Brainiac

Covering news and delights from the worlds of art, science, literature, history, design, and more.

Brainiac

Innovation of the Week: Seedless avocados

This comes in the aftermath of a new public health scourge in Great Britain.

Brainiac

Innovation of the Week: AI chessmaster

This self-taught program soundly beat its human-trained counterparts.

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Big Data: Feeding the squirrels

Squirrels have developed tricks to keep track of their hidden snacks.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Thanks, Obama

Did the Obamacare rollout impact the 2016 election?

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Euphemism: Beach nourishment

Climate change is eroding beachfront on Cape Cod and around the world.

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Innovation of the Week: GPS-thwarting snack bag

Tom Colella went to extraordinary lengths to ensure he could play golf.

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Big Data: 1,500 drugs collected

One in 10 medicines in the developing world are either counterfeit or substandard.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Driving can be treacherous.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Grim reapers for Trump

An experiment showed supporters with death on their minds.

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On Second Thought: The phantom menace

Four hundred citations is a lot — particularly for a paper that doesn’t exist.

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Euphemism: Tax neutral

This term came to light in the hubbub over the Paradise Papers.

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A disaster remembered, via Google Maps

At first, it sounds like somebody’s idea of dark humor.

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Relic of the Week: Divining rods

Believe it or not, these are still in use.

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Uncommon Knowledge: From helicopter to smartphone parent

In this week’s edition: Family relations, social sharing, and gender in politics.In this week’s edition: Family relations, social sharing, and gender in politics.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

“When asked about my wanderlust I share this.”

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Innovation of the Week: Skipping ahead to the good parts

Plot. Character development. Who needs it?

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Big Data: 1 millimeter

Just like humans, this worm experiences withdrawal symptoms.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Parking in Boston? Never a dull moment.

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On Second Thought: Supportive colleagues

Academics are notorious for infighting — but not always.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Municipal police spending

In this week’s issue: police leniency, the EPA, and frontier voting patterns.

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Big Data: 53.54kg

There’s an alarming annual decline in the number of insects.

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Euphemism: Paid donation

In Iran, you can do this — and without the stigmatizing term “organ sales.”

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Excerpt: The future of medicine

Some predictions from the recently published report.

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Uncommon Knowledge: More with her than ever

In this week’s edition: Obamacare, race, and the Peter Principle.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Celebrity sighting at Filene’s.

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Same news, three ways: Gone fishin’

Tuna has been in the news a lot lately.

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Big Data: 620,000 restaurants

Big-time investors have poured billions of dollars into the sector.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Anything for a tax cut

In this week’s edition: narcissism, harassment, and free trade.

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Innovation of the Week: Freelance exorcisms

It’s getting harder and harder to find a church-licensed exorcist.

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On Second Thought: ‘Retract and replace’

Brian Wansink and Elmo don’t get along very well.

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Social math: Why would anyone oppose this?

Numbers are always up for grabs, but the rules of math are strict.

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A Boston story in 50 words

Remember to Pokemon Go outside for some fresh air.

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Uncommon Knowledge: No news is bad news

In this week’s edition: Media coverage, gambling, and car safety.

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Innovation of the Week: Noise-cancelling forks

Slurp no more.

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Euphemism: Paranormal investigator

Some apparition attackers prefer more elevated language.

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Pollution of the past may have been even worse than we knew

The study is from different time periods when the amount of industrial air pollution was at its worst.

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Innovation of the Week: Liquid democracy

If elected, this candidate will turn over his seat to an app.

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Uncommon Knowledge: Leaving money on the table

In this week’s edition: unmarried workers, digitized documents, and the breakthrough CEO.

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On Second Thought: Falsified results for a promising trial

Acerta made an unusual admission earlier this month.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

This is the best way to wait for a train.

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Innovation of the Week: Toilet paper-infused asphalt

It’s already been used to resurface a bike path, reinforce a dyke, and repave a parking lot.

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Big Data: Sleeping jellyfish edition

The dozing Cassiopea raises lots of new avenues for future study.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

Be careful driving on Memorial Drive.

Uncommon Knowledge: Preaching at the choir

This week: CEOs, controversial statements, and census data.

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Euphemism: Independent pub group

Nothing’s less independent than a chain, so the word “independent” is a lie.

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Innovation of the Week: A knockoff Lego ISIS set

Stores have stopped selling the figurines amid concerns about glorifying ISIS.

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Big Data: 728 earthquakes

Most have been small shakes. But there have been whoppers, too.

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Uncommon Knowledge: A thinner blue line

This week: Foxholes, morals, and partisanship.

Ideas

A Boston story in 50 words

In a flash, a stolen wallet.

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On Second Thought: Ask a journalist

This looked like a big breakthrough for cotton, but there were errors in the paper.