eduardo biavati

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Driverless Cars Are Like Elevators

Just another magic box with buttons in it<p>One of the challenges in describing the potential of self-driving cars is that they promise to do so much. Technologies that save lives, decimate and create entire industries, and uproot long-held perceptions of space and time don’t come around very …

Why Japanese Kids Can Walk to School Alone

Even in big cities like Tokyo, small children take the subway and run errands by themselves. The reason has a lot to do with group dynamics.<p>It’s a common sight on Japanese mass transit: Children troop through train cars, singly or in small groups, looking for seats.<p>They wear knee socks, polished …

The Engineer’s Lament

Two ways of thinking about automotive safety.<p>In the early nineteen-seventies, Denny Gioia worked in the recall office of the Ford Motor Company. His job was to read field reports from the engineers Ford had posted around the country. If a safety problem was spotted, the Ford representative in that …

Watching Them Turn Off the Rothkos

Every afternoon at four o’clock, people gather on the third floor of the Harvard Art Museums to watch them turn off the Rothkos.<p>The Rothkos are the series of murals that Mark Rothko painted, more than fifty years ago, on commission from Harvard, and the story of their demise and rebirth has been …

What My Hearing Aid Taught Me About the Future of Wearables

As human-enhancing technology becomes tinier and more advanced, the price of progress is complexity.<p>I was into wearables before there was Google Glass, Apple Watch, or the Moto 360. I was into them before cheap devices told you how much you had walked, run, slept, or eaten. In fact, I’ve been into …

The Driver’s Seat

What we learn when we learn to drive.<p>I decided to learn to drive because I wanted to learn to drive. I wasn’t, I told anyone who would listen, searching for a metaphor of middle age, or declaring my emancipation from my pedestrian past, or making up for time wasted in the passenger seat. There’s a …

The New Heroin Epidemic

Ten years ago, prescription painkiller dependence swept rural America. As the government cracked down on doctors and drug companies, people went searching for a cheaper, more accessible high. Now, many areas are struggling with an unprecedented heroin crisis.<p>In a beige conference room in …

Stop demonizing “bike culture”!

Many more people are killed by cars than bikes, so why are cyclists treated like enemies of the state?<p>Here are the facts: A woman was hit by a man on a racing bike in New York’s Central Park last Thursday, and died from her injuries on Monday. Swerving to avoid a group of pedestrians on the park’s …

The Real Barriers to Abundant, All-Day Transit Service

Far Beyond Rush Hour: The Incredible Rise of Off-Peak Public Transportation

Why Quants Don’t Know Everything | WIRED

By now, nearly everyone from the president of the United States on down has admit­ted that the National Security Agency went too far. Documents …

The Problem With Knowing How Much Your Health Care Costs

Two months ago, I moved into a new apartment. On the first night, in the dark, I tripped and fell. It felt like I had badly scraped my shoulder, but when I looked in the mirror there was no torn skin—my collarbone was simply jutting at a new, funny angle. When I tried to push it back into place, I …

Asking the N.S.A. the Right Question

On March 5, 1976, a Baltimore man named Michael Lee Smith robbed a woman named Patricia McDonough. Smith drove off in a late-model Monte Carlo, which McDonough described to the police. After the robbery, he began making threatening phone calls to his victim. The cops tracked down Smith’s home …

The Case Against Cars in 1 Utterly Entrancing GIF

Dense travel in a dense world makes sense.<p>Here is a brilliant piece of data viz to show how public transit reduces congestion. I sort of can't stop staring at it.<p>If you do succeed in dragging your eyes away, read more about America's evolving car habits at The Atlantic Cities and check out Jordan …

How Many of Your Memories Are Fake?

When people with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory—those who can remember what they ate for breakfast on a specific day 10 years ago—are tested for accuracy, researchers find what goes into false memories.<p>One afternoon in February 2011, seven researchers at the University of California, …

Haulin' Data: How Trucking Became the Frontier of Work Surveillance

Every rig driver in America will soon be tracked by an electronic recorder. Proponents claim it will make the roads safer, but some wonder what else the data could be used for.<p>Because his truck is fitted with a refrigerator unit, Dick Pingel often hauls food: usually sausage or cheese, products …

We Are What We Hide

Deborah Solomon’s “American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell” is a masterpiece of the biographer’s art, not least because of Solomon’s highly developed capacity to enter into an alien experience or personality without passing judgment. Rockwell seems surpassingly strange: a depressed, …

How the Brain Creates Personality: A New Theory

Are you a mover, a perceiver, a stimulator, or an adapter? Modes of thinking can be understood in terms of how the top and bottom—rather than right and left—parts of the brain interact.<p>It is possible to examine any object—including a brain—at different levels. Take the example of a building. If we …

We Are All Plagiarists

I feel bad for Rand Paul, who has been hit with the plagiarism charges. Maybe it was in the cards, however, since his birth, when his first name was plagiarized. To be completely above board, I propose that, going forward, he should always footnote his name. If he’s too busy, his staff can attend …

Fakery

“If a fake is good enough to fool experts, then it’s good enough to give the rest of us pleasure, even insight,” the art critic Blake Gopnik wrote in an essay, “In Praise of Art Forgeries,” in the <i>Times</i> last Sunday. It’s a cute argument that I reject, but which gets me thinking. Gopnik’s hook is a …

Breakthrough: The Accidental Discovery That Revolutionized American Energy

One day in 1997, while supervising a well in north Texas, a group of geologists made a small mistake that would help change the future of fracking.<p>The dramatic changes to the nation’s energy outlook are as surprising as they are clear. Seven years ago, oil production was in steep decline and …

Yep, Being a Young, American Adult Is a Financial Nightmare

Here are the graphs to prove it.<p>Poverty is an astonishingly common experience here in the world's richest country. As I wrote this morning, almost 40 percent of American adults experience it for at least a year by age 60.<p>But you know who poverty is especially common among? Young adults.<p>Based on the …

Nikon Crams Full-Frame Sensor Into Its Legendary 1950s-Era F Series

While the rest of the technological landscape is concentrating on making everything look smaller, sleeker, and more futuristic, cameras are going …

The Hidden Marriage Penalty in Obamacare

Childless couples and empty nesters pay more. Much more.<p>The first time I heard Nona Willis Aronowitz talk about getting divorced to save money on health insurance I thought she couldn't really be serious. We were at Monte's, an old Italian place in South Brooklyn, having dinner with a group of New …

The Radical New Institution to Liberate U.S. Data

It could keep Yelpers from getting sick and hunters from breaking the law. And its leaders are already planning its demise.<p>“Open data”—the push to make public information available to, and usable by, the public—has found many friends in the past few years. In May, President Obama ordered most …

All Can Be Lost: The Risk of Putting Our Knowledge in the Hands of Machines

We rely on computers to fly our planes, find our cancers, design our buildings, audit our businesses. That's all well and good. But what happens when the computer fails?<p>On the evening of February 12, 2009, a Continental Connection commuter flight made its way through blustery weather between …

Men Have Biological Clocks, Too

Men and women are roughly equally likely to be infertile, but for years the focus has been on female treatments.<p>Male infertility clinics are filled with fertile men. At least, that’s what they tell themselves.<p>So found Cambridge University sociologist Liberty Walther Barnes who set out in 2007 to …

Why Abraham Lincoln Loved Infographics

Near the end of 1861, with the American Union crumbling, President Abraham Lincoln became obsessed with an unusual document. Nearly three feet in length, it appeared at first to be a map of the southern states. But it was covered with finely rendered shading, with the darkness of each county …

Why Is No One On the First Treatment To Prevent H.I.V.?

In November, 2010, the <i>New England Journal of Medicine</i> published the results of a three-year clinical trial, funded by the National Institutes of Health, announcing the arrival of a treatment that could reduce the risk of contracting H.I.V. by more than ninety per cent. The treatment involved a …

Walking

Henry David Thoreau, the naturalist, philosopher, and author of such classics as Walden and "Civil Disobedience," contributed a number of writings to The Atlantic in its early years. The month after his death from tuberculosis, in May 1862, the magazine published "Walking," one of his most famous …