The Big Theme this month is how the brain works (and, in my case, how it often doesn’t). Like most magazine staffs, we love to argue about what should go on the cover. Our choices narrowed to two approaches: a pixilated photo of Albert Einstein, and a baby. We chose the baby.
The Einstein picture is cool because it’s part of a gallery of barely recognizable historical figures and celebrities. Our brains are able to recognize complex objects like faces with very little data. The eyes see stuff, and the brain fills in any gaps. Still, the baby won out because—well, because it’s a baby, but also because babies are much smarter than we give them credit for. Veteran writer Nat Reade spent some quality time with Kevin Nugent, a pioneer in baby-speak. He helps parents interpret what their newborns are trying to say. Which, it turns out, is a lot.
Besides talking babies, another issue highlight is an Adventure in Houston; check out Discovery Green, one of the coolest parks anywhere. The city has gained more jobs than any other, and it boasts the second-highest concentration of Fortune 500 headquarters. These HQs are full of people dying to sound like NASA on conference calls. (“Hello, this is Houston…”)
Oh, and if you’re reading this issue, don’t miss Mike Darling’s Business Idea. His big idea: retailers offering fewer choices, not more. Read it and you’ll see why.
Now for The Numbers: A bee produces just 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. The can opener came nearly 50 years after the tin can. And the average amount of money left by the tooth fairy: $3. Wow. That’s a lot of rich, toothless kids.