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Veronique Greenwood

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    The Unbearable Weirdness of CRISPR

    Francisco Mojica in a lab at the University of Alicante in Spain.Photograph courtesy of the University of Alicante. When Francisco Mojica was 25, he supported himself by tracking bacteria in the Mediterranean off the coast of a tourist haven in southeastern Spain. At the time, he was a doctoral candidate at the University of Alicante, […]

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    We Are All Princes, Paupers, and Part of the Human Family

    I recently discovered that my 10-times-great-grandfather bought a good chunk of Brooklyn from the Lenape Indians. He was one of the first Dutch landowners on this continent, a man who had run a laundry bleaching business in Holland but had traveled under the auspices of the Dutch West India Company to become a farmer in […]

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    These Feminine Smells Get Sperm Moving

    Sperm are the cheetahs of the microscopic world: Made of little more than molecular muscle and batteries, tipped with a payload of genetic information, they are optimized for speed. But to orient themselves before their epic, seven-inch sprint (it’s more impressive if you’re less than one three-thousandth that size), they first need to sniff out […]

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    Your Legacy on Earth May Be a Plant

    Where I grew up in northern California, we were surrounded by the remains of Gold Rush towns, now subsumed into the wild rye. I used to look for these places on old maps and then search them out by car and on foot; sometimes the only sign I had arrived was a single blackened chimney […]

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    Your Roommate Is Changing Your Immune System

    Our veins are swimming with immune cells of many different kinds. Some bear the memory of previous infections, in case we should encounter them again; some are actively fighting invaders; others are merely on the look-out. Counting all of the varieties of cells and what molecules they are producing gives researchers a profile of someone’s […]

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    Welcome to the Unpredictable Era of Editing Human Embryos

    Headlines and apocalyptic notions about designer babies proliferated last month after Chinese scientists published the results of a curious set of experiments on human embryos. The researchers were looking to understand whether gene-editing technology could correct, before birth, a malformed gene that can cause a potentially devastating blood disease. They found that the method introduced new […]

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    Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking

    How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory is faring in the neuroscience age.

  • Greenwood_HERO-2

    Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking

    How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory is faring in the neuroscience age.

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    A Material So Dark That It Looks Like a Black Hole

    Even when applied to a highly reflective surface like aluminum foil, Vantablack renders the entire surface, including creases, all but invisible.Surrey Nanosystems via Wikipedia Color is such a powerful and evocative sensation—one of the first that we learn to describe as children—that we don’t often think about what it really is. In a sense, color […]

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    Food Vibrations—Spiders Are Total Virtuosos With Their Webs

    A single thread of spider silk flexes deforms under impact from a plastic bullet traveling around 400 meters per second, or 900 miles per hour.OxfordSilkGroup Few materials are as fascinating as spider silk. It’s stronger than steel, flexible rather than brittle, and light enough to float on the breeze. And vibrations in webs tell spiders, […]