2. Peter Leeson argues that anarchy is better for Somalia; most indicators of progress have gone up since the government fell. This is an excellent paper but I wonder how much "the end of war" drives the results, and is the current situation of warlords really "anarchy"?
3. Unchosen: The Hidden Lives of Hasidic Rebels, the title says it all. Some might find the text insulting ("…underneath the garb, Yossi was just a guy who liked Adam Sandler movies and country music…") but it offers a fascinating look at how small groups resist pressures for assimilation. Try also Paul Kriwaczek’s new Yiddish Civilization for a broader historical perspective; Born to Kvetch rounds out the recent trilogy.
4. Which countries are most proud of themselves? Venezuela does well, or poorly, depending on your point of view.
6. Chris Masse’s yearly Prediction Market Awards.
9. Netbanging: street gangs who slug it out over the Web.