Post Thumb

200 universities just launched 600 free online courses. Here’s the full list.

If you haven’t heard, universities around the world are offering their courses online for free (or at least partially free). These courses are collectively called MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses. In the past six years or so, close to 800 universities have created more than 8,000 of these MOOCs. And I’ve been keeping track…

Post Thumb

A state Supreme Court justice’s open letter to AI

Let me start with two brief stories about social change. The first concerns changing laws and values about relationships. Only in 1967-in the aptly named case of Loving v. Virginia-did the United States Supreme Court recognize that laws prohibiting interracial marriage violated the United States Constitution. Nineteen years before, in 1948, the Supreme Court of…

Post Thumb

Doctors are gene editing inside the body of a living human for the first time

Brian Madeux’s life hasn’t been easy. So far, he’s had 26 operations to fix problems in everything from hernias to eyes. He has a rare disease called Hunter syndrome, which is caused by the lack of a gene that’s used to produce an enzyme that breaks down certain carbohydrates. As a result, the carbohydrates build up…

Post Thumb

The psychological importance of wasting time

There will always be an endless list of chores to complete and work to do, and a culture of relentless productivity tells us to get to it right away and feel terribly guilty about any time wasted. But the truth is, a life spent dutifully responding to emails is a dull one indeed. And “wasted”…

Post Thumb

Toyota is using human waste to power its new electric car

Hydrogen fuel cell cars could help solve the global warming crisis, but nobody wants to buy them. Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the Toyota Mirai, Toyota’s hydrogen fuel cell car, calls it a “chicken or the egg” problem: no one wants to purchase hydrogen cars because there are no hydrogen fuel stations, and nobody wants…

Post Thumb

Neuroscience can now curate music based on your brainwaves, not your music taste

Companies and composers have begun using software to make music customized to your brainwaves. Soon you will be able to plug in your headphones, lean back in your chair, and relax to a playlist so synchronized with your brain’s chemistry that it increases your productivity, sleep quality, and even fights anxiety. The frequency at which…

Post Thumb

Researchers are using Darwin's theories to evolve AI, so only the strongest algorithms survive

Modern artificial intelligence is built to mimic nature-the field’s main pursuit is replicating in a computer the same decision-making prowess that humankind creates biologically. For the better part of three decades, most of AI’s brain-inspired development has surrounded “neural networks,” a term borrowed from neurobiology that describes machine thought as the movement of data through…

Post Thumb

Researchers replicated a notorious social experiment that claimed to explain the rise of fascism

Remember that study from psychology class where participants were willing to shock people with excessively high voltage, just because a researcher told them to? Well, a new paper published March 14 just announced that the famous Milgram Experiment has been replicated in Poland over 50 years since its inception in the US. It’s been replicated…

Post Thumb

A Silicon Valley scientist and entrepreneur who invented a drug to explode double chins is now working on a cure for aging

Nathaniel David’s father began suffering from the symptoms of early-onset osteoarthritis in his back during his teenage years. The 77-year-old is now stooped over, effectively crippled, and unable to move. David started feeling muscle tightness in his back two years ago, at age 47.  An MRI confirmed what he knew was his likely genetic fate: He…

Post Thumb

Scientists say all the world's data can fit on a DNA hard drive the size of a teaspoon

Even though it’s looking increasingly likely that humanity will find a way to wipe itself off the face of the Earth, there’s a chance that our creative output may live on. Servers, hard drives, flash drives, and disks will degrade (as will our libraries of paper books, of course), but a group of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute…

Post Thumb

Scientists say all the world’s data can fit on a DNA hard drive the size of a teaspoon

Even though it’s looking increasingly likely that humanity will find a way to wipe itself off the face of the Earth, there’s a chance that our creative output may live on. Servers, hard drives, flash drives, and disks will degrade (as will our libraries of paper books, of course), but a group of researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute…

Post Thumb

It's possible that there is a "mirror universe" where time moves backwards, say scientists

Although we experience time in one direction-we all get older, we have records of the past but not the future-there’s nothing in the laws of physics that insists time must move forward. In trying to solve the puzzle of why time moves in a certain direction, many physicists have settled on entropy, the level of molecular…

Post Thumb

It’s possible that there is a “mirror universe” where time moves backwards, say scientists

Although we experience time in one direction-we all get older, we have records of the past but not the future-there’s nothing in the laws of physics that insists time must move forward. In trying to solve the puzzle of why time moves in a certain direction, many physicists have settled on entropy, the level of molecular…

Post Thumb

These 25 schools are responsible for the greatest advances in science

This item has been corrected.  Few individuals will be remembered in history for discovering a new law of nature, revolutionizing a new technology or captivating the world with their ideas. But perhaps these contributions say more about the impact of a university or college than test scores and future earnings. Which universities are most likely…