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Free Will—Yea or Nay?

A neuroscientist and geneticist sets out to rescue the beleaguered concept from its many deniers—including some famous physicists. “We make decisions, we choose, we act. These are the fundamental truths of our existence and absolutely the most basic phenomenology of our lives. If science seems to be suggesting otherwise, the correct response is not to throw our hands up …" Is he right?

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With the entity formerly known as Twitter vanishing in the rearview mirror, here are two articles from the early days, when we wondered what it was and what it might become. A global conversation? A mosaic of communities and interests? Perhaps you remember.

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If you could choose one superpower—to fly, or to be invisible—which would you pick? If you were invisible, what would you do?

Dreams of invisibility in a world of ubiquitous surveillance.

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Stephen Hawking surrounded himself with a cloud of myth, made himself into a commercial product and an international brand. The celebrity eclipsed the scientist. There’s a scientific story to tell, and most of Hawking’s later life served to conceal it.

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First it was a heavenly body—a beacon, or a world, a place where no one could possibly go. Then, from 1969 to 1972, twelve people landed there in spaceships. On behalf of all humanity, they said. Is it time to go back?

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Contact

Find me in the open social web (fediverse; Mastodon): @JamesGleick@zirk.us

Literary agent:
Michael Carlisle
at Inkwell Management,
521 Fifth Ave.,
New York 10175.

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