Inventing Our Age

Looking at the year's 50 best inventions, choosing the top 10 college presidents and remembering 1989

Nasa

The 2009 blue ribbon for inventiveness goes to the Ares I rocket.

Since 9/11, we've worried a lot about al-Qaeda's exporting terrorism to American soil. Call it the germ theory of terrorism--the idea that a foreign agent somehow infects people in America, creating hidden and diseased cells of domestic terrorists. From the Najibullah Zazi case to the Fort Dix Six, we've relentlessly analyzed whether these men are so-called homegrown terrorists. But we've been looking at these cases through the same microscope, always asking the same question: Were these men infected by exotic terrorists from abroad? Which is why the tragic actions of Major Nidal Malik Hasan present a different model. What if the...