In "Face the Facts" (page 27), David Kopel and Michael Krause detail the many flaws in facial recognition technology, the hottest new trend in post-9/11 security. They haven't yet crossed paths with any public spy cameras—"that we know of," Krause is quick to add. Kopel is the research director of the Independence Institute, a free-market-oriented think tank in Golden, Colorado, and the author of almost a dozen books. Most recently, he edited the textbook Gun Control and Gun Rights: A Reader and a Guide (NYU Press). Krause, a policy fellow at the institute, previously spent four years running Coast Guard drug patrols in the Caribbean. He and Kopel are frequent collaborators, often writing about drug war follies for National Review Online..

Damon Root, who traces the rich, varied, and wonderfully tangled roots of country music in "Hidden Country" (page 56), followed his own circuitous journey to the much-maligned genre. "It all started with the rappers Run-DMC," he says, launching into a list of groups that winds up with the Orange County punk band Social Distortion. "They did a great cover of Johnny Cash," he explains. Root was raised in Tampa, Florida, but moved to New York to attend Columbia University and grab a front-row seat for the city's hardcore punk scene. He is researching a book on that topic while working as a writer and editor of music catalogs for Columbia House, the mail order CD club.

"Ann Coulter fascinates me as much as she infuriates me," says Sara Rimensnyder, who writes about the pundette that everybody loves to hate in "Bitch Goddess" (page 60). A Washington, D.C., native, Rimensnyder came to reason first as a summer intern; since 2000 she's been an assistant editor. She studied film and liberal arts at the University of Texas, and last summer her short film, Sean Connery Golf Project—created with another former reason intern, Rhys Southan—wowed audiences at Austin's South by Southwest and other indie festivals. Watch a clip.