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Move the World.

Welcome back to another edition of This Week in Ideas, where the Freethink team shares our favorite stories from the week gone by. Obviously, these are our favorite stories from other people, but you should also check out the ones we’ve told ourselves in the Coded series. (It’s shaping up to be an incredible primer on the state of cybersecurity, which means there’s plenty of tips on how to protect yourself from both malevolent hackers and overreaching spy agencies.)

Is it time to disrupt the MRI? “MRIs aren’t perfect. They require a gigantic magnet that can weigh several tons. The magnetic field produced by the device is so powerful it can throw a metal chair across a room. And the whole apparatus can cost several million dollars. Matthew Rosen and his colleagues at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston want liberate the MRI. They’re hacking a new kind of scanner that’s fast, small, and cheap. Using clever algorithms, they can use a weak magnetic field to get good images of our brains and other organs. Someday, people may not have to go to hospital for an MRI. The scanners may show up in sports arenas, battlefields, and even the backs of ambulances.”

**The next Einstein could be a home-schooled seven-year-old from Maryland: ** “Romanieo began exhibiting his understanding of elements as only a child could. One day, he used his popcorn snack to create model atoms, his father said. With his little hand forming a nucleus, he used popcorn kernels as protons, neutrons and electrons to make elements such as nitrogen and lithium.”

einstein
Is a 7-year-old from Maryland the next Einstein?

Is AI a Threat to Christianity? “While most theologians aren’t paying it much attention, some technologists are convinced that artificial intelligence is on an inevitable path toward autonomy. How far away this may be depends on whom you ask, but the trajectory raises some fundamental questions for Christianity.”

aiaggpiece
Will the rise of artificial intelligence pose questions for Christianity?

Your uplifting story of the week: “ A firefighter helped save a Boston Marathon bombing victim. Now they’re getting married.”

And for the outdoor types: Field & Stream tells you how to build every type of outdoor fire.

Feature image via STAT

Up Next

Catalysts
Bloods and Crips Unite to Steer Kids Away From Gang Violence
Bloods and Crips Unite to Steer Kids Away From Gang Violence
Catalysts
Bloods and Crips Unite to Steer Kids Away From Gang Violence
These former Bloods and Crips are coming together to spread peace on the streets and end the cycle of gang violence by mentoring local youth.
By Amanda Winkler

These former Bloods and Crips are coming together to spread peace on the streets and end the cycle of gang violence by mentoring local youth.

Art That Heals
This Artist Heals Wounds of Violence With Tattoos
This Artist Heals Wounds of Violence With Tattoos
Art That Heals
This Artist Heals Wounds of Violence With Tattoos
Brian Finn tattoos over scars from self-harm, violence, or human trafficking for free or at a discounted rate in order to help people heal.
By Teresa Carey

Brian Finn tattoos over scars from self-harm, violence, or human trafficking for free or at a discounted rate in order to help people heal.

Missing Words
A Language Goes Extinct Every Two Weeks. Here’s a Plan to Save Them.
A Language Goes Extinct Every Two Weeks. Here’s a Plan to Save Them.
Missing Words
A Language Goes Extinct Every Two Weeks. Here’s a Plan to Save Them.
Volunteers worldwide are documenting the world's rarest languages in a project called Wikitongues.
By Teresa Carey

Volunteers worldwide are documenting the world's rarest languages in a project called Wikitongues. Over a thousand volunteers (and counting) from around the world make videos of people speaking their native language — introducing themselves, providing an oral history, or just talking about their culture — then upload it to an online database. The archive is available on the web as a free language encyclopedia. Soon they will also be available at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

#fixingjustice - Re-entry
Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Break the Cycle of Violence?
Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Break the Cycle of Violence?
#fixingjustice - Re-entry
Can Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Break the Cycle of Violence?
CBT is a promising way to reduce violence, so why has it been so hard to scale?

CBT is a promising way to reduce violence, so why has it been so hard to scale?

Dispatches
Is a "Global Village" a Pandemic Waiting to Happen?
Is a "Global Village" a Pandemic Waiting to Happen?
Dispatches
Is a "Global Village" a Pandemic Waiting to Happen?
New research suggests that our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

New research suggests that our hyper-connected world might be protecting us against devastating plagues.

Steven Pinker Makes the Case for Optimism
Steven Pinker Makes the Case for Optimism
Watch Now
Steven Pinker Makes the Case for Optimism
Are things really worse than ever, or are we missing the bigger picture?
Watch Now

Author and Harvard professor Steven Pinker lays out what he see as a basic paradox. The news today seems worse than ever - but based on a number of key metrics, Pinker argues the world is better than it’s ever been. Pinker explores the data and makes the case for how can we tackle the world’s problems while not drowning in negativity. That’s the focus of his latest book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science,...

Why Prisons are Showing Nature Videos to Inmates
Why Prisons are Showing Nature Videos to Inmates
Watch Now
Why Prisons are Showing Nature Videos to Inmates
Watching nature videos in the unlikeliest of places
Watch Now

At a maximum security prison in Oregon, select inmates watched 60 minutes of nature videos every day for a year. Inspired by the research of Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, the study was intended to measure the psychological benefits of exposure to nature. The results were incredible. Nearly half the inmates said the images soothed them, while violent acts in the prison dropped by 26%. Additionally, guards reported the inmates...

Culture
This Week in Ideas: A $1 Microscope, Healing Our Divisions, Planet Earth is Back
This Week in Ideas: A $1 Microscope, Healing Our Divisions, Planet Earth is Back
Culture
This Week in Ideas: A $1 Microscope, Healing Our Divisions, Planet Earth is Back
Democratizing microscopes, how we heal our political divisions, and BBC's Planet Earth returns. These are our...
By Mike Riggs

Democratizing microscopes, how we heal our political divisions, and BBC's Planet Earth returns. These are our favorite stories of the week.