Nautilus11 min citite
We’re More of Ourselves When We’re in Tune with Others: Music reminds us why going solo goes against our better nature.
When musicians have chemistry, we can feel it. There’s something special among them that’s missing when they perform alone. Anyone who’s heard a Mick Jagger solo album knows that’s the case. Clearly nature wants us to jam together and take flight out
Nautilus10 min citite
Plants Feel Pain and Might Even See: It’s time to retire the hierarchical classification of living things.
In 2018, a German newspaper asked me if I would be interested in having a conversation with the philosopher Emanuele Coccia, who had just written a book about plants, Die Wurzeln der Welt (published in English as The Life of Plants). I was happy to s
Nautilus8 min citite
How to Outwit Evolution: We can defeat superbugs by staying one step ahead of them.
There’s a silent epidemic slowly brewing around the globe. It hasn’t claimed as many lives as COVID-19, but if it gets out of control, it will likely prove even deadlier. It’s caused not by a single virus, but by a number of different bacterial speci
Nautilus4 min cititeMathematics
Talking Pop Science with Physicist Sabine Hossenfelder
Science without the gobbledygook.” That’s the name, and promise, of Sabine Hossenfelder’s YouTube show. The German theoretical physicist, whose main gig is as a Research Fellow at the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies, has attracted over 300,0
Nautilus9 min citite
How To Unlearn A Disease: Medicine’s latest cure is forgetting you’re sick.
My father, a neurologist, once had a patient who was tormented, in the most visceral sense, by a poem. Philip was 12 years old and a student at a prestigious boarding school in Princeton, New Jersey. One of his assignments was to recite Edgar Allan P
Nautilus6 min citite
Galileo the Science Publicist: Scientists putting their lives on the line can take heart from a great astronomer.
There’s an old belief that truth will always overcome error. Alas, history tells us something different. Without someone to fight for it, to put error on the defensive, truth may languish. It may even be lost, at least for some time. No one understoo
Nautilus7 min citite
Humans Are One Mixed-Up Ape
Recent fossilized bone discoveries in China and Israel support the exciting possibility of new, previously unknown species of archaic humans that wandered the planet alongside Homo sapiens. These discoveries pose new questions regarding the nature of
Nautilus14 min citite
Psychedelics Open A New Window On The Mechanisms Of Perception: Hallucinatory drugs may allow our brains to let go of prior beliefs.
Everything became imbued with a sense of vitality and life and vividness. If I picked up a pebble from the beach, it would move. It would glisten and gleam and sparkle and be absolutely captivating,” says neuroscientist Anil Seth. “Somebody looking a
Nautilus16 min citite
The Planets with the Giant Diamonds Inside: Mining the mysteries of Uranus and Neptune.
On the dark night of March 13, 1781, William Herschel settled down in his garden observatory in Bath, England, for a routine night of observing stars, when he noticed something out of place in the heavens. Through the eyepiece of his homemade 7-foot
Nautilus7 min citite
T. Rex Was a Slacker: A natural wonder of the big theropod was how it conserved energy.
In our evolving understanding of dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex has acquired a new persona in recent decades. It’s always been the imperious, curiously agile two-ton gargantua, personified as a gaunt, grizzle-faced gunfighter at the dark end of the bar
Nautilus5 min citite
New Evidence That Therapy Can Make You Happier
In “All Eyes on Me,” a song from his new Netflix special Inside, the musician-comedian Bo Burnham pauses to ask, “You want to hear a funny story?” He tells us that, five years ago, he quit performing live because, while on stage, he’d experience seve
Nautilus12 min citite
What Made Early Humans Smart: Walking upright made our ancestors easy prey. It also made them get smart.
Talking to Jeremy DeSilva about human evolution was so fun. As was reading his recent book, First Steps: How Upright Walking Made Us Human. I learned something new and fascinating on every page. Do you picture our hominin ancestors as hunters? I did.
Nautilus5 min citite
The Evolutionary Wonders in the Deep Sea: It’s a golden age for finding new and mysterious forms of deep-sea life.
The deep sea is a part of our planet unlike any other. Accounting for over 95 percent of Earth’s living space, it is cold, dark, and under extreme pressure, yet an astounding variety of creatures abound. Although relatively little is known about the
Nautilus10 min citite
The Human Family Tree, It Turns Out, Is Complicated: How the story of human evolution continues to branch out.
We’re not the man we used to be. Over the last 20 years, genomics, ancient DNA, and paleoanthropology have joined forces to completely overhaul our understanding of the origin of our species. The true diversity and complexity of human evolution over
Nautilus5 min citite
How the Drug Industry Has Exploited Reforms Started in the Fight Against AIDS
Three decades ago, a small group from within the AIDS activist organization ACT UP changed the course of medicine in the United States. They employed what they called “the outside/inside strategy.” The activists staged large, noisy demonstrations out
Nautilus11 min cititeBiology
The Cancer Custodians: To beat our worst enemy, we must first let it grow.
Part of Dennis Plenker’s daily job is growing cancer. And a variety of different ones, too. Depending on the day and the project, different tumors may burgeon in the petri dishes stocked in the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory where Plenker works as a r
Nautilus8 min cititeBiology
The Math of Living Things: Exploring the intersection of physical and biological laws.
It’s hard to argue with the famously authoritative Oxford English Dictionary, but its definition of physics as the “branch of science concerned with the nature and properties of non-living matter and energy” is incomplete because physics studies livi
Nautilus7 min cititeBiology
When a Good Scientist Is the Wrong Source: How a bad “fact” helped the lab-leak hypothesis go viral.
Six weeks ago, a reporter, Nicholas Wade, published what seemed to be a blockbuster story, one that, if true, would expose the greatest scandal in recent history. SARS-CoV-2, he wrote, or SARS2 for short, the virus that has driven the global COVID-19
Nautilus6 min cititePhysics
The End of Reductionism Could Be Nigh. Or Not.
The history of science so far has been a triumph of reductionism. Biology can be reduced to chemistry, chemistry can be reduced to atomic physics, and atoms are made of elementary particles like electrons, quarks, and gluons. The currently known 25 e
Nautilus7 min cititePhysics
Is the Universe Open-Ended?: An intriguing proposal about what makes reality tick under the surface.
One of my favorite albeit heavily paraphrased quotes from Albert Einstein is his assertion that the most incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible. (What he actually said, in his 1936 work “Physics and Reality,” is more l
Nautilus5 min cititeTechnology & Engineering
My 3 Greatest Revelations: The author on writing his new book, “The Ascent of Information.”
1  The “Dataome” Is Huge The dataome is shorthand to describe all of the externalized information we generate in symbolic representations: drawings, music, books, computing, data storage. It’s all of the information we utilize and propagate, along wi
Nautilus10 min cititeGender Studies
The History of Locker-Room Talk: Why men put down other men by attacking their masculinity.
When I first posted on social media about my new book, Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad, some of my friends were confused. One commented, “I don’t understand; do you hate men?” Another said, “I feel bad for your sons.” It turns out that many p
Nautilus7 min cititePsychology
My Lab Uses Ultrasound to Stimulate Unconscious Patients
A few years ago, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, I escaped the noisy midday hustle and bustle, ducking into a room in the Intensive Care Unit. It was completely quiet, save the subtle hum of equipment. A patient, who I will call Christopher, wa
Nautilus11 min cititePhysics
Our Little Life Is Rounded with Possibility: Science expressed only in terms of what happens is getting in the way of progress.
If you could soar high in the sky, as red kites often do in search of prey, and look down at the domain of all things known and yet to be known, you would see something very curious: a vast class of things that science has so far almost entirely negl
Nautilus8 min cititeIntelligence (AI) & Semantics
Do You Want AI to Be Conscious?: Consciousness is an important function for us. Why not for our machines?
People often ask me whether human-level artificial intelligence will eventually become conscious. My response is: Do you want it to be conscious? I think it is largely up to us whether our machines will wake up. That may sound presumptuous. The mecha
Nautilus7 min cititeBiology
Data Crunchers To The Rescue: Genetic diseases that puzzle lab scientists are being solved by quantitative biologists.
The boy was only a month old but had developed the amount of health problems that other people don’t acquire in a lifetime. He was constantly suffering from bacterial infections, battling unexplained inflammation, not gaining weight, and—scariest of
Nautilus5 min cititeSecurity
We Already Know How to Stop SolarWinds-Like Hacks
Last year, hackers made headlines after they breached SolarWinds, a software company that specializes in network monitoring software. About 33,000 organizations, including the Pentagon, the U.S. State Department, and some intelligence agencies, use O
Nautilus5 min cititeMedical
The “Lab Leak”: It’s Not Enough to Say Accidents Happen
Disasters evoke a search for who to blame. Mishandled disasters make that search vital for anyone whose actions or inactions may have amplified the catastrophe’s damage. As the official United States COVID death toll reaches 600,000, those two dynami
Nautilus7 min cititeEnvironmental Science
If Only 19th-Century America Had Listened to a Woman Scientist: Where might the US be if it heeded her discovery of global warming’s source?
Human-induced climate change may seem a purely modern phenomenon. Even in ancient Greece, however, people understood that human activities can change climate. Later the early United States was a lab for observing this as its settlers altered nature.
Nautilus12 min citite
Tarzan Wasn’t for Her: It took an outsider to restore women to the story of human evolution.
Elaine Morgan had sass. In Descent of Woman, published in 1972, she asked her readers to take science into their own hands. “Try a bit of fieldwork,” she suggested. “Go out of your front door and try to spot some live specimens of Homo sapiens in his
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