Science

The Health Care Debate and the Perils of Medicine for Profit

Frank M. Snowden— Health care is key in the forthcoming US election, with polls indicating that the American people regard the issue—in tandem with the economy—as their top priority. Voters are seriously anxious about current provisions of care and worried about possible further efforts to undermine Obama’s Affordable Care Act. In

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Charles Darwin, Tortoise Hunter?

Elizabeth Hennessy— On a sunny day in October 1835, a twenty-six-year-old Charles Darwin hiked from the parched coast of Santiago Island in the Galápagos archipelago to the island’s green, damp highlands. After a long walk, he sat in the shade and watched the island’s giant tortoises as they ambled along

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What Got Antivaxxers to Vax in New York City

Richard Robb— In fall 2018, measles returned to New York City. It was hardly surprising, given the alarmingly widespread resistance to vaccination. According to a recent survey, 2% of Americans believe vaccines are unsafe and ineffective and another 6% believe the side effects of vaccination outweigh the benefits. Many antivaxxers maintain

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Myth vs. Truth: Science and Stories

Anthony Aveni— Trained as an astronomer but now spending most of my time writing about skywatchers in indigenous cultures, I’ve come to think that individuals trained in science tend to pay too little attention to stories of creation other than their own “Big Bang.” They generally regard stories from other

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Nine Steps to a Sustainable Future

In our new book A Better Planet, leading environmentalists present long-term solutions for a sustainable future amid our ecological crisis. The forty essays advocate a bipartisan program and cover topics like forestry, agriculture, data, public health, natural disasters, and city planning. We’ve selected excerpts from nine of the essays that

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Net Neutrality Is a Class Issue

David Elliot Berman and Victor Pickard — Net neutrality is often depicted as a Manichean battle between two warring parties: “good” innovators and content creators such as Google, Facebook, and Netflix, which use and want to protect the internet’s open architecture, and “bad” internet service providers (ISPs) such as Comcast

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Einstein, Anglophilia, and America

Andrew Robinson— “Einstein was an Anglophile,” declared three leading US scholars of Albert Einstein—Alice Calaprice, Daniel Kennefick and Robert Schulmann—without hesitation or qualification in their study, An Einstein Encyclopedia, published by Princeton University Press in 2015, the centenary of the publication of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. Yet Einstein chose to

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A Huge Turning Point in Archaeology

Brian Fagan— The bombshell exploded a few months after John Evans and Joseph Prestwich returned from their visit to the Somme gravel pits with axes and elephant bones. Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species placed archaeology at the centre of the debates on human origins. The archaeologists and geologists had proved

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The Battle over Source Code

Aram Sinnreich— Professional prognosticators and commentators often treat the development of media technology as a one-way street, an inevitable series of magical innovations leading to an equally inevitable set of disruptions in business, culture, and society. In reality, of course, the process is far more complex. Technology developers and media

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The World of Fiber Optics

Susan Crawford— Here is the tech revolution America may miss: On a gray, cloudy weekday morning in August, I drove across the wide Han River that divides the northern and southern parts of Seoul. I turned east onto a furiously busy highway that runs alongside the river. I was noticing

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