I like the OP's summation that we should approach code reading as code decoding. My interest in literate code and readable code has recently accelerated in conjunction with my interest in code correctness. I think the way forward in both these contexts is through functional programming.
In particular I, and the IT shop at Tachyus, have chosen F# as the way to go forward for a number of reasons. Sticking to readability, F# (and other FPs to a greater or lesser extent) allow production code that "reads" more expressively in terms of conveying what the code is actually accomplishing to the reader (and to the compiler) rather than the frequently tangled instructions to the compiler on how to accomplish the task coming from traditional imperative and OO languages. F# also has some very useful tools to emit a form of literate code that produces publication ready HTML or MD, http://tpetricek.github.io/FSharp.Formatting/ (This project will soon be accepted as a top-tier project by the F# Software Foundation, http://fsharp.org/) It may not be to the letter of Knuth's idea of literate programming, but certainly in the spirit.
I did read some code lately. Actually I had to go so far as stepping through it in the debugger to properly decode it, http://jackfoxy.com/transparent-heterogeneous-parallel-async... (the code snippets here have tool-tips in my article, just one of the features available with FSharp.Formatting), but this is really the exception in F#. The vast majority of code is easily accessible to any programmer of reasonable quality (with proper introduction to FP) in any IT shop. The deeper functional stuff like Continuation Passing Style and Applicative Functors (e.g. heterogeneous parallel async) in most cases is already available in core libraries. And when not a literature search and/or getting in touch with the FP community helps.
I recall having drinks in 1990 with a 30 year-old Ivy League grad in Manhattan, an up-and-coming type, somewhere in the intersection of Wall Street and politics, can't remember exactly what he did. He was adamant about cutting off the western cultural canon in education and repeatedly used Homer as an example of its irrelevance. His theme was we should be teaching young people about other cultures because the world will be ever more connected, there are more people from non-western cultures in the world, blah, blah, blah. He was real up front about this being social engineering. My Ivy League companion who had introduced us thought I was a real jerk for arguing with him. History has shown high culture surviving the most determined political onslaughts because it has intrinsic value.
I don't 100% see the relevance to this article, but your post is a timely reminder that rich elites are more likely to be engaging in progressive forms of social engineering. The Koch brothers are notable because they are an exception.
As an F# MVP, I can tell you MS is committed to the primary functional language on the .NET stack, but more importantly MS has open-sourced F# https://github.com/fsharp/fsharp. The membership of the FSharp Software Foundation http://fsharp.org/ is very active and growing under the informal leadership of Don Syme. F# works today across Linux, iOS, and Android with a community of OSS programmers improving x-platform interop almost on a daily basis.
I think Vol. 1 is really masterful. I read somewhere Feynman was most pleased with Vol. 1, and less so with Vol. 2. The material in the second volume is certainly more difficult, and I did not quite finish it myself. I've been busy with other things, and the relatively thin Vol. 3 still sits on the shelf.
Comparing the theoretical capacity of the Hyperloop vs the High Speed Rail is only one fact to consider. Musk correctly points out the High Speed Rail is in theory way more dangerous. And, possibly more significantly, it is just too slow. To expect travel consumers to opt to max-out the so-called High Speed Rail capacity is wishful thinking. The real "high speed" capability of the Hyperloop make it more likely consumers would opt to max out its capacity, at which point more capacity can be added (by adding a parallel loop), and it is still cheaper than the High Speed Rail.
The isotope of plutonium that's used in radiothermal generators for space missions, Pu-238, is something you produce specially. Usually you get Np-237 from spent reactor fuel, and then bombard it with neutrons in a reactor designed for producing useful isotopes.
Plutonium is manufactured in a reactor, not processed from ore. The dominant source for plutonium for deep space missions was the US government, and they dominant reason for producing it was bombs.
However, the US govt. doesn't need to produce bombs anymore - they've done enough work to know how to extend the life of the bombs they do have, as well as how to go about reprocessing the plutonium in warheads that are too old into new ones (I think). They are reducing the number of warheads in service, so the US has shut down domestic production.
The Russians seem to have caught up to the US in the warhead lifespan tech and they seem to have shut down their breeders too?