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?