Science

“Nadie te quita lo bailado.” (No one can take from you what you’ve danced.) For Federico Ardila, this Latin American expression epitomizes his approach to life and mathematics. It’s the driving force behind the parties he DJs in venues across the San Francisco Bay Area, where people dance till morning…

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Intelligence is not a quality to attribute lightly to microbes. There is no reason to think that bacteria, slime molds and similar single-cell forms of life have awareness, understanding or other capacities implicit in real intellect. But particularly when these cells commune in great numbers, their startling collective talents for…

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In September 2014, astronomers saw a dimming point of light in a small galaxy half a billion light-years away. It looked like an ordinary supernova—a dying star that exploded and whose light was now petering out. But the following January, Zheng “Andrew” Wong, a student intern at Las Cumbres Observatory…

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Elephants and other large animals have a lower incidence of cancer than would be expected statistically, suggesting that they have evolved ways to protect themselves against the disease. A new study reveals how elephants do it: An old gene that was no longer functional was recycled from the vast “genome…

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Isaac Asimov’s famous Three Laws of Robotics—constraints on the behavior of androids and automatons meant to ensure the safety of humans—were also famously incomplete. The laws, which first appeared in his 1942 short story “Runaround” and again in classic works like I, Robot, sound airtight at first: A robot may…

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In 1970, an astrophysicist named Koryo Miura conceived what would become one of the most well-known and well-studied folds in origami: the Miura-ori. The pattern of creases forms a tessellation of parallelograms, and the whole structure collapses and unfolds in a single motion—providing an elegant way to fold a map….

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The alerts started in the early morning of Aug. 17. Gravitational waves produced by the wreck of two neutron stars—dense cores of dead stars—had washed over Earth. The thousand-plus physicists of the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory rushed to decode the space-time vibrations that rolled across the detectors like a…

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