The Big Think Newsletter


THE BIG IDEA

Mathematicians suggest the “37% rule” for your life’s biggest decisions

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Good things come to those who wait. To this canon of self-help advice, we could perhaps add one more: Follow the 37% rule. From finding a partner to buying a house, mathematicians suggest that we ditch the first 37% of any set of options to maximize the chances of the best outcome.

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THE BIG DISCOVERY

The hunt is on for the real Planet 9

The previous Planet 9, Pluto, is dead. But some astrophysicists believe there is a legitimate — and much bigger — Planet 9 out there. We just can’t see it. New research narrows down the possible orbits for Planet 9, if it actually exists. The big “discovery” is actually an anti-discovery — it’s the elimination of possibilities, which is an important part of searching for the unknown.

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13.8

Quantum Steampunk: A new frontier in quantum physics

One of our 13.8 columnists, astrophysicist Marcelo Gleiser, had a conversation with Nicole Halpern, who has just written a book called Quantum Steampunk. The book blends Victorian-era-thermodynamics with futuristic quantum computing. This new type of thinking promises to revolutionize our understanding of machines and the future of technology — while providing insights into some of the hardest questions in physics, such as the arrow of time.

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Alex Berezow is the executive editor of Big Think. He holds a PhD in microbiology and has over a decade of experience in science journalism.