The complex economy of the forest (Quanta)
by Gabriel Popkin
Trees, microbes, and fungi that help make up forest ecosystems don’t just share resources; they exchange them in remarkably complex ways, with different players sometimes maximizing their gains and punishing poor trading partners.
Why intelligence services can be really dumb (The New Yorker)
by Adam Gopnik
The real adventures of twentieth-century spies were as weird as a James Bond movie or a Spy vs. Spy comic. Ultimately, though, webs of double- and triple-agents produced more paranoia than actionable information.
The scientists who wanted to nuke hurricanes (Wired)
by Garrett M. Graff
Think nuking a hurricane sounds like a bizarre idea? In the mid-twentieth century, some scientists proposed doing just that—not to mention using nuclear weapons to dig canals, intentionally melt the polar ice caps, and more.
The great Transcontinental Railroad controversy (The Washington Post)
by Kevin Waite
A century and a half ago, Americans completed the Transcontinental Railroad. We remember that accomplishment as a great unification of the nation, but it was only possible because of an even greater division—the secession of 11 states that had a very different railroad plan in mind.
Hormones and baby fever (The Cut)
by Edith Zimmerman
Hormones affect a lot of human motivation. But, as it turns out, probably not a 36-year-old woman’s growing desire to have a baby.
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