Editor's note

Have you ever been convinced that your phone was vibrating or ringing in your pocket, only to check and see that no one had called? If so, you’re not alone: Over 80 percent of college students have experienced this phenomenon. With smartphones beginning to enter the lexicon of addiction, a team of researchers at the University of Michigan decided to find out if these phantom rings and buzzes were indicative of something more troublesome.

And if that phone is really in your pocket, the government might want to see what’s on it. For many years, that has meant calls to weaken everyone’s encryption standards so police and intelligence agencies can get in the “backdoor” to snoop wherever they need to. But those days are over, writes cybersecurity researcher Ben Buchanan. The new debate is – or at least should be – about how, when and under what conditions the government can hack an individual computer or phone.

Nick Lehr

Editor, Arts and Culture

Top story

This is your brain on plugs. 'Brain' via www.shutterstock.com

What's behind phantom cellphone buzzes?

Daniel J. Kruger, University of Michigan

Have you ever checked your phone thinking you had felt it vibrate or heard it ring, only to see that no one tried to reach you? One researcher decided to study this phenomenon.

Science + Technology

Politics + Society

Health + Medicine

Ethics + Religion

Arts + Culture

  • Debunking the 'gaydar' myth

    William Cox, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    Previous studies have shown that people possess gaydar, the ability to discern who's gay and who isn't. But this research falls prey to an error that, when corrected, leads to the opposite conclusion.

  • Revenge isn't always sweet, but it can be beautiful

    Stephen Yoshimura, The University of Montana; Susan Boon, University of Calgary

    Most revenge isn't violent or dramatic, but instead involves petty acts against coworkers or lovers. And some types work better than others.


  • Stop obsessing over talent—everyone can sing

    Steven M. Demorest, Northwestern University

    Children with difficulty singing can be labelled as 'nonmusical' by parents, teachers and pop culture. This toxic idea of 'talent' can deprive people of music's benefits for the rest of their lives.

Environment + Energy

Economy + Business


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