20 articles
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    The Young Milky Way Collided With a Dwarf Galaxy

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta’s Abstractions blog.As the Milky Way was growing, taking shape, and minding its own business around 10 billion years ago, it suffered a massive head-on collision with another, smaller galaxy. That cosmic cataclysm changed the Milky Way’s structure forever, shaping the thick spirals that spin out from the supermassive black hole at […]
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    Why Enceladus’ Ice Is Part of the Climate Change Conversation

    To imagine the absence of the Arctic and Antarctica produces something like the opposite of sublime, a pang of emptiness and a longing to appreciate that terrain in person before it passes.Image by NASA / Wikicommons Beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, an ocean dwells. Traces of it get expelled skyward through […]
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    Taking Another Person’s Perspective Doesn’t Help You Understand Them

    No moral advice is perfectly sound. The Golden Rule—do unto others as you would have them do unto you—is only as wise as the person following it.A more modern-sounding tip—take the perspective of others—can seem like an improvement. It was Dale Carnegie’s eighth principle in How to Win Friends and Influence People (it is “a […]
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    The Rhythm of Sculpture

    How science has informed one sculptor’s view of time.
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    Should You Tell Everyone They’re Honest?

    People try to live up to their labels.
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    Scavenging Russia’s Rocket Graveyard Is Dangerous and Profitable

    This might be one of the most remote places on earth, little accessible by road, but its peace is routinely broken by the oldest, largest and busiest spaceport in the world: the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Photograph by Alex Zelenko / Wikicommons The Altai mountain region of Central Asia is a rugged and remote place. Right in […]

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    The Spacetime of Fine Art

    For the painter Matthew Phillips, past, present, and future meet at the tip of a brush.

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    What a Russian Smile Means

    How culture and history make American and Russian smiles different.

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    Climate Change Is Making Plants Behave Like Costco Shoppers

    Plants have their own form of money: carbon dioxide. For decades, our fossil fuel industry has been artificially inflating their currency. What happens to plants during inflation—when CO2 levels in the atmosphere rise?The same thing that happens if you drop money from the sky over Times Square, leaving everyone there with $1,000 in their pockets, […]

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    Money Doesn’t Buy Happiness—But Time Just Might Do It

    A city’s pace of life was indeed “significantly related” to the physical, social, and psychological well-being of its inhabitants.Photograph by Neta Bartal / Flickr While on vacation in distant locales, people often find that time moves quite differently than in the places they’re used to. In the tropics, we settle into the grooves of “island […]

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    Why Social Science Needs Evolutionary Theory

    Evolutionary theory has the potential to transform education and, through it, society.

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    Making Time Machines From Taxi Meters

    A sculptor explains how his art upends time.
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    We Need to Save Ignorance From AI

    In an age of all-knowing algorithms, how do we choose not to know?
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    Desert Air Will Give Us Water

    A partial solution to the problem of punishing droughts may be to snatch water from the air, Dune-style.Photograph by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center / Flickr Last year, after a punishing four-year drought, California lifted emergency water-scarcity measures in all but four counties. Residents could sigh in relief but not without resignation. “This drought emergency […]
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    Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog.Physicists are both thrilled and baffled by a new report from a neutrino experiment at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago. The MiniBooNE experiment has detected far more neutrinos of a particular type than expected, a finding that is most easily explained by the existence of a new elementary particle: a “sterile” […]
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    Larry David and the Game Theory of Anonymous Donations

    What your generosity signals about you.