Omarrr

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A new book shows the true financial cost of leading a creative life

In August 2014, Roxane Gay released a series of essays called <i>Bad Feminist</i>. It debuted as a New York Times paperback nonfiction bestseller and spent another seven weeks in total on the list. When Gay had negotiated her advance, Harper Perennial paid her only $15,000. That’s about a third of what a …

Books

Earth - Plants can see, hear and smell – and respond

Plants, according to Jack C Schultz, "are just very slow animals".<p>This is not a misunderstanding of basic biology. Schultz is a professor in the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Missouri in Columbia, and has spent four decades investigating the interactions between plants and …

Consciousness

For seven years, a global community of writers has been using a hashtag to complain about writing

Writers are mildly delusional. They have to be, to abracadabra a story into existence and then hope, against all odds and evidence, that it actually gets read.<p>According to an oft-cited 2002 survey, 81% of Americans, about 200 million people, believe they have a book in them. But blockbuster sales …

Writing

Experiment suggests that reality doesn't exist until it is measured

Researchers working at the Australian National University (ANU) have conducted an experiment that helps bolster the ever-growing evidence surrounding …

Will we ever understand the beginning of the universe? – Ross Andersen

One crisp day last March, Harvard professor John Kovac walked out of his office and into a taxicab that whisked him across town, to a building on the …

How This Self-Published Author Made $450,000: Part 2

Last month I profiled several authors who decided to take the plunge and self-publish a book. Some were successful, others less so. But there was one stand-out success story. British author, Mark Dawson, makes hundreds of thousands a year from his self-published novels. Now, the second entry of a …

How the Happiest People Make the Best Out of Everything

When you're truly happy, you can make the best out of any event in your life. Here's how.<p>Life consists of a series of unfolding events; some of these events are expected and some are unexpected. The happiest people on earth have learned that they can't control everything in life. This is a key …

Happiness

If You Want To Write, You Can

A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation<p>by Noah Lukeman<p>Adventures in the Screen Trade<p>by William Goldman<p>APE: Author, Publisher, …

Writing

Winged Insects Made From Old Computer Circuit Boards And Electronics

Our society discards a lot of electronics, as they are rendered obsolete almost every day, but artists like Julie Alice Chappell, based in the UK, …

Insects

IBM’s Watson Designed The Worst Burrito I’ve Ever Had

And I’ve had a lot of burritos.<p>It’s the worst burrito I’ve ever had.<p>I don’t know another way to say it. I’m staring at my plate in disbelief. Could burritos be bad? Yes, yes I’d just learned. But that’s not the biggest shocker. The biggest shocker is that this recipe was largely designed by Watson, …

Artificial Intelligence

Psychology of the Turing test

To understand AI is to understand humanity’s edges.<p>As recently popularized by Hollywood, the Turing test has been a classic baseline for deeming a …

Do Killer Robots Violate Human Rights?

When machines are anthropomorphized, we risk applying a human standard that should not apply to mere tools.<p>As bizarre as it sounds, the United Nations just held an arms-control conference to figure out if killer robots might violate the laws of war.<p>Ten years ago, very few experts were worried about …

Human Rights

Welcome To The Slow Traffic Movement

With driverless cars, the slow lane is where you’ll get ahead, writes argodesign’s Jared Ficklin.<p>Prediction: In only a couple of years, a robotic cab ride becomes a part of the Vegas weekend, and someone you know owns a car that parks itself—as in, he pulls up to the storefront, walks inside the …

Autonomous Cars

Nootropic Brain Drugs Rise in Popularity for Today’s Cutthroat Corporate Climbers

Excess is out, efficiency is in. Welcome to the world of nootropics.<p>Andrew started his college graduation day at 6 a.m. with a wakefulness agent …

How Capitalism Created 'Cool'

Two Caltech brain researchers discuss why vintage T-shirts and Beats By Dre headphones make us feel so, well, cool.<p>When I was in middle school, there was a year when I was obsessed with jeans from The Gap. (If you weren't alive or don't remember the 90s, The Gap was super cool then.) Everyone at …

Middle School

The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots

If and when we finally encounter aliens, they probably won’t look like little green men, or spiny insectoids. It’s likely they won’t be biological …

14 Things To Do To Be A Great Writer

I am an author, a playwright, and a freelance editor. I get asked all of the time what advice I have for aspiring writers. I have met a lot of …

How T.C. Boyle Finds His Endings

The author of The Harder They Come adheres to an organic, spontaneous finale-writing process ruled only by his desire to leave readers with room for interpretation.<p><b>By Heart is a series in which authors share and discuss their all-time favorite passages in literature.</b> <b>See entries from Jonathan</b> …

Literature

This tiny animal can survive basically anything, including the vacuum of space

When we talk about 'extreme' animals, the tardigrade easily takes the cake: Also known as the water bear, the tardigrade is a microscopic critter (just 1.5 mm across, at most!) that can withstand <i>just about anything</i>. So it's no surprise that the water bear is the clear star of the American Natural …

Bill Gates Is Wrong

In a recent Reddit AMA session, Bill Gates commented, “First the machines will do a lot of jobs for us and not be super intelligent… A few decades after that though the intelligence is strong enough to be a concern. I agree with Elon Musk and some others on this and don’t understand why some people …

Bill Gates

15 Notebooks That Will Inspire Your Creativity

We schedule appointments and meetings on our smartphones and computers, we take notes on our tablets and even journal through apps. But for some people — or everyone, on certain occasions — our tech devices can hinder our creative juices. The practices of handwriting, calligraphy and even sketching …

Elon Musk Is Donating $10 Million to AI Research

The famed SpaceX CEO wants to reduce the potential dangers of artificial intelligence.<p>Elon Musk has a habit of worrying about killer robots. So he's taking action to keep them from harming us all in the future.<p>The CEO of SpaceX and Tesla donated $10 million to the Future Of Life Institute on …

Artificial Intelligence

Elon Musk: I'm Worried About A 'Terminator'-Like Scenario Erupting From Artificial Intelligence

Elon Musk believes it's feasible a "Terminator"-like scenario could erupt out of an artificial intelligence.<p>In an interview with CNBC on Tuesday, Musk said he's an investor in an artificial-intelligence company called Vicarious— but not because he's trying to make any money. Rather, it's because he …

Artificial Intelligence

How to Raise a Moral Robot (Op-Ed)

<i>Bertram Malle is a professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences at Brown University and co-leader of Brown's Humanity-Centered</i> …