From ProPublica, what effect, if any, did voter ID laws have on the election? Suevon Lee investigates. From National Review, Ramesh Ponnuru on the Republican Party’s problem. Denialists, whiners, and wackjobs: Paul Begala on how there’s more than one way to be a Republican. Martin W. Lewis on the Republican postmodern turn, Silicon Valley, and California’s political transformation (and more on the 2012 election). Adam Hefty on a review of progressive third parties in U.S. elections. Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Joe R. Feagin, Enid Logan, and Josh Pacewicz on the social significance of Barack Obama, revisited. When the nerds go marching in: Alexis Madrigal on how a dream team of engineers from Facebook, Twitter, and Google built the software that drove Barack Obama's reelection. Unlike Ike, Obama is a Hofstadterish intellectual who takes ideas very seriously as a person if not necessarily in his day job. Welcome to the Obama Haters Book Club — a parallel universe of fear mongering for fun and profit. The search for serious literary fiction for Republicans — what else is there, beyond Atlas Shrugged? After the 2012 election, what's next for Ayn Rand? Assume joke dead: Why is the political class so obsessed with being funny? Alex Pareene wants to know.

Hernando Zuleta (Rosario) and Maria Draganova (AUBG): The Sadness of Bulgaria. James Michael Goodwin (Maryland): The Anal Voice. From The Awl, Jane Hu on a complete history of gerbiling so far. From TNR, Jed Perl on the curse of Warholism. Elizabeth Day on Thomas Quick, the Swedish serial killer who never was. A review of Think-Tanks, Social Democracy and Social Policy by Hartwig Pautz. Matt Taibbi on one interesting thing about Paula Broadwell's Petraeus biography. Sheelah Kolhatkar and Diane Brady on Jack Welch's unretirement. Disconnected port: Britta Soderqvist on recycling Gothenburg's maritime heritage. Sweden's waste-fueled power grid is so efficient it's run out of fuel; there's cash to be made importing rubbish — and a chance for organised crime to muscle in. Learning to love volatility: In a world that constantly throws big, unexpected events our way, we must learn to benefit from disorder, writes Nassim Nicholas Taleb. David Runciman reviews Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don't Understand by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Ah yes, another Bigfoot story — and they get picked up by mainstream media.

From The Philosophical Forum, some people feel threatened by the thought that life might have arisen by chance — what is it about “chance” that some people find so threatening? Brooke Alan Trisel on intended and unintended life. From Scientific American, scientists probe human nature — and discover we are good, after all; and shine on you crazy diamond: S.E. Gould on why humans are carbon-based lifeforms. ENCODE: Ed Yong on a rough guide to the human genome. A scientific team sequences 1,092 human genomes to determine standard range of human genetic variation. Malicia Rogue on the genetic fatality of what you are. Not be so identical after all: Even though identical twins supposedly share all of their DNA, they acquire hundreds of genetic changes early in development that could set them on different paths. Do we want “genetically modified children”? Yes, of course! David Wood on the future of human enhancement. Suppose you think that reducing the risk of human extinction is the highest-value thing you can do, and suppose also that you think AI is the most pressing x-risk, in that case, what should you do?

Raphael Cohen-Almagor (Hull): The Failed Palestinian–Israeli Peace Process 1993-2011: An Israeli Perspective. From the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, the entry on republicanism by Cecile Laborde. From Jacobin, Seth Ackerman on the Twinkie defense, or what does “uncompetitive” mean? The introduction to Beyond Pure Reason: Ferdinand de Saussure’s Philosophy of Language and Its Early Romantic Antecedents by Boris Gasparov. Don’t isolate Ukraine, and watch those neo-fascists. From The Weekly Standard, Sam Schulman on the world’s dumbest conservatives: How to turn a successful majority coalition into a perpetual election-losing machine. Susan F. Martin reviews Foreign Relations: American Immigration in Global Perspective by Donna R Gabaccia. Frank Jacobs on maps as war by other means. A lot of people take their college ball very seriously; one long-standing rivalry was even the subject of two controversial map bunnies. Sarah Kliff on how millions will qualify for new options under the health care law — and most have no idea. Who would win in a rap battle, Adolf Hitler or Darth Vader?

Sohail Inayatullah (Tamkang): Using Macrohistory to Analyze the Alternative Futures of the Arab Spring. Anita Breuer (GDI): The Role of Social Media in Mobilizing Political Protest: Evidence from the Tunisian Revolution. Ahmed Abdel Azim ElShiekh (Alexandria): Between the Signifier and the Signified Falls the Signification: Reflections on the Use of Political Terms in the Egyptian 2011 Events. Ozan O. Varol (Lewis and Clark): The Military as the Guardian of Constitutional Democracy. Younes Abouyoub reviews Food, Farming and Freedom: Sowing the Arab Spring by Rami Zurayk. Power without responsibility: Mokhtar Benabdallaoui on why monarchies weathered the Arab Spring. Patrick Cockburn reviews The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East by Marc Lynch. How a Salafi preacher came for my soul: Graeme Wood on the far-reaching ambitions of Egypt’s rising Islamists. Beware the tyranny of the mob: The growing insecurity of religious and ethnic minorities is one of the biggest problems arising from the Arab Spring — but much can be done to protect them. Luke McDonagh reviews After the Spring: Economic Transitions in the Arab World.