Why We’ll Have Evidence of Aliens—If They Exist—By 2035
The search for alien technology is about to get much more efficient. I’ve bet a cup of coffee to any and all that by 2035 we’ll have evidence of E.T. To many of my colleagues, that sounds like a losing proposition. For more than a half-century, a small coterie of scientists has been pursuing the […]
Obsessed With Blastocysts
The discovery of stem cells—made possible by fundamental research in microscopy—sprouted a new field of medicine.Science Philanthropy Alliance / YouTube For the last three decades, Janet Rossant has been obsessed with the puzzle of how you got here. How did a five-day old blastocyst turn into a five-fingered baby? She found part of the answer […]
Why Facebook Is the Junk Food of Socializing
Have you ever been walking in a dark alley and seen something that you thought was a crouching person, but it turned out to be a garbage bag or something similarly innocuous? Me too. Have you ever seen a person crouching in a dark alley and mistaken it for a garbage bag? Me neither. Why […]
How Science Makes “Rick and Morty” Great
“Rick and Morty” explores both profound or wacky what-ifs, and more humanistic concerns, like dealing with a divorce or failing high-school. Adult Swim / Turner Broadcasting System The season finale of “Rick and Morty,” the Internet Movie Database’s fourth most-popular TV show of all-time, runs tonight. What started as a graphic parody of Back to […]
When It’s Good to Be Antisocial
It turns out that, even in a highly coordinated hive, antisocial individuals persist.“Wanderer above the sea of fog,” by Caspar David Friedrich (1817) Bees are emblems of social complexity. Their honeycombs—intricate lattices dripping with food—house bustling hive members carrying out carefully orchestrated duties like defending against predators and coordinating resource collection. Much of our own […]
We like to make the hive personal. While we undermine the hive in stories, we build ever-better versions of it in reality. As our neighborhoods grow denser, public conversations move to social media, and blockchain decentralizes authority, we move closer to discovering whether the personal hive is really a contradiction in term.
Are Gravitational Wave Detections Becoming Normal?
When I heard the news, I emailed my editor with my immediate reaction: “Bummer.” For the fourth time now, humans have directly detected the collision of two black holes. The violent merger occurred over 2 billion years ago, between black holes with 25 and 31 times the mass of our sun. It released an […]
Yes, You Get Wiser with Age
Aging gets a bad rap. But disease, decline and discomfort is far from the whole story. Dilip Jeste, professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at UC San Diego and director of the UCSD Center for Healthy Aging, is challenging us to take another look. In conversation with Nautilus, Jeste points out that some things get better […]
What to Savor about the Discovery of Gravity Waves
What will come with the ability to detect gravitational waves? Nergis Mavalvala can’t wait to find out.Image by LLacertae / Flickr You may have once startled a duck or two after tossing a rock into a pond to watch the water ripple. But imagine watching ripples in space-time as the result of two black holes […]
Is There an Ideal Amount of Income Inequality?
A conversation with this month’s Ingenious, Venkat Venkatasubramanian.