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Brian Hayes

Brian Hayes is a writer interested in science, mathematics, and technology. He is the author of Infrastructure: A Guide to the Industrial Landscape and Group Theory in the Bedroom, and Other Mathematical Diversions, as well as a forthcoming volume of essays: Foolproof, and Other Mathematical Meditations. His work is supported by a fellowship from Y Combinator Research.

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Mystic Island

Six miles high and southbound, I watched the New Jersey coastal wetlands unfurling below me, a green carpet decorated with meandering blue threads of tidal creeks. And then a curious apparition slid into view—an alien handprint on the landscape, a…