From Common-place, a special issue on music and meaning in early America. Cherry-picking our history: Sean Wilentz reviews The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. The idea of the Lost Cause itself is an act of shifting historical blame from the evils of chattel slavery to perceived imperial aggression from Yankees. Alan Taylor reviews The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675 by Bernard Bailyn. When prostitution wasn't a crime: Melissa Gira Grant on the fascinating history of sex work in America. Raymond G. Kessler reviews The Founders' Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms by Stephen P. Halbrook. It might be ancient history that the U.S. hired and protected thousands of Nazi war criminals, but there’s no time like the present to right those wrongs.

Gary King (Harvard) and Maya Sen (Rochester): How Social Science Research Can Improve Teaching. From American, was Mancur Olson wrong? The great economist turned political science on its head — but a new book says Olson was off base. Are there any signs that the imperialist era of economics might finally be coming to an end? From PNAS, an article on archaeology as a social science. Anthropology Inc.: Graeme Wood on how companies have started using social scientists to probe the deepest needs, fears, and desires of consumers. Appliance of social science: Joined-up thinking across theory and practice could revolutionise our public services, says Jonathan Shepherd. Why study social science? John Sides answers. Why we do what we do: A letter from Sara Miller McCune, founder of the Miller-McCune Center and Pacific Standard.

Katherine Guthrie (William and Mary) and Jan Sokolowsky (Michigan): Utility - Discontentment = Happiness. From Stanford Social Innovation Review, a special 10th Anniversary issue includes essays on how the field of social innovation has evolved and what challenges remain ahead. Robert Henderson reviews The Significance of Borders: Why Representative Government and the Rule of Law Require Nation States by Thierry Baudet. Susan Cheever on the case for closing liquor stores. Should striving ever stop? Cass Sunstein reviews On Settling by Robert Goodin. What are we to make of the impact of the detritus of love denied, when happily ever after eludes us? The invisible hand does not exist: David Sloan Wilson on how a return to the original texts of Adam Smith and a look at the theory of evolution can help us craft a better metaphor for how markets actually function.

From Technology Review, welcome to the Malware-Industrial Complex: The U.S. government is developing new computer weapons and driving a black market in “zero-day” bugs — the result could be a more dangerous Web for everyone. Adam Fish on the Internet: Who built that? The US calls loudly for “Internet freedom”, but it is Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon that have built up the dotcom services used by people all over the world. Muzzled by the bots: Intermediaries online are more powerful, and more subtle, than ever before. Redesigning Google: How Larry Page engineered a beautiful revolution. Google’s impossible plan to fix our broken world: Self-driving cars and a better shopping experience will not mend our messy human imperfections. Nassim Taleb on being aware of the big errors of “Big Data”. David Gelernter on the end of the web, search, and computer as we know it.

Christina Lefevre-Gonzalez (Colorado): Restoring Historical Understandings of the “Public Interest” Standard of American Broadcasting: An Exploration of the Fairness Doctrine. Brad Plumer on how Americans still don’t want to cut any actual government programs. Nazis in the Amazon Revisited: Felipe Fernandes Cruz on the power of rumor and gossip. Is poverty in our genes? A critique of Ashraf and Galor, “The ‘Out of Africa’ Hypothesis, HumanGenetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development”, forthcoming in American Economic Review. One of the hardest things for us to remember about Stalinism is that, as well as being a system of horrors, it also represented modernity, and social mobility, and opportunity for lots of people. Stop demonizing preppers: There's more to this subculture than the media stereotypes suggest.

From e-flux, Keti Chukhrov on epistemological gaps between the former Soviet East and the “Democratic” West. Gerald M. Easter on his book Capital, Coercion, and Postcommunist States. Did Chernobyl cause the Soviet Union to explode? Mark Joseph Stern on the nuclear theory of the fall of the USSR. Vladimir Kara-Murza reviews The Next Generation in Russia, Ukraine, and Azerbaijan: Youth, Politics, Identity, and Change by Nadia M. Diuk. Authorities in Uzbekistan continue to dismantle Soviet past. Freedom House finds Eurasia region now “worst in the world” in political rights. Tania Raffass on her book The Soviet Union: Federation or Empire? The post-Soviet twilight: Bruce P. Jackson on the stubborn political culture of Russia and the Ukraine. Patrick Slaney interviews Audra Wolfe, author of Competing with the Soviets: Science, Technology, and the State in Cold War America.

Gunther Teubner (Frankfurt): The Law Before It Is Law: Franz Kafka and the (Im)possibility of the Law’s Self-Reflection. Joshua Prager traces the life of Norma McCorvey, “Jane Roe” of Roe v. Wade, and why she’d favor an abortion ban. From TNR, why do we keep anointing "it" cities? Chuck Thompson wants to know. John Banville reviews The Silence of Animals: On Progress and Other Modern Myths by John Gray (and more and more). Janet Yellen explains our crummy recovery in three charts. The House of Pain: Ryan Lizza on Eric Cantor and the Republicans. Peter Frase on post-work: A guide for the perplexed. Is sex necessary? It’s the only reproduction that prepares for the worst. Reliving Groundhog Day: On the 20th anniversary of the beloved Bill Murray comedy, it’s time to recognize it as a profound work of contemporary metaphysics.

From Studia Philosophica Estonica, a special issue on practical realist account of science. It may have been awhile since you wondered, what exactly is a second? But think about it now and the question will nag at you. Are there parallel universes? The answer is "possibly". Stephen Mumford is cool, calm and collected as he broods on the big issues in the metaphysics of science. Is scientific truth always beautiful? David Orrell says the quest for elegance leads too many researchers astray. According to Max Tegmark, it’s not enough to say that math governs our universe; rather, he believes that reality itself is a mathematical structure. Philosophy under attack: Patrick Stokes on Lawrence Krauss and the new denialism. An “embarrassment” to science: Brad Plumer on a simple breakdown of why physicists still can't agree on how to interpret quantum mechanics — and why it matters. What is the purpose of the Universe? Here is one possible answer.

Matt Smith-Lahram interviews Reiland Rabaka, author of Hip Hop’s Amnesia: From Blues and the Black Women’s Club Movement to Rap and the Hip Hop Movement. Brandon Maxwell on hip hop: A free-market history. Anarchy on hip-hop: While it’s clear from their music that some rappers actually get the punk thing, others are clearly posing. A case for the Michael Boltons of this world: If Rap’s opponents could see the value it brings, how it keeps people moving, how it gets them excited, they might not be so quick to dismiss it. Who put the heeb in the hippity hippity hop? For the last nine years, three friends have been making long-format rap songs dedicated to the NBA All-Star Game — is it impolite to ask why? Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” and Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” are wildly popular, signifying either a tremendous cultural victory for hip-hop or the moment when hip-hop has begun to lose its meaning. Adam Tod Brown on 4 classic rap albums that ruined rap music.