When James K. Glassman envisions his retirement, he sees a little place in the Berkshires, a few rounds of golf, and as little government meddling as possible. A fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, Glassman hosts the public affairs webzine TechCentralStation. In "The Death of Social Security" (page 24), he debates Tyler Cowen about Social Security, arguing that private accounts will inject some liberty into a lousy system. Sparring partner Cowen never wants to retire, but if he has to, he'll do it on his own terms–preferably with homes in Paris and Mexico, and preferably not with state-sponsored savings accounts. A professor of economics at George Mason University and the author of a popular online guide to ethnic cuisine in the D.C. area, Cowen says forced savings will only invite bureaucratic bother in our golden years.

Kenneth Silber still remembers the day in 1982 that he first became preoccupied with the problem of free will. Walking through a Manhattan snow flurry, he pondered how the laws of physics inexorably guided each snowflake on a random-seeming path toward its predetermined home on the asphalt–and wondered whether human action might be similarly determined. A lifelong New Yorker, Silber works part-time for Scientific American Mind and writes about economics for the magazine Mental Floss. In "Are We Just Really Smart Robots?" (page 50), he looks at two books on the cutting edge of the science and philosophy of mind.

Not long before Mark Bauerlein read The Anti-Chomsky Reader, a book he reviews favorably in "Deconstructing Chomsky" (page 57), he was enthralled by a very different tome: Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent. A recently reformed Chomsky fan, Bauerlein is fascinated by the "social phenomenon" leading legions of undergrads to idolize a scholar who "consistently violates his own ideals." A professor of English at Emory University and director of research and analysis at the National Endowment for the Arts, Bauerlein divides his time between Atlanta and Washington.