Welcome to Reading List, Gizmodo’s weekly collection of the most interesting science and technology stories from around the internet. This week, we’ll look at the aftermath of a 200 year old volcanic eruption, visit Cuba’s burgeoning Wi-Fi hotspots, sample the Martian cuisine of the future, and take a road trip to the kudzu-lined highways of the South.
- When Indonesia’s Mount Tambora volcano erupted in 1815, the eruption killed over 100,000 people who lived in the volcano’s shadow. The ash it blasted high into Earth’s atmosphere took a toll worldwide, causing unseasonably cool summers, harsh winters, famine, and cholera outbreaks as far away as Europe and New England. The cold, dreary summer also led to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which spawned an entire genre. [New York Times]
- People in Cuba travel for hours to reach Wi-Fi Hotspots in Havana, where they connect to a tightly restricted, closely monitored version of the internet on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. [Motherboard]
- As space agencies look toward future manned missions to Mars, researchers here on Earth are taking a look at what the first Mars colonists are likely to eat. [The Atlantic]
- Keeping networks and data secure has less to do with expensive technology and more to do with people’s behavior. A former Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff has some insights from the military on creating the right culture for information security. [Harvard Business Review]
- Ask anyone in the South, and they’ll tell you that kudzu grows a mile a minute and will soon take over the whole world. However, that’s an American myth with its roots in Depression-era soil conservation efforts, and in many parts of the South, the iconic vines are actually dying. [Smithsonian Magazine]