This month we look at the innate nature of storytelling and why AI will need to learn how to tell stories. But that’s not all: This issue is also about the beautiful power of stories themselves.
Most of the Mind Can’t Tell Fact from Fiction
Even after you understand how an illusion operates, it continues to fool part of your mind. This is the kind of double knowledge we have when we consume fiction.Photograph by KieferPix / Shutterstock Stories, fiction included, act as a kind of surrogate life. You can learn from them so seamlessly that you might believe you […]
Can New Species Evolve From Cancers? Maybe.
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. Aggressive cancers can spread so fiercely that they seem less like tissues gone wrong and more like invasive parasites looking to consume and then break free of their host. If a wild theory recently floated in Biology Direct is correct, something like that might indeed happen on […]
How American Tycoons Created the Dinosaur
The story of dinosaurs is also the story of capitalism.
A Hologram Shows How Space Could Pop Into Existence
The holographic principle—with a real hologram.
What Color Really Evolved For
The finding that melanosomes are so common inside animals’ bodies may overhaul our very understanding of the function of melanin, the pigment responsible for color in feathers and other external features.Photograph by Aline Dassel / Pixabay What color were the dinosaurs? If you have a picture in your head, fresh studies suggest you may need […]
Butterfly Wonk Robert Pyle Pens His First Novel 44 Years in the Making
Ecologist Robert Michael Pyle’s imaginative treatment of the nonhuman world—he includes a butterfly and a mountain among his cast of characters—is both a surprise and perhaps a natural result of his artistic development.Counterpoint Press Last year marked a first for 71-year old Robert Michael Pyle, the acclaimed author, naturalist, and ecologist: the publication of his long-awaited first novel, Magdalena […]
Human Emotions Are Personal Narratives
Neuroscientist Joseph LeDoux on what makes our brains unique.
The Tricky Problem with Other Minds
How our mental states overlap with and diverge from those of other species.
Daydreams Shape Your Sense of Self
Certain daydreams reflect what is important to a person; what worries them, who they care about, and what they love and aspire to do.Photograph by Crispy Fish Images / Shutterstock You are at home, cutting onions for dinner, and tear up from the vapor. Your mother, teaching you how to cut onions when you were […]