Why Does It Matter If Homo sapiens Had Sex With Neanderthals?

Evidence has been piling up for a while that early humans in Europe had children with the Neanderthals who had been living there for probably 500 thousand years before humans arrived. Very few Neanderthal genes are left in humans today, so what difference does it make? A lot, both genetically and philosophically. » 4/02/14 8:48pm 4/02/14 8:48pm

Economic study suggests we're heading for a Blade Runner future

Earlier this month, a group of economists released the results of a massive study looking at the economic prospects of people from across the United States. What they found was that the U.S. is like a patchwork quilt of different countries, where some regions offer people the economic prospects of a typical developed… » 2/19/14 3:55pm 2/19/14 3:55pm

This video of a honeybee swarm reveals why humans can't form consensus

Every so often, a honeybee queen leaves the hive where she was born to found a new colony. Along with thousands of workers, she has to figure out a good place to live. But how does this huge group decide where to locate their new home? This video reveals their process — and sheds light on human consensus-building too. » 2/13/14 2:43pm 2/13/14 2:43pm

The Poe Code: The Secret Meaning of Person of Interest

On last night's Person of Interest, a caper-style episode about an art thief, Finch refers to a fictional New York bar called The Purloined Letter. And that single reference, to an Edgar Allan Poe story, revealed how this show is entangled in one of the great philosophical debates of the last fifty years. » 2/05/14 7:18pm 2/05/14 7:18pm

The robotic future won't look anything like what you imagine

In late autumn, I walked through drifts of crunchy leaves in Berkeley's warehouse district to find a strange lab on the shores of San Francisco Bay. Inside, on a work bench surrounded by tidy coils of wire and electrical tape, two geeks were building the next robot revolution. But there were no Google-esque dog… » 1/28/14 5:18pm 1/28/14 5:18pm