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    How We Can Finally Start Outsmarting Single-Cell Attackers

    Imagine you are a bacterium, roughly 1/1,700,000 of your current size, residing in your own human body’s gut. You live in a diverse community, the “microbiome,” teeming with other bacteria: friendly neighbors who live next door, some ne’erdowells who occasionally vandalize the town, and your neighborhood cops who try to keep everything in check. The […]

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    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 […]

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    What to Do When Genius Fails

    Isaac Newton’s diagram of the Philosopher’s Stone, a substance that could supposedly turn base metals into gold. Geniuses, however we define the concept, often evoke particular strong feelings. Many of us develop personal affection for them, defending them from criticism as fiercely as we would friends or family. It’s not enough for them to be […]

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    This Tool-Using Sniper Changed What We Think About Fish

    An archerfish lets fly at its unsuspecting prey.Ingo Rischawy / Schuster lab, University of Bayreuth    Few animals have had their cognitive abilities maligned like fish. Myths about their dullness abound—no doubt you’ve heard the one about goldfish’s three-second memories. But have you also heard the one about gobies memorizing the location of rock pools? Or coral […]

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    Dragons, Memory & Navigating the Globe Using Only Your Wits

    “Vniversale descrittione di tvtta la terra conoscivta fin qvi,” a map of the world from 1565. Click through to see the entire amazing map, or download the super-hi-res version. Paolo Forlani Terra incognita. Unknown land. You may be familiar with this Latin phrase, which most notably appears on old maps, sometimes next to images of dragons, […]

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    Human vs. Squirrel: The Battle of Wits Is On

    “Hey, thanks for the new feeder. Now I can pretend I’m super-squirrel while I eat!”IanC66 via Shutterstock Feed the birds, they said. It will be fun, they said. Early this spring I bought a simple wood-and-plastic bird feeder. My children and I filled it with feed that promised to lure colorful birds, hung it from […]

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    Genius

    Genius seems to be a concept in decline. The MacArthur Foundation, which awards fellowships famously known as “genius grants,” won’t mention the word because, in its own words, “[genius] connotes a singular character of intellectual prowess [whereas] the people we seek to support express many other important qualities.” The Google n-gram for genius shows a […]

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    Why the Chess Computer Deep Blue Played Like a Human

    Randomness may be key to both human and computer creativity.

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    How Jocks and Mathletes Are Alike

    Seven sports that come down to how well your neurons play.

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    How Jocks and Mathletes Are Alike

    Seven sports that come down to how well your neurons play.