27 articles
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    Why We’ll Have Evidence of Aliens—If They Exist—By 2035

    The search for alien technology is about to get much more efficient. I’ve bet a cup of coffee to any and all that by 2035 we’ll have evidence of E.T. To many of my colleagues, that sounds like a losing proposition. For more than a half-century, a small coterie of scientists has been pursuing the […]
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    Obsessed With Blastocysts

    The discovery of stem cells—made possible by fundamental research in microscopy—sprouted a new field of medicine.Science Philanthropy Alliance / YouTube For the last three decades, Janet Rossant has been obsessed with the puzzle of how you got here. How did a five-day old blastocyst turn into a five-fingered baby? She found part of the answer […]
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    How Science Makes “Rick and Morty” Great

    “Rick and Morty” explores both profound or wacky what-ifs, and more humanistic concerns, like dealing with a divorce or failing high-school. Adult Swim / Turner Broadcasting System The season finale of “Rick and Morty,” the Internet Movie Database’s fourth most-popular TV show of all-time, runs tonight. What started as a graphic parody of Back to […]
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    When It’s Good to Be Antisocial

    It turns out that, even in a highly coordinated hive, antisocial individuals persist.“Wanderer above the sea of fog,” by Caspar David Friedrich (1817) Bees are emblems of social complexity. Their honeycombs—intricate lattices dripping with food—house bustling hive members carrying out carefully orchestrated duties like defending against predators and coordinating resource collection. Much of our own […]
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    Are Gravitational Wave Detections Becoming Normal?

     When I heard the news, I emailed my editor with my immediate reaction: “Bummer.” Nautilus Members enjoy an ad-free experience. Log in or Join now . For the fourth time now, humans have directly detected the collision of two black holes. The violent merger occurred over 2 billion years ago, between black holes with 25 […]
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    Yes, You Get Wiser with Age

    Aging gets a bad rap. But disease, decline and discomfort is far from the whole story. Dilip Jeste, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at UC San Diego and director of the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging, is challenging us to take another look.In conversation with Nautilus, Jeste points out that some things get better with […]

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    What to Savor about the Discovery of Gravity Waves

    What will come with the ability to detect gravitational waves? Nergis Mavalvala can’t wait to find out.Image by LLacertae / Flickr You may have once startled a duck or two after tossing a rock into a pond to watch the water ripple. But imagine watching ripples in space-time as the result of two black holes […]

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    Is There an Ideal Amount of Income Inequality?

    A conversation with this month’s Ingenious, Venkat Venkatasubramanian.

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    Why Curiosity Can Be Both Painful and Pleasurable

    The emerging neurology of one of our most human characteristics.

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    Precision Medicine and Aging Have This in Common

    We are healthier and living longer than we ever have, and advances like personalized medicine seem to promise an ever brighter future. But as the proportion of elderly people increases, so do the complexities of age-related medical care.Nautilus caught up with Mary Tinetti, a doctor and researcher at the Yale School of Medicine, to talk […]

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    Modern Media Is a DoS Attack on Your Free Will

    How the attention economy is subverting our decision-making and our democracy.

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    The Perils of Letting Machines into the Hive Mind

    We think we know more than we do—including how machines will behave.
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    Manhattan’s God of Insects

    Lawrence Forcella reminds us why we loved bugs as kids.
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    Why We Need More Intellectually Promiscuous Scientists

    When Thomas Steitz, Ada Yonath, and Venkatraman Ramakrishnan were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their research, in 2009, they acknowledged a debt. Without the work of two of the Physics Laureates that year, the chemists would have lacked the CCD detectors, or high-quality imaging hardware, they used to model and image ribosomes, […]
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    This Crystal Mimics Learning and Forgetting

    You don’t need a brain to learn. Slime molds, for example, solve mazes and navigate obstacles—all without a single neuron. Information about their environment is somehow stored across their bodies. (Scientists are still a bit hazy on how this works.)But what about something that isn’t even alive? A new paper suggests that samarium nickelate oxide […]
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    Why Cassini Is Ending Its Life with a Kamikaze Plunge

    This Friday, NASA’s Cassini probe will run out of fuel and take pictures as it plummets at 75,000 miles per hour through Saturn’s atmosphere. It won’t be crashing—the heat from friction will make Cassini immolate in the sky.Cassini has had a good run. Since arriving at Saturn in 2004, the probe has transmitted stunning images […]