While 42-year-old Ben Fenwick is the only male in his immediate family who didn't choose a life in the military, that hasn't prevented him from seeing his share of action. The Oklahoma City-based freelancer has been writing about terrorism for Reuters since the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995, and he has covered conflicts in Bosnia, Guatemala, and Chiapas. From March through August, he was embedded with the National Guard's 45th Infantry Division in Afghanistan, where he wrote "Meanwhile in Afghanistan" (page 48). His reporting has appeared in Playboy, in American History Illustrated, and on National Public Radio. He is writing a book about his time in Afghanistan.

Although he studied economics as an undergraduate, avid sailor and scuba diver Michael De Alessi knew he, like the poet John Masefield, "must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky." After earning a master's degree in marine policy from the University of Miami, he ran the Center for Private Conservation, which spotlighted successful environmental stewardship outside the public sector. In 2002 De Alessi joined the Reason Foundation, where he is a senior fellow; he is also working toward a Ph.D. in environmental policy at Berkeley. This month, in "Cramped Style" (page 63), he tells the story of The Sea Ranch, an eco-friendly private development whose most promising features were undermined by California regulators.

David G. Post is used to being ahead of the curve: He wrote about the burgeoning conflicts over intellectual property in cyberspace in reason way back in 1996. In "Free Culture vs. Big Media" (page 67), he assesses the latest salvo in what has become a full-blown war, Lawrence Lessig's Free Culture. Post is a professor of law at Temple University, a senior fellow at George Mason University's Tech Center, and a blogger at The Volokh Conspiracy. Free culture aficionados are welcome to hunt down MP3s of the acoustic rock band Bad Dog, for which he plays guitar, piano, banjo, and harmonica.