What would the Earth be like if it was the shape of a donut?

According to the laws of physics, a planet the shape of a donut, or toroid, could actually exist — but it's extremely unlikely to ever form naturally. But what if an advanced alien civilization decided to build one? What properties would a toroid-Earth exhibit? And what would life be like? » 2/04/14 12:00pm 2/04/14 12:00pm

Would it be evil to build a functional brain inside a computer?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about using supercomputers to simulate the human brain. But as scientists get progressively closer to achieving this goal, they’re going to have to consider the ethics involved. By making minds that live inside machines, we run the risk of inflicting serious harm. » 6/27/13 11:20am 6/27/13 11:20am

How could we engineer humans to have more empathy?

People are capable of amazing kindness, but also of unbelievable callousness. We go out of our way to help strangers, but we also turn a blind eye to misery. But what if you could make human beings kind all the time? What does science teach us about empathy, and how to create it in people? We decided to ask the… » 6/19/13 5:14pm 6/19/13 5:14pm