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George Cowan, Founding President of Santa Fe Institute: 1920-2012

Welcome to “The 101,” our premiere staff-written blog for breaking news and commentary on today’s most compelling research.



Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Brevibacterium linens


Little L

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Lactobacillus


Vanilla Ice

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Pseudomonas syringae


The Vibrio Family

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Vibrio


The Torpedo

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Bdellovibrio


Slick Willy

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Pseudomonas putida


Cyano de Bergerac

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Cyanobacteria


Space-Age Conan the Bacterium

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Deinococcus radiodurans


Bad-Rap Eddy

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: E. coli


Stinky Pete, the Prospector

Bacteria Working in the Shadows: Streptococcus mutans.


State of Embarrassment — Texas

How textbook changes and talk of secession affect the citizen embarrassment level in Texas.


State of Embarrassment — Tennessee

How battling Obamacare and being highlighted for corruption affect the citizen embarrassment level in Tennessee.


State of Embarrassment — Illinois

How former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and state corruption in general affect the citizen embarrassment level in Illinois.


State of Embarrassment — Virginia

How gun laws, Confederate History Month and a statue of Stalin contribute to the citizen embarrassment level in Virginia.


State of Embarrassment — New York

How rampant corruption, a governor’s affair with a prostitute and the fall of “America’s Cop” affect the citizen embarrassment level in New York.


State of Embarrassment — Arizona

How immigration laws, a state boycott and a “worst sheriff” honor affect the citizen embarrassment level in Arizona.


State of Embarrassment — California

How a budget deficit, credit crisis and the Governator affect the citizen embarrassment level in California.


Punta Cabras and a Shipwreck

An overturned fishing boat symbolizes the plight of the world’s fisheries.


The Limits of Empathy for Outsiders

Two new studies — one sociological, another using brain scans — document and help explain our lack of empathy for perceived outsiders.


The New Trans-Atlantic SWIFT Agreement

Will it give European intelligence agencies access to U.S. banking records?


Watchdog 2.0

The emergence of a video showing pedestrians mowed down in Baghdad by U.S. gunships illustrates how traditional media’s watchdog role is being usurped.


Are Parents Too Involved With Their Children?

While being involved in your children’s lives and studies is intuitively (and statistically) smart, some techniques are better than others.


Professor Predicts Baseball’s Best Teams for 2010

The Yankees look to be the dominant team in baseball for 2010, according to a New Jersey Institute of Technology mathematician (and Mets fan).


Wood and Civilization

Wood, as fuel and building material, is the unsung hero of the technological developments that brought humanity from a bone-and-stone culture to the Industrial Revolution.

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Sufferers of Social Anxiety Disorder, Your Friends Like You

The first study of friends' perceptions suggest they know something's off with their pals but like them just the same.

Standing Up for My Group by Kicking Yours

Members of a minority ethnic group are less likely to express support for gay equality if they believe their own group suffers from discrimination.

How Old Brains Learn New Tricks

A new study shows that the neural plasticity needed for learning doesn't vanish as we age—it just moves.

Ethnic Diversity Deflates Market Bubbles

But it's not in the rainbow and sing-along way you'd hope for. We just don't trust outsiders' judgments.

Online Brain Exercises Are Probably Useless

Even under the guidance of a specialist trainer, computer-based brain exercises have only modest benefits, a new analysis shows.

The Big One

One company, Comcast, will control up to 40 percent of Internet service coverage in the U.S., and 19 of the top 20 cable markets, if a proposed merger with Time Warner Cable is approved by regulators. November/December 2014

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