Javaid Rehman and Eleni Polymenopoulou (Brunel): Is Green a Part of the Rainbow? Sharia, Homosexuality and LGBT Rights in the Muslim World. Roland Hodler (Bern): The Political Economics of the Arab Spring. M. Shahid Ebrahim and Seema Makhdoomi (Bangor) and Mustapha Sheikh (Leeds): The Political Economy and the Perennial Underdevelopment of the Muslim World. The IMF releases its Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia. From NYRB, will Saudi Arabia ever change? A review essay by Hugh Eakin. Paul Berman on Boualem Sansal’s Rue Darwin, or Darwin Street, the novel that frightened Hamas and the Arab League. Decline is not a river in Egypt: Why does the Arab world still think America is all-powerful? Justice in the Arab world: Transitional justice expert David Tolbert details the challenges facing newly democratic countries in the region. Jo Tatchell on the allure of desert nations. Islamist vs. secularists: Daniel Steinvorth on the post-revolution struggle for the Arab soul. A series of entries of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Islamic Political Thought. Order and conformity make for satisfying number puzzles, but eerie countries — welcome, Daniel Tammet, to Oman. Here is the page on the Arabic language.

From TripleC: Cognition, Communication, Co-operation, a special issue on the difference that makes a difference, including Wolfgang Hofkirchner (TU Vienna): Emergent Information: When a Difference Makes a Difference; Jose M. Diaz Nafria and Rainer E. Zimmermann (HMUS): Emergence and Evolution of Meaning; Syed Mustafa Ali (Open): Race: The Difference That Makes a Difference; and Jan Sliwa (BUAS): Do We Need a Global Brain? From New York, a special issue on Reasons to Love New York 2012. From Aeon, Roger Scruton on the great swindle: From pickled sharks to compositions in silence, fake ideas and fake emotions have elbowed out truth and beauty; and going to an art gallery is like going to church — a spiritual experience; but what makes a painting worthy of veneration? Mindy C. Reiser reviews What Are You Looking At? The Surprising, Shocking and Sometimes Strange Story of 150 Years of Modern Art by Will Gomper. Professor and poet Paul Stephens turns to technology explosions past — think typewriters, gramophones, and radios — to map the modern intersections of information and art. A.W. Purdue reviews The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die by Niall Ferguson.

Veit Bader (Amsterdam): Post-Secularism or Liberal-Democratic Constitutionalism? Avihay Dorfman (Tel Aviv): Freedom from Religion. John Gray reviews Why Tolerate Religion? by Brian Leiter (and more). From The American Scholar, Robert Ingersoll, the Great Agnostic, inspired late-19th-century Americans to uphold the founders’ belief in separation of church and state. From Comment, "render unto Caesar": How did Jesus's words and actions about the kingdom of God define and shape the apostolic response to the Roman empire?; and Paul Brink on a vision of politics in which Christianity and liberalism have both been disestablished. From Geez, Mark Van Steenwyk on how Christo-anarchism is not a belief but a move toward non-domination; and Nekeisha Alexis-Baker on Jesus Radicals, reflection from a co-founder. Russell DiSilvestro reviews Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization by Charles C. Camosy. From Political Theology, the Two Kingdoms: Brad Littlejohn on a guide for the perplexed (in 6 parts); and a review of books on political theology. Southern slavery as it was: Adam Lee on the Bible as engine of extremism (and part 2).

Stephen Patrick Cain Anderson (Penn State): The Constitutionality of Grover Norquist's Tax Pledge. Manuel Worsdorfer (Frankfurt): Walter Eucken on Patent Laws: Are Patents Just “Nonsense upon Stilts”? From HiLobrow, a series on Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen. How Anonymous got political: Quinn Norton looks behind the mask of the hacker network, charting its evolution into a global activist force. Chaim Gans reviews Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism by Judith Butler. What can topic models of PMLA teach us about the history of literary scholarship? David Petraeus turned out to be far less righteous than his saintly image; so did Lance Armstrong; and Joe Paterno; and Greg Mortenson — what explains America’s insistence on worshipping false idols? From Berfrois, Jeremy Fernando on Raging Bull, Running Bear — dedicated to Hannes Charen and all at the Journal for Occupied Studies. The Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan last year was no accident, says Richard Broinowski in Fallout from Fukushima. Tom Slee reviews Steven Johnson's Future Perfect: The Case for Progress in a Networked Age.

From New Geography, we hear a lot of talk these days about so-called “global cities” — but what is a global city? Nick Holdstock interviews Saskia Sassen, author of Cities in a World Economy. The creative class to the rescue of cities? Denis Eckert, Michel Grossetti and Helene Martin-Brelot on how developing education and infrastructures that can serve the population as a whole may be a much more productive strategy. Robert J. Sampson reviews The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City by Alan Ehrenhalt. Can cities be "resilient" and "sustainable" at the same time? The urban areas of the next 100 years will have to be both — but that’s tricky. David Madden reviews The Transatlantic Collapse of Urban Renewal: Postwar Urbanism from New York to Berlin by Christopher Klemek. Whither urban studies? Andy Merrifield wonders. The new ruralism: Paula Cocozza on how the pastoral idyll is taking over our cities. Strange, beautiful and unexpected: Betsy Mason on planned cities seen from space. Can architects create a new neighborhood of skyscrapers in New York? Dave Schilling on why gentrification is only bad if you’re poor.