What Happens When You Can’t Talk to Yourself?
How a missing inner monologue affects the sense of self.
Five Veteran Scientists Tell Us What Most Surprised Them
Fifty years ago, who knew we’d learn to clone genes and find water on Mars?
Why The World Isn’t As It Seems
Take a close look at the floor tiles in the scene below. First, focus your attention on the tile directly below the potted plant, in the shadow of the table. Then, look at the tile to the right, outside of the table. Which of these tiles is brighter? The left one? Wrong. In fact, as […]
How Pantone Colors Your World
Why your wardrobe is wine-hued this year.
5 Languages That Could Change the Way You See the World
I went to my neighbor’s house for something to eat yesterday. Think about this sentence. It’s pretty simple—English speakers would know precisely what it means. But what does it actually tell you—or, more to the point, what does it not tell you? It doesn’t specify facts like the subject’s gender or the neighbor’s, or what […]
6 Pieces of Art That Open Minds—and Get Stuff Done
The modern artist David Hockney once said that “art has to move you and design does not, unless it’s a good design for a bus.” Such a polemic statement implies that there can be no blurring between pure art and usefulness. But an artwork’s function and the viewer’s interaction with it can be an […]
Odell Beckham’s Helping Hands—the Tech Behind the Catch
It was the catch that broke the Internet. In a game against the Dallas Cowboys last week, rookie wide receiver for the New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr. launched himself into the air backwards, arm outstretched, and managed to catch a pass using one hand—actually just the tips of a thumb and two fingers—to score […]
How Is a Genius Different From a Really Smart Person?
The most intelligent two percent of people in the world. These are the people who qualify for membership in Mensa, an exclusive international society open only to people who score at or above the 98th percentile on an IQ or other standardized intelligence test. Mensa’s mission remains the same as when it was founded in […]
Osmos, a Physics Game Where It’s Survival of the Fattest
A screenshot from Osmos showing the player’s mote bright blue mote surrounded by smaller blue bubbles, which you can eat, and larger red blobs, which can eat you. In an era when fashion demands thinness, the video game Osmos, in which the goal is attaining ever greater levels of corpulence, stands as a rare exception. […]
Want Fungus in That? Our Delicious & Useful Rotten Foods
Imagine a bowl of half-cooked beans coated in a layer of fibrous, white mold. Dotted across the surface of the mold are little black and blue spores. It smells faintly of ammonia. Sound appetizing? It might seem too much like the remnants of last week’s edamame, but that moldy bean cake, or tempeh, is a […]