18 articles
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    Announcing a Black Hole Essay Competition from Harvard

    The $10,000 First Prize will include the opportunity to publish the winning article in Nautilus, a leading online and print magazine that blends science, culture, and philosophy. The Black Hole Initiative (BHI) at Harvard University announces the first-ever Black Hole Essay Competition, inviting submissions that explore novel connections and new perspectives on black hole research. […]
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    Many of Our Beliefs Are Unconscious: A Response to Nick Chater

    After a few years of driving, you are able to hold conversations while navigating a busy city. How is this possible without unconscious thought?Photograph by wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock Nick Chater has put forward a bold claim in his recent book, The Mind Is Flat, as well as in an article and interview in Nautilus: that […]
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    How Artificial Intelligence Can Supercharge the Search for New Particles

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine‘s Abstractions blog.The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) smashes a billion pairs of protons together each second. Occasionally the machine may rattle reality enough to have a few of those collisions generate something that’s never been seen before. But because these events are by their nature a surprise, physicists don’t know exactly what […]
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    This Man Says the Mind Has No Depths

    Nick Chater argues our brain is a storyteller, not a reporter from an inner world.
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    There Is No Such Thing as Unconscious Thought

    A behavioral scientist unravels one of our most cherished conceptions.
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    Bo Burnham and the Illusion of Meritocracy

    In a WTF with Marc Maron podcast episode from 2012, musical comedian Bo Burnham said his fortune felt unreal, as if his life were a futuristic VR game. “I could die, take off a helmet, and, look: It’s the Bo Burnham 2000. There’s a whole line of people crying waiting in line,” he told Maron. […]

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    Why We Should Think Twice About Colonizing Space

    My conclusion is that in a colonized universe the probability of the annihilation of the human race could actually rise rather than fall.Illustration by David Revoy / Blender Foundation / Wikicommons There are lots of reasons why colonizing space seems compelling. The popular astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson argues that it would stimulate the economy and […]

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    Blood Spatter Will Tell

    How the science of blood spatter forensics is evolving.

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    Do Religious People Really Have a Problem with Evolution?

    My journey into the middle ground of the science-religion culture war.

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    Our Strange Relationship to World Cup Probabilities

    What this World Cup reveals isn’t that the stats were wrong—far from it, they were insightfully calculated—but rather that we relate to stats and probabilities in strange ways.Photograph by Hey! Play! / Wayfair This year’s World Cup has been full of surprises. Tournament mainstays such as the Netherlands and Italy didn’t even qualify, and Germany, […]

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    Why It’s Hard to Recognize a Black Hole

    Despite having a standard model of an AGN—a supermassive black hole surrounded by an accretion disk with jets streaming out in opposite directions, all encompassed by a dusty torus—making sense of our observations is still a challenge.NASA/CXC/CfA/R.Kraft et al.; MPIfR/ESO/APEX/A.Weiss et al.; ESO/WFI. Astronomers can sometimes be literal to a fault. We like to call […]

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    Is Fixing the Climate Incompatible with American Ideals?

    Inalienable rights in the age of carbon dioxide.
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    Is This Man the Elon Musk of E-Waste?

    Eric Lundgren’s electric car goes farther than a Tesla. He’s also going to prison.
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    The Painful Wait for a Hangover Pill

    One survey of 2,000 people found that if you have only one hangover a month, it adds up to two years of total sick time over the course of a lifetime.Photograph by ShotPrime Studio / Shutterstock From freezing showers to ingesting prickly pear to smoking joints, everyone has a home remedy for alcohol’s notorious afterglow: the hangover. […]
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    What Is the Sun Made Of and When Will It Die?

    Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog.Like any star in its prime, the sun consists mainly of hydrogen atoms fusing two by two into helium, unleashing immense energy in the process. But it’s the sun’s tiny concentration of heavier elements, which astronomers call metals, that controls its fate. “Even a very small fraction of […]
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    The Biggest Misapprehension About Human Origins

    Archaeologist Ticia Verveer recently posted a thread on Twitter showing that customer complaints go way back. And I mean way back. Verveer referred to a letter inscribed on a 3,700-year-old Babylonian clay tablet. In the letter, Verveer writes, “The copper merchant Nanni details at length his anger at a sour deal, and his dissatisfaction with […]