A Monkey's Mind

Researcher Stephen Suomi explains why monkeys with risky genes often turn out just fine

Filtering Reality

How an emerging technology could threaten civility

Does the Vaccine Matter?

Whether this season’s swine flu turns out to be deadly or mild, most experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before we’re hit by a truly devastating flu pandemic—one that might kill more people worldwide than have died of the plague and aids combined. In the U.S., the main lines of defense are pharmaceutical—vaccines and antiviral drugs to limit the spread of flu and prevent people from dying from it. Yet now some flu experts are challenging the medical orthodoxy and arguing that for those most in need of protection, flu shots and antiviral drugs may provide little to none. So where does that leave us if a bad pandemic strikes?

Facts About Swine Flu

Shannon Brownlee and Jeanne Lenzer, the authors of the November 2009 story "Does the Vaccine Matter?", answer questions about H1N1 diagnosis and immunity.

The Green Case for Cities

Forget the solar panels and the rain barrels—if you want to save energy, leave the suburbs.

What Scares Google

How the search giant hopes to stay on top

The Rating Game

The spread of Internet rankings and reviews is freeing consumers to focus on the decisions that matter

Get Smarter

Pandemics. Global warming. Food shortages. No more fossil fuels. What are humans to do? The same thing the species has done before: evolve to meet the challenge. But this time we don’t have to rely on natural evolution to make us smart enough to survive. We can do it ourselves, right now, by harnessing technology and pharmacology to boost our intelligence. Is Google actually making us smarter?

Re-Engineering the Earth

As the threat of global warming grows more urgent, a few scientists are considering radical—and possibly extremely dangerous—schemes for reengineering the climate by brute force. Their ideas are technologically plausible and quite cheap. So cheap, in fact, that a rich and committed environmentalist could act on them tomorrow. And that’s the scariest part.

Porn's Best Friend

TrackMeNot lets you disguise your Internet searches—sometimes at society’s expense.

Clean Energy's Dirty Little Secret

Hybrid cars and wind turbines need rare-earth minerals that come with their own hefty environmental price tag.

Across the Universe

Intelligent life surely exists on some of the planets beyond our solar system. But we’ve scarcely begun to look for it. With NASA dithering and corporate titans more interested in space tourism, a serious exploration of the stars is limited more by a lack of vision than of technology. But a few scientists think they can use the sun’s light to cheaply propel an unmanned craft deep into the interstellar ether. Their vision may be quixotic, and their first attempt failed. But what will it mean for our solipsistic species if they succeed next time?

Television Outside the Box

Are you ready for 3-D TV?

Pipe Dreams

The quest for pure drinking water in an imperfect world


How geeks are opening up government on the Web

Rook Dreams

New chess software makes it easier for younger players to reach the top of their game—and harder to stay there

Self-Reliance 2008

Like your Leatherman? Love your iPhone? Still to come: the ultimate open-source ultragadget

First Person Plural

An evolving approach to the science of pleasure suggests that each of us contains multiple selves—all with different desires, and all fighting for control. If this is right, the pursuit of happiness becomes even trickier. Can one self "bind" another self if the two want different things? Are you always better off when a Good Self wins? And should outsiders, such as employers and policy makers, get into the fray?


Is wind the new ethanol?

Gut Reactions

The termite’s stomach, of all things, has become the focus of large-scale scientific investigations. Could the same properties that make the termite such a costly pest help us solve global warming?

Is Google Making Us Stupid?

What the Internet is doing to our brains

Re-Thinking Jeffrey Goldberg

Intrigued (and alarmed) by the new science of “neuromarketing,” our correspondent peers into his own brain via an MRI machine and learns what he really thinks about Jimmy Carter, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Bruce Springsteen, and Edie Falco.

The Sky Is Falling

The odds that a potentially devastating space rock will hit Earth this century may be as high as one in 10. So why isn’t NASA trying harder to prevent catastrophe?

Waste Not

A steamy solution to global warming

Taxis in the Sky

How tiny jets, Soviet-trained math prodigies, American “ant farmers,” and dot-com refugees are revolutionizing air travel


Where Time Comes From

The clocks that coordinate your cellphone, GPS, and more


Computer Vision Syndrome and You

Save your eyes. Take breaks.


What Happens in 60 Seconds

Quantifying human activity around the world



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