Searching has a cost. It takes time and energy, and distracts us from other opportunities. It is also a quickly growing part of modern life.
30 Weirdly Fascinating Health and Body Facts
The camera doesn’t often linger on all the severed heads in Game of Thrones. But if it did, might we see some sign of awareness—at least for a few seconds? A human head doesn’t lose consciousness until after about four seconds, post-decapitation. That’s resiliency of a kind. And the acid in your stomach? Strong enough […]
To Persuade Someone, Look Emotional
Asked at the start of the final 1988 presidential debate whether he would support the death penalty if his wife were raped and murdered, Michael Dukakis, a lifelong opponent of capital punishment, quickly and coolly said no. It was a surprising, deeply personal, and arguably inappropriate question, but in demonstrating an unwavering commitment to his […]
Braces Have Made Snoring a Modern Health Problem
Over the ages our teeth and our tongue have become ever more crowded by the shrinking of the human jaw. Not only is this an aesthetic disaster, but it compromises our breathing, which in turn can disrupt sleep. And there, our problems really begin.Photograph by Lisa S. / Shutterstock The apotheosis of my five-year orthodontic […]
The True Story of Medical Books Bound in Human Skin
Human skin books are the rare artifacts that prove that the practice of making leather goods from human skin is more than just a ghoulish legend.Photograph by voodoo willy In 1868, on a hot, midsummer day, 28-year-old Mary Lynch was admitted to the Philadelphia Almshouse and Hospital, the city hospital for the poor, better known […]
The Psychological Challenges of Just Getting to Mars
Though space may be the quintessential I.C.E. environment, Musk appears to be aiming to make trips to Mars—aspirationally scheduled to commence in 2024—as far away from I.C.E.-y as possible.Photograph by NASA Life outside Earth has its own Hobbesian description: isolated, confined, and extreme—or I.C.E. “Space is the quintessential ICE environment,” according to a new paper, […]
How to Talk About Vaccines on Television
What one scientist has learned from years of media appearances.
Does Theranos Mark the Peak of the Silicon Valley Bubble?
John Carreyrou talks to Nautilus about the lessons of a $1 billion fraud.
This Man Memorized a 60,000-Word Poem Using Deep Encoding
Of man’s first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree,” John Basinger said aloud to himself, as he walked on a treadmill. “Of man’s first disobedience…” In 1992, at the age of 58, Basinger decided to memorize Paradise Lost, John Milton’s epic poem, as a form of mental activity while he was working out […]
How Brain Waves Surf Sound Waves to Process Speech
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. When he talks about where his fields of neuroscience and neuropsychology have taken a wrong turn, David Poeppel of New York University doesn’t mince words. “There’s an orgy of data but very little understanding,” he said to a packed room at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual […]