Default Positions

A state-government default would have all sorts of unpleasant consequences, writes James Surowiecki, but, luckily, U.S. states can count on help from the federal government.

Like the crises in Greece and Ireland, a state-government default would have all sorts of unpleasant consequences in the U.S., writes James Surowiecki. But unlike the struggling European countries, U.S. states can count on help from the federal government, which can generally be counted on to step in and bail out a failing state during a fiscal crisis. This increases the moral hazard for state governments, but it makes more sense than canceling building projects and laying off workers in a recession.

Scientists claim the Bible is written in code that predicts future events

The controversy around the Torah codes gets a new life.

Michael Drosnin
Surprising Science
  • Mathematicians claim to see a predictive pattern in the ancient Torah texts.
  • The code is revealed by a method found with special computer software.
  • Some events described by reading the code took place after the code was written.
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The mystery of Jesus’ brother gets even weirder

The controversy over whether Jesus had any siblings is reignited after an amazing new discovery of an ancient text.

Jesus and James. Unknown painter. Possibly 14th century.
Politics & Current Affairs
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Orangutans exhibit awareness of the past

Orangutans join humans and bees in a very exclusive club

(Eugene Sim/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • Orangutan mothers wait to sound a danger alarm to avoid tipping off predators to their location
  • It took a couple of researchers crawling around the Sumatran jungle to discover the phenomenon
  • This ability may come from a common ancestor
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