Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving. “A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient.”
What’s next for physics’ standard model? Muon results throw theories into confusion. Anomalies to fundamental theory have physicists trying to concoct new explanations.
Large-scale origami locks into place under pressure. Inflatable, metre-scale origami structures have been designed to transform from flat structures into expanded forms and then to lock into their new shape. This technology opens the way to the use of large origami structures for engineering.
The hidden crisis beneath our feet. “Groundwater is the primary water source for billions of people and for nearly half of irrigated agriculture, yet its inconspicuous presence has allowed groundwater to elude effective governance and management in countless regions around the world. Consequently, more than half of the world's major aquifers are being depleted, some of them at an alarming pace.”
How Maxwell’s demon continues to startle scientists.
Transcript. Ezra Klein interviews Ted Chiang. More Ted Chiang: Why computers won’t make themselves smarter.
John Banville on Van Gogh’s letters.
Eclipsed by fame. James Gleick reviews Hawking Hawking: The Selling of a Scientific Celebrity by Charles Seife. “There’s a scientific story to tell about Stephen Hawking, but most of his later life served to conceal it.” And a review by Philip Ball. “Hawking’s life is worth celebrating, but if we make it a myth then it becomes just a story onto which we can project our anxieties and fantasies. He deserved better.”
Sarah Chihaya reviews Breasts and Eggs the bestselling novel by Mieko Kawakami. It's on my list.
Words and other violence. Daniel Mendelsohn on the work of Jenny Erpenbeck. I’ve only read Aller Tage Abend (The End of Days), which I consider one of the best novels of the past 20 years.