November 22, 2020
There’s a famous thought experiment in economics known as the “prisoner’s dilemma.” In it, two men have been caught committing a crime. Each of them is placed in a separate interrogation room and effectively has two options: confess or lie.
November 20, 2020
After all we’ve been through this year, wouldn’t it be nice, even during a distanced holiday season, to be able to talk about this whole experience with others, in a deep, satisfying way? To help, I’ve put together a list of nonobvious lessons for how to have better conversations, which I’ve
November 18, 2020
In the early two-thousands, Merlin Mann, a Web designer and avowed Macintosh enthusiast, was working as a freelance project manager for software companies. He had held similar roles for years, so he knew the ins and outs of the job; he was surprised, therefore, to find that he was overwhelmed—not by the intellectual aspects of his work but by the many small administrative tasks, such as scheduling conference calls, that bubbled up from a turbulent stream of e-mail messages.
November 17, 2020
Under virtual house arrest in Paris during the covid-19 epidemic, it occurred to me to write an essay on the transcendent meaning and value of crime novels. I happened to have three with me, and one of them was The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie, published in 1943, the year of Stalingrad and the apogee of the Final Solution.
November 10, 2020
I have a confession. As a physicist and psychiatrist, I find it difficult to engage with conversations about consciousness. My biggest gripe is that the philosophers and cognitive scientists who tend to pose the questions often assume that the mind is a thing, whose existence can be identified by the attributes it has or the purposes it fulfils.
November 6, 2020
Transforming the nature of comedy and animation to create perhaps the most successful TV show of all time isn’t quite as glamorous or exciting as you might imagine. The Simpsons’ writers spent long days in the same room, sweating over jokes and storylines. The animators worked overtime to bring bigger and more ambitious episodes to life. Being funny was sometimes a chore, but those involved had a sense that they were working on something special.
November 5, 2020
Sara Garner had a nagging feeling something wasn’t quite right. A software engineer, she was revamping her personal site, but it just didn’t feel like her. Sure, it had the requisite links to her social media and her professional work, but it didn’t really reflect her personality.
November 4, 2020
Adam Ruben’s tongue-in-cheek column about the common difficulties and frustrations of reading a scientific paper broadly resonated among Science Careers readers. Many of you have come to us asking for more (and more serious) advice on how to make sense of the scientific literature, so we’ve asked a dozen scientists at different career stages and in a broad range of fields to tell us how they do it.
November 3, 2020
In April 2017, a man started hiking in a state park just north of New York City. He wanted to get away, maybe from something and maybe from everything. He didn’t bring a phone; he didn’t bring a credit card. He didn’t even really bring a name.
November 1, 2020
Tsundoku (積ん読) is a beautiful Japanese word describing the habit of acquiring books but letting them pile up without reading them. I used to feel guilty about this tendency, and would strive to only buy new books once I had finished the ones I owned. However, the concept of the antilibrary has completely changed my mindset when it comes to unread books.
November 1, 2020
Since the proliferation of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, critics of widely used internet communications services have warned of the misuse of personal data. Alongside familiar concerns regarding user privacy and state surveillance, a now-decades-long thread connects a group of theorists who view data—and in particular data about people—as central to what they have termed informational capitalism.
October 30, 2020
Who has the right answers but I ignore because they’re not articulate? What haven’t I experienced firsthand that leaves me naive to how something works? Which of my current views would I disagree with if I were born in a different country or generation? What do I desperately want to be true, so much that I think it’s true when it’s clearly not?
October 22, 2020
Five years ago I realized that I remembered almost nothing about most books that I read. I was reading all kinds of non-fiction - pop-psychology, pop-economics, pop-sociology, you name it - and felt like quite the polymath auto-didact. But one day, after I had finished blathering at a friend about how much I had enjoyed Thinking, Fast and Slow, they asked for a quick summary of the book’s overall thesis.
October 21, 2020
Blockchain technology is going to change everything: the shipping industry, the financial system, government … in fact, what won’t it change? But enthusiasm for it mainly stems from a lack of knowledge and understanding. The blockchain is a solution in search of a problem.
October 19, 2020
Walking down Abbot Kinney Boulevard, the retail strip in Venice, California, can feel like scrolling through Instagram. One afternoon this July, people sat at outdoor tables beneath drooping strings of fairy lights, sipping cocktails and spearing colorful, modestly dressed salads.
October 18, 2020
Global pandemic. Raging wildfires. Political upheaval. Never-ending Zooms. Twenty-twenty is the dystopia Hollywood has always dreamed of, sans a satisfying narrative arc. In times like these, nihilism beckons. Just give up, history seems to be saying. There’s nothing you can do.
October 15, 2020
“Why are the noses broken?” This exhibition and essay grew out of my search for an answer to this simple question, which is one of the most common inquiries I receive from museum visitors about the Brooklyn Museum’s extensive Egyptian collection.
October 15, 2020
Lately, Zoom meetings have been hitting a nerve with CEOs. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says there's no vital "creative combustion" happening in virtual settings. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker finds Zoom meetings awful. And Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella calls them transactional, where "30 minutes into your first video meeting in the morning … you're fatigued."
October 14, 2020
It is not often that a comedian gives an astrophysicist goose bumps when discussing the laws of physics. But comic Chuck Nice managed to do just that in a recent episode of the podcast StarTalk. The show’s host Neil deGrasse Tyson had just explained the simulation argument—the idea that we could be virtual beings living in a computer simulation.
October 11, 2020
A hallmark of the puzzling era we’re now living through is a remarkable juxtaposition of two apparently contrary trends. In many social circles, there exists a buoyant sense of possibility, an upbeat and expectant optimism with regard to the near and long-term future.