From the beginnings of modern fantasy, in the work of Tolkien, technology has always been the enemy of the good life — but does it have to be that way? Why gadgets are great for introverts: Critics argue that wireless communication is a poor substitute for social interaction, but our wired world gives voice to the quieter half of the population. How to be a genius: Sam Biddle on Apple’s secret employee training manual. Building an army of you: You could soon exist in a thousand places at once — so what would you all do and what would it be like to meet a digital you? According to David “Doc” Searls, author of The Intention Economy: When Customers Take Charge, big data may be a waste of money. Dreadlocked virtual reality/motion-sensor technology pioneer, octopus enthusiast, and master of a wide array of rare indigenous musical instruments Jaron Lanier is concerned about conformity. From Wired, is the story of Steve Jobs an inspiration or a cautionary tale? The accidental history of the @ symbol: Once a rarely used key on the typewriter, the graceful character has become the very symbol of modern electronic communication.

Charles Courtemanche (Georgia State) and Daniela Zapata (UNC-Greensboro): Does Universal Coverage Improve Health? The Massachusetts Experience. From BusinessWeek, Cam Simpson on the deadly tin inside your smartphone; and Mark Oppenheimer on the rise of the corporate chaplain. Art for politics' sake: Corinne Segal interviews Claire Bishop, author of Artificial Hells, on whether participatory art is being used to cover up, rather than engage, social and political problems. From Liberty, Russell Hasan on prostitution and coercion. Throwaway culture: Rick Poynor on why the visual world is in love with waste. A review of Neo-liberalisme(s): Une Archeologie Intellectuelle by Serge Audier. Noam Scheiber on how the gold standard is nuts — and perfect for today’s GOP (and more). Kelly Servick on Louis de Jaucourt, an unsung hero of the proto-wiki.

Richard Bellamy (UCL): The Inevitability of a Democratic Deficit. From Interdisciplinary Political Studies, a special issue on Europe. From New Left Review, Michel Aglietta on the European vortex. From Monthly Review, Samir Amin on the implosion of the European system. What happened to Europe? Amartya Sen on democracy and the decisions of bankers. Scott McLemee reviews The Crisis of the European Union: A Response by Jurgen Habermas. Peter Bofinger, Jurgen Habermas, and Julian Nida-Rumelin on how only deeper European unification can save the eurozone. The introduction to Reforming the European Union: Realizing the Impossible by Daniel Finke, Thomas Konig, Sven-Oliver Proksch and George Tsebelis. From Foreign Affairs, C. Fred Bergsten on why the euro will survive. European leaders who think closer integration will fix the euro crisis rarely use the word "federalism", but why not? An interview with Andre Glucksmann on the failure of European intellectuals and why pursuing a United States of Europe is "the wrong goal". What would Ayn Rand do about the euro crisis?

Gerald Beller (West Virginia State): Hannah Arendt's Theory of Action and the Response to Moral Atrocity in the Contemporary World. From Geocurrents, Martin W. Lewis on the assault on historical linguistics and on Quentin Atkinson’s nonsensical maps of Indo-European expansion. Good news for ladies who like the woods — your period is (probably) not something that attracts (most) bears. How does the Romney-Ryan ticket fit into the "Teavangelical Utopia" timeline? Rachel Giese on the burden of living healthy: Taking responsibility for one's health is exceptionally difficult — and has a lot to do with class. Facebook blame-game: Who’s at fault for its IPO debacle? will pay people to post videos of themselves having real sex. Bob Woodward’s The Price of Politics reveals how the debt deal collapse led to “pure fury” from President Obama.

Alan Finlayson (East Anglia): Rhetoric and the Political Theory of Ideologies. Jonathan Haidt (Virginia) et al: Liberals Think More Analytically (More “Weird”) than Conservatives. From The Weekly Standard, the new phrenology: Andrew Ferguson on how liberal psychopundits understand the conservative brain. John Gray on the trouble with freedom: When a tyrant is toppled, we can't know what will come next. From the forthcoming Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Political Thought, here is the entry on “Ideology” by Fred Eidlin. Steve Fuller on the future of ideological conflict. How will the future change your politics? Whatever your values are, there is a chance that you may soon be arguing for the opposite of your usual policies. The psychology of truthiness: New research finds our moral convictions strongly influence what facts we choose to believe regarding a given issue. Sheldon Richman on individualism, collectivism, and other murky labels. From The Jury Room, politics and prejudice? Nope — it’s about ideology. A review of The Power of Ideology: From the Roman Empire to Al-Qaeda by Alex Roberto Hybel.