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?
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.
TrackMeNot lets you disguise your Internet searches—sometimes at society’s expense.
Hybrid cars and wind turbines need rare-earth minerals that come with their own hefty environmental price tag.
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?
Are you ready for 3-D TV?
The quest for pure drinking water in an imperfect world
How geeks are opening up government on the Web
New chess software makes it easier for younger players to reach the top of their game—and harder to stay there
Like your Leatherman? Love your iPhone? Still to come: the ultimate open-source ultragadget
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?
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?
What the Internet is doing to our brains
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 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?
A steamy solution to global warming
How tiny jets, Soviet-trained math prodigies, American “ant farmers,” and dot-com refugees are revolutionizing air travel
TV can avoid the music industry’s fate and survive the digital age, but only by beating the Internet at its own game.
Virginia Postrel talks with Gary Hustwit—director of Helvetica—about
filmmaking, creativity, and the expressive implications of one of the world's most popular typefaces
A revolution in typeface design has led to everything from more-legible newspapers and cell-phone displays to extra-tacky wedding invitations.
Move over, iPod: Internet radio captures the enduring magic of the medium and makes the local global.
Can meteorologists armed with supercomputers and a few tons of soot stop a hurricane from reaching the Gulf Coast? Can they stop it without getting sued?
Protecting files and programs need not make you crazy—or even cost you a cent
By bringing order to the Web, Facebook could become as important to us as Google