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- Feb 9 20175 minutes
The Myth of Apple's Great Design
The company’s new “spaceship” headquarters shows how its beauty has always been skin deep.
- Feb 2 20177 minutes
Why You Didn’t See It Coming: When scale confounds our perceptions, stories can clarify them.
You don’t see it coming. You probably couldn’t if you tried. The effects of large changes in scale are frequently beyond our powers of perception, even our imagination. They seem to emerge out of nowhere: the cumulative effects of climate change, the
- Jan 31 20172 minutes
The Internet Is Mostly Bots
More than half of web traffic comes from automated programs—many of them malicious.
- Jan 17 20178 minutes
The OA And The Dark Side Of Science
Brit Marling discusses the folklore and real-life research that went into her trippy Netflix series.
- Dec 1 20152 minutes
How One Man Used Artificial Intelligence to Generate Genuine Sales Leads
A CRM startup gets the hookup to find leads via machine learning about its best customers.
- Feb 2 20178 minutes
What Quantum Gravity Needs Is More Experiments: Math won’t solve quantum gravity. Experimentation will.
In the mid-1990s, I studied mathematics. I wasn’t really sure just what I wanted to do with my life, but I was awed by the power of mathematics to describe the natural world. After classes on differential geometry and Lie algebras, I attended a semin
- Feb 17 20176 minutes
How to Understand Extreme Numbers
The late statistics wizard Hans Rosling, who died this month at age 68, brought at least 10 toilet paper rolls to some of his beloved presentations. He would stack them into a tower on a table, each roll representing one billion people. In a 2012 t
- Sep 19 20161 minute
We Shouldn’t Dismiss People Who Deny Facts
IT’S EASY TO DISMISS PEOPLE WHO believe things that are factually incorrect—that vaccines cause autism, for example, or that climate change isn’t real. But if we really want to change how they think, we need to take an honest look at what’s driving t
- Feb 16 201710 minutes
Atheism, the Computer Model: Big data meets history to forecast the rise and fall of religion.
In the United States, the nones have it. The nones being people with no organized religion and increasingly no belief in God or a universal spiritual power. They have the momentum, attention, and an expectation that in the future they will become a m
- Dec 18 201627 minutes
The 50 Best Podcasts of 2016
From politics shows to horror series, highlights from a year of listening
- Feb 9 201710 minutes
Raising the American Weakling: There are two very different interpretations of our dwindling grip strength.
When she was a practicing occupational therapist, Elizabeth Fain started noticing something odd in her clinic: Her patients were weak. More specifically, their grip strengths, recorded via a hand-held dynamometer, were “not anywhere close to the norm
- Sep 15 201611 minutes
How I Rewired My Brain to Become Fluent in Math: The building blocks of understanding are memorization and repetition.
I was a wayward kid who grew up on the literary side of life, treating math and science as if they were pustules from the plague. So it’s a little strange how I’ve ended up now—someone who dances daily with triple integrals, Fourier transforms, and t
- Jan 17 20177 minutes
The Limits of Sugar Guidelines
Is there a danger in governments offering too-specific advice on sugar consumption?
- Feb 16 20173 minutes
How Single Women Are Changing Society: Thinking out of the nuclear family box.
Bella DePaulo never fantasized about a dream wedding or being a bridesmaid. Instead, she saw herself as “single at heart,” pursuing intellectual refinement, friendship, and solitude as a young psychologist. Still, she had internalized the popular ide
- Jan 3 20175 minutes
Why the Technology in Rogue One Is So Old-Fashioned
There is a reason the film’s machines seem stuck in the 20th century.
- Feb 12 20173 minutes
Born Lucky: The Genetics of the Four-Leaf Clover
Each year, from 1913 to 1917, the psychologist Edmund S. Conklin would hand out a questionnaire to his new psychology students. Conklin wanted to see which superstitious habits or beliefs were the most and least enduring. He found that just over a qu
- Feb 1 20174 minutes
The Key to Good Luck Is an Open Mind
Luck can seem synonymous with randomness. To call someone lucky is usually to deny the relevance of their hard work or talent. As Richard Wiseman, the Professor of Public Understanding of Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, in the United K
- Feb 3 20176 minutes
Is AI a Threat to Christianity?
Are you there, God? It’s I, robot.
- Feb 13 20171 minute
Innovation Smart Security Cameras
Michael Belfiore Form and function Security cameras may be ubiquitous, but they still miss a lot. And humans have to monitor their feeds for unusual activity. The Movidius Myriad 2 vision-processing chip is designed to help newer-model cameras inte
- Feb 6 20176 minutes
Minority Groups Lose When They Collaborate with Power
Cailin O’Connor—a philosopher, scientist, and mathematician—may not enjoy tense situations, but they fascinate her. Last year, in a Huffington Post article titled “Game Theory and The Walking Dead,” she wrote that the zombie show’s “plot lines are ri
- May 5 20168 minutes
What a 9,000-Year-Old Spruce Tree Taught Me : How photographing the world’s oldest living things pushed me outside the boundaries of science.
I had little idea of what I would discover when I set out to find and photograph the oldest living things in the world. I expected that researching, traveling, and photographing would stretch my perspective, and force me to learn a lot of science: bi
- Dec 21 201610 minutes
A Brief Economic History of Time
Capitalism changed how humans perceive the passage of hours, days, and weeks. This made people more productive, but did it make them any happier?
- Jul 3 201416 minutes
The Scientific Problem That Must Be Experienced: To understand turbulence we need the intuitive perspective of art.
When the German physicist Arnold Sommerfeld assigned his most brilliant student a subject for his doctoral thesis in 1923, he admitted that “I would not have proposed a topic of this difficulty to any of my other pupils.” Those others included such g
- Dec 22 20162 minutes
How Much Do Businesses Pay for Stolen Data?
A lot, according to a new report
- Jan 26 201711 minutes
The Multiple Multiverses May Be One and the Same: Physics:If multiverses seem weird, it’s because we need to revamp our notions of time and space.
The name of the image—the “Flammarion engraving”—may not ring a bell, but you’ve seen it many times. It depicts a traveler wearing a cloak and clutching a walking-stick; behind him is a varied landscape of towns and trees; surrounding all is a crysta
- Feb 23 201729 minutes
'There's Enough Time to Change Everything'
The polymath computer scientist David Gelernter’s wide-ranging ideas about American life.
- Feb 23 20177 minutes
Why These Researchers Are Drawn to the World’s Edge: The joy and toll of doing remote science.
The ice on Lake Baikal in Siberia is thick and endless, a deep blue covered with fresh powdery snow. It’s a long journey to reach this middle of nowhere. First a six-hour flight from Moscow to Irkutsk, then three hours by car, and finally four hours
- Jan 4 20176 minutes
Earth's Oceans Are Steadily Warming
Another study argues there was no sea-surface slowdown in warming.
- Jun 13 201312 minutes
The Coin Toss and the Love Triangle: Information Theory:There are two flavors of uncertainty in our lives. Math helps with both.
Chance appears to name a single, unitary thing. But its genealogy, its family history, turns out to be a tangled one. One way to understand its branching origins is to turn to literature: We may look, in turn, to two very different novels.Anton Chigu
- Oct 22 201510 minutes
How To Build A Search Engine For Mathematics: The surprising power of Neil Sloane’s Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences.
On the average summer Saturday, the mathematician Neil Sloane woke up to a crisis. “There are always crises,” he said— albeit crises of the teapot tempest variety. One Saturday over breakfast, he faced an inbox message titled “edits from outer space.
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