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10. Nov/Dec 2013

Features

The Prophet

Meet Dave Ramsey, the most important personal finance guru in America. Millions of people follow his biblically inspired advice. It goes like this: 1. Purge yourself of debt; 2. Live on cash; 3. Pretend economic trends don’t affect you; 4. Blame yourself when they do.

Death at the Summit

As CEO of Intrade, John Delaney harnessed the wisdom of the crowds, with often freakishly prescient results. Technocratic dreamers were ecstatic about the company’s ability to predict the future, and maybe even reshape society. Today Delaney’s company has collapsed and his body is entombed atop Mount Everest. A tale of bravado, bluster, and efficient markets.

The Most Senseless Environmental Crime of the 20th Century

Fifty years ago 180,000 whales disappeared from the oceans without a trace, and researchers are still trying to make sense of why. Inside the most irrational environmental crime of the century.

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Shelf Help: Book Reviews in 100 Words or Less

What you need to know about The Naked Society, Thank You for Your Service, and Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

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Fan Fiction: The Next Great Literature?

At its best, fan fiction blurs the lines between reading and writing and consuming and creating, and makes pop culture speak to a greater range of experiences.

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Quick Study: Shop. Feel Bad. Shop More. Feel Better!

Embarrassed consumers tend to spend more money on “appearance-enhancing items,” according to new research.

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The Big One

Tiny numbers, big impacts.

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In the Picture

In every issue, we fix our gaze on an everyday photograph and chase down facts about details in the frame.

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A Ghost Town’s Second Life as a Climate Refuge for Rodents

Why are ground squirrels thriving in the former gold mining town of Bodie, California?

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Rise of the Robot Artist

Everyone knows computers are good at processing information and humans are good at creativity. What if it’s the other way around?

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Quick Study: Nike Was Smart to Continue Endorsing Tiger Woods

Keeping an eye on the (very profitable) ball.

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Why We Prefer Smaller Rewards Today Over Larger Rewards Tomorrow

There’s a name for that.

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To Protect Battered Women, You Have to Protect Their Pets

Only three percent of shelters nationwide can accommodate domestic animals, and many people refuse to leave them behind.

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Quick Studies

How Junk Food Companies Manipulate Your Tongue

We mistakenly think that harder foods contain fewer calories, and those mistakes can affect our belt sizes.

What Steve Jobs’ Death Teaches Us About Public Health

Studies have shown that when public figures die from disease, the public takes notice. New research suggests this could be the key to reaching those who are most at risk.

Speed-Reading Apps Will Not Revolutionize Anything, Except Your Understanding

The one-word-at-a-time presentation eliminates the eye movements that help you comprehend what you're reading.

To Make Friends, Autistic Kids Need Advice—and Space

Kids with autism need help when it comes to making friends—but they also need their independence.

Gaming the Wedding Gift Registry System

Registering for your wedding? Keep your must-have items away from the average price of your registry—they’re unlikely to be purchased.

The Big One

One state—Pennsylvania—logs 52 percent of all sales, shipments, and receipts for the chocolate manufacturing industry. March/April 2014