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Good Reads: From a bold vision for China to cyberwarfare to Norwegian fishing

This week's round-up of Good Reads includes China's desire to become the world's main superpower, Edward Snowden's confessional video, the ease of making cyberweapons, eradicating global poverty, and the demise of Norwegian fishermen.

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Cyberwar proliferation

The US government, reportedly using cyberattacks to deter Iran’s nuclear program, has opened itself up to similar cyberattacks – igniting a tit-for-tat struggle that is ushering in a new wave of proliferation, which Michael Joseph Gross describes in Vanity Fair.

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Staff writer

Allison Terry works on the web team at the Christian Science Monitor, coordinating online infographics. She contributes to the culture section and Global News blog, and previously reported and edited for the national news and cover page desks.

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“The paradox is that the nuclear weapons whose development the U.S. has sought to control are very difficult to make, and their use has been limited – for nearly seven decades – by obvious deterrents,” Mr. Gross said. “Cyber-weapons, by contrast, are easy to make, and their potential use is limited by no obvious deterrents. In seeking to escape a known danger, the U.S. may have hastened the development of a greater one.”

Both Washington and Tehran are boosting their arsenal of cyberweapons in a war that is increasingly aggressive and cryptic. Not to mention that cyberwarfare is not limited to traditional rules of engagement. “You don’t have to be a nation-state to do this,” one hacker told Gross. “You just have to be really smart.”

Eradicating extreme poverty by 2030

Can the world powers eradicate extreme poverty for 1 billion people by 2030? If gross domestic product growth during the past decade is any indicator, the answer is a resounding yes, according to The Economist.

Whereas poverty used to be an unchangeable fact of life, unprecedented growth in developing countries has shifted the outlook for eliminating poverty in places where people live on less than $1.25 a day. The primary condition for continued progress is for developing countries to maintain the steady growth of their GDP.

“Poverty used to be a reflection of scarcity. Now it is a problem of identification, targeting and distribution. And that is a problem that can be solved,” says the report.

Fishermen no more

In the small coastal communities in northern Norway, traditional occupations of whaling and cod fishing are losing luster for young people bent on landing salaried positions on the mainland, far from their roots. In National Geographic, Roff Smith explains that this change is a drastic turnaround for the region, where previous generations flocked in order to cash in on a booming industry. 

“It isn’t a scarcity of whales that is bringing down the curtain, or even the complicated politics of whaling,” writes Mr. Smith. “It’s something far more prosaic and inexorable: Norwegian kids, even those who grow up in the seafaring stronghold of Lofoten, simply don’t want to become whalers anymore. Nor do they want to brave storm-tossed winter seas to net fortunes in cod, as their forebears have done for centuries.”


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Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

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