Carl Stempel (CSU-East Bay), Thomas Hargrove (Scripps), and Guido H. Stempel III (Ohio): Media Use, Social Structure, and Belief in 9/11 Conspiracy Theories. Night of the census taker: Obama is sending his minions to your house — the deep history of a conspiracy theory. Can you say irony? Glenn Beck offers insight into conspiracy theories. From Miller-McCune, a review of Denying AIDS: Conspiracy Theories, Pseudoscience, and Human Tragedy by Seth Kalichman. The Internet ate my nephew: He's a smart kid but he's fallen for a crazy conspiracy site. Of jock straps and conspiracy theories: Lacking control increases illusory pattern perception. One man's rumor is another man's reality: Dispelling conspiracy theories and untruths can be difficult when people only hear what they already believe. Conspiracy theorists have used the internet to co-ordinate increasingly slick attacks on the accepted versions of events, but now a group of scientists and sceptics has decided it's time to organise and fight back. From Cosmos, from crop circles and alien abductions to faith healers, many secretly believe in strange phenomena — and it has more to do with human psychology than with reality; and from wild speculation in financial markets to believing that aliens are visiting us, humans are prone to all sorts of personal and mass delusions — and have been for centuries. A review of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay. A review of The Masonic Myth: Unlocking the Truth About the Symbols, the Secret Rites, and the History of Freemasonry by Jay Kinney. Here are 5 myths that people don't realize are admitted hoaxes.

Tiger by the tail: The golf legend and symbol of cultural harmony crashes and burns — maybe we're all better off for it. During an international meeting of left parties held in Caracas from 19-21 November, 2009, Hugo Chavez launched a call for a Fifth Socialist International which, according to him, should bring together left parties and social movements. Leon Wieseltier on the best reason to get circumcised. The End of the 2000s: Andy Serwer says goodbye to a decade from Hell. New Scientist profiles P. Z. Myers, mild-mannered scourge of creationists. Fed Up: The political movement to curtail the Federal Reserve goes from fringe to mainstream. From The New Yorker, Jill Lepore on the history of health-care reform. Fighting the wrong health care battle: Liberals in Congress should be ready to trade the public option for provisions that will actually make the health reforms succeed. What Facebook can't give you: Over 52 years, these men have evolved into movers and shakers — together. Pathology and Ideology: An article on Nidal Malik Hasan and the case of Leon Czolgosz. Are phony academic conferences the new Nigerian princes of the internet? An economist's invisible hand: Arthur Cecil Pigou, overlooked for decades, provides a guide to the financial crisis. Present-day soapbox for voices of the past (with a Web site): Lewis H. Lapham, the former editor of Harper’s magazine, takes on a new market and business model with his eponymous journal. The murky moral waters of public referenda: The wisdom of crowds has a tendency to reveal its own prejudices.

From the latest issue of Parameters, Gian P. Gentile (USMA): A Strategy of Tactics: Population-centric COIN and the Army; Heather S. Gregg (NPS): Beyond Population Engagement: Understanding Counterinsurgency; and Lincoln B. Krause (NWC): Playing for the Breaks: Insurgent Mistakes. Confessions of an uncertain columnist: Fred Kaplan on his mixed feelings about the war in Afghanistan; and Obama's war begins — but where does it end? (and more) Michael Crowley on how a hollow withdrawal pledge comes into focus. Exit 2011?: Obama wasn't lying to the American people when he said he'd escalate the war, but he's probably not lying about the exit date either. Juan Cole on how good timing made Bush's surge look successful — Obama will probably enjoy no such luck (and more). Obama didn't confront the fundamental questions of the Afghanistan conflict, a move that puts his overall policy at risk. Obama's speech hints at the ultimate strategic importance of Pakistan, rather than Afghanistan. Obama is surging a war to end it. Here are five major options Obama rejected and why. Why we need a war tax: Matthew Yglesias on how this war hits your wallet. Millions of dollars are being pumped into hearts and minds projects from Kabul to Kandahar; trouble is, it's not working — and it might even be making things worse. Karzai's Fall: How did a man once hailed as the savior of Afghanistan become its scourge? The reality of Afghanistan: We will not remake Afghan society nor create a recognizable democracy there. Information is not beautiful: How the Afghanistan dead and wounded numbers stack up.