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Communities

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    How Hidden Social Contexts Influence Your Genetics

    Educational attainment has some qualitatively unique features that we’re going to have to be sensitive to when we attempt to study the genetics of it.Photograph by Joey Yee / Flickr What if a wound of yours, a pierced ear, say, healed at a different rate depending on who was around you? A 2017 study explored […]

  • Singer_HERO

    Why Your Roses Smell Nice

    Hint—it’s mostly coincidence.

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    Why Are So Many Animals Homosexual?

    Few creatures can boast of devotions so deep as greylag geese. Most are monogamous; many spend their decade-long adult lives with the same goose, side-by-side in constant communication, taking another partner only if the first should die. It’s a remarkable degree of fidelity, and it includes relationships of a sort that some humans consider unnatural. […]

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    What William James Got Right About Consciousness

    Is consciousness an instinct? When feeling at sea about definitions and meanings in the mind/brain business, it is always rewarding to dial up William James once again. More than 125 years ago, James wrote a landmark article simply titled “What Is an Instinct?” He wastes no time in defining the concept: Instinct is usually defined […]

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    What Question Will You Be Remembered For?

    Last week, John Brockman announced this year’s Edge.org “Annual Question” to be the last, and it has an appropriately culminating feel to it: “What is the last question?”Illustration by Sascha Grusche / Wikicommons John Brockman has run out of questions, and it’s a shame. For 20 years, as a sort of homage to his late […]

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    The Last Love of Jonas Salk

    The unusual union of a renowned artist and the discoverer of the Polio vaccine.

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    We Should Not Accept Scientific Results That Have Not Been Repeated

    Distinguishing between replicated and un-replicated studies would change how science is reported and discussed, increase the visibility of both strong and weak papers, incentivize scientists to only publish findings they have confidence in, and discourage publishing for the sake of publishing.Photograph by Tony Buser / Flickr A few years ago, I became aware of serious […]

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    5 Reasons Why Humans Can’t Do Without Sports

    The importance of being playful is evident in how ancient the behavior is.Photograph by U.S. Air Force / Staff Sgt. Jannelle McRae Last year, more than 111 million people—about a third of the U.S. population—watched the Super Bowl. The numbers will likely be similar on Sunday: Devout football fans, and those watching their first N.F.L. […]

  •  Community-HERO

    Communities

    There’s an easy narrative about the fracturing of the modern community: Falling marriage rates produce more single-person households, digital technologies disrupt in-person interactions, and identity politics cast one group against another. Our centuries-long devotion to the idea of the individual, it seems, has gone too far. But, as sociologist Gary Marx observed 20 years ago, […]

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    Does Aging Have a Reset Button?

    A Stanford researcher’s new take on stem cells.