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From the archives

Operative Words

Behind the campaign curtain

Snuffed Torch

Can the Olympic myth survive?

Lax Americana

What happens if Donald Trump returns to the White House?

Patchen Barss

Patchen Barss writes about science, research and emerging ideas. His book, The Erotic Engine: How Pornography Has Powered Mass Communication, from Gutenberg to Google, was published by Penguin Random House in 2010.

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Patchen Barss

Going It Alone

The marvellous, single-minded, doggedly strange passion of citizen scientists January 2017
People—especially smart people—often fall prone to the conceit that, if they just had the time, they could totally write a novel, perform standup comedy or run for local office. After all, these jobs require only innately human skills like being able to tell a story, tell a joke or relate well to strangers. Curious, then, that some of these same people—smart people—tend to view science in the exact opposite…