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In today's political world, idealism is seen as the enemy of realism and getting things done. But, British journalist Gary Younge argues, idealism is absolutely necessary for society to continue progressing into the world we want to see. It's what makes things that seem impossible today the reality of the future.

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A sensitive, personal and varied account of Aaron Swartz's life, filled with excerpts from his blog and statements made by friends and family, offers more insight into the personality of the 26-year-old programmer and political activist who killed himself under pressure from federal prosecutors earlier this year.

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President Obama has called on Americans to volunteer in their communities, but the economic meltdown makes civilian service a tough sell. In this interview, Russ Finkelstein, associate director of idealist.org, argues that "we all have something to give," even those of us without much time and money.

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