Discover April 2017

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Can we teach computers some common sense? A band of scientists in Seattle is giving it a try, one standardized science test at a time. One night, a 7-year-old boy woke up in the middle of the night and tore up the flooring in his bedroom. He stabbed a knife through a wall. He tried pulling his teeth out. Now scientists are learning more about infections that can turn kids' immune systems against their brains, dramatically altering their behavior. The race is on to find a cure.

Today, we know there are thousands of exoplanets—old news, right? Wrong. There's reason to remain excited, because the best is yet to come. Plus: the physiology of reconnecting with an old flame; evidence of ancient conflicts opens old wounds; and a man's health suffers after he starts pumping iron.


Cultivating Common Sense
by Carl Engelking
A band of Seattle computer scientists is on a mission to make artificial intelligence actually intelligent.

World Weary? The Best Is Yet to Come
by Sarah Scoles
Call it exoplanet fatigue. With discoveries rolling in every day, here’s why we should still care about finding new alien planets.

Hidden Invaders
by Pamela Weintraub
Infections can trigger immune attacks on kids’ brains, provoking devastating psychiatric disorders.

The Case for Cannibalism
by Bill Schutt
A once taboo topic now appears perfectly natural in the animal kingdom. And it’s changing what we know about evolution.
Astronomy Discover