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The Digital Cosmos: A Brief Reading List

Do the laws of physics emerge from the laws of information? Perhaps, according to two World Science Festival events I attended this weekend on the connection between computers and the cosmos...

June 7, 2011 — Michael Moyer

10 Top Illusions

Balls that roll uphill, bathtubs that stretch and shrink, freaky faces and throbbing hearts. Welcome to the year's best visual tricks

June 2, 2011 — Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen L. Macknik

Homogenetic Enumeration: A Numerical System Guaranteed to Move You

While this chart may look like a series of exercises or dance moves, it actually depicts a system of numeration called “Homogenetic enumeration.”   It is similar to a semaphore flag system, except that instead of flags homogenetic enumeration uses only the limbs of the body to communicate numbers...

May 31, 2011 — Mary Karmelek
Can Tornado Prediction Be Improved?

Can Tornado Prediction Be Improved?

Advances in computer modeling and other technologies still cannot overcome the fundamental complexity of thunderstorm and subsequent tornado formation

May 23, 2011 — David Biello

Wisdom of Crowds Withers with Peeks

Averaging a group's individual guesses about a stat can be effective, unless the group's members are discussing their guesses. Karen Hopkin reports

May 16, 2011

Information Is Everywhere, How Can Science Protect It?

Editor's Note: The following blog post first appeared May 15 on the World Science Festival's Web site

Underscoring the importance of encryption in our increasingly data-driven digital lives, this year's World Science Festival features its first-ever session on cryptography, entitled "Keeping Secrets: Cryptography in a Connected World." During this discussion expect a well-rounded panel—including mathematician and computer scientist Brian Snow, scientist/journalist Simon Singh, cryptoanalyst Orr Dunkelman and cryptography researcher Tal Rabin—to break down cryptography, addressing its strengths and weaknesses as well as its impact on security and privacy...

May 16, 2011 — Larry Greenemeier

The Lost Galaxies

By the latest estimate, the observable universe contains 200 billion galaxies. Astronomers wonder: Why so few?

May 11, 2011 — James E. Geach
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