The Irresistible Apocalypse

Zombies, nuclear bombs, alien attacks, rampant non-zombie disease, overpopulation, climate change, astroids, superpower: people love apocalypse stories. When you search BigBoxBook seller sites for “apocalypse” you get 13,785 results. Just fiction will give you over 5,000 results. Pulp science fiction is the most common place to find these stories, but there are all types of apocalypse stories. Literary, trashy, and, of course, the unintentionally absurd: (“The neutrinos are mutating!

Awful Animal Sex

 No matter what is happening in your sex life—be it awkward, thrilling, or short lived—just be thankful you’re human. There are three basic ways to get creatures to reproduce: make it fun, make it obligatory, or make it just disgusting enough to work. Carrot, stick, or gross. We got the carrot method. Many other species weren’t so lucky. 

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You: Oversimplified

There are suns that are so cool you could actually reach out and touch them. Except, not really, no. It’s not like that at all.

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The idea of a star that’s burning cold, like the one in that episode of Doctor Who, is pretty romantic. And a NASA discovery in 2011 had the science “news” sections of every newspaper and blog losing its collective shit with headlines like “DISCOVERED: SUNS COLDER THAN A SUMMER’S DAY” and “OMG! YOU CAN TOUCH THE STARS!” But, of course, these discoveries weren’t of cold suns. They’re something called Brown Dwarfs, not quite suns and not quite planets and the reason they can be as cool as 80 degrees is that they aren’t burning anymore. 

So, they’re big, warm rocks? 

Yeah.

But “DISCOVERED: BROWN DWARVES AS COOL AS 80 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT” really doesn’t sound as cool, so it’s a pretty easy leap to cut out the qualifiers and simplify things. Even if it means the statement is no longer true. And while it’s particularly bad for news outlets to stretch the truth, we all do this. We all oversimplify our world with categories, and strict definitions. Memories are damn good liars and the truth is too complex to fit in 140 characters or fewer.

Invisibility is Scary Awesome and Coming to YOU

The countdown to Harry Potter World has begun. Seven scientists in China have developed invisibility glass, which they’ve used to build boxes for your pets and their invisible chillin’ needs. The technology used here is a vastly simpler method than the various that have come before it, like the 2006 method using microwaves or the 2009 version with dielectrics.

So, what happens now? From Plato’s Republic to witches to Spiderman, history has a hell of a lot to say on the subject.

Mars: The Best Thing Ever for Your Social Life

There are so many reasons to land on other planets. First and quite important: We need to practice living on new worlds. Either by climate change, overpopulation, or extra-crispy crazy people with giant guns we very well might need a new place to live in the next few centuries. 

Estimated current world population:
(provided by JavaScript Kit)

In the last sixty years the population has more than tripled. We are running out of space and polluting what habitable spots we have left

But that’s not all new planets have to offer. 

Heads and Legs Don’t Matter, This is About Sex (with Neanderthals)

Neanderthals may have painted, but in an arty way. Amazing, right? And also, who cares? Well you should because you might be a tiny part Neanderthal.

A hundred and thirty-three years ago an archeologist’s daughter stumbled onto about a bunch of paintings in The Cave of Altamira near the northern coast of Spain. When the findings were published well-regarded scientists of the time believed the art to be fake. The idea that prehistoric humans had the intelligence to create anything remotely like art was a little wild. Then again, this was a time when the theory of evolution was pretty wild. 

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Rock, Paper, Stupid: Your brain is too fond of metaphors

Winning Rock Paper Scissors Every Time
(via visual.ly)

Look at this set of predictions and instructions and tell me you don’t love how hard the author is trying to make humans into a simple line of code. If this then that. These ridiculous statements about the predictability of human behavior fall apart pretty quickly when actually applied to real people. Most people are more complex (and intelligent) than this infographic implies, but in some ways we’re also pretty simple.

You might already be acquainted with the psychological effect of synchrony—the strange urge we have to mimic the gestures, speaking styles, and postures of the people we’re around. It’s been studied in a hundred different ways but the results are almost always a little disturbing, and catching yourself unconsciously imitating another person is creepy (Did I cross my legs first, or did she?) But in the world of subliminal messaging, that’s nothing.