Judge Alex Kozinski, 62, is the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Kozinski, who was appointed in 1985 by President Ronald Reagan, is widely considered the foremost libertarian juror in the United States. In an interview with reason Editor in Chief Matt Welch (page 54), Kozinski talks about his early life in Bucharest, Romania, where he grew up thinking of himself as a Communist before moving to the U.S. at age 12. He doesn't look back on his old government fondly. "In my experience," he says, "Communists were not very subtle thinkers about anything. They understood brute force and the power of empty rhetoric, but nothing particularly profound about the workings of government."
In "My Week in North Korea" (page 44), the Brooklyn-based writer Michael Malice takes a tourist trip to a most unlikely destination: North Korea. Malice, 36, has co-authored books with such celebrities as D.L. Hughley and Bret Michaels; he's also been the subject of a graphic biography by indie comics cartoonist Harvey Pekar. Asked how one gets into the celebrity ghostwriting business, he says, "It's easier to get into North Korea—no kidding."
Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey reveals "Seven Surprising Truths about the World" (page 36). Bailey, 59, says that in the years he's been writing for reason, he's had some surprises of his own, such as "how fast innovation in information technology is, and how slow innovation in biotech is." Bailey suspects that more surprises are coming soon for most everyone. "In 45 years, most people will be transhuman," he says, "using info, bio, nano, and cognitive technologies to boost their intellects, emotional states, physical capacities, and longevity well beyond current human norms." Bailey is now hard at work on a forthcoming book, Ten Surprising Truths About the World.