Enjoy a sampling of the stories from around the internet that captured our interest this week:
He’s already the creative force between Star Trek. Now it’s been confirmed that J.J. Abrams will also direct the next episode of Star Wars. [New York Times] See how Abrams’ mind works in his TED Talk, “The mystery box,” above. And for bonus points, watch this recent talk about the messages encoded in Star Wars for children.
A great article called “Making sense of Mali: The real stakes of the war rocking West Africa.” [ForeignAffairs.com]Elizabeth Murchison: Fighting a contagious cancer
Science writer Carl Zimmer gives a depressing update on the contagious cancer decimating the Tasmanian Devil population. [New York Times] In the piece, he talks about the work of Elizabeth Murchison, who gave the TED Talk “Fighting a contagious cancer.”
19-year-old Zack Kopplin may consider himself a quiet kid. But he’s become one of the loudest critics of the Louisiana Science Education Act, which allows teachers to bring creationist textbooks into the classroom. [io9]
How did dogs evolve? A theory that the carbs found in table scraps helped domesticate them. [Los Angeles Times]Dan Dennett: The illusion of consciousness
Werner Herzog’s newest movie, Happy People, zooms in on the Siberian wilderness. It arrives in theaters in the U.S. today and the trailer is simply thrilling. [iTunes Movie Trailers] Maybe it will get you in the mood for the TED playlist “Natural Wonder” »
Tim Carmody has written an amazing profile of internet activist Aaron Swartz, who took his own life this month. [The Verge]Henry Markram: A brain in a supercomputer
A business idea we like: chain restaurants opening up stores without cash registers, where the economically disadvantaged can pay what they can. Good call, Panera Bread. [Boston.com]
Not sci-fi: Scientists are storing audio data on DNA. [Wall Street Journal]Alain de Botton: A kinder, gentler philosophy of success
Alain de Botton, whose book How to Think More About Sex was released earlier this month, reveals the last tome that made him cry. [New York Times] Watch his TED talk, “A kinder, gentler philosophy of success.”
Musician Zoe Keating breaks down where her income comes from. Spoiler alert: It’s mostly iTunes, and barely anything from Spotify and Pandora. [The Atlantic]
Zach Weiner, creator of the Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic strip, is Kickstarting his new book, tentatively titled Science: Ruining Everything Since 1543. [Kickstarter] The book includes stories from TED Speakers Phil Plait and Sean Carroll.