Nautilus11 min de lectureIntelligence (AI) & Semantics
Literature Should Be Taught Like Science: This renegade professor says literature is a machine that accelerates the human brain.
In the past quarter century, enrollment in college English departments has sunk like the Pequod in Moby Dick. Meanwhile enrollment in science programs has skyrocketed. It’s understandable. Elon Musk, not Herman Melville, is the role model of the digi
Nautilus12 min de lectureBody, Mind, & Spirit
If Aliens Exist, Here’s How We’ll Find Them: Two esteemed astrophysicists peer into the future of space exploration.
Suppose aliens existed, and imagine that some of them had been watching our planet for its entire four and a half billion years. What would they have seen? Over most of that vast timespan, Earth’s appearance altered slowly and gradually. Continents d
Nautilus7 min de lectureChemistry
The Joy of Condensed Matter: Hard times in fundamental physics got you down? Let’s talk excitons.
Everyone seems to be talking about the problems with physics: Peter Woit’s book Not Even Wrong, Lee Smolin’s The Trouble With Physics, and Sabine Hossenfelder’s Lost in Math leap to mind, and they have started a wider conversation. But is all of phys
Nautilus10 min de lectureSelf-Improvement
I Am a Heroin User. I Do Not Have a Drug Problem: Carl Hart says drug addiction is often distorted by scientists and the media.
Carl Hart is a neuroscientist and Ziff Professor of Psychology at Columbia University—he was the first tenured African-American professor of sciences at Columbia. His research focuses on the “behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactiv
Nautilus6 min de lecturePsychology
Why Making Our Brains Noisier Feels Good: A counterintuitive approach to improving our mental health.
Not since World War II has there been as great a threat to mental health as the current COVID-19 pandemic, according to Aiden James. The challenges to our mental health won’t “stop when the virus is under control and there are few people in hospital,
Nautilus5 min de lectureReligion & Spirituality
Martin Luther Rewired Your Brain: How mass literacy, spurred by Protestantism, reconfigured our neural pathways.
Your brain has been altered, neurologically rewired as you acquired a particular skill. This renovation has left you with a specialized area in your left ventral occipital temporal region, shifted facial recognition into your right hemisphere, reduce
Nautilus6 min de lectureBody, Mind, & Spirit
The Alien-Haunted World
Did you know that there are many scientists who devote their working lives to skillfully charting out the most unassuming chunks of our solar system—chunks that none of our species will likely never see up close? Chunks that, individually, are mere s
Nautilus4 min de lecturePsychology
A Simple Way to Reduce Cognitive Bias
Would you like to be more rational? Of course you would. Who doesn’t want to behave and think more reasonably? Good news: New research, from Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer, suggests mindfulness, or at least an aspect of it, can help. By “mindfulne
Nautilus8 min de lecture
In Science Fiction, We Are Never Home: Where technology leads to exile and yearning.
This essay first appeared in our “Home” issue way back in 2013. But somehow feels so timely today. Halfway through director Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity, Sandra Bullock suffers the most cosmic case of homesick blues since Keir Dullea was hurled toward th
Nautilus8 min de lecture
Digging Deeper Into Holocaust History: What geoscientists are uncovering in Eastern Europe.
On a trip to Warsaw, Poland, in 2019, Richard Freund confronted the history of resistance against the Nazis at a Holiday Inn. Freund, an archaeologist, and professor of Jewish Studies at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, was led by the hote
Nautilus13 min de lectureIntelligence (AI) & Semantics
Why Computers Will Never Write Good Novels: The power of narrative flows only from the human brain.
You’ve been hoaxed. The hoax seems harmless enough. A few thousand AI researchers have claimed that computers can read and write literature. They’ve alleged that algorithms can unearth the secret formulas of fiction and film. That Bayesian software c
Nautilus9 min de lectureGender Studies
We Need More Feminist Dads: It’s not easy to overcome the masculine conception of fatherhood.
One of the kids in my house feels bad for people named Karen. He announced it at the dinner table. “They’re not all annoying, or racist, or anti-vaxxer,” he said. “They don’t all demand to speak to the manager. How do you think the good Karens feel?”
Nautilus8 min de lectureBiology
The Doctor Will Sniff You Now: Step aside, Dr. House, Deep Nose will one day be the best diagnostician in medicine.
It’s 2050 and you’re due for your monthly physical exam. Times have changed, so you no longer have to endure an orifices check, a needle in your vein, and a week of waiting for your blood test results. Instead, the nurse welcomes you with, “The docto
Nautilus6 min de lectureBiology
Cognitive Scientists Are Going to the Dogs: Unleashing a new breed of research into co-evolution and the aging brain.
An old dog, it turns out, can teach humans new tricks. “In recent years the dog has grown to be one of the most important animals for researchers who aim to understand the biological background of complex traits,” says Eniko Kubinyi, an ethologist at
Nautilus6 min de lecturePhysics
How Universes Might Bubble Up and Collide
Reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine’s Abstractions blog. What lies beyond all we can see? The question may seem unanswerable. Nevertheless, some cosmologists have a response: Our universe is a swelling bubble. Outside it, more bubble unive
Nautilus4 min de lecturePsychology
Want to Get Out Alive? Follow the Ants: Ants show that emergency exits can work better when they’re obstructed.
This article first appeared online in our “Symmetry” issue in May, 2014. On an evening in January A.D. 532, pandemonium broke out in the Constantinople Hippodrome, a U-shaped chariot racetrack surrounded by stadium stands. Two factions, the Greens an
Nautilus6 min de lectureBiology
The Dangerous Evolution of the Coronavirus: These scientists have a new model for identifying variants before they kill.
Relief coursed through me last week when I learned my 2-year-old daughter’s daycare provider got her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. It left her feeling more groggy than she expected, but that was a good thing, suggesting the vaccine was kicking he
Nautilus10 min de lectureMedical
How to Fix the Vaccine Rollout: A computational biologist charts a fair and efficient course for vaccine distribution.
At a moment when vaccines promise to end the coronavirus pandemic, emerging new variants threaten to accelerate it. The astonishingly fast development of safe and effective vaccines is being stymied by the glacial pace of actual vaccinations while 3,
Nautilus8 min de lectureBody, Mind, & Spirit
Is Life Special Just Because It’s Rare?: Vitalism in the age of modern science.
A rocket powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen and carrying a scientific observatory blasted off into space at 10:49 p.m., March 6, 2009 (by local calendars and clocks). The launch came from the third planet out from a G-type star, 25,000 light-years
Nautilus8 min de lecture
Who Said Nobody Read Isaac Newton?: It’s a myth that legendary works in science aren’t read.
The central university library at Cambridge, in the United Kingdom, is an imposing, towered building known affectionately for being called a “magnificent erection” by, before he became prime minister, Neville Chamberlain.1 When I was a graduate stude
Nautilus10 min de lecture
We Crush, Poison, and Destroy Insects at Our Own Peril: Insects are escape artists. Now they face a threat more pernicious than predation.
This past summer, my wife and I ventured to an area near Mount Adams in southwestern Washington state to census bumblebees. We camped there over the weekend as we took part in the Pacific Northwest Bumblebee Atlas survey. Scientists want to fill gaps
Nautilus4 min de lecturePsychology
Can You Treat Loneliness By Creating an Imaginary Friend?
Did you ever have an imaginary friend? If you didn’t, chances are you know someone who did. Imaginary companions, as scholars call them, are quite common, and aren’t strictly associated with childhood. They can last into the upper teen years. One of
Nautilus11 min de lecturePsychology
Dreaming Is Like Taking LSD: A new theory explains that dreaming opens our minds to unexplored possibilities.
Without a doubt, the biggest questions about dreaming are all variants on this question: Why do we dream? We began studying dreaming in the early 1990s and, between the two of us, have published over 200 scientific papers on sleep and dreams. Pulling
Nautilus11 min de lecture
Why a Universal Society Is Unattainable: Our minds evolved in an Us-vs-Them universe of our own making.
On Jan. 1, 2021, five long years after the vote for what’s become known as Brexit, and numerous marches before and after that national decision, some of which attracted more than 100,000 impassioned participants, Great Britain formally severed its ne
Nautilus7 min de lecturePsychology
Why Horror Films Are More Popular Than Ever: It feels good to control what will terrify you.
2020 was a bad year for just about everything—except horror. Horror films were wildly popular on streaming platforms over the past year, and 2020 saw the horror genre take home its largest share of the box office in modern history.1 In a year where t
Nautilus6 min de lectureChemistry
A Breakthrough in Measuring the Building Blocks of Nature
In a recent experiment done at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, in Germany, physicist Alexey Grinin and his colleagues came a step closer to resolving one of the more significant puzzles to have arisen in particle physics over the past de
Nautilus12 min de lecture
Humans Have Gotten Nicer and Better at Making War: Historian Margaret MacMillan on what war reveals about human nature.
In 1991 two hikers in the Italian Alps stumbled on a mummified body buried in the ice. The Iceman, it turned out, died more than 5,000 years ago. At first, archeologists assumed he’d fallen in a snowstorm and frozen to death. Then they discovered var
Nautilus7 min de lecture
Humans Have Rights and So Should Nature: An “Earth lawyer” argues for cultural transformation in environmental law.
Humans once lived in harmony with the natural world. Consider timekeeping. Until relatively recently, the human notion of time was based on the natural rhythms of nature. Time was measured by a new moon, the first snow, a migrating bird, or the ebb a
Nautilus4 min de lectureBiology
We Didn’t Evolve for This: A lesson from the animal kingdom on why COVID-19 is so deadly to humans.
When a Weddell seal, native to Antarctica, plummets 400 meters beneath the ice on one of its hour-long dives, an ensemble of adaptations come together to keep it alive. The seal’s heart rate slows. At this pace, it will burn through its deep reserve
Nautilus4 min de lecturePhysics
We’re the Cosmic 1 Percent But Our Solar System Isn’t a Complete Weirdo
Is Earth unique? Once a grand philosophical question, it has, over the past two decades, become, with the discovery of thousands of planets around other stars—our cosmic cousins—a scientific one. One way to address it is to imagine aliens, using pres
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