Controlling variables in search of a hypothetical result is one of the most important methods in science. But the concept of variables is not limited to methodology. A variable is a reminder that a shift in perception can spring us from cliché and deepen our knowledge and understanding.
When the Link Between Space and Time Will Be Intuitive
The celebrated English writer Ian McEwan has, in his stories and essays, shown a fondness for science. For two years he shadowed a neurosurgeon to write his 2005 novel Saturday, and his 2010 novel Solar focused on a Nobel Prize-winning physicist’s solar-energy solution to climate change. His forthcoming novel, Machines Like Me, delves into artificial […]
The Self Is Other People
“We’re constantly bouncing off other people and looking at other people as a mirror of us. Our very sense of who we are is intertwined with what we see when we see other people look at us.”Photograph by Saly Noémi / Fortepan / Wikicommons An oft-repeated line in A Series of Unfortunate Events, a Netflix TV […]
A Magician Explains Why We See What’s Not There
Our brain is constantly picturing what the future should be.
How Search Algorithms Are Changing the Course of Mathematics
The sum-of-three-cubes problem solved for “stubborn” number 33.
Glaciers May Have Covered the Entire Planet—Twice
This story was originally published by Knowable Magazine. The Earth has endured many changes in its 4.5-billion-year history, with some tumultuous twists and turns along the way. One especially dramatic episode appears to have come between 700 million and 600 million years ago, when scientists think ice smothered the entire planet, from the poles to the […]
Fear Is Good for the Forest
In 2011, the renowned evolutionary biologist E.O. Wilson paid a visit to Gorongosa National Park, in Mozambique. It is one of the few places in the world where you can get a feel for the Great African Rift Valley, humanity’s evolutionary home. After a couple hundred thousand years, the area is largely as it was—mostly […]
Aging Is a Communication Breakdown
Genes that can’t express themselves may be hallmarks of cancer.
How to Improve Political Forecasts
With a better understanding of probability, we won’t be misled.
Wikipedia and the Wisdom of Polarized Crowds
A lesson in how to break out of filter bubbles.