A team of Chinese researchers says a period of global cooling could be on the way, but the consequences will be serious. Photo: Xinhua Research sheds light on 500-year Chinese weather cycle and suggests a cool change could be on the way Findings leave no room for complacency or inaction by Stephen Chen A new study has found winters in northern China have been warming since 4,000BC – regardless of human activity – but the mainland scientists behind the research warn there is no room for complacency or inaction on climate change, with the prospect of a sudden global cooling … Continue reading China scientists warn of global cooling trick up nature’s sleeve
by DAN ROBITZSKI Hard Reboot If we’re all living inside a complex computer simulation, we should probably accept our fate — lest our universe get unplugged. At least, that’s according to Nanyang Technological University philosophy professor Preston Greene, who penned a New York Times op-ed arguing that we should stop looking for evidence of simulation theory — because proving the universe is simulated would probably render the simulation useless for whoever’s running it, meaning we could all get scrapped like a wayward family in “The Sims.” Double-Blind Greene invokes the idea of a double-blind clinical trial, the gold standard for experimental design when testing something like a … Continue reading SIMULATION THEORY “MAY CAUSE THE ANNIHILATION OF OUR UNIVERSE.”
Brain-computer interfaces like the mindBEAGLE system shown here can help people with paralysis communicate. Facebook wants to take the technology to the next level. AP Our brains are perhaps the final privacy frontier. By Sigal Samuel Finding the best ways to do good. Made possible by The Rockefeller Foundation. Facebook wants to create a device that can read your mind — literally. It’s funding research on brain-machine interfaces that can pick up thoughts directly from your neurons and translate them into words, the company announced in a blog post last week. The short-term goal is to help patients with paralysis, by decoding their brain … Continue reading Facebook is building tech to read your mind. The ethical implications are staggering.
THE FACE OF FACEBOOK: Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and C.E.O. of Facebook (pictured above), admitted that his company knew, in 2015, that the data firm Cambridge Analytica, which assisted with Donald Trump’s election campaign, had improperly acquired information on 50 million Facebook users. “This was a breach of trust,” Zuckerberg said, in a Facebook post. “We need to fix that.” Photograph by Joe Flood / Flickr AI will be staggeringly diverse. Its developers should be, too. BY FLYNN COLEMAN Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician who lived in the first half of the 19th century. (She was also the daughter of … Continue reading Who Will Design the Future?
Illustration: Benjamin Currie (Gizmodo) George Dvorsky The suggestion that humans will soon set up bustling, long-lasting colonies on Mars is something many of us take for granted. What this lofty vision fails to appreciate, however, are the monumental—if not intractable—challenges awaiting colonists who want to permanently live on Mars. Unless we radically adapt our brains and bodies to the harsh Martian environment, the Red Planet will forever remain off limits to humans. Mars is the closest thing we have to Earth in the entire solar system, and that’s not saying much. The Red Planet is a cold, dead place, with … Continue reading Humans Will Never Colonize Mars
Farmers in Bangladesh are adapting to climate change, and it’s having an impact in faraway places—including on restaurant menus. by Susannah Savage DHAKA, Bangladesh—Here at Binni, a slightly run-down restaurant in one of Dhaka’s trendier neighborhoods, beef, chicken, and mutton dishes are slapped down on the table with a mere murmur. But when the waiter brings Hash Bhuna to the table, he announces it to the whole room, laying down the plate and pulling off the ceramic lid with a theatrical hand flick. Coated in a thick layer of spicy sauce, the duck (hash in Bengali) is succulent and dark, and … Continue reading To Survive in a Wetter World, Raise Ducks, Not Chickens
Getty New York City has embraced bikes in its urban core, but left out too many of the people pushed outside of that core. by Richard A. Greenwald Bikes can be an ideal urban transportation system. They are cheaper than cars, and often public transportation. They don’t run on a schedule. They are better for the environment, and healthier for you. And bike-sharing programs, e-bikes and bike lanes have made them easier than ever to use in big cities. There’s a new policy consensus, and an emerging political consensus, about changing our transportation priorities in New York City, and ending … Continue reading Biking Is the Urban Future—at Least for the Rich