From American Scientist, can a computer program reproduce everything that happens inside a living cell? Brian Hayes investigates. Shine on you crazy diamond: S.E. Gould on why humans are carbon-based lifeforms. From cooling system to thinking machine: Carl Zimmer on the long, strange history of ideas about the brain. The structure of the universe is quite similar to the structure and design of other large, complex networks, like human brains and the Internet, according to a new study. What life wants: Dead matter has no goals of its own, yet life is constantly striving — that makes it a deep puzzle for physics. A new theory may explain the notorious cold fusion experiment from two decades ago, reigniting hopes of a clean-energy breakthrough. Laser beams can tie themselves in knots, just like electrical cords — but what does this tendency to tangle illuminate? The "mathematical tower" Kremsmunster Observatory was an observatory, early skyscraper, and place to reflect on all of nature and the cosmos. The quantification of everything: Vlatko Vedral on books that successfully popularise quantum physics and the science of complex systems.

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