Menus Subscribe Search

Nature & Technology

Recent posts

ProPublica

livejournal-art

Why Is LiveJournal Helping Russia Block a Prominent Critic of Vladimir Putin?

The U.S. blogging company is showing an error message to users inside Russia who try to read the blog of Alexei Navalny, a prominent politician and critic of the Russian government.

The World Wide Web

rude 4

Does Not Checking Your Buddy’s Facebook Updates Make You a Bad Friend?

An etiquette expert, a social scientist, and an old pal of mine ponder the ever-shifting rules of friendship.

Prospector

sept-oct-prospector-3

What Color Is Your Pygmy Goat?

The fierce battle over genetic purity, writ small. Very small.

OnEarth

plastic-grocery-bags

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Plastic Bags

California wants you to pay for your plastic bags. (FYI: That’s not an infringement on your constitutional rights.)

The World Wide Web

twitter-twitter

Whispering in the Town Square: Can Twitter Provide an Escape From All Its Noise?

Twitter has created its own buzzing, digital agora, but when users want to speak amongst themselves, they tend to leave for another platform. It’s a social network that helps you find people to talk to—but barely lets you do any talking.

Genes Are Us

evolution-puzzle

How Ancient DNA Is Rewriting Human History

We thought we knew how we’d been shaped by evolution. We were wrong.

The Rest of the World

uber-ad

The Geography of Uber

If it continues to grow—and there are few reasons to think it won’t—will Uber transform the infrastructure of cities or glom onto what’s already there?

Mosaic

stripes

How the Zebra Got Its Stripes and the Leopard Its Spots

Where do a zebra’s stripes, a leopard’s spots, and our fingers come from? The key was found years ago—by the man who cracked the Enigma code.

ProPublica

california-drought

What You Should Read to Get Caught Up on California’s Drought Crisis

This year may be the driest in California in half a millennium. These reports explore how the drought is affecting agriculture, business, and living conditions in the nation’s most populous state.

Quick Studies

empty-classroom

The Downside of Giving Every Student a Laptop

A new study looks at the effects of access to a home computer on the test scores of middle school students.

ProPublica

cyber-security

A Recent History of China’s Cyber Attacks on the United States

A round-up of some of the most notable cyber attacks tied to China from the last several years.

Quick Studies

crowdfunding

Upfront Privacy Options Don’t Encourage Crowdfunding

While the average contribution increases, the number of donors falls.

Culture Essays

robots-lie

How Should We Program Computers to Deceive?

Placebo buttons in elevators and at crosswalks that don’t actually do anything are just the beginning. One computer scientist has collected hundreds of examples of technology designed to trick people, for better and for worse.

Randomness Week

darwin

True Darwinism Is All About Chance

Though the rich sometimes forget, Darwin knew that nature frequently rolls the dice.

Genes Are Us

body-makeup

Why Our Molecular Make-Up Can’t Explain Who We Are

Our genes only tell a portion of the story.

Sociological Images

osaka-zoo

Some Natural-Looking Zoo Exhibits May Be Even Worse Than the Old Concrete Ones

They’re often designed for you, the paying visitor, and not the animals who have to inhabit them.

The Conversation

troll-sign

What I Learned From Debating Science With Trolls

“Don’t feed the trolls” is sound advice, but occasionally ignoring it can lead to rewards.

Climate Confidential

california-drought

Outlawing Water Conflict: California Legislators Confront Risky Groundwater Loophole

California, where ambitious agriculture sucks up 80 percent of the state’s developed water, is no stranger to water wrangles. Now one of the worst droughts in state history is pushing legislators to reckon with its unwieldy water laws, especially one major oversight: California has been the only Western state without groundwater regulation—but now that looks set to change.

ProPublica

flash-bang-1

The ‘Non-Lethal’ Flash-Bang Grenades Used in Ferguson Can Actually Be Quite Lethal

A journalist says he was singed by a flash-bang fired by St. Louis County police trying to disperse a crowd, raising questions about how to use these military-style devices safely and appropriately.

Sociological Images

empty-polaroids

Do Better Looking People Have Better Personalities Too?

An experiment on users of the dating site OKCupid found that members judge both looks and personality by looks alone.

Quick Studies

mobile_loss

No, Smartphone-Loss Anxiety Disorder Isn’t Real

But people are anxious about losing their phones, even if they don’t do much to protect them.

Go Outside

new-orleans

What Can Hurricanes Teach Us About Socioeconomic Mobility?

Hurricane Katrina wrought havoc on New Orleans but, nine years later, is there a silver lining to be found?

Hot in Here

antarctica-ice

When Climate Change Denial Refutes Itself

The world is warming—and record-cold winters are just another symptom.

Genes Are Us

tree-gears

Why ‘Nature Versus Nurture’ Often Doesn’t Matter

Sometimes it just doesn’t make any sense to try to separate the social and the biological.

The World Wide Web

aol-sign

Why My Neighbors Still Use Dial-Up Internet

It’s not because they want to. It’s because they have no other choice.

A weekly roundup of the best of Pacific Standard and PSmag.com, delivered straight to your inbox.

Follow us


3-D Movies Aren’t That Special

Psychologists find that 3-D doesn't have any extra emotional impact.

To Protect Against Meltdowns, Banks Must Map Financial Interconnections

A new model suggests looking beyond balance sheets, studying the network of investment as well.

Big Government, Happy Citizens?

You may like to talk about how much happier you'd be if the government didn't interfere with your life, but that's not what the research shows.

Give Yourself a Present for the Future

Psychologists discover that we underestimate the value of looking back.

In Soccer as in Art, Motifs Matter

A new study suggests a way to quantitatively measure a team’s style through its pass flow. It may become another metric used to evaluate potential recruits.

The Big One

One in three drivers in Brooklyn's Park Slope—at certain times of day—is just looking for parking. The same goes for drivers in Manhattan's SoHo. September/October 2014 new-big-one-3

Copyright © 2014 by Pacific Standard and The Miller-McCune Center for Research, Media, and Public Policy. All Rights Reserved.