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You're Using Neural Networks Every Day Online—Here's How They Work

If you use Google’s new Photos app, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Skype’s new translation function, you’re using a form of AI on a daily basis. AI was first dreamed up in the 1950s, but has only recently become a practical reality — all thanks to software systems called neural networks. This is how they work. » 7/13/15 2:00pm 7/13/15 2:00pm

How Male Spiders Can Feel Sex Even Without a Penis

Male spiders don’t have a penis – all their sex is digital. After ejaculating onto a tiny piece of webbing, a male sucks his sperm into a chamber at the tip of one of the short limbs on his head. Once he convinces a female to accept him, he’ll push that appendage inside her genital opening and (hopefully) make some… » 7/09/15 2:40pm 7/09/15 2:40pm

"Mind-Melded" Animal Brains Work Better Than Individual Ones

Connecting brains together into networks, or ‘mind-melding’ as the Trekkies say, has a long and colorful history in science fiction. But it’s also something that scientists are doing—rather successfully—with animals in the lab. And in many cases, networked animal brains seem to perform better than individual brains. » 7/09/15 1:20pm 7/09/15 1:20pm

If 3D Movies Make You Feel Sick, It's Likely All in Your Mind

The realism of today’s 3D blockbusters can blow audiences away. By using 3D glasses to present different images to the two eyes, stereoscopic 3D technology fools the brain into believing it is viewing a real scene rather than a flat image on a screen. Now 3D televisions enable viewers to experience the effect at home… » 7/09/15 5:00am 7/09/15 5:00am

Here's How That New Sex Pill for Women Actually Works

Sometime in the next two months, the FDA will vote on whether to approve flibanserin, a new drug to treat women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, or lack of desire for sex. The drug has been touted as “female Viagra,” in the sense that it helps bring sex back into these women’s lives. But flibanserin doesn’t… » 6/30/15 1:17pm 6/30/15 1:17pm

How Long Does It Really Take to Think a Thought?

As inquisitive beings, we are constantly questioning and quantifying the speed of various things. With a fair degree of accuracy, scientists have quantified the speed of light, the speed of sound, the speed at which the earth revolves around the sun, the speed at which hummingbirds beat their wings, the average speed… » 6/29/15 6:45am 6/29/15 6:45am

This Documentary Uses Science to See Who Loves the Hardest

Six adults (and one kid), one fMRI machine, five minutes to love someone (or something) as hard as possible. In The Love Competition, a short documentary first featured in McSweeney’s Wholphin #15, filmmaker Brent Hoff and Stanford University neuroscientists try to see which type of love makes the brain most active. » 6/19/15 1:01pm 6/19/15 1:01pm

Scientists Just Invented the Neural Lace

In the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks, futuristic post-humans install devices on their brains called a “neural lace.” A mesh that grows with your brain, it’s essentially a wireless brain-computer interface. But it’s also a way to program your neurons to release certain chemicals with a thought. And now, there’s a… » 6/15/15 8:10pm 6/15/15 8:10pm

In Mice, A Hormonal Switch Turns Off The Smell of Sex

Imagine that you could only smell food when you were hungry. Walk into a bakery after a full meal, and the tempting smells of chocolate, caramelized sugar, and baking dough would be absent. Your nose would only turn those smells back on after your stomach emptied. It’d be great for your diet. Now imagine that for sex. » 6/10/15 2:41pm 6/10/15 2:41pm