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Math explains polarization, and it's not just about politics

People often divide the world into "us" and "them" then forget about everybody else.

The four moral judgments you make every day

Our brains make snap moral decisions in mere seconds.

Rain, caves, and miracles: New study connects weather to ancient tales

A new study provides a possible scientific explanation for the existence of stories about ancient saints performing miracles with water.

13 films everyone should watch and why—as voted by you

A curated watchlist from Big Think readers.

Hidden dwarf galaxies revealed in first images of the "cosmic web"

Not only does this give us a look at the scaffolding of the universe, we found some new galaxies too!

Lightning may have provided a key mineral for early life on Earth

How do you get usable phosphorus into a system? A new study suggests lightning can do the trick.

Study measures marijuana's carbon footprint — and its high

Growing marijuana in large, climate controlled warehouses is good for production but has a massive carbon footprint.

Incredible fossil shows dinosaur sitting on preserved nest of eggs

Fossils of ancient creatures doing anything are rare. This one is absolutely unique.

Plastic pollution from face masks could devastate the environment

Masks are great, but what happens when we try to throw out a billion masks at once?

Higher incomes tied to better emotional states — but there's a catch

A study of 1.6 million people ties high incomes with more positive emotions and fewer negative ones, but only towards the self.

Massive 'space hurricane' made of plasma rained electrons over North Pole

This storm rained electrons, shifted energy from the sun's rays to the magnetosphere, and went unnoticed for a long time.

Cephalopod aces 'marshmallow test' designed for eager children

The famous cognition test was reworked for cuttlefish. They did better than expected.

Classical liberalism and three of its founders: explained

Most people seem to enjoy liberalism and its spin offs, but what is it exactly? Where did the idea come from?

New wellness center lets guests cuddle with cows

Cow cuddling is getting ever more popular, but what's the science behind using animals for relaxation?

How philosophy blends physics with the idea of free will

How does philosophy try to balance having free will with living in a deterministic universe?

Japanese government appoints new "Minister of Loneliness"

While not the first such minister, the loneliness epidemic in Japan will make this one the hardest working.

Record for oldest DNA ever sequenced broken by mammoth remains

One million year old mammoth DNA more than doubles the previous record and suggests that even older genomes could be found.

Rousseau explained: What his philosophy means for us

The philosopher who praised a simple life and inspired the worst of the French Revolution.

New animation shows a billion years of continental drift

A new model of plate tectonics offers a chance to look back a billion years with new found accuracy.

New radar tech takes unbelievably detailed moon images from Earth

Radar astronomy is nothing new, but a new transmitter may give us unprecedented image resolution.

Risk-taking behavior has a unique and complex brain signature

How much of this can be linked to genetics?

Who were the most legendary ancient rulers of all time?

From Ramses II to Alexander the Great, these leaders helped shaped the world we know today.

Five collectibles with better returns than the stock market

People often make a killing in stocks, but there are other ways to potentially turn major profits.

Discovery of two giant radio galaxies hints at more to come

The newly discovered galaxies are 62 times bigger than the Milky Way.

A new essay takes a holistic look at the trolley problem

Knowing what to do is one thing, doing it is another.

Colorful brain mapping tool lights up neural connections

A powerful new tool lights up the brains of worms, and may soon help draw maps of other animals brains.

Survey shows Congress is more religious than America

A new survey shows who believes what and how it differs from what Americans believe as a whole.

New type of dual-acting antibiotic shows promise

A new antibiotic hits germs with a two pronged attack.

New DNA evidence rewrites Caribbean history

Two new studies shed light on who first inhabited the islands, who replaced them, and how few people lived there.

Anxiety and depression can affect your learning ability

An excessive focus on past failures can make learning about new situtations more difficult.

Interventions in school years can prevent "deaths of despair"

While most of these deaths are driven by external factors, interventions can still help prevent them.

Sixteen facial expressions appear in every culture

Other cultures can differ greatly from your own, but there are commonalties in the way we express emotions.

Astronomers have detected the first radio emissions from an exoplanet

Planets can emit radio waves. For the first time, we've picked them up from outside the solar system.

Researchers say food prices don’t reflect environmental costs

Agriculture is responsible for a quarter of greenhouse emissions, but who pays for these environmental costs?

13 books everyone should read and why—as voted by you

Add these great titles to your wish list or secure copies for yourself.

Ancient Puebloans used ice caves to survive droughts

Carbon dating allows us to know exactly when ice was melted for drinking water in pre-Columbian America.

Trial of a universal flu vaccine shows promise

The vaccine just passed its first clinical trials, but it has a long way to go.

Doctors in Canada to begin prescribing nature to patients

A new "evidence-based nature prescription program" will see patients spending time in the woods.

Plato’s utopia and why you don’t want to live there

History's first utopia shows how far we've come.

Lonely? Hungry? The same part of the brain worries about both

MRI scans show that hunger and loneliness cause cravings in the same area, which suggests socialization is a need.

How long does turkey take to thaw? There’s a calculator for that

Never made a turkey before? Don't worry, science can help.

Study finds matriarchal societies are good for women's health

A study of the Mosuo women, known for their matriarchy, suggests that gender roles can influence our health outcomes.

Isolated island group is now one of the world's largest animal sanctuaries

One of the world's most isolated island groups has just been made one of the world's largest ocean reserves.

Researchers use CT scans to digitally peek at ancient Egyptian mummies

All the fun of opening up a mummy, without the fear of unleashing a plague.

Soft fabric robot grips objects like an elephant's trunk

The new tool may someday be used in work that needs a light touch.

Some sleep is worse than no sleep for keeping fear in check

Getting plenty of sleep just became even more important.

Study warns of delayed flu outbreaks after pandemic ends

The positive steps we are taking to prevent disease might have a negative side effect.

Why you should cut back on social media and how to do it

Social media seems to stress some people out. Maybe its time for a break?

Should we pay ex-drug users to help them get clean?

What is more important, that a treatment helps keep people healthy or that it meshes with our morals?

What can we laugh at and why? The philosophy of humor

Everyone loves a laugh now and then, except for most of the philosophers you've heard of.

Study finds hard physical labor raises risk for dementia

Work that can break down the body can also break down the mind.

New study shows which states make it easier (or harder) to vote

States set their own voting laws, so where does this make voting easiest?

Liberal and conservative brains react to charged words differently

Partisanship can now be seen in brain scans.

Coffee and green tea may lower death risk for some adults

Tea and coffee have known health benefits, but now we know they can work together.

Why aligning AI to our values may be harder than we think

Can we stop a rogue AI by teaching it ethics? That might be easier said than done.

Cornell University program aims to end world hunger in 10 years

Can we end world hunger by 2030? Thanks to a new program, the data for it is all there.

Mosquitoes' taste for blood is finally explained

Mosquitoes can taste your blood using unique sensory abilities. Can we use that to keep them off us?

Six solar system oddities and why we must learn about them

Want some crazy space phenomena? You don't have to leave the neighborhood for it.

How humans ended up the most altruistic of animals

Humans help each other in ways animals don't dream of, but why?

New model explains Saturn’s hexagon shaped storm

The solar system has some strange stuff in it. Learning how it ended up that way can tell us where we're going.

Got science questions? Skype A Scientist can help

A non-profit dedicated to science communication offers to connect learners with over 11,000 scientists.

Ambassadors from 50 nations sign letter supporting LGBTQ rights in Poland

Poland has become an increasingly unwelcoming place for the LGBTQ community. Fifty diplomats hope to change that.

Three philosophies of punishment and whether or not they work

What do we want to do with convicted criminals? Penology has several philosophies waiting to answer that question.

Income is tied to happiness and hope for the future

Money can't buy happiness, but try being hopeful and broke at the same time.

Want students to cheat less? Science says treat them justly

Students who think the world is just cheat less, but they need to experience justice to feel that way.

Back to back excavations unearth two dozen Egyptian mummies

Well preserved coffins hint towards more discoveries in a famed necropolis.

Glassdoor lists the highest-rated CEOs during COVID

If you want flexibility, transparency, and decent health policies, it seems like working in tech pays off.

Sharks flee in terror when killer whales show up

Sharks fear killer whales. How does this impact the ecosystems they share?

Five weird thought experiments to break your brain

Thought expriments are great tools, but do they always do what we want them to?

Study: Older Americans know more about COVID than connected youth

Why a survey claims Boomers demonstrate more knowledge and safer behavior.

Rock study may have just revealed cause of Triassic mass extinction

Rocks from two hundred million years ago show us how everything died and how nothing is new.

The philosophy of bullsh*t and how to avoid stepping in it

A philosopher's guide to detecting nonsense and getting around it.

Study shows why face shields don’t work as well as face masks

Some people choose alternatives to masks for comfort. A study shows the difference in effectiveness.

Three thinkers on when we should call out harmful speech

What speech is harmful, how do we know, and what do we do if we find out?

Anxiety related internet searches hit new high during pandemic

More people are looking up panic and anxiety attacks in quarantine.

Non-partisan brains differ from those of partisans

Non-partisans are real, and their lack of partisanship has a cognitive element.

Rare fossil depicting battle sheds light on ancient ant

Fossils depicting animals in action are very rare.

Massive 'Darth Vader' isopod found lurking in the Indian Ocean

The father of all giant sea bugs was recently discovered off the coast of Java.

Warming tropical soils may add carbon to the air

Carbon locked in soils can be emitted by bacteria. Turning up the heat on them releases more carbon.

Why your hair dulls the sharpest razor blades

Ever wonder how soft hair can dull a steel razor? So did scientists at MIT.

Viewing abstract art causes notable cognitive changes

Viewing art that doesn't look like anything makes your brain take extra steps to try and get it.

DNA from an unknown ancestor found in modern humans

Our family tree is complicated, and some of the branches are still unlabeled.

NASA detects unexpected lightning storms in Jupiter's upper atmosphere

Some of the most extreme weather in the Solar System just got stranger.

Spiders lace webs in toxins to paralyze prey

Just what every arachnophobe needed to hear.

Economists show how welfare programs can turn a "profit"

What happens if we consider welfare programs as investments?

Mexico City just outlawed gay conversion therapy. These cities have not

Mexico City, already progressive, takes more steps to protect its LGBT+ citizens.

Study: Big homes have big carbon footprints

American homes are big and polluting. Here's how to fix that.

Study finds the real reason you get goosebumps

No, its not just to keep you warm with hair you don't have.

Closest images ever taken of the sun reveal "nanoflares"

The Sun, as its never been seen before.

Cognitive ability tied to better social distancing

Working memory is the workhorse of cognition. Having less of it has side effects.

Supporting climate science increases skepticism of out-groups

A study finds people are more influenced by what the other party says than their own. What gives?

A new approach to Alzheimer’s based on physics and worms

How a study on worms pointed the way towards a treatment for dementia.

Want to feel better? Science says to care for your dog

Admit it, caring for your pet can make you happy too. Science is working on why.

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