The Prisoner Who Revolutionized Language With a Teacup
While imprisoned for being a “reactionary,” physicist and engineer Zhi Bingyi began devising a system to help computing machines read Chinese characters.
By Jing Tsu
How Bloghouse’s Sweaty, Neon Reign United the Internet
For a brief, weird moment in the Myspace-fueled early 2000s, dance music felt truly alternative.
By Lina Abascal
Natural History, Not Technology, Will Dictate Our Destiny
Humans—convinced of our own power and control—tend to ignore the laws of nature. But that is a mistake.
By Rob Dunn
In a Tiny Arctic Town, Food Is Getting Harder to Come By
For her new book, Devi Lockwood traveled around the world gathering stories of how people are being directly affected by a warming planet.
By Devi Lockwood
Pigeons, Curves, and the Traveling Salesperson Problem
Mathematician Ian Stewart explains the twisty history of combinatorial optimization.
By Ian Stewart
Artificial Intelligence and the ‘Gods Behind the Masks’
In an excerpt from AI 2041: Ten Visions for Our Future, Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan explore what happens when deepfakers attack the deepfakes.
By Kai-Fu Lee and Chen Qiufan
So … What If Aliens’ Quantum Computers Explain Dark Energy?
A wild thought experiment by Jaron Lanier and physicist Stephon Alexander concerning gravitons, virtual reality, and Incan khipu.
By Stephon Alexander
When the Next Animal Plague Hits, Can This Lab Stop It?
A new federal facility in Kansas will house the deadliest agricultural pathogens in the world—and researchers working tirelessly to contain them.
By Geoff Manaugh and Nicola Twilley
How Humans Think When They Think As Part of a Group
The fancy word for it is "entitativity," and it’s produced when people act and feel together in close proximity. We need it more, but we’re getting it less.
By Annie Murphy Paul
Awesome, Hypnotic Photos of Swirling, Crystal Chemistry
A new book goes micro to show the wonderful world of close-up chemical reactions.
By Meghan Herbst
How a Geeky Superhero Fan Revived a Failing Comic Con
And how he used that great knowledge to help nudge Marvel back from bankruptcy.
By Jon Levy
A Brief History of Transformers (Not the Robot Kind)
This simple electrical device does much of the fundamental work of modern civilization, and it does so modestly and invisibly.
By Vaclav Smil