Is Violence Declining Because We’re Evolving More Patience?
“Forms of impulsive behaviors involve discounting of future consequences, including both rewards and punishments. Violence is often impulsive.”Photograph by doble.d / Getty Something like 10,000 years ago, near Lake Turkana in Kenya, a group of hunter-gathers went on a raid, sparing a few young men and women to take as the spoils of victory. At […]
This Cancer Treatment Extends Life Without Pills, Radiation, or Surgery
The very act of existential unburdening proves to be life prolonging.Photograph by UpperCut Images / Getty What would go through your mind if I told you that you had cancer? Perhaps you’d wonder how you got it, or how you were going to get rid of it. Maybe you’d worry about whether you could keep […]
The Quest for Unity Is Not Something Physics Is Cut Out to Do
If physics is understood as a descriptive mode of explanation, free of the unifying quest, the angst of not knowing it all is exorcised.Image by Andrew J. Hanson / Indiana University. In physics, we like theories that are simple and broad-ranging. By “simple,” physicists usually mean a mathematical theory that rests on as few postulates […]
What Donald Trump Teaches Us About the Fermi Paradox
The “signal leakage” of our communications is becoming more and more scarce, not more abundant.Illustration by Danielle Futselaar / Flickr Reports of U.F.O. sightings were commonplace in the 1950s. The C.I.A. recently came clean, on Twitter, concerning its role: “Reports of unusual activity in the skies in the ‘50s? It was us.” Though not entirely—some […]
Ingenious: Lisa Feldman Barrett
Inside a new theory of emotions that spotlights how the brain works.
Found: The World’s Favorite Number
One nice thing about favorite numbers is that there are so many to choose from.Image by Ecelop / Shutterstock Go ahead, admit it. Like a lot of people, you have a favorite number. Maybe you’re not as extreme as Sheldon Cooper, the arch-nerd character on television’s Big Bang Theory, who loves the number 73: “73 […]
The Woman Who Gave Us the Science of Normal Life
Before Rachel Carson there was Ellen Swallow Richards, MIT’s first female student.
Why You Feel the Urge to Jump
The science and philosophy of looking down from a high place.
Darwin Was a Slacker and You Should Be Too
Many famous scientists have something in common—they didn’t work long hours.
The Race Problem in Breast Cancer Screening
Here’s a curious fact: Black American women are 37 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women, according to a 2015 report by the American Cancer Society, yet they receive early-stage diagnoses much less frequently. Why might that be? Biology’s role isn’t clear. The breast cancer death-rate in the U.S. is on the […]