• Trust

    Trust appears to be in decline. Trust in government around the world is on the ebb, and is at historic lows in the U.S. We’re awash in stories of abuse of trust by leaders from all walks of life. The institution of science has a special role to play in the trust wars. Feynman told us, […]

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    The Logic Puzzle You Can Only Solve with Your Brightest Friend

    You have to cleverly build “common knowledge” to solve this lethal riddle.Wikicommons You’ve been caught snooping around a spooky graveyard with your best friend. The caretaker, a bored old man fond of riddles (and not so fond of trespassers), imprisons each of you in a different room inside the storage shed, and, taking your phones, […]

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    How Classical Cryptography Will Survive Quantum Computers

    Quantum Lab: Scientists are fabricating quantum photonic circuits—consisting of waveguides and other elements—to manipulate single photons for future quantum communications and processing.Oak Ridge National Laboratory / Flickr Justin Trudeau, the Canadian prime minister, certainly raised the profile of quantum computing a few notches last year, when he gamely—if vaguely1—described it for a press conference. But […]

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    10 Popular Nautilus Magazine Stories of 2017

    Dive in: From democracy-damaging media to willpower to the holographic universe, here are some of the most-read Nautilus stories of 2017.Illustration by Irene Rinaldi What did the unconscious part of the mind say to the conscious part? This isn’t so much the start of a science gag as a perennial scientific mystery—one that the novelist […]

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    Which Comes First, Big Cities or Big Gods?

    Warriors among the Kwara’ae, a collection of tribal communities indigenous to the Solomon Islands, sacrificed pigs before battle. The tradition granted the combatants, so the belief went, aid from heroic ancestral spirits—like the mighty A’orama, a fierce fighter in Kwara’ae folklore. For every man who prepared to shed blood, a hog met its end.1 Any […]

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    Why Anti-corruption Strategies May Backfire

    Transparency and exposure to institutional corruption may enforce the norm that most people are engaging in corrupt behaviours, and that such behaviour is permissible (or that one needs to also engage in such dealings to succeed).Photograph by George Marks / Getty Images One of the defining attributes of humans is that we are champion cooperators, surpassing […]

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    What Needs to Change in Cancer Treatment for Young Adults

    For a while, oncologists didn’t get it. Many were, both during and after these young patients’ treatment, often oblivious to and ill-equipped to meet their needs.Photograph by U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Peter Dean I treated an inspiring teenage girl in my clinic the other day. Although Sadie has made a complete recovery from her […]

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    The Quiet Revolution of CRISPR

    CRISPR’s not on the cusp of anything.Wikicommons How many diseases could humans treat if the DNA in troublesome cells could be edited within the body? Half? Most? How about “absolutely everything”? That was the answer Irina Conboy, a bioengineer at U.C. Berkeley, recently gave to New Scientist. Her optimism illustrates the promise, announced three years […]

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    Should Scientists Publish Their Personal Biases?

    What if scientists were more transparent about their values? Would their results and recommendations be better received and more trusted if they acknowledged any relevant personal beliefs that may have shaped their research? Nope. Transparency hurts.Photo Illustration by Francesco Izzo / Wikicommons A lot of modern science challenges us to change our behaviors. Results related […]

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    The Secret Costs of Keeping Secrets

    After only 10 minutes of keeping their sexual identity a secret, participants performed worse on a test that required complex thinking than did participants who were not asked to conceal anything.Photograph by Sarah Horrigan / Flickr Keeping a secret can be hard work. It may seem relatively easy to avoid mentioning your friend’s surprise birthday […]