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The 17 equations that changed the world

In 2012, Mathematician Ian Stewart came out with an excellent and deeply researched book titled "In Pursuit of the Unknown: 17 Equations That Changed the World.<p>His book takes a look at the most pivotal equations of all time, and puts them in a human, rather than technical context.<p>"Equations …

Equations

Sorry, but you can’t blame your children’s genes | Oliver James

From intelligence to mental health, nurture is the crucial influence on human development<p>Are poor people poor because of inferior genes? This notion is especially popular with members of the ruling elite, who like to think their position is the result of genetic superiority rather than the fact …

Mental Disorders

Mathematicians Have Discovered a Strange Pattern Hiding in Prime Numbers

They're not as random as we thought.<p>Mathematicians are pretty obsessed with prime numbers - those elusive integers that can only be divided by one …

Go humans: Lee Sedol scores first victory against supercomputer

Go grandmaster wins fourth showdown of five-match series against Google’s artificial intelligence, AlphaGo<p>The rise of the machines came to a halt, temporarily at least, when the champion Go player Lee Sedol beat a computer program on Sunday to prevent a whitewash after losing the first three …

Google vs. Go: can AI beat the ultimate board game?

DeepMind approached Lee Se-dol to be AlphaGo’s next opponent for a simple reason: there can be no better way to test and stretch the system’s limits. Nicknamed "Ssen-dol" ("strong stone") at home, where he’s as much national hero as celebrity, Lee became a pro Go player at the age of 12 and won the …

Artificial Intelligence

Cognitive correction and creating better human-to-machine interaction

The lifetime of the computer has been marked by an ongoing struggle to communicate with the machine. When two human conversational participants come from different languages, true communication only occurs when one can learn to speak in the language of the other.<p>At the beginning of the history of …

Command-line

Where did the principle of secrecy in correspondence go?

In the age of surveillance, it is easy to forget that governments weathered robust privacy protections for centuries. But secrecy is central to the vitality of democracy<p>Privacy as a legal construct is relatively recent. Until Samuel Warren and Louis Brandeis penned their famous 1890 essay “The …

Surveillance

When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job

Among many climate scientists, gloom has set in. Things are worse than we think, but they can't really talk about it.<p><i>This story was published in the August 2015 issue of Esquire.</i><p><b>The incident was small, but Jason Box</b> doesn't want to talk about it. He's been skittish about the media since it …

Welcome to Earth, 2200 AD: pop 500 million, temp 180°F – Linda Marsa

I stare out the window from my tiny flat on the 300th floor, hermetically sealed in a soaring, climate-controlled high-rise, honeycombed with …

You Almost Certainly Have Mites On Your Face

Science & InnovationNot Exactly Rocket Science<p>Think of all the adults you know. Think of your parents and grandparents. Think of the teachers you had at school, your doctors and dentists, the people who collect your rubbish, and the actors you see on TV. All of these people probably have little …

The Internet's Original Sin

It's not too late to ditch the ad-based business model and build a better web.<p>Ron Carlson’s short story “What We Wanted To Do” takes the form of an apology from a villager who failed to protect his comrades from marauding Visigoths. It begins:<p>What we wanted to do was spill boiling oil onto the …

Google uses its search results as a tool to ensure a secure internet

Google is to demote sites in its search results which don’t use secure connections by default.<p>Webmasters will have to enable HTTPS, a method of browsing the internet which prevents eavesdroppers from reading the communication between the server and visitor, or risk losing their positions on Google …

The death of privacy

We have come to the end of privacy; our private lives, as our grandparents would have recognised them, have been winnowed away to the realm of the shameful and secret. To quote ex-tabloid hack Paul McMullan, "privacy is for paedos". Insidiously, through small concessions that only mounted up over …

Why Israel is losing the social media war over Gaza

When Shujaiya was attacked by the Israeli Defence Force, killing dozens of civilians, the first I heard about it was via Twitter, early Sunday …

Everything Is Broken

Once upon a time, a friend of mine accidentally took over thousands of computers. He had found a vulnerability in a piece of software and started …

The App I Used to Break Into My Neighbor’s Home

When I broke into my neighbor’s home earlier this week, I didn’t use any cat burglar skills. I don’t know how to pick locks. I’m not even sure how to …

This is how you invent a person online

On April 8, 2013, I received an envelope in the mail from a nonexistent return address in Toledo, Ohio. Inside was a blank thank-you note and an Ohio state driver’s license. The ID belonged to a 28-year-old man called Aaron Brown—6 feet tall and 160 pounds with a round face, scruffy brown hair, a …

Privacy

A Convicted Hacker and an Internet Icon Join Forces to Thwart NSA Spying

The internet is littered with burgeoning email encryption schemes aimed at thwarting NSA spying. Many of them are focused on solving the usability …

The best of capitalism is over for rich countries – and for the poor ones it will be over by 2060

One of the upsides of having a global elite is that at least they know what's going on. We, the deluded masses, may have to wait for decades to find out who the paedophiles in high places are; and which banks are criminal, or bust. But the elite are supposed to know in real time – and on that basis …

The Case Against Sharing

On access, scarcity, and trust<p>With the rise of the “sharing economy,” many have asked the same question, though perhaps not with the same excitement. …

The Revolutionary Quantum Computer That May Not Be Quantum at All

<b>Google owns a</b> lot of computers—perhaps a million servers stitched together into the fastest, most powerful artificial intelligence on the planet. But …

The Crazy Genius Behind Solar Roadways

Here’s an idea crazy enough that it just might work: Pave the streets with solar-powered panels that have their own built-in heat and LED lights. That’s what Scott and Julie Brusaw hope to accomplish with their ongoing Solar Roadways project, which they just funded through a hugely popular …

Scrublands

In 2006, while he was backpacking in Australia, the French photographer Antoine Bruy signed up with an international exchange program for volunteers who want to work on organic farms. The experience prompted a fascination with self-sufficient life styles, and, in particular, with people who have …

How Tech Companies Tricked A Generation Into Working For Free

Last month Apple announced it would open beta testing access for its soon-to-be-revealed version of OS X to anyone with a compatible computer. Once a process reserved for a limited number of developers operating under non-disclosure agreements, the ability to have early access to new software from …

Notation, notation, notation: a brief history of mathematical symbols

A few years ago friends and I were talking about the origins of written music. When the conversation turned to the origins of math symbols, I was surprised to learn that few people knew that almost all maths was written rhetorically before the 16th century, often in metered poetry. Most people …

How do you build a city in space?

Science fiction has delivered on many of its promises. Star Trek videophones have become Skype, the Jetsons’ food-on-demand is materialising through 3-D printing, and we have done Jules Verne one better and explored mid-ocean trenches at crushing depths. But the central promise of golden age sci-fi …

But What Would the End of Humanity Mean for Me?

Preeminent scientists are warning about serious threats to human life in the not-distant future, including climate change and superintelligent computers. Most people don't care.<p>Sometimes Stephen Hawking writes an article that both mentions Johnny Depp and strongly warns that computers are an …

The north-east of England: Britain's Detroit?

Photograph: Ben Quinton/Guardian<p>The Sage music centre on Gateshead quays. Photograph: Ben Quinton for the Guardian<p>276<p>image/jpeg<p>https://static-secure.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2014/5/7/1399458362850/north-east-3-010.jpg<p>460<p>Photograph: Peter Reimann/Evening Gazette<p>After Margaret …