June 17, 2019

Science

Was the emergence of life a lucky accident or a divine mandate? A new book Roy Gould offers us a third possibility: life is another of nature's inevitabilities.

"Close your eyes and try to imagine nothing... Nothing is a concept so deceptively simple that it inhabits the strange intersection of science, philosophy, and language itself."

"The global anthology of Hat Man stories has only grown since. The shape of the frightening figure occasionally varies, but the way he makes his victims feel never does: utterly paralyzed with terror..."

"As the planet slowly warms, the cooler, higher layers of mountains are becoming like the warmer ones at lower altitudes. Animals and plants are tracking these changes, moving upslope in search of their ideal climes."

"The largest ever database of scientific retractions just went live, and it reveals a promising trend: More and more studies are being pulled from the scientific record. This is a great thing for science."

"It's the ultimate unanswerable question we all face: When will I die? If we knew, would we live differently? So far, science has been no more accurate at predicting life span than a $10 fortune teller. But that’s starting to change."

New insights into the senescent cells responsible for human aging are leading to a scientific revolution. Is it possible that effective anti-aging treatments are on their way?

"Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that elephants currently express the full range of personal and creative capacities that humans do. But I suspect all that’s missing are certain informational and institutional structures, along with the motivation"

"The findings raise concerns around how ingesting microplastics are (or aren’t) harmful to human health. Yet experts who weren’t associated with the study say they don’t have definitive answers due to a lack of research in the field."

We think of archeological finds as being clues to the ancient past. In a new book from Ulrike Sommer, archeology's effects on present-day national narratives are excavated.

"The cat is still hauled out today as if to imply that we’re as puzzled as ever by the mere fact that the quantum world at small scales turns into the world of classical physics at human scales."

Many ancient cultures believed that time was a repeating cycle. The ancient Hebrew envisioned a history that progresses. So is time a loop or a line? Physics may now have an answer.

"A mere half a degree could spell the difference between the Arctic being ice-free once a decade and once a century; between coral reefs being almost entirely wiped out and up to 30 percent hanging on..."

“What Gates thinks about global poverty, artificial intelligence, political freedom, clean meat, and humanity’s future.”

“Scientists bred healthy baby mice from same-sex parents for the first time.”

“Reality Is just a bunch of hallucinations we collectively agree on.”

“At the neighborhood level, these differences are sometimes even more drastic, appearing even when communities are only a few miles apart.”

The discovery of ancient petroglyphs is shining a light on a dark age.

“1.5 degrees Celsius of warming will be much worse than the 1 degree Celsius we’re experiencing now.”

“Dogs become most irresistible to people just when they need us most.”

Half a degree may not sound like much, but it could have disastrous effects.

“After researchers resurrected a long-dead pox, some critics argue that it's too easy for scientists to make decisions of global consequence.”

There’s a possible new moon in the distant reaches of our solar system, which could mean a new planet as well.

“How a sunbeam split in two became physics’ most elegant experiment…”

“NASA went searching for micro black holes in Antarctica. Instead, it detected cosmic rays shooting from the ground…”

Entrepreneurs are getting excited about the moon. Not only is it a symbol of human ambition, it’s also a blank slate for profiteering.

“Every drink is downed amid cultural expectations and societally mediated attitudes about women and power. Those things… have a stronger causal influence than the alcohol alone.”

“If things had gone just slightly differently on a tense night in 1983, today would be the 35th anniversary of the start of of World War III, for whoever was left alive to observe such an occasion.”

“Our species might have diverged 500 million years ago, but octopuses on ecstasy behave just as people do in many ways.”

If IQ tests are any indication, Americans are getting stupider. Some think environmental factors could be to blame. Others say that it's our culture which is to blame for making us stupider.

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"How many monarchies remain? About 30, reigning over some 45 countries. The British monarchy, which dates to the 11th century's William the Conqueror, technically rules over 16 countries, including Canada and Australia. The current head of the..."

"I’ve been called for jury duty three or four times, but was never selected until last month, when I was put on the jury for a civil case in Superior Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut. It was a long day. You’re expected to show up at 8:30 in the..."

"The marker proclaims the settlement will be known as “Trump Heights.” Netanyahu said the name was chosen to thank President Donald Trump for breaking decades of US tradition and recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel in March. Prior to..."

"Taylor Swift released the second single from her just-announced forthcoming album Lover on Thursday, and the gist of it is classic Swift: “You Need to Calm Down” tells Swift’s haters that their mission to diminish her brilliance is doomed, that..."

"Over the last decade, more Americans have turned to renting houses instead of owning them. Data from 2017 says there are more people renting than at any other point in the past 50 years—since 1965. While a majority of these people are in their 20s"

"What do a Yemeni refugee in the queue for food aid, a checkout worker in a British supermarket and a depressed university student have in common? They're all being sifted by some form of artificial intelligence..."

"“You’re not in Jazzercise, ladies,” a trim, tattooed, fitness instructor chided me and the roomful of women who were attempting to work up a sweat one morning a few months ago. I’d never done Jazzercise, but I knew what she meant. The caustic cue.."

""Many classic children’s books beg for philosophical readings: the likes of “Charlotte’s Web” or “Are You My Mother?” are well known as complex and subterranean ruminations on death and identity and community. Had you asked me a couple of years..."

"Recent efforts to legalize marijuana in New York and New Jersey have been stalled — but not killed — by disputes over how exactly to divvy up the revenues from marijuana sales and by worries about drugged driving. Those are both important issues..."

"More than a dozen kosher eateries — selling pizza, bagels, falafel and schnitzel — dot Main Street in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood of Queens. But a newcomer on the block is sure to turn some heads, and maybe stomachs, too..."

"Founded in 1867, the Keuffel & Esser Co. commissioned a study of the future for its 100th anniversary. If you’re of a certain vintage, you might have used a K&E slide rule. Their “visionary” study was a huge dud, missing completely the electronic.."

"The Bible is the world’s most influential book. But books, like people, can be influential because of what they say, or because of what they are thought to have said. With a book as huge as the Bible, readers need some kind of key that will..."