Maurice Adams (Tilburg): The Politics of the Belgian Constitution: Can it Be Explained? From IEET, Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian discuss the revolutionary educational system Finland has instituted and the results of that system on the education of their children; and can the world learn from the anarcho-socialist system of Finland? Elektra Kotsoni on how urbanization is swallowing the coastline of the Mediterranean. Alfred A. Reisch on the reception and impact of Western and Polish emigre books and periodicals in Communist-ruled Poland between July 1, 1956 and June 30, 1973. The late bloomer: Michael Sontheimer on the rise, fall and rebirth of Germany's capital. Angelique Chrisafis on Bugarach, the French village that was destined to survive the Mayan apocalypse. Once a route to riches and empire, the sea is now lapping at the future of Venice, as with other great maritime cities. Twenty years after the death of Ceausescu, the Romanian Orthodox Church is everywhere in Romania. Europe’s hard borders: Matthew Carr investigates the brutal border regimes of our “gated continent” and suggests the possibility of a different politics of solidarity.

From Colloquy, a special section on Tights and Tiaras: Female Superheroes and Media Cultures. From Anthropoetics, Andrew Bartlett (Kwantlen): A Minimal Model for Apocalyptic Thinking; Adam Katz (Quinnipiac): The Redemption of Hostages; and Edmond Wright (Cambridge): A Linguistic Source for the Myth of the Summum Bonum, and How It Should Be Played. Blues Cruise: Steaming past Guantanamo, en route to the Cayman Islands, a boatload of Republicans ponder the plight of a party at sea. Modify your dissent: Peter Frase on the rise and fall of The Baffler. Yari Lanci reviews The Spectre of Utopia: Utopian and Science Fictions at the Fin de Siecle by Matthew Beaumont. Kissinger, Kant, and the Syrians in Lebanon: Shlomo Avineri on a nugget of philosophical diplomacy. From Political Theology, Roland Boer on Russian Communist Party’s First Secretary Gennady Zyuganov and religion. From Columbia Journalism Review, a special issue on the Hollywood star-making machinery. In the middle of the expanses of Siberia, it is most interesting to come across monks, all of whom speak Hindi as they have received their Buddhist education in India.

From American Scientist, can a computer program reproduce everything that happens inside a living cell? Brian Hayes investigates. Shine on you crazy diamond: S.E. Gould on why humans are carbon-based lifeforms. From cooling system to thinking machine: Carl Zimmer on the long, strange history of ideas about the brain. The structure of the universe is quite similar to the structure and design of other large, complex networks, like human brains and the Internet, according to a new study. What life wants: Dead matter has no goals of its own, yet life is constantly striving — that makes it a deep puzzle for physics. A new theory may explain the notorious cold fusion experiment from two decades ago, reigniting hopes of a clean-energy breakthrough. Laser beams can tie themselves in knots, just like electrical cords — but what does this tendency to tangle illuminate? The "mathematical tower" Kremsmunster Observatory was an observatory, early skyscraper, and place to reflect on all of nature and the cosmos. The quantification of everything: Vlatko Vedral on books that successfully popularise quantum physics and the science of complex systems.

Nicholas H. Smith (Macquarie): Work as a Sphere of Norms, Paradoxes and Ideologies of Recognition. Nicholas H. Smith and Jean-Philippe Deranty (Macquarie): Work and the Politics of Misrecognition. From New Left Project, an interview with Noam Chomsky on a libertarian perspective on work and education, arguing that freedom is the root of creativity and fulfilment. Perhaps a little late for the Christmas season but germane throughout the year, one may ask the question, “What is the best gift to give to a writer?” The gate opener: Elisabeth Woronzoff reviews Beginning to See the Light: Sex, Hope, and Rock-and-Roll and No More Nice Girls: Countercultural Essays by Ellen Willis. Dale Carrico catches Paul Krugman flirting with futurism. Economist, educator, omnivore, polymath and co-founder of Marginal Revolution Tyler Cowen highlights books about decentralised information, mass collaboration and spontaneous order. The United States and New Zealand conducted secret tests of a "tsunami bomb" designed to destroy coastal cities by using underwater blasts to trigger massive tidal waves. Sign the petition: No Death Star!

From Journalist’s Resource, Margaret Weigel on the effectiveness of policies and programs that attempt to reduce firearm violence: A meta-analysis. What can philosophy of technology tell us about the gun debate? Ned Resnikoff investigates. Robert Parry on the real rationale for the 2nd Amendment that Right-wingers are totally ignorant about. Conor Friedersdorf on the strangest conservative priority: Prepping a “2nd Amendment Solution”. What gun regulations will the Supreme Court allow? Michael C. Dorf on restricting firearms outside of the home and on originalism and the Second Amendment. Jeffrey Rosen on how gun control can survive the Supreme Court. The fiscal cliff and the gun cliff are not separated issues — the resolution of both will speak volumes about the true grit and attest to the depth of American civilization. Sandy Hook shooting thrusts “preppers” into spotlight. Preppers are getting ready for the Barackalypse: Obama's second term is very bad news for survivalists — it's also very good news for the industry catering to their worst fears. Elias Groll on America’s exceptional gun culture: Four reminders about just how entrenched guns are in American society.

Steven Stoft (GEPC): Global Climate Policy: Why and How to Change Course. Shi-Ling Hsu (FSU) and Yoram Bauman (Sightline): Why Conservatives Should Support a Carbon Tax. Michael Burger (Roger Williams) et al: Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge. Alan I. Barreca (Tulane), Karen Clay (Carnegie Mellon), Olivier Deschenes (UCSB), and Michael Greenstone and Joseph S. Shapiro (MIT): Adapting to Climate Change: The Remarkable Decline in the U.S. Temperature-Mortality Relationship Over the 20th Century. Glenn Scherer on how the IPCC underestimated climate change: Here are just eight examples of where the IPCC missed predictions. Elizabeth Kolbert on the top ten signs of a warming world. Brad Werner titled his most recent talk at the American Geophysical Union, "Is Earth Fucked?" And he gave the answer too, which is pretty much, yup. Thinking about climate change makes people feel helpless and anxious — but that’s why we must talk about it openly. Michael Brown evaluates how seriously recent claims that global extinction could occur within our lifetime should be taken.

Daniel Joyner (Alabama): The Security Council as a Legal Hegemon. Hayder Al-Mohammad (Keele) and Daniela Peluso (Kent): Ethics and the "Rough Ground" of the Everyday: The Overlappings of Life in Postinvasion Iraq. Tess Lanning on feminism and democratic renewal: What are the lessons we can learn from the history of feminism over the last forty years? The themes of Organizing America, Normal Accidents, and The Next Catastrophe are linked: Multiple, independent producers will distribute power and wealth more broadly; consolidation will concentrate wealth and power. A humanist response to mass murder: Anthony B. Pinn on ripping off the cosmic band-aid. A Chilean judge has ordered the arrest of eight former army officers over the arrest, torture and murder of popular leftist singer Victor Jara during a US-backed military coup in 1973. Alternate States: Jeff Madrick on Oliver Stone’s compulsive — and necessary — historical revisions. John Steele Gordon on the Politically Correct Calendar: Among the more irritating manifestations of political correctness, at least to this historian, is the attempt to replace the terms AD and BC with CE and BCE.

From CRB, is there a method to the GOP's "madness"? A review essay on extremism in defense of liberty by William Voegeli; and moral sense and social science: A review essay on James Q. Wilson by John J. DiIulio, Jr. The solution to the political and moral crisis of our time does not lie in abandoning liberalism or in defending Lockeanism — it rests in the recovery of natural law liberalism, a sustainable public philosophy that is true to reason, to nature, and to Christian belief. Lee Edwards on William F. Buckley Jr., conservative icon. Noah Remnick on the rise of the Right: William F. Buckley’s conservative heirs keep a legacy alive at Yale. Peter Lawler on the diversity of conservative opinion. How did Barack Obama and others who want to radically transform America hijack your grandfather's Democrat party? Don Critchlow has answers. Time to give up or time to fight on? An interview with Larry P. Arnn, president of Hillsdale College. Colleen Flaherty reviews Becoming Right: How Campuses Shape Young Conservatives by Amy J. Binder and Kate Wood. From The University Bookman, Gerald J. Russello on Ten Conservative Books Revisited.

Susan Lepselter (Indiana): The Resonance of Captivity: Aliens and Conquest. Stephen Rushin (UC-Berkeley): The Regulation of Private Police. Andrew Hacker reviews The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t by Nate Silver, The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall, and Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. From Conversations With History, Harry Kreisler interviews Leon Wieseltier, Literary Editor of the New Republic. A pickpocket’s tale: Adam Green on the spectacular thefts of Apollo Robbins. From Migration Information Source, a look at the top 10 migration issues of 2012. Anthropologist Susan Hayes has used forensic facial approximation techniques to show how the mysterious Flores “hobbit” might have once looked. A dispatch from Edinburgh: Benjamin Morris on Independence Day. "Proust is important for everyone": Gilles Lipovetsky interviews Mario Vargas Llosa on the relative merits of "high" and "mass" culture in the contemporary world. Here are 6 harsh truths that will make you a better person.

From M/C Journal, a special issue on marriage. Matthew B. O'Brien (Villanova): Why Liberal Neutrality Prohibits Same-Sex Marriage: Rawls, Political Liberalism, and the Family. Nan D. Hunter (Georgetown): The Future Impact of Same-Sex Marriage: More Questions than Answers. Max D. Siegel (George Mason): The Future of Family. Thirteen Theses on Marriage: Nine scholars and writers respond to pointed propositions about sex, gender, and marriage. But why do they leave? Two decades after Fortune et infortune de la femme mariee, Francois de Singly returns to his first love and continues his exploration of female destiny within marriage. Getting the government out of the marriage business sounds like a good idea, until we consider the dangers to women and girls. Jennifer Merchant reviews Between a Man and a Woman: Why Conservatives Oppose Same-Sex Marriage by Ludger H. Viefhues-Bailey. Tom S. Clark and Benjamin E. Lauderdale on the dimensions of law and the same-sex marriage cases. David Cole reviews From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage by Michael J. Klarman. Approved in 2048, the abolition of marriage turned upside down not only the sexual organization of society but also the idea of lineage.