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issue_58

  • Self

    What interesting stories are out there that involve the self but do not involve people? Complex systems seem to resist the privileged perspective necessary to define a “self.” If nature preaches a deep relativism, is our attachment to the idea of self a human foible?  

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    Will This “Neural Lace” Brain Implant Help Us Compete with AI?

    Smarter artificial intelligence is certainly being developed, but how far along are we on producing a neural lace?Photograph by g.tec medical engineering GmbH / Flickr Solar-powered self-driving cars, reusable space ships, Hyperloop transportation, a mission to colonize Mars: Elon Musk is hell-bent on turning these once-far-fetched fantasies into reality. But none of these technologies has […]

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    The Self Is Other People

    “We’re constantly bouncing off other people and looking at other people as a mirror of us. Our very sense of who we are is intertwined with what we see when we see other people look at us.”Photograph by Saly Noémi / Fortepan / Wikicommons An oft-repeated line in A Series of Unfortunate Events, a Netflix TV […]

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    How a Defense of Christianity Revolutionized Brain Science

    The statistics that grew out of Reverend Bayes’ apologetics became powerful enough to account for wide ranges of uncertainties. In brain science, it helps make sense of sensory input processes.Waiting For The Word / Flickr Presbyterian reverend Thomas Bayes had no reason to suspect he’d make any lasting contribution to humankind. Born in England at […]

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    How ‘Oumuamua Got Shredded

    ‘Oumuamua may be a piece of a torn-apart comet, gravitationally launched into interstellar space, that roamed the galaxy before dropping on our doorstep.ESO / M. Kornmesser / Wikicommons Our solar system’s first houseguest—at least, the first one we have seen in our midst—is a strange one. Scientists have taken to calling it ‘Oumuamua (pronounced “Oh-MOO-ah-MOO-ah”), […]

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    The Problem with Mindfulness

    Should we be mindful of how popular “mindfulness” now is? Carl Erik Fisher says we should. Fisher is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and a practicing psychotherapist who integrates meditation in his practice, and meditates himself. But he worries some popular meditation practices, which stress salvation through a clear mind, undermine the […]

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    Nautilus Joins Forces with Discover and Astronomy

    You may not know it, but Nautilus and Discover go way back. Our features editor, Kevin Berger, came to us from Discover Magazine. So did our long-time (now former) blog editor, Amos Zeeberg. Discover editors have written and guest-edited for us, and we’ve been regular consumers of Discover’s great features and blog content since we […]

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    Is Facebook Really Scarier Than Google?

    On Twitter, in a thread that went viral, François Chollet, an A.I. software engineer at Google, argued, “Facebook is, in effect, in control of your political beliefs and your worldview.”Photograph by Joe Penniston / Flickr Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and C.E.O. of Facebook, admitted recently his company knew, in 2015, that the data firm Cambridge […]

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    When the Heavens Stopped Being Perfect

    The advent of the telescope punctured our ideals about the nighttime sky.

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    Social Inequality Leaves a Genetic Mark

    When genetic structure follows social structure.