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Weekend Reads 4/18/15

 You Would Have Never Believed It

You would have never believed it if, in the mid-1980s, someone told you that in the next two decades the Soviet Union would collapse, Japan's economy would stagnate for 20 years, China would become a superpower, and North Dakota would be ground zero for global energy growth.

You would never have believed it if, in 1900, as your horse and buggy got stuck in the mud, someone pointed to the moon and said, "We'll be walking on that during our lifetime."

You would have never believed it if, in 2000, someone said the biggest news story of the next decade -- economically, politically, socially, and militarily -- would be a group of guys with box cutters.

Why Gwyneth Paltrow’s Food Stamp Challenge Is So Valuable

Paltrow, in subsisting for a week largely on her homemade salsa, is raising real questions about just how much more food she might have bought by cutting the last indulgence out of a weekly food-stamp budget. (The answer: not that much!) How many of the critics who reflexively treat the actress as somehow malicious have done that much?

A Scientific Debate

This story began late in 2003 when I introduced a new idea (the ‘early anthropogenic hypothesis’) that went completely against a prevailing climatic paradigm of the time. I claimed that detectable human influences on Earth’s surface and its climate began thousands of years ago because of agriculture. Here I describe how this radically different idea was received by the mainstream scientific community.

Marco Rubio's Double Game: Will It Work?

You know what the Republican Party could really, really use in 2016? A presidential candidate who doesn’t come across like a time-traveling ambassador from the 1950s. Someone who can rid the GOP of its self-imposed bondage to Reaganomics and the Great White Whale of lower tax rates on the wealthy as the answer to every question.

Hacker Lexicon: What Are Chip and PIN Cards?

For every in-store purchase, it generates a one-time transaction code that is cryptographically signed. This, in combination with a customer-entered PIN, is intended to make stolen data less useful to card thieves. Even if a thief hacks a retailer’s network or installs a skimmer on an ATM terminal to steal card data and PINs, the thief won’t have a transaction code needed for in-store purchases. 

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