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    Collective Intelligence Will End Identity-based Politics

    It is possible to imagine, explore, and promote forms of consciousness that enhance awareness as well as dissolve the artificial illusions of self and separate identity.Photo illustration by Shane Taremi / Flickr The Canadian poet Dennis Lee once wrote that the consolations of existence might be improved if we thought, worked, and lived as though […]

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    Will the March for Science Matter?

    The closer one looks, the more intractable the politics become.Photograph by Mihai Petre / Wikicommons Here’s a hypothesis worth testing: If anybody concerned with science was left on the fence about whether the April 22 March for Science was a worthwhile endeavor, a flurry of news in late March catalyzed them to action. Let’s look […]

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    Why Are US Presidential Elections So Close?

    Even this one.

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    The Real Reason You’re Voting for Clinton or Trump

    The Lebanese-Canadian professor of marketing Gad Saad (both sound like “sad”) can readily defend evolutionary psychology against the charge that it’s a convenient, “just-so story.” (Before diving in, he said, “Forgive me, it’s going to be a bit long-winded, because your question is an important one.”) He founded and developed the field of “evolutionary consumption” […]

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    Why Were the UK Election Polls So Wrong? A Statistical Mystery

    Workers count votes at a polling place in Worcester, Mass.SuperStock via Getty Images Last Thursday the UK’s Conservative Party stomped to an electoral victory that fairly shocked the country. The Tories won a comfortable majority of seats in parliament, enabling them to govern the nation without a coalition partner. That result contrasted sharply with the […]

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    Iran’s Great, Dying Salt Lake

    As Urmia dries up, it leaves huge salt beaches behind.Giulio M via Flickr The last time my cousin Houman traveled to Lake Urmia was 10 years ago. He and four of his friends piled into his car and drove for roughly 12 hours, snaking west from the capital of Tehran. Iran is shaped like a […]

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    Your Genetic Privacy Is Probably a Lost Cause

    Any cup you sip from could provide a sample bearing your DNA. dohtoor via Shutterstock Almost everywhere you go, you leave a bit of yourself behind—a hair, a fingernail clipping, a bit of skin, a few skin cells from your lips on a drinking cup. For a long time, that trace of you was little […]

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    Iron Curtain of the Mind—Our Tangled Thoughts on Geography

    An East German border guard keeps a lookout for people trying to escape from communist Berlin to freedom on the other side of the wall. US National Archives How well do we know the countries we call home? It seems obvious that travel and study would improve a person’s knowledge of geography. But could attitudes […]

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    One Weird Trick to Save the World (Using Polar Bears)

    This is exactly the kind of photo you would not see in environmentalist literature.BMJ / Shutterstock When environmentalists petitioned to designate the polar bear a threatened animal under the Endangered Species Act in 2005, they were not, in fact, out to save the polar bear. They were out to save the world. Since the polar […]

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    How We Could Find Alien Life Soon—and Why We Probably Won’t

    Despite their great distance from Earthbound politics, exoplanets were the topic of a joint hearing on May 9th of the House space and research subcommittees. The recent discovery of a trio of temperate super-Earths was the hearing’s impetus, but most of the discussion was devoted to future prospects—chiefly, how and when scientists might learn whether […]