This Ecologist Wants to Tell You What Matters in Science
“What physicists and astronomers do is trivial compared to solving these problems.”
Are You Downplaying Luck’s Role in Your Life?
When we succeed, we often take that success, in retrospect, to be the result of suffering that liquid trinity of blood, sweat, and tears. Perhaps fortune favored you here and there but, by and large, it was your effort and talent—not contingency—that won the day. Nonsense, says Robert Frank, a professor of economics at Cornell […]
The Catch 22 of Hacktivism
Are hackers who expose the military serving it?
When Driver and Car Share the Same Brain
An artist teams with an automaker to counter driverless cars with neuroscience.
30 Weirdly Fascinating Health and Body Facts
The camera doesn’t often linger on all the severed heads in Game of Thrones. But if it did, might we see some sign of awareness—at least for a few seconds? A human head doesn’t lose consciousness until after about four seconds, post-decapitation. That’s resiliency of a kind. And the acid in your stomach? Strong enough […]
The Pernicious Myth of Willpower
It turns out “willpower” is not a valid psychological construct.
Will We Ever Know What Dark Matter Is?
The search for the elusive material is reaching the end of its tether.
The Argument Against Terraforming Mars
When it comes to the ethics of actions, such as the decision to terraform Mars, we should ask: What sort of person would do that—a virtuous or vicious one?Photograph by Kees Veenenbos / Science Photo Library In Kim Stanley Robinson’s science-fiction Mars Trilogy, human colonists “terraform” Mars, turning the rocky red planet into a lush […]
The Case for Treating Gatsby as a Real Person
If we lean too much on the text itself, or the history surrounding it, and view with suspicion why people read, and what happens when they do, then we threaten to ignore some of the most interesting questions this weird thing called literature poses. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a reader in possession […]
Outraged By the Google Diversity Memo? I Want You to Think About It
Damore was fired, basically, for making a well-meant, if amateurish, attempt at institutional design, based on woefully incomplete information he picked from published research studies. But however imperfect his attempt, he was fired, in short, for thinking on his own. And what example does that set?Photograph by Verco That leaked internal memo from James Damore […]