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    The Link Between Complicated Pregnancies and Child Prodigies

    Wondrous talent—like that of mathematical and artistic savants or child prodigies—is exceedingly rare. It occurs so unexpectedly one may be tempted to think of the phenomena as sui generis, so unusual that no rules or commonalities could apply across cases. However, research is steadily disclosing the mechanisms responsible: not merely that their upbringing provides a crucible […]

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    The Rituals That Ward Off Bad Luck Aren’t Arbitrary

    Launch Ritual: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a tradition of eating peanuts during big, risky spacecraft events, such as Mars rover landings. Photograph by Kevin Baird / Flickr For the last two years of his baseball career, George Gmelch didn’t eat pancakes. Playing in the Detroit Tigers minor league system in the 1960s, two disappointing […]

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    Why Most Planets Will Either Be Lush or Dead

    The Gaia hypothesis implies that once alien life takes hold, it will flourish.

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    Even Physicists Find the Multiverse Faintly Disturbing

    It’s not the immensity or inscrutability, but that it reduces physical law to happenstance.

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    How Designers Engineer Luck Into Video Games

    The responsibilities and challenges of programmed luck.

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    The Deceptions of Luck

    Nature makes chance, humans make luck.

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    Don’t Tell Your Friends They’re Lucky

    Luck has a lot to do with success. We just don’t want to admit it.

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    Does a Cartoon Penguin Make Math Education Great Again?

    Matthew Peterson is a pretty inspirational guy. As a dyslexic child he found math class difficult, so as an adult he resolved to totally change the way math is taught. After completing his studies in biology, electrical engineering, and Chinese language and literature at the University of California, Irvine, Peterson co-founded the nonprofit MIND Research […]

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    Is the Chinese Language a Superstition Machine?

    How ambiguity in language can create unique taboos.

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    From a Pink Squiggle to the Human Genome Project

    This Yellowstone bacterium sparked PCR, one of the great advances in genetics.