logo

issue_24

  • Brown_HERO-5

    How Math’s Most Famous Proof Nearly Broke

    Andrew Wiles thought he had a solution to an age-old puzzle. Until it began to unravel.

  • Greenwood_HERO-2

    Consciousness Began When the Gods Stopped Speaking

    How Julian Jaynes’ famous 1970s theory is faring in the neuroscience age.

  • stone handaxes

    Does Culture Really Evolve Like Organisms Do?

    It’s become common to think about cultural change the same way we think about biological evolution—so common that it may obscure whether the comparison really works. Though there remain many questions yet to answer about biological evolution, it’s a process that’s well-understood. We know, in great detail, how variations emerge, how they’re passed on hereditarily, […]

  • Humphries_HERO_4

    Why We Should Let the Pantheon Crack

    Modern architects have a lot to learn from the sound engineering of the ancients.

  • Barash_HERO

    How Necking Shaped the Giraffe

    The private life of the African giant offers a remarkable view on evolution.

  • Autopsy at Hotel-Dieu by Henri Gervex

    We Need More Autopsies, to Help Save the Living

    When Italian authorities confirmed that James Gandolfini had just died in Rome of an apparent heart attack in 2013, many reports in American media fronted the fact that Gandolfini’s body would be autopsied, “as required by Italian law.” They emphasized this news for understandable reasons—an autopsy on someone who died in medical care seemed unusual. […]

  • Scanlon_COFFEE

    Will Coffee Cure You or Kill You?

    Depending on whom you ask, coffee is either the next super food or the next public health hazard. Consult the latest news headlines or scientific studies, and you’ll find that coffee “fights heart disease,” reduces the risk of breast cancer, colon cancer, and multiple sclerosis, and “could keep Alzheimer’s at bay.” One recent study by researchers […]

  • messy wires hero

    Why Our Genome and Technology Are Both Riddled With “Crawling Horrors”

    “Add little to little and there will be a big pile.” —Ovid When we build complex technologies, despite our best efforts and our desire for clean logic, they often end up being far messier than we intend. They often end up kluges: inelegant solutions that work just well enough. And a reason they end up being […]

  • counting votes in Worcester Mass

    Why Were the UK Election Polls So Wrong? A Statistical Mystery

    Workers count votes at a polling place in Worcester, Mass.SuperStock via Getty Images Last Thursday the UK’s Conservative Party stomped to an electoral victory that fairly shocked the country. The Tories won a comfortable majority of seats in parliament, enabling them to govern the nation without a coalition partner. That result contrasted sharply with the […]

  • FSR-Daredevil_eye-BR

    Daredevil’s Powers Are More Realistic Than You Think

    In an early episode of Daredevil, Netflix’s new series about Marvel Comic’s blind superhero, there’s a telling scene in which the crime-fighting protagonist tends to an injured friend. Although he lost his eyesight in a traffic accident as a boy, Daredevil can nevertheless perceive her wounds. From across his apartment, he senses that a cut […]