Systems can surprise us. Out of neurons comes consciousness. Out of cars, traffic jams. Just as interesting as these emergent properties, but less discussed, are submergent properties, in which the causal arrow points down rather than up. The group changes the individual.
Announcing a Black Hole Essay Competition from Harvard
The $10,000 First Prize will include the opportunity to publish the winning article in Nautilus, a leading online and print magazine that blends science, culture, and philosophy. The Black Hole Initiative (BHI) at Harvard University announces the first-ever Black Hole Essay Competition, inviting submissions that explore novel connections and new perspectives on black hole research. […]
Many of Our Beliefs Are Unconscious: A Response to Nick Chater
After a few years of driving, you are able to hold conversations while navigating a busy city. How is this possible without unconscious thought?Photograph by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock Nick Chater has put forward a bold claim in his recent book, The Mind Is Flat, as well as in an article and interview in Nautilus: that […]
What If Only Females Could See Color?
No doubt if you had the special ability to see beyond the color spectrum, it would benefit not just yourself, but your family and friends, too.Pexels Have you ever wondered how your life might be different if you could see beyond the visible light spectrum—into ultraviolet or infrared? For one thing, you might be immune, […]
How Artificial Intelligence Can Supercharge the Search for New Particles
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes a billion pairs of protons together each second. Occasionally the machine may rattle reality enough to have a few of those collisions generate something that’s never been seen before. But because these events are by their nature a surprise, physicists don’t know exactly […]
This Man Says the Mind Has No Depths
Nick Chater argues our brain is a storyteller, not a reporter from an inner world.
There Is No Such Thing as Unconscious Thought
A behavioral scientist unravels one of our most cherished conceptions.
Bo Burnham and the Illusion of Meritocracy
In a WTF with Marc Maron podcast episode from 2012, musical comedian Bo Burnham said his fortune felt unreal, as if his life were a futuristic VR game. “I could die, take off a helmet, and, look: It’s the Bo Burnham 2000. There’s a whole line of people crying waiting in line,” he told Maron. […]
Why We Should Think Twice About Colonizing Space
My conclusion is that in a colonized universe the probability of the annihilation of the human race could actually rise rather than fall.Illustration by David Revoy / Blender Foundation / Wikicommons There are lots of reasons why colonizing space seems compelling. The popular astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that it would stimulate the economy and […]
Blood Spatter Will Tell
How the science of blood spatter forensics is evolving.