Why Dubai matters: Sure, it will pay a hefty price for its debt woes, but the city-state's open economy has attracted legions of foreign investors and serves as a model for its Gulf neighbors (and more). Dubai, the brashest of the seven emirates, is facing something of a midlife crisis  — but can the dream be reinvented? Daniel Gross on why the world is overreacting to the Dubai crisis. From The American, what Dubai can learn from Vegas: Sin City and the Sheikhs’ playground on the creek have many similarities, but the differences are worth considering and may indicate how each may weather the global economic peril; and a warning from the desert with more to come: Dubai is but one of many ticking economic time bombs likely to explode. Letter from Dubai: The glitzy, puffed-up peacock of the Middle East is imploding — don’t gloat. Chris Lehmann on how Dubai, $80 billion in debt, is sliding into the sea. The sand settles over the stand-alone facades that advertise Dubai’s formerly burgeoning suburban developments. Dubai's technologically and aesthetically dazzling metro has already upset this rich Emirate’s rigid social hierarchy. Why did Abu Dhabi bail out Dubai World? Though they are kinsmen, they also are rivals — in return for its $10 billion bailout, Abu Dhabi may seek more control over Dubai (and more). A review of Abu Dhabi: Oil and Beyond by Christopher Davidson.

From Scientific American, an in-depth reports on the Internet at 40. Has the Internet brought us together or driven us apart? Johann Hari investigates. The decade Google made you stupid: Douglas Rushkoff on Internet-driven ADD, virtual-reality delusions, and how computers changed how you think. From NYRB, Robert Darnton on Google and the new digital future. A review of Inside Larry and Sergey's Brain by Richard L. Brandt. More and more and more and more and more on Googled: The End of the World As We Know It by Ken Auletta. Eric Schmidt on how Google can help newspapers: Video didn't kill the radio star, and the Internet won't destroy news organizations — it will foster a new, digital business model. Google’s Earth: How a search-engine startup became a global powerhouse — and why you should be worried about it. The New Good Guys: Murdoch and Microsoft are on the right side against the Google (and more and more). An analysis of Wikipedia entries reveals the world's knowledge deserts, which may provide a second wave of activity for the online encyclopedia. Is Wikipedia dying?: The world's fifth-most-popular website relies almost entirely on volunteer labor — and the volunteers are quitting. Nicholas Ciarelli on the myth of Wikipedia democracy. Leif Harmsen isn't just anti-Facebook — he's so against the social networking site, the gay artist has created a "Shut Your Facebook" T-shirt line just to drive the point home. Finding old versions of web pages could become far simpler thanks to a "time-travelling" web browsing technology.

Alex Rosenberg (Duke): The Disenchanted Naturalist’s Guide To Reality. From Popular Mechanics, a look at how plane crash forensics lead to safer aviation. An interview with legendary magazine designer George Lois. Even hard-core skeptics can't help but find sympathy in the fabric of the universe — and occasionally try to pull its strings. Paul Krugman on Paul Samuelson, the incomparable economist (and more and more). Who you calling a "midget"? Little people take a stand against the offensive word — and a world that thinks it's OK to mock them. A review of Clark Clifford: The Wise Man of Washington by John Acacia. Here are 7 insane true stories behind the world's most WTF houses. Read Local: As the broader publishing world flounders, alternative presses are turning to their communities for support. How small nations were cut adrift: After the Great Recession, the economic and political tide has turned against small nations; it is Iceland, Ireland and the three Baltic states that have fared worst. A look at cunning ways public radio stations convince you to give them money. Here are some of the toys from recent decades that have caused crazes —  and others that in retrospect seem just plain crazy. A review of The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History by Gregory Zuckerman. From n+1, a review of Caleb Crain's The Wreck of the Henry Clay. Edward O'Donnell writes in praise of “Happy Holidays”. Right-wing talkers go for the gold: James Grant mourns the loss of his beloved classical gold standard and says paper money has had its day.

From the Holmes Lecture series at Harvard Law School, Jeremy Waldron (NYU): Why Call Hate Speech Group Libel?; Libel and Legitimacy; and What Does a Well-Ordered Society Look Like? How could disappointment in one's country inspire increased loyalty? The first chapter from Liberal Loyalty: Freedom, Obligation, and the State by Anna Stilz. Liberalism does not imply democracy: Jeremy Gilbert debates Rosemary Bechler. Robert Talisse (Vanderbilt): Can Liberals Take Their Own Side in an Argument?; and the introduction to Democracy and Moral Conflict by Robert Talisse (and more). A review of Democracy Kills: What's So Good About the Vote? by Humphrey Hawksley. A review of The Life and Death of Democracy by John Keane (and more). The first chapter from Philosophy, Politics, Democracy by Joshua Cohen. From The Nation, a review of Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do? by Michael Sandel (and more and more and more and more) and The Idea of Justice by Amartya Sen (and more at Carnegie Council and more from TNR). Rawlsian Relay: Amartya Sen declares the Ideal State useless — but four months on, its resilience as an idea begins to intrigue. The echo of Judith Shklar's Ordinary Vices can hardly be measured in terms of high-impact journal articles, yet impact there certainly was. The first chapter from On Compromise and Rotten Compromises by Avishai Margalit (and more). A review of Toward a Humanist Justice: The Political Philosophy of Susan Moller Okin. Don't look to economists to get us out of this hollow mould of neoliberal economics and managerialism; we need to be looking to political philosophy.