33 articles
  • Tree of Life medium shot hero

    You Need to Know About Bahrain’s Loneliest Tree

    Bahrain’s “Tree of Life” is a beauty. Low and wide, its thick, craggy branches dive under the surface of the desert before curving back up toward the hot sun. Delicate, feathery leaves flutter at its edge.It’s also profoundly alone. Diminutive shrubs dot this sandy wasteland, but there’s not another tree in sight, across miles of […]
  • aerial view of zoo

    How This Revolutionary Old Zoo Was Redesigned for the 21st Century

    At the height of his powers in 15th century Florence, Lorenzo de Medici managed to secure a magnificent giraffe for his menagerie. The animal was such a marvel that several works of art depicted its arrival. (Just how grueling and gruesome the transit must have been to the giraffe is lost to history.) For ages, […]
  • ngc 6503 galaxy

    Cosmic Void Dwarfs Are a Thing and There’s a Problem With Them

    Given how absurdly vast the cosmos is, with its hundreds of billions of galaxies, picturing it isn’t easy. You might think it natural, for instance, to see all these galaxies as more or less evenly spread out across the Universe. But you’d be wrong. Following the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, says Robert Kirshner, […]
  • teapot graphic

    The Most Important Object In Computer Graphics History Is This Teapot

    Let’s play a game. I’ll show you a picture and a couple videos—just watch the first five seconds or so—and you figure out what they have in common. Ready? Here we go:Did you spot it? Each of them depicts the exact same object: a shiny, slightly squashed-looking teapot. Nautilus Members enjoy an ad-free experience. Log in […]
  • Article Recirculation Lead Image

    Here’s Why People Are Obsessed With Mugshot Hotties

    On June 18, 2014, a photo of a very handsome, no-name man was posted on the Web. Within 48 hours, it garnered 62,000 “Likes” on Facebook and became a media spectacle. Today, the Like count is up to almost 102,000, and the photo is still attracting comments. But thousands of pictures of highly attractive people […]
  • blurry colors

    How My Ecstasy Trip Turned Into a Rare Anxiety Disorder

    When I was at the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware, in the summer of 2014, I took a 200 mg pill of ecstasy—Red Riddler—something I had done before. After the sets were over, the colors of the overhead lamps seemed more saturated against the sky. Each bulb’s top-right quadrant had a massive, prismatic aura, like […]

  • greylag goose couple

    Why Are So Many Animals Homosexual?

    Few creatures can boast of devotions so deep as greylag geese. Most are monogamous; many spend their decade-long adult lives with the same goose, side-by-side in constant communication, taking another partner only if the first should die. It’s a remarkable degree of fidelity, and it includes relationships of a sort that some humans consider unnatural.Quite […]

  • mosquito on arm

    Could We See the End of Malaria?

    The Nobel laureate Baruch Blumberg once estimated that malaria has killed half of the people who have ever lived. In 2015 alone, it killed almost half a million people, 70 percent of which were children. Today, about 3.2 billion people are, according to the World Health Organization, at risk of contracting it, most of whom […]

  • holding sea snail

    Does Singing to Sea Snails Really Draw Them Out?

    As a child in Maine, I spent a lot of time exploring the tide pools jutting out from Rice Point, the beach where my extended family hosted noisy lobster picnics. Every so often I would unstick a periwinkle (Littorina littorea), a common kind of sea snail, from a rock, let it tumble into my palm, […]

  • loving noses

    If You Can’t Smell Him, Can You Love Him?

    What are the ingredients of a good relationship? Trust? Communication? Compromise?How about a sense of smell? When researchers in the United Kingdom surveyed almost 500 people with anosmia (the loss of sense of smell), more than 50 percent of them reported feeling isolated, and blamed their relationship troubles on their affliction. “I worry I will […]

  • elsa and albert einstein

    Love Can Make You Smarter

     Love is supposed to make you stupid. We’re used to seeing the lover as a mooning fool, blind to his lover’s faults and the goings-on of the outside world, or even as a person who has lost all sense of rationality or propriety, driven to a kind of madness. There’s science to back this up: […]

  • curved gravity waves

    Top 5 Targets of a Gravity Wave Observatory

    On February 3, Cliff Burgess, a physicist at McMaster University, emailed some of his colleagues about an exciting rumor—a possible discovery—that, if verified at a press conference later today, would mean a “Nobel prize is coming someone’s way.”According to “spies,” Burgess said, an instrument called LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) had apparently observed a […]
  • foam search

    This Is How to Check Whether Spacetime Is Foamy

    In 1944, John Wheeler received a haunting postcard. It was from his younger brother, Joe, who had written only two words: “Hurry up.” Wheeler was involved with the United States’ atomic weapons effort, and Joe wanted him to finish the bomb so he could come home from fighting in Italy. But by the time Hiroshima […]
  • couple texting

    Why You Shouldn’t Swipe Left Too Quickly

     When Eric Klinenberg, an NYU sociologist, was waiting at Penn Station with an armful of groceries, he got a call from a publisher at Penguin. “Hey,” said the publisher, “I have a random question for you: Have you ever heard of a comedian named Aziz Ansari?” Nautilus Members enjoy an ad-free experience. Log in or […]
  • Pavlus_HERO-F.

    Spark of Science: Childhood Discovery

    Kirk Johnson’s mom gave him 5 minutes at a rest stop. It was enough to find an arrowhead.
  • Zach_HERO

    Curiosity Depends on What You Already Know

    We seek novelty, but not too much.