How to Balance the Budget

'Surrender to the Terrorists, Then Strangle the Economy with Taxes' is the tongue-in-cheek name for a serious plan to create a budget surplus in the U.S. by 2015.

The Economist's plan to reduce American debt: 1. Let the Bush tax cuts expire for everyone. This alone nets $172 billion and eliminates a third of the 2015 deficit. This move has at least 13 times the maximum notional impact of eliminating earmarks, it might be worth a shot. 2. Subject some incomes over $106,000 to payroll taxes. This has always been a good idea, and now more than ever. Nets $50 billion. 3. Bug out of Iraq and Afghanistan—get troop levels down to 30,000 by 2013. Every nation eventually adopts the foreign policy it can afford. Nets $86 billion. 4. Cut the size of the military, and shrink the Navy and Air Force fleets. Nets $44 billion. 5. Institute a carbon tax. Nets $41 billion, saves planet.

​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
  • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
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This is the best (and simplest) world map of religions

Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.

(c) CLO / Carrie Osgood
Strange Maps
  • At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
  • See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
  • There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
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Apparently even NASA is wrong about which planet is closest to Earth

Three scientists publish a paper proving that Mercury, not Venus, is the closest planet to Earth.

Strange Maps
  • Earth is the third planet from the Sun, so our closest neighbor must be planet two or four, right?
  • Wrong! Neither Venus nor Mars is the right answer.
  • Three scientists ran the numbers. In this YouTube video, one of them explains why our nearest neighbor is... Mercury!
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Remembering when bankers tried to overthrow FDR and install a fascist dictator

When FDR took office, the U.S. was in the grips of the Great Depression. People had grown desperate, and FDR's election seemed disastrous. Some wealthy bankers believed that it was time to take the country by force.

Image source: Topical Press Agency / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Though we know today that his policies eventually ended the Great Depression, FDR's election was seen as disastrous by some.
  • A group of wealthy bankers decided to take things into their own hands; they plotted a coup against FDR, hoping to install a fascist dictator in its stead.
  • Ultimately, the coup was brought to light by General Smedley Butler and squashed before it could get off the ground.
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