The Weaponization of Empathy in a Hyper-Connected World

How to Live Through the Weird Next Chapter of This Ambiguous Virtue

Every time I go on Facebook I end up staring into the eyes of a puppy. Sometimes it has been mistreated, has a bad case of mange, or worse. Sometimes it’s looking for a home. I feel a tug on my heartstrings: What if I were that homeless puppy? It also makes me feel very important: Only I can save this puppy!

But in real life I have no place for an out-of-state puppy, and I’d rather save my gofundme donation for the friend of a friend who needs help …

More In: Small Science

What Self-Cloning Salamanders Say About Climate Change

An Evolutionary Outlier Could Inherit the Earth (or at Least Rural Maine)

Birds do it, bees do it, and so the song goes, even educated fleas do it. But unisexual salamanders don’t.

These all-female amphibians clone themselves to make eggs—all girls—and they’ve …

Why Hand Counting Votes Makes Every Vote Count

From Maine to Alaska, Manual Tallies Bring Trust and Transparency to Nerve-Racking Elections

Just before the polls closed on election night, I met with 12 of my townspeople at our town hall in Maine, raised my right hand, and took an oath to …

When You Ride the Bus, You Ride With Big Data

Will Public Transit Apps Create Customers or Citizens?

When I first arrived in San Francisco in 1988, I often took a bus called the 22 Fillmore, which ran from Potrero Hill, made a right turn near the Castro, …

Why I’m Teaching Myself to Eat Baitfish

My Small Town's Alewives Are the Fish of the Future

My town has a fish. Or maybe the fish has us. It’s a herring known as an alewife—about nine inches long, with a forked tail and a belly that shines …