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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Is One More Terrible Blow in a Year of Loss

This year has been one of incredible loss. We are approaching 200,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. and nearly a million around the globe. And on the streets, the killings of Black, Indigenous, Latinx individuals and other people of color—George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Rayshard Brooks and many others at the […]

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The Quantum Butterfly Noneffect – Scientific American

Chaos theory says that a tiny, insignificant event or circumstance can have outsized influence in shaping the way a large, complex system evolves into the future. Many people are familiar with this so-called butterfly effect, an idea often traced to science fiction author Ray Bradbury’s 1952 story “A Sound of Thunder.” In that tale, a […]

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How Ginsburg’s Death Threatens the Affordable Care Act and Reproductive Rights

On Feb. 27, 2018, I got an email from the Heritage Foundation, alerting me to a news conference that afternoon held by Republican attorneys general of Texas and other states. It was referred to only as a “discussion about the Affordable Care Act lawsuit.” I sent the following note to my editor: “I’m off to […]

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For Math Fans: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Number 42

Everyone loves unsolved mysteries. Examples include Amelia Earhart’s disappearance over the Pacific in 1937 and the daring escape of inmates Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin from Alcatraz Island in California in 1962. Moreover our interest holds even if the mystery is based on a joke. Take author Douglas Adams’s popular 1979 science-fiction novel […]

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Mining Rare-Earth Elements from…Fossilized Fish???

In the western Pacific Ocean lies the tiny isle of Minami-tori-shima, the easternmost territory of Japan. The triangular speck covers only one square mile, and due to an odd wall-like perimeter, most of the island is strangely below sea level. There’s not much on it aside from an airstrip and a Japanese weather station. The […]

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We Need to Do More Research on Honesty

Last year, I published a book about honesty, exploring what it means to live a more honest life. I examined my own struggles with honesty, and did my best to translate academic research about honesty and apply it to everyday life. Through interviewing many researchers and reading dozens of studies about ethics, deception, moral character, […]

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Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Death Is One More Terrible Blow in a Year of Loss

This year, 2020, has been one of incredible loss.  We are approaching 200,000 deaths in America from the COVID-19 pandemic, and nearly a million around the globe.  And on the streets the killing of Black, Indigenous, Latinx or others of color, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Daniel Prude, Rayshard Brooks and nearly 1000 others at the […]

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Readers Respond to the May 2020 Issue

LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S An important through line in the special report on “A New Era for Alzheimer’s” [The Future of Medicine] is the potential impact of lifestyle in modulating the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Three European countries—Finland, France and the Netherlands—have completed pioneering dementia-prevention trials in community-dwelling seniors. They show it is possible […]

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The Matador in Your Fish Tank

Guppies make unassuming pets, but in the wild they adopt a daring and counterintuitive tactic to avoid becoming dinner. When they spot a predator, they suddenly darken their eyes from silver to jet black—enticing the attacker to go straight for the guppy’s head. In a paper published in July in Current Biology, researchers report that […]

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The U.S. Has an Empathy Deficit

America is a country in deep pain. The coronavirus pandemic, racial injustice, economic insecurity, political polarization, misinformation and general daily uncertainty dominate our lives to the point that many people are barely able to cope. And life wasn’t exactly a cakewalk before 2020. Out of all the fears, stresses and indignities our citizens are living […]