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  • Cepelewicz_HERO-

    This Man Is About to Blow Up Mathematics

    Harvey Friedman is about to bring incompleteness and infinity out of quarantine.

  • colliding galaxies_HERO

    How to Understand Extreme Numbers

    The late statistics wizard Hans Rosling, who died this month at age 68,  brought at least 10 toilet paper rolls to some of his beloved presentations.  He would stack them into a tower on a table, each roll representing one billion people. In a 2012 talk at the Skoll World Forum, he used the rolls […]

  • Osteen_HERO

    Why Joel Osteen, “The Smiling Preacher,” Is So Darn Appealing

    It’s hard to quantify charisma, but by any measure Joel Osteen has some pretty impressive stats. Every week, the man some call “The Smiling Preacher,” draws an estimated 43,500 individuals to his Lakewood Church, which he moved into a former professional basketball stadium just off Houston’s Highway 59 in 2005. Osteen’s weekly sermons are beamed […]

  • holding newspaper_HERO

    It’s Easy to Make Enemies of People We Only Read About

    Last week, Marco Rubio, a United States senator from Florida, found himself in an unfamiliar position. He felt compelled to remind his more senior colleagues in the Senate of the value of rational debate. Word of this didn’t really catch on until The Washington Post, two days later, ran the headline: “Marco Rubio just gave […]

  • love smarter_HERO

    Love Can Make You Smarter

    Love is supposed to make you stupid. We’re used to seeing the lover as a mooning fool, blind to his lover’s faults and the goings-on of the outside world, or even as a person who has lost all sense of rationality or propriety, driven to a kind of madness. There’s science to back this up: […]

  • Istanbul

    Can You Identify These Cities From Their Light Signatures?

    The light that a city emits is like its glowing fingerprint. From the orderly grid of Manhattan, to the sprawling, snaking streets of Milan, to the bright contrast of Kuwait’s ring-roads, each city leaves its own pattern of tiny glowing dots. See if you can ID these cities based on the way they shine.    […]

  • four clover_HERO

    Born Lucky: The Genetics of the Four-Leaf Clover

    Each year, from 1913 to 1917, the psychologist Edmund S. Conklin would hand out a questionnaire to his new psychology students. Conklin wanted to see which superstitious habits or beliefs were the most and least enduring. He found that just over a quarter of college students believed in lucky four-leaf clovers, making it the second […]

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    The Tangled History of Big Bang Science

    Diagram outlining the critical stages of evolution of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present.CERN / Flickr For a theory of the universe as successful as the Big Bang, it may come as a surprise to realize how many complications its promoters had to stumble through. Let’s begin with the unfortunate figure of […]

  • Wendle_HERO2

    When Climate Change Starts Wars

    Rising temperatures are bringing ethnic tensions to a boil in Central Asia.

  • Sedacca_HERO-2

    The Man Who Played with Absolute Power

    A chat with the creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment.