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In Plain Sight

  • In Plain Sight

    Cognitive distortions like selective attention are how we keep ourselves happy. As we age, we increasingly focus on happy memories, and place more emphasis on emotional regulation than on information accuracy.     

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    Why We Still Need Monsters

    Stephen T. Asma on what haunts us.

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    The Rise of Cancer Immunotherapy

    How Jim Allison saved a whole world.

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    The Selfish Dataome

    Does the data we produce serve us, or vice versa?

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    12 Mind-Bending Perceptual Illusions

    Everyone loves a good optical illusion. Most people first come across them as kids, and are instantly transfixed. And most of us never quite outgrow them. Even cats seem to enjoy the occasional optical illusion! The good news, then, for humans and nonhumans alike, is that our illusions seem to be getting better over time. […]

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    The Robot Economy Will Run on Blockchain

    What finance will look like when it is controlled by machines.

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    Hitler and the Naming of the Shrew

    When zoologists tried to change the words for bat and shrew, the Führer was not amused.

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    Are Black Holes Actually Dark Energy Stars?

    George Chapline believes that the Event Horizon Telescope will offer evidence that black holes are really dark energy stars. NASA What does the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way look like? Early next year, we might find out. The Event Horizon Telescope—really a virtual telescope with an effective diameter of the […]

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    Can Analogies Reveal the Laws of Physics?

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. Hoping to gain insight into domains of nature that lie beyond experimental reach—the interiors of black holes, the subtleties of the quantum realm, the Big Bang—physicists are experimenting on “analogue” systems made of fluids and other easily manipulable materials that can be modeled by similar equations. Results […]

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    Why Forests Give You Awe

    When you walk in a tropical forest, the sheer abundance and variety of life can have a powerful and somewhat disorienting effect.Painting by Caspar David Friedrich (circa 1820-1821) / Wikicommons Can you remember the time when you first felt awe, that feeling of being in the presence of something immense and mind-blowing? The natural world—with […]