How is the pandemic affecting the brains of a generation of children?

Nature reports: Like many paediatricians, Dani Dumitriu braced herself for the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus when it first surged in her wards. She was relieved when most newborn babies at her hospital who had been exposed to COVID-19 seemed to do just fine. Knowledge of the effects of Zika and other viruses that can… Read More »

A century of quantum mechanics questions the fundamental nature of reality

Tom Siegfried writes: Scientists are like prospectors, excavating the natural world seeking gems of knowledge about physical reality. And in the century just past, scientists have dug deep enough to discover that reality’s foundations do not mirror the world of everyday appearances. At its roots, reality is described by the mysterious set of mathematical rules… Read More »

News outlets fixate on the negative

Eric Weiner writes: The critics are right. The mainstream media is biased. It is not a political bias, though, no liberal or conservative slant, but something even more insidious: a bad-news bias. During my decades as a daily journalist, at The New York Times and NPR, I knew that reporting on happy people and places… Read More »

The worrisome rise of Non-Fungible Tokens

Caleb Scharf writes: Humans are very good at inventing commodities, and we’ve been at it for a long time. See that pebble over there? Well, that’s a better pebble than all these others, and if you give me something in exchange for it, I’ll let you take ownership. It’ll be your pebble, forever. And soon… Read More »

The world we want to live in after Covid

Dhruv Khullar writes: In 1909, the French ethnographer Arnold van Gennep published a book called “The Rites of Passage.” In it, he explored the rituals that cultures use to transition people from one stage of life to the next. Birth, puberty, graduation, religious initiation, marriage, pregnancy, promotions, the seasons—we’re always on the threshold of one… Read More »

How the speed of climate change is unbalancing the insect world

Oliver Milman writes: The climate crisis is set to profoundly alter the world around us. Humans will not be the only species to suffer from the calamity. Huge waves of die-offs will be triggered across the animal kingdom as coral reefs turn ghostly white and tropical rainforests collapse. For a period, some researchers suspected that… Read More »

Evolution ‘landscapes’ predict what’s next for Covid virus

Carrie Arnold writes: In the fall of 2019, the world began one of the largest evolutionary biology experiments in modern history. Somewhere near the city of Wuhan in eastern China, a coronavirus acquired the ability to live inside humans rather than the bats and other mammals that had been its hosts. It adapted further to… Read More »

The forgotten medieval habit of ‘two sleeps’

Zaria Gorvett writes: In the 17th Century, a night of sleep went something like this. From as early as 21:00 to 23:00, those fortunate enough to afford them would begin flopping onto mattresses stuffed with straw or rags – alternatively it might have contained feathers, if they were wealthy – ready to sleep for a… Read More »

Justice Dept. creating unit focused on domestic terrorism

The Associated Press reports: The Justice Department is establishing a specialized unit focused on domestic terrorism, the department’s top national security official told lawmakers Tuesday as he described an “elevated” threat from violent extremists in the United States. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen, testifying just days after the nation observed the one-year anniversary of the… Read More »

Democrats’ filibuster conundrum: It’s not just Manchin and Sinema

Politico reports: A Democratic senator from Arizona is still not sold on changes to the filibuster. And it’s not Kyrsten Sinema. Mark Kelly is not yet committed to a change in the Senate rules that would allow elections reform legislation to pass by a simple majority. A centrist who is up for reelection in November,… Read More »

Paraconsistent logics find structure in our inconsistent world

Zach Weber writes: Here is a dilemma you may find familiar. On the one hand, a life well lived requires security, safety and regularity. That might mean a family, a partner, a steady job. On the other hand, a life well lived requires new experiences, risk and authentic independence, in ways incompatible with a family… Read More »