Jörkki Hyvönen

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What really happens in Schrödinger’s box? – Adrian Kent

In 1909, Ernest Rutherford, Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden took a piece of radium and used it to fire charged particles at a sheet of gold foil. They …

Quantum Physics

What Does Quantum Physics Actually Tell Us About the World?

<b>WHAT IS REAL?</b> <b><br>The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics</b><br>By Adam Becker<br>370 pp. Basic Books. $32.<p>Are atoms real? Of course they are. Everybody believes in atoms, even people who don’t believe in evolution or climate change. If we didn’t have atoms, how could we have atomic bombs? But you …

Quantum Physics

The desire to fit in is the root of almost all wrongdoing

Imagine that one morning you discover a ring that grants you magic powers. With this ring on your finger, you can seize the presidency, rob Fort Knox …

North Carolina

Deborah Friedell: The Rorschach Test

Psychologists who swear by the Rorschach often say they came to it only after initial scepticism, and they have the zeal of converts. Their stories …

Psychology

A rare interview with Philip Pullman, the ‘religious atheist’ – Peter Jukes

The most impressive thing about meeting Philip Pullman is how unimposing he is. Renowned as a master of mythologies, casting a cultural shadow that …

Literature

Sex makes babies

As far as we can tell, no other animal knows this. Did our understanding of baby-making change the course of human history?<i>By Holly Dunsworth & Anne</i> …

Evolution

Squishy Sentience

PETER GODFREY-SMITH is something of an Oliver Sacks of cephalopods. The analogy isn’t perfect — he doesn’t attempt to diagnose or cure mental …

Academic Language and the Problem of Meaninglessness

It’s so easy to lose track of the meaning of words. Say any word enough times and it becomes a mere sound, its semantic content steadily evaporating …

Pandora’s Briefcase

It was a dazzling feat of wartime espionage. But does it argue for or against spying?<p>On April 30, 1943, a fisherman came across a badly decomposed corpse floating in the water off the coast of Huelva, in southwestern Spain. The body was of an adult male dressed in a trenchcoat, a uniform, and …

The legend of the Legion

His cap is bleached as white as the bones of a Saharan camel. Is the romance of the French Foreign Legion a cult of death?<i>By Robert Twigger</i>Read at …

World History

How Things Hang Together – George Scialabba – Inference

In <i>Dreams of a Final Theory</i>, Steven Weinberg propounds a familiar but unfailingly stirring claim:<p>Scientists have discovered many peculiar things, and …

Albert Einstein

Invisible Manipulators of Your Mind

The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds<p>by Michael Lewis<p>Norton, 362 pp., $28.95<p>1.<p>We are living in an age in which the behavioral …

How To Laugh At God

It’s hard to know exactly what moment we occupy in regard to the New Atheism and its concomitant backlash. Are we in the backlash of the backlash? Or …

George Saunders: what writers really do when they write

1<p>Many years ago, during a visit to Washington DC, my wife’s cousin pointed out to us a crypt on a hill and mentioned that, in 1862, while Abraham Lincoln was president, his beloved son, Willie, died, and was temporarily interred in that crypt, and that the grief-stricken Lincoln had, according to …

Books

Every successful relationship is successful for the same exact reasons

Hey, guess what? I got married two weeks ago. And like most people, I asked some of the older and wiser folks around me for a couple quick words of advice from their own marriages to make sure my wife and I didn’t shit the (same) bed. I think most newlyweds do this, especially after a few cocktails …

Relationships

The rise and fall of the Romanovs

Discussed in this essay:<p><i>Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs,</i> by Douglas Smith. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 848 pages. $35.<p><i>The</i> …

World History

Meat

<i>I’m honored that this often shows up on the internet. Here’s the correct version, as published in Omni, 1990.</i><p><i>THEY'RE MADE OUT OF MEAT</i><p>"They're made …

Meat

The heroic absurdity of Dan Brown

<i>Clash of the titans: Dan versus Dante (© Ian West/PA Wire/Press Association Images)</i><p>As a believer in the enjoyably awful, I would recommend this book …

eBooks

I want my country back

This was never a referendum on the EU. It was a referendum on the modern world.<p>This morning, I woke up in a country I do not recognise. David …

Metaknowledge

Crowds aren’t as smart as we thought, since some people know more than others. A simple trick can find the ones you want<i>By George Musser</i>Read at Aeon

Psychology

Ernest Hemingway: Middlebrow Revolutionary

In June 1925, <b>Ernest Hemingway</b> turned to a blank page in his notebook and scrawled these five hopeful words:Along With YouthA NovelHemingway was 25 …

Literature

Your brain does not process information and it is not a computer – Robert Epstein

No matter how hard they try, brain scientists and cognitive psychologists will never find a copy of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in the brain – or copies …

Does power really corrupt?

An argument about whether powerful people behave better or worse than others is shaking the world of experimental psychology. Matthew Sweet …

Are we sex-literate? Why we should all be writing more about pleasure

Being able to articulate our desires is key to our wellbeing – but if we want to be sex-literate, we need more inventive writing than Fifty Shades of …

The Day the Mesozoic Died - Issue 32: Space

“Understanding how we decipher a great historical event written in the book of rocks<br>may be as interesting as the event itself.”<br>—Walter Alvarez<p>Built …

The Crusade Against Multiple Regression Analysis

A Conversation WithRichard Nisbett[1.21.16]<i>A huge range of science projects are done with multiple regression analysis. The results are often</i> …

Statistics

Anti-Education by Friedrich Nietzsche review – why mainstream culture, not the universities, is doing our best thinking

Throughout his life Nietzsche thought of himself as an educator, but the time he spent working in higher education was not long and much of it he found frustrating. Appointed professor in classical philology at the University of Basel in 1869 when he was only 24 years old, he was seen as a prodigy …

Friedrich Nietzsche

Cracking coder

There is to me something ineffably grand, romantic and ambitious about the idea of a seven-metre diameter, 150-metre-long machine eating its way …

‘Self and Soul’: Mark Edmundson’s biting critique of modern complacency

The only thing in Mark Edmundson’s new book that isn’t provocative is its title. “Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals” sounds earnest, high-minded and dull, probably a worthy academic study revisiting territory mapped out long ago by Matthew Arnold and Lionel Trilling.<p><i>Wrong</i>. What you will find …

Literature