Protest as Practice

ORION: When I find Warren Senders on the side of a Boston suburbs highway, he is ready to hand me a sign that reads, ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS SOCIAL JUSTICE. It’s only 7:30 on a late September morning, but the day is already steamy. This makes his own sign, which leans against a guardrail and proclaims, CLIMATE…

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A growing sensory smog threatens the ability of fish to communicate, navigate, and survive

SCIENCE: Try, for a moment, to be a fish. As you swim through dim waters, you see shapes moving past and watch for threats. You hear other animals calling or producing rasps and crackles by scraping together rigid body parts. The water is a tapestry of smells that reveals predators and potential mates, food, and the…

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Cancer at Sea

BIOGRAPHIC: “This one might be a little stinky,” says Tenaya Norris, a scientist at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, California. Research assistant Barbie Halaska carries a limp, sodden carcass into the room and drapes it across a gleaming steel table. Even before the researchers slice into the tiny, brown California sea lion pup and remove…

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How Animals See the World

NAUTILUS: Some animals, including your pets, may be partially colorblind, and yet certain aspects of their vision are superior to your own. Living creatures’ visual perception of the surrounding world depends on how their eyes process light. Humans are trichromats—meaning that our eyes have three types of the photoreceptors known as cone cells, which are sensitive…

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How Machines Write Poetry

MOTHERBOARD: As a teenager in Vermont, Sarah Harmon used Java to create a computer program that wrote poetry. She named it OGDEN. Then she submitted one of its poems in 2008 to her high-school literary magazine under the pen name Dan Goshen, an anagram of Ogden Nash. “They accepted it,” Harmon laughs, “although they did say…

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