Category: Science

NASA Will Give You $20,000 If They Like Your ‘Lunar Loo’ Design

This article originally appeared on VICE India.Space travel might be exciting and glamorous but one question that most people have had for astronauts over the decades—apart from whether they have sex in space—is how they pee and poop up there....

/ June 29, 2020

Loneliness Rewires How the Human Brain Perceives Relationships

This article originally appeared on VICE India.Loneliness can be a terrible, terrible feeling. It alienates you from your surroundings, makes you feel misunderstood and unwanted by the people around you, and severely affects your understanding of other people. Now, a...

/ June 23, 2020

The Scientist Who Predicted 2020’s Political Unrest Reveals What Comes Next

In 2012, VICE published an article titled, "2012 Is Bullshit; 2020 Is When We'll Really Be in Trouble". That headline was fairly prophetic: while 2012 saw the embers of the Arab Spring uprisings and quaint fears of a foretold apocalypse,...

/ June 18, 2020

The Science behind My Forecast for 2020

Quite a number of people, here and on Twitter, asked me about how I came up with my forecast for 2020. Here’s the story. By the early 2000s I had already delved into structural-demographic theory and its implications for historical...

/ June 16, 2020

The long road to coronavirus herd immunity depends on a vaccine and how the virus spreads

The sought-after state of herd immunity — in which widespread outbreaks are prevented because enough people in a community are immune to a disease — is complicated by open questions about the effectiveness of a future vaccine and how COVID-19 spreads....

/ June 4, 2020


America is burning. Dozens of cities across the United States remain under curfews at a level not seen since riots following the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Most commentary is focusing on the immediate causes of this wave...

/ June 1, 2020

Live updates: SpaceX to launch NASA astronauts Saturday

At 3:22 p.m. ET today, SpaceX is expected to launch NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station for the first time.Why it matters: The liftoff — should it go off without a hitch — will...

/ May 30, 2020

Live updates: SpaceX to launch historic crewed mission for NASA

SpaceX will attempt to launch NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station today. Why it matters: If all goes well, this launch — expected to happen at 4:33 p.m. ET — will mark the first...

/ May 27, 2020

Hydroxychloroquine increases risk of death in coronavirus patients despite Trump’s praises

Coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing, a retrospective review published in The...

/ May 22, 2020

A Tale of Two Countries

Sweden and Denmark are both Nordic countries speaking similar languages, sharing a lot of culture and a lot of common history. But they followed very different approaches to managing the Covid-19 pandemic. Denmark was among the first in Europe to...

/ May 5, 2020

Asian giant hornets, which kill roughly 50 people a year in Japan, have arrived in the U.S.

Asian giant hornets, called by some researchers as "murder hornets," have arrived in the U.S., the New York Times reports.Why it matters: The insects, which were spotted by a beekeeper in Washington state in December, kill roughly 50 people a...

/ May 2, 2020

U.S. coronavirus updates: Case numbers surge past 988,000 as cities ease restrictions

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.The novel coronavirus has killed more than 56,200 people in the U.S., accounting...

/ April 28, 2020

World coronavirus updates: Markets rally as countries look to reopen economies

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals Markets rallied in Asia Monday as several countries look to reopen after coronavirus lockdowns, per the Wall Street Journal, which reports Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index...

/ April 27, 2020

Long-Term Consequences of Coronavirus

We are now in the mid-game of the Covid-19 pandemic and it is a good time to take stock of where we are and where we might be going. It is already clear, for example, that the effect of the...

/ April 20, 2020

Correlation between Crisis Periods and Epidemics

After I published my last post on Coronavirus and Our Age of Discord, I’ve been looking through various lists of major epidemics in world history, both on resources such as Wikipedia and in academic articles. I know that there is...

/ April 16, 2020

Coronavirus and Our Age of Discord

As readers of this blog know well, I don’t claim to be a prophet and I think that prophecy is, in any case, overrated. But I make predictions. A scientific prediction, unlike a prophecy, is not about a future, but...

/ April 6, 2020

Italy Turns the Corner

Last week my analysis of the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy yielded a very depressing result: despite all the measures taken by the government, there was no sign that they were making a difference. The epidemic was still growing exponentially with...

/ April 1, 2020

How Effective Are Public Health Measures in Stopping Covid-19?

As many of my readers know, I have accepted the position of research group leader at the Complexity Science Hub (CSH) in Vienna (and I continue as University of Connecticut professor, so right now I am in Connecticut). A week...

/ March 23, 2020

The Transcendental Revolution

My reading of the month is Unearthly Powers by an Oxford historian Alan Strathern. It’s a very interesting and thought-provoking book. Highly recommended. There is much that I like in the book. Strathern avoids the ideological extremes that preoccupy today’s...

/ February 9, 2020

Phylogenetics of Religion

Question: What was the word for “two” used by people living in the Pontic-Caspian steppes (modern Ukraine and Southern Russia) 5,000 years ago? Answer: *dwóH₁ This is how historical linguists reconstruct “two” in the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language (see Indo-European vocabulary...

/ December 28, 2019