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How Dreams of Spacefaring Zombies Led to the Launch of Sputnik.

What, you think there’s enough room on Earth for everyone who has ever lived?

Early on a Saturday morning 60 years ago, the millennia-old dream of spaceflight came true as Sputnik 1 rocketed into orbit to become Earth’s first human-made satellite. The mission notoriously shocked the world and minted a new era of human exploration, but what’s less well-known is that Sputnik arose, in part, from a 19th century […]

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Algorithms Supercharged Gerrymandering. We Should Use Them to Fix it.

A new suite of open source redistricting software can help citizens reclaim democracy.

Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for Gill v. Whitford, in which the state of Wisconsin will argue that congressional redistricting practices are not subject to judicial oversight. At the core of this hearing is whether partisan gerrymandering—a tactic used by political parties to redraw congressional voting districts so that the voting power within those […]

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The Nations Guaranteed to Be Swallowed by the Sea.

“We’ve already lost some island atolls. On others the rising sea is destroying homes, washing away coffins and skeletons from graves”

Imagine the street you live on is knee-deep in floodwater, and it’s ruining everything in sight, including your home. Now imagine that those awful floodwaters never, ever recede. Instead, the water just keeps rising and rising until your entire country drowns. For a number of island nations, that’s ultimately the significance of the recent reports […]

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The Strange "World" of Internet 'Role-Play' Has Gòne Mäinstream

On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog. Unless you tell them you are.

On the internet nobody knows you’re a dog. Unless you tell them you are. Or that you’re a vampire. Or a werewolf. Or a 90s-era professional wrestler. The fake social media profile is an old joke, but lately it’s evolving. Maintaining a fictional online identity has become a lifestyle, a social pursuit, an act of […]

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