Senor Baslock

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How Two Men Unlocked Modern Encryption

The idea of public-key cryptography is surprisingly simple, once you've figured it out.<p>In September of 1974, when he was 30 years old, Whitfield Diffie was obsessed with cryptography. So obsessed that he was criss-crossing the country trying to talk to anyone who could help him expand his ideas. …

The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life

William Deresiewicz explains how an elite education can lead to a cycle of grandiosity and depression.<p>The former Yale English professor William Deresiewicz stirred up quite a storm earlier this month with his <i>New Republic</i> essay “Don’t Send Your Kid to the Ivy League”—a damning critique of the …

Universities can’t fulfill the myth, but they can’t become vocational schools either | Ars Technica

Universities come with a mythical mission. But they don't fulfill it.<p>Is it time to rethink higher education? I'm someone who went through the system …

Journey to Malcolm X

<i>May 19 marks the 89th birthday of Malcolm X. In this essay, Edward Pittman reflects on how Malcolm X influenced his search for black identity and</i> …

How Sex Work Became Invisible in America

Law enforcement plays the determining role in where and when sex workers make a living in the United States.<p>I spent the spring between a handful of U.S. cities toting around a bag printed in gold with BIG BROTHEL IS WATCHING YOU. In TSA lines and hotels, I turned the words toward my chest. As …

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Definitive Oral History of a TV Masterpiece

Joel Hodgson Platon<p><b>Released in 1966</b>, <i>Manos: The Hands of Fate</i> is a D-minus of a B movie: Its plot, about desert-­dwelling pagans, makes little sense. …

The Taj Majal

One bachelor party, two dive bars, and all the boundless possibilities of life in a failing industrial town.<p><i>From David Giffels' brilliant new collection,</i> The Hard Way On Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt.<p><b>The old man's bar was called the Taj Mahal</b> because one of the ancient brothers …

Taj Mahal

The Man Behind the Comic Book That Finally Got Sex Right

Portland, OREGON – "I don't know if you know this," says comic book writer Matt Fraction, sitting in a largely empty sandwich shop in Portland, "but …