A computer designed by hobbyists to look like a brain on display at a Berlin fair in 2012. What happens when we go from crude models to complete working simulations of this all-important organ? Britta Pedersen/DPA/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Swarms of locusts in Madagascar, or clouds of elementary particles, without sound, odor, flavor or color? Reality is harder to pin down than you first might think. Bilal Tarabey/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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