Sometimes, the best way to illustrate a complicated philosophical concept is by framing it as a story or situation. Here are nine such thought experiments with downright disturbing implications.
Jupiter is often referred to as a “failed star,” leading some futurists to wonder if our descendants might set it ablaze in a process called planetary stellification. A new study suggests this is indeed theoretically possible—and that we should be on the hunt for galactic aliens who have already converted their gas…
The future looks bright, except when it doesn’t. Here are 10 exceptionally regrettable developments we can expect in the coming decades.
The disturbing Fermi Paradox suggests we should have made contact with an extraterrestrial civilization by now, yet we haven’t. By applying a 500-year-old philosophical principle, a Cornell University researcher has shown that the Great Silence is not unexpected—we just need to give it more time.
We live in an era of accelerating change, when scientific and technological advancements are arriving rapidly. As a result, we are developing a new language to describe our civilization as it evolves. Here are 20 terms and concepts that you’ll need to navigate our future.
Each year, Edge.org editor John Brockman poses a provocative question to a select group of thinkers. For this year’s installment, nearly 200 brainy contributors were asked: “What do you consider the most recent scientific news?” Here’s what they had to say.
The Knobe Effect is a psychological double-standard that allows us to blame people for a bad outcome, yet not give them credit for a good one. Researchers have now studied the brains of the blamers to pinpoint a possible culprit for why we do this.
Stelarc has made a career of blending his body with technology. In his latest work, the Australian performance artist strapped himself to an industrial robotic arm and went for a spin.
Here’s a nice, simple topic for first thing on a Friday morning: do numbers really exist? Well, do they?
European languages often use the same word for “story” and “history,” but many English speakers regard these words as antonyms. But how different are they really? At The Last Word on Nothing, Ann Finkbeiner asked some practicing PhD historians for their opinions.
Imagine the day when we finally receive a signal from an extraterrestrial intelligence, only to find that there’s a message embedded within. Given that we don’t speak the same language, how could we ever hope to make sense of it? We spoke to the experts to find out.
When moral philosopher Gary Steiner first adopted his cat Pindar, the vet advised him to put the cat to sleep. A rescue animal, Pindar had tested positive for FIV (feline AIDS) and feline leukemia, and has since developed other chronic health issues, including kidney disease. Steiner decided to keep Pindar, triggering…
Despite the weirdness of existence, most of us are able to get on with our lives and avoid debilitating feelings of despair, personal failure, and cosmic meaninglessness. But every once in a while we’re tugged out of our complacency and forced to re-evaluate our lives. Here’s what you need to know about existential…
How rational are you, really? This comprehensive online quiz by ClearerThinking.org will not only provide you with the answer, it’ll also tell you which of 16 reasoning styles you belong to, where your strengths lie, and how to improve your thinking skills.
In April, NASA Chief scientist Ellen Stofan predicted we would “have strong indications of life beyond Earth within a decade,” and “definitive evidence within 20 to 30 years.” Assuming this timeline is correct, how do we ensure the life we encounter—which astrobiologists predict will be non-sentient—will be respected?
In Part I of Kurz Gesagt’s animated explainer of the Fermi Paradox we learned about the vexing problem that is the Great Silence. This follow-up video presents some intriguing solutions that may explain the disturbing absence of intelligent alien life.
There are debates about the basic nature of humanity that have been raging for millennia. Are we decent? Are we nasty and brutish? These ontological questions can never be settled — unless you have hidden cameras and access to Youtube, that is. Then those questions can be settled easily, with video pranks. And the…
The Great Silence is a vexing problem we all love to speculate and argue about, but it’s not the most intuitive concept. This wonderful animated video by Kurz Gesagt explains the problem that is the Fermi Paradox and why our apparent isolation in the galaxy is so damned weird.
Katie Silver has penned an article for BBC Earth in which she explores the idea of finding a single theory that describes the entire Universe. But as her article aptly points out, it's a challenge that appears to be getting increasingly difficult.
According to the Many Worlds Interpretation of quantum physics, we live in an infinite web of alternate timelines. It's a serious claim that carries some rather serious scientific, philosophical, and existential baggage. And here are the nine weirdest possible implications.