. A look at 5 reasons why anticonformity is worse than conformity.

Jonathan Zittrain (Harvard): Net Neutrality as Diplomacy. Long Live the Web: Tim Berners-Lee on a call for continued open standards and neutrality. Bruce Gottlieb on net neutrality and the academics who love it (and more and more and more on Tim Wu's The Master Switch). Tech-Tock: Why it’s time to put an end to the net-neutrality debate. New net neutrality rules may allow Obama to claim his campaign pledge on fostering an open internet, but they did little to appease foes, or supporters. From Slate, whose Internet is it, anyway? The FCC's new "net neutrality" rules only muddle the picture; and if the FCC had regulated the Internet: Jack Shafer on a counterfactual history of cyberspace. Routing it right: The survival of the internet’s governing body has come at a price. Jeff Jarvis attacks Germany for fostering Internet privacy. If you want Web privacy, stop being such a freeloader — pay for it. As spammers find their e-mails blocked, they are trying other tactics — expect no respite. Reclaim the cyber-commons: The internet is being captured by organised trolls — it’s time we fought back. Are right-wing libertarian Internet trolls getting paid to dumb down online conversations? Why the kids don't blog and grandma's on Facebook. Blogging peaks, but reports of its death are exaggerated. Matt Yglesias discusses the importance of blogging. An article on the future according to Tim O'Reilly.