The Evolutionary Importance of Neutral vs. Adaptive Genes

When Charles Darwin articulated his theory of evolution by natural selection in On the Origin of Species in 1859, he focused on adaptations—the changes that enable organisms to survive in new or changing environments. Selection for favorable adaptations, he suggested, allowed ancient ancestral forms to gradually diversify into countless species. …

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Surveillance Kills Freedom By Killing Experimentation

In my book Data and Goliath, I write about the value of privacy. I talk about how it is essential for political liberty and justice, and for commercial fairness and equality. I talk about how it increases personal freedom and individual autonomy, and how the lack of it makes us …

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What Is a Bot?

Our in-house Know-It-Alls answer questions about your interactions with technology. Q: What is a bot? A: It’s a sunny day outside, but you wouldn’t know it. You’ve been staring at the modern hellscape known as Twitter for hours now, refreshing feed after feed. Your eyes are glazed over but you …

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Kilogram Redefined. The Metric System Overhaul Is Complete

On the morning of Friday, November 16, scientists and diplomats crammed into an auditorium in Versailles, a stone’s throw from the Sun King’s gilded chateau. Patrick Abbott, an American physicist, had flown into France for the long weekend. Forehead gleaming and blue suit jacket draped across his lap, Abbott watched …

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Machine Learning Can Create Fake ‘Master Key’ Fingerprints

Just like any lock can be picked, any biometric scanner can be fooled. Researchers have shown for years that the popular fingerprint sensors used to guard smartphones can be tricked sometimes, using a lifted print or a person’s digitized fingerprint data. But new findings from computer scientists at New York …

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The 13 Best STEM Toys for Kids That Will Make Learning Fun

03 Maze-O Mighty Maze Maker Adults have giant jigsaws that depict the New York skyline, and preschoolers have the Maze-O Mighty Maze Maker. In the box are 52 simple, multi-colored interlocking puzzle (maze) pieces that 3-, 4-, and 5-year-olds can use to build different shapes. Once completed, they can race …

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Does 'Maniac' Really Need So Many Dream Sequences?

The new Netflix original series Maniac stars Emma Stone and Jonah Hill as two dysfunctional loners who take part in a dystopian pharmaceutical trial. Fantasy author Chandler Klang Smith felt the last episode was weak, but otherwise she loved the show. “The first nine episodes are my favorite TV drama …

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Space Photos of the Week: A Star Is Born After Gases Crash

Stars are born from star clusters. But where do the clusters come from? Scientists seeking a greater understanding on that have a new theory. When two gas clouds collide, they are clashing at 20,000 miles per hour or more. Consequently, the gas and dust they each carry is compressed into …

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