Will it make any sense for people to exchange paper currency in the future? I don’t think so. Paper notes and coins will be valued only by collectors and numismatists. Already, a remarkable $9 trillion a year is transacted with mobile payments in China (the United States is about $1 trillion).
Have you ever noticed that when you present people with facts that are contrary to their deepest held beliefs they always change their minds? Me neither. In fact, people seem to double down on their beliefs in the teeth of overwhelming evidence against them.
A client sits before me, seeking help untangling his relationship problems. As a psychotherapist, I strive to be warm, nonjudgmental and encouraging. I am a bit unsettled, then, when in the midst of describing his painful experiences, he says, “I'm sorry for being so negative.”
I remember my first meeting with the chairman when I arrived at Leicester City this summer. He sat down with me and said, “Claudio, this is a very important year for the club. It is very important for us to stay in the Premier League. We have to stay safe.” My reply was, “Okay, sure.
It was the middle of the night when the jangle of his cellphone woke Sanjay Khajuria from a deep sleep.
The views expressed are those of the author(s) and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. Mitochondria are our cells' energy dynamos. Descended from bacteria that colonized other cells about 2 billion years, they get flaky as we age.
You’ve probably been told the “golden rule” at some point in your life, but it’s not always ideal for those times you want to ooze charisma. That’s where the “platinum rule” comes in. It may seem like some people are born likable, but everyone is capable of developing charisma.
Recognizing when a friend or colleague feels sad, angry or surprised is key to getting along with others. But a new study suggests that a knack for eavesdropping on feelings may sometimes come with an extra dose of stress.
We’ve all heard the adage: practice makes perfect! In other words, acquiring skills takes time and effort. But how exactly does one go about learning a complex subject such as tennis, calculus, or even how to play the violin? An age-old answer is: practice one skill at a time.
A good book evokes a variety of emotions as you read. Turns out, though, that almost all novels and plays provide one of only six “emotional experiences” from beginning to end—a rags-to-riches exuberance, say, or a rise and fall of hope (below, top).
What if you could pop a pill that made you smarter? It sounds like a Hollywood movie plot, but a new systematic review suggests that the decades-long search for a safe and effective “smart drug” (see below) might have notched its first success.
Highly addictive, horribly debilitating, unfortunately pervasive, and freaking delicious. If I had to point to ONE culprit to our country’s expanding waistlines and rapidly deteriorating health, it would be sugar.
What happens if you take four of today's most popular buzzwords and string them together? Does the result mean anything? Given that today is April 1 (as well as being Easter Sunday), I thought it'd be fun to explore this. Think of it as an Easter egg...
FreeBSD is a fast, secure, modern Unix-like operating system with a fantastic community, great documentation, and powerful technologies like ZFS and LLVM. It’s my operating system of choice for everything from my i7-2600k desktop to my home router to my ARM plug computer jukebox.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released the latest iteration of its annual Wind Technologies Market Report, which pulls together a wealth of data to track trends in the cost, performance, and growth of wind energy. The report found that U.S.
At one time or another, we’ve all heard bits of romantic advice like “nice guys finish last” or “treat em’ mean, keep em’ keen,” which suggest that being too “nice” will leave you disadvantaged in the world of mating.
The idea that we have brains hardwired with a mental template for learning grammar—famously espoused by Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology—has dominated linguistics for almost half a century.
Elite memory athletes are not so different from their peers in any other sport: They face off in intense competitions where they execute seemingly superhuman feats such as memorizing a string of 500 digits in five minutes.
Women have long surpassed men in the arena of environmental action; across age groups and countries, females tend to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. Compared to men, women litter less, recycle more, and leave a smaller carbon footprint.
Data and creativity can work really well together. Don’t believe me? On February 1, 2013, a TV series called House of Cards debuted on the video streaming service Netflix. It proved an immediate hit. Two years later, it has a nine out of 10 rating from more than 275,000 reviewers.
Sometime on the morning of August 30 2012, Shinichi Mochizuki quietly posted four papers on his website. The papers were huge—more than 500 pages in all—packed densely with symbols, and the culmination of more than a decade of solitary work.
Every day we read of some new area where artificial intelligence has matched or exceeded the proficiency of human experts on some well-defined task.
In my last post I introduced the topic of cat cognition and what we broadly know about how these animals think. In this post I'm going to talk more specifically about what we understand about cats' interactions with the animal they spend most time with: us.
It is time to face reality, California Institute of Technology theoretical physicist Sean Carroll says: There is just no such thing as God, or ghosts, or human souls that reside outside of the body. Everything in existence belongs to the natural world and is accessible to science, he argues.
In Brief Harnessing the Brain's Spatial Reasoning Humans everywhere use spatial metaphors to think about time, but the specifics differ from culture to culture. Even alone in our thoughts, we think of time as space, leaning on brain areas known to play a role in spatial understanding.
In his new book "Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise", psychologist Anders Ericsson and journalist Robert Pool distill an impressive body of research on "mastering almost any skill." Indeed, deliberate practice can help you master new skills.
The digital revolution is in full swing. How will it change our world? The amount of data we produce doubles every year. In other words: in 2016 we produced as much data as in the entire history of humankind through 2015.
Creativity has enabled humans to conquer every corner of this planet. Indeed our yen for innovation is one of the most salient characteristics of our kind. Yet our species is not the only one given to inventiveness. Researchers have documented the capacity in a growing number of other creatures.
Whenever an impressive new technology comes along, people rush to imagine the havoc it could wreak on society, and they overreact. Today we see this happening with artificial intelligence (AI).
I’m not sure when I first heard of Bayes’ theorem. But I only really started paying attention to it over the last decade, after a few of my wonkier students touted it as an almost magical guide for navigating through life.
This week the U.S. elected businessman and reality TV star Donald Trump as its 45th president. As Scientific American has reported in the run-up to the election, Trump's views on science, health and medicine appear unformed at best, ignorant and destructive at worst.
Editor's Note: We are republishing this article by Paul Dirac from the May 1963 issue of Scientific AmericanScience Talk podcasts, featuring award-winning writer and physicist Graham Farmelo discussing The Strangest Man, his biography of the Nobel Prize-winning British theoretical physicist.
At the age of 17 he began dissecting corpses from the church graveyard. Between the years 1508 and 1512 he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
On a spring day more than 5,000 years ago in the Mesopotamian city of Ur, a foreign merchant sold his wares in exchange for a large bundle of silver. He didn't want to carry the bundle home because he knew he'd be back in Ur again to buy grain at the end of harvest season.
In Brief Decades of research by organizational scientists, psychologists, sociologists, economists and demographers show that socially diverse groups (that is, those with a diversity of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation) are more innovative than homogeneous groups.
Animation is a powerful medium—it transports us to another time or place, or tells gripping stories. It can also help us visualize biological processes we would never otherwise see.
You've probably heard that automation is becoming commonplace in more fields of human endeavor. Or, in headline-speak: “Are Robots Coming for Your Job?” You may also have heard that the last bastions of human exclusivity will probably be creativity and artistic judgment.
Who could argue with happiness? Count the journalist Emily Esfahani Smith as one. Happiness is not itself a problem, of course, but she worries that its relentless pursuit—and the self-help industry that’s grown up around that mission—has left us feeling empty, dislocated and, well, unhappy.
As the U.S. presidential campaign has highlighted, the more a person lies, the easier it seems to become. But politics is not the only realm where dishonesty abounds.
Imagine nothing. Go ahead. What do you see? I picture dark empty space devoid of galaxies, stars and planets. But not only would there be no matter, there would be no space or time either. Not even darkness. And no sentient life to observe the nothingness. Just ... nothing. Picture that. You can't.
To participate in today’s global economy, ordinary people must accept an asymmetrical bargain: their lives are transparent to states, banks and corporations, whereas the behavior and inner workings of the powerful actors are kept hidden.
With all that’s known about human anatomy, you wouldn’t expect doctors to discover a new body part in this day and age. But now, researchers say they’ve done just that: They’ve found a network of fluid-filled spaces in tissue that hadn’t been seen before.
In his engaging new book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, to be published this December by Basic Books, Alex Soojung-Kim Pang argues that respite is an essential component of both productivity and creativity.
Some individuals are indeed more susceptible to developing a narcissistic personality. Narcissism is characterized by self-centeredness (“It's all about me!”), grandiosity (“I'm better than you!”) and vanity (“Look at me!”).
If you’ve been following Marvel’s comics lately, you’ll know that Steve Rogers hasn’t been Captain America for a while now. He’s been drained of his super-soldier serum and turned into an old man, while former Falcon Sam Wilson has taken up the mantle (much to some people’s chagrin).
It was a strange moment of triumph against racism: The gun-slinging white supremacist Craig Cobb, dressed up for daytime TV in a dark suit and red tie, hearing that his DNA testing revealed his ancestry to be only “86 percent European, and … 14 percent Sub-Saharan African.
What defines who we are? Our habits? Our aesthetic tastes? Our memories? If pressed, I would answer that if there is any part of me that sits at my core, that is an essential part of who I am, then surely it must be my moral center, my deep-seated sense of right and wrong.
Science has learned many lessons about what makes something addictive. And now this knowledge is being used by the tech business to gain our attention, and keep us coming back for more.
In a viral YouTube video from October 2011 a one-year-old girl sweeps her fingers across an iPad's touchscreen, shuffling groups of icons. In the following scenes she appears to pinch, swipe and prod the pages of paper magazines as though they too were screens.
From Quanta Magazine (find original story here). In a lab at the Georgia Institute of Technology, physicists run experiments with robots that look as though they came from the dollar store. The robots can’t move through space. They can’t communicate.
When is the last time a stereotype popped into your mind? If you are like most people, the authors included, it happens all the time. That doesn’t make you a racist, sexist, or whatever-ist. It just means your brain is working properly, noticing patterns, and making generalizations.
Picture the stereotypical pot smoker: young, dazed and confused. Marijuana has long been known for its psychoactive effects, which can include cognitive impairment.
We connect to each other through particles. Calls and texts ride flecks of light, Web sites and photographs load on electrons. All communication is, essentially, physical. Information is recorded and broadcast on actual objects, even those we cannot see.
When it comes to science, ours is a paradoxical era. On the one hand, prominent physicists proclaim that they are solving the riddle of reality and hence finally displacing religious myths of creation.
The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. As cloud storage becomes more common, data security is an increasing concern.
For much of her life Anne Dalton battled depression. She seldom spoke with people. She stayed home a lot. The days dragged on with a sense of “why bother?” for the 61-year-old from New Jersey who used to work at a Wall Street investment firm.
Last December Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, announced the birth of their daughter—and made a pledge to donate 99 percent of their Facebook shares over the course of their lives to charitable causes.
The following essay is reprinted with permission from The Conversation, an online publication covering the latest research. The world is full of connected devices–and more are coming. In 2017, there were an estimated 8.
Our culture is obsessed with sex. Everywhere you look is another article on how to have hot sex, harder erections, mind-bending orgasms and ejaculations that go on for days. What people seldom realize, though—and which the latest science backs up—is that this is exactly the problem.
While every STAT story aims to stimulate your cortex, if this one falls short and makes you yawn, you can thank us anyway—at least if a study published Tuesday is right. If you have a big brain, you can credit yawning for promoting brain growth and activity, the researchers found.
More comfortable online than out partying, post-Millennials are safer, physically, than adolescents have ever been. But they’re on the brink of a mental-health crisis. One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas.
The short answer is yes: you can learn to think more rationally but only about specific subjects. Enhancing rational thinking overall is much more difficult. Before exploring the question in more depth, we first need to define rational thinking.
SAN FRANCISCO—Parts of Mars were capable of supporting life as we know it for lengthy stretches in the ancient past—perhaps hundreds of millions of years at a time, new observations by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity suggest.
During her 14 years at Netflix, Patty McCord kept a head-down approach, isolating herself within Netflix’s walls, to eventually come up with the brilliant 124-page document called “Netflix Culture: Freedom & Responsibility.