Topics for 2016?

The website, where many of the world’s most brilliant minds meet and engage, asks a question every year.  The one for this year is — “What do you consider the most interesting recent [scientific] news?  What makes it important?”  This year it received 194 responses averaging around 750 words each, not all of them from scientists by any means. If the word “genius” still means anything, then there are a dozen or two among the respondents.

As we are in a news doldrums right now, I thought it would be interesting to list the titles here.  For convenience, I won’t give the writers but if anyone wants to follow up a title then they’re all available on

A collective realization — We may all die horribly;
Human progress quantified;
Complete head transplants;
How to be bad together: antisocial punishment of pro-social cooperators;
Everything is computation;
Self-driving genes are coming;
Human chimeras;
Energy of nothing;
Doing more with less;
The epidemic of absence;
The strongest prejudice was identified;
The wisdom race is heating up the breathtaking future of a connected world;
Bugs R Us;
True breakthroughs become part of the culture;
The (much anticipated ) dawn of understanding;
Our collective blind spot;
The truthfulness of scientific research;
Open water — the internet of visible thought;
The en-gendering of genius;
Tabby’s star;
Neurotropic neural news;
Breakthrough listen;
The 6 billion letters of our genome;
Progress in rocketry;
A call to action;
r > g: increasing inequality of wealth and income is  runaway process;
Our changing conceptions of what it means to be human;
Quantum entanglement is independent of space and time;
The democratization of science;
The news is not the news;
The epistemic trainwreck of soft-side psychology;
The dematerialization of consumption;
Bayesian program learning;
Broke people igniting $20  bills on the sidewalk;
Space exploration, new and old;
Big data and better government;
The broadening scope of science;
Synthetic learning;
One hundred years of failure;
The ironies of higher arithmetic;
Decarbonizing scientific breakthroughs and some lessons leaned;
Pluto now, the go to 550 .A.U.;
The b
The Big Bang cannot be what we thought it was;
The ongoing battles with pathogens;
The news that wasn’t there;
We fear the wrong things;
Fatty foods are good for your health;
Paleo-DNA and de-extinction;
Weapons technology powered human evolution;
The mother of all addictions;
Pointing is a pre-requisite for language;
Antibiotics are dead; long live antibiotics;
Science itself;
A new algorithm makes us rethink what computers can — and cannot — do;
We are not unique in the universe but we are very much alone;
The race  between genetic breakdown and germline engineering;
The decline of cancer;
A world that counts;
Macro-criminal networks;
The predictive brain;
Psychology’s crisis;
Blinded by data;
Deep learning, semantics, and society;
Biological models of mental illness reflect essentialist biases;
Artificial intelligence;
A new space age takes . . . and returns to earth again;
A genuine science of learning;
Us of 3D printing in the medical field;
Virtual reality goes mainstream: a complex convolution;
Blue marble 2.0;
Unpublicized implications of Hawking black hole evaporation;
Leaking, thinning, sliding ice;
Mathematics and reality;
Growing a brain in a dish;
Seeing our cyborg selves;
Gene editing will transform life utterly;
The state of the world isn’t nearly as bad as you think;
The rejection of science itself;
News about how the physical world operates;
The universe surprised us, close to home, in unexpected places, in unexpected ways;
Low energy nuclear reactions work and could supplant fossil fuels;
A science of the consequencies;
The creation of a “No ethnic majority” society;
The most powerful carcinogen may be entropy;
The greatest environmental disaster in the world today: air pollution;
Cognitive science transforms moral philosophy;
News about science news;
Intellectual convergence;
Sub-prime science;
Fear od dread risks;
The great convergence;
Programming reality;
The continually new to you;
The rule of anomalies;
I, for one;
Modernity is winning;
The thin line between mental illness and mental health;
How widely should we draw the circle?
The hermeneutic hypercycle;
Early life adversity, individual decision making and collective outcomes;
News that stayed news;
We are not special;
DNA Programming,
Imaging deep learning,
Emotions influence environmental well-being;
Computational reality and the nature of reality;
Microbial attractions;
The neural net reloaded,
Neural hacking, handprints, and the empathy deficit,
The state of the brain;
The conquest of the human scale;
Technobiophilic cities;
Replacing magic with mechanisms?
The news behind the news;
Anthropic capitalism and the new gimmicky economy;
Looking where the light isn’t;
The origin of Europeans;
The immune system: a grand unifying theory for biomedical research;
Cancer drugs for brain diseases;
That dress;
Sensors accelerating the pace of discovery;
Memory is a labile fabrication;
Infer-disciplinary social research;
Deep science;
Religious morality is mostly below the belt;
The infancy of meta-science;
We know all the particles and forces that we’re made of;
New experimental probes of Einstein’s curved space-time — and beyond?
The mating crisis among educated girls;
Einstein was wrong;
The platinum rule: dense, heavy but worth it to formulate and test ideas about a final theory of our universe now working;
Designer humans;
Adjusting to feathered dinosaurs;
Differentiable programming;
The brain is a strange planet;
Fecal microbiota transplantation;
Pluto is a bump in the road;
Morality is made of meat;
The healthy diet U-turn;
No news is astounding news;
Gigantic black holes at the centre of galaxies;
The trust metric;
Rethinking authority with the block-chain crypto enlightenment;
A compelling case of science misconduct;
Hi, Guys,
Hope beyond the Higgs Boson;
There is (already) life on Mars;
The twin tides of change;
Advanced ligo and advanced virgo;
The longevity of news;
Life diverging . . . ;
People are animals;
Diversity in science;
Magnet meridian contemporary;
Carpe diem;
Fundamentally newsworthy,
Science made this possible;
Weather prediction has quietly gotten a lot better;
The universe if infinite;
People kill because it’s the right thing to do;
Global warming: once again a most serious challenge to our species;
Harnessing our natural defences against cancer;
Datasets over algorithms;
Cellular alchemy;
The mindful opening and meeting of minds;
A cheap, naturalistic, large-scale research method designed to assess and interpret our social media linguistic interactions;
Extra-terrestrials don’t land on earth !;
Toddlers can master computers;
Super massive black boles;
The word: forst as art, then as science;
The convergence of images and technology;
Life in the Milky Way;
Systems medicine;
High tech stone age;
Looking at the level of human variation;
The abdication of space-time;
Those annoying ads? The Harbinger of good things to come;
Identifying the principles, perhaps the laws, of intelligence;
A robust challenge to the value of a university education;
The disillusionment hypothesis and the decline and disaffection for poor white Americans;
The most important X . . . Y . . . Z . . . .


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