Category Archives: Life

Aliens, science, and speculation in the wake of ʻOumuamua

Matthew Bothwell writes: There’s an iconic moment, filmed in the shadow of the Very Large Array in New Mexico, that many people who visit this giant telescope try to duplicate. A young astronomer sits cross-legged on the bonnet of her car, the towering line of radio dishes vanishing into the distance behind her. With her… Read More »

How the Pentagon started taking UFO’s seriously

Gideon Lewis-Kraus writes: Leslie Kean is a self-possessed woman with a sensible demeanor and a nimbus of curly graying hair. She lives alone in a light-filled corner apartment near the northern extreme of Manhattan, where, on the wall behind her desk, there is a framed black-and-white image that looks like a sonogram of a Frisbee.… Read More »

What makes Elon Musk and Carl Sagan worlds apart

Shannon Stirone writes: There’s no place like home—unless you’re Elon Musk. A prototype of SpaceX’s Starship, which may someday send humans to Mars, is, according to Musk, likely to launch soon, possibly within the coming days. But what motivates Musk? Why bother with Mars? A video clip from an interview Musk gave in 2019 seems… Read More »

Economic growth has become a malignancy

Here is Dr. Mike Ryan speaking at a @trocaire event yesterday about the catastrophe we're walking into. I genuinely think this is the most important clip you'll ever see. pic.twitter.com/eKxBWEu7SM — Eoghan Rice (@rice_e) February 18, 2021 Mike Ryan, World Health Organization

The unified cosmic vision of Alexander von Humboldt

Algis Valiunas writes: The presiding scientific genius of the Romantic age, when science had not yet been dispersed into specialties that rarely connect with one another, Alexander von Humboldt wanted to know everything, and came closer than any of his contemporaries to doing so. Except for Aristotle, no scientist before or since this German polymath… Read More »

Human-made stuff now outweighs every living thing on Earth

ScienceAlert reports: All of the Amazon’s splendid greenery. Every fish in the Pacific. Every microbe underfoot. Every elephant on the plains, every flower, fungus, and fruit-fly in the fields, no longer outweighs the sheer amount of stuff humans have made. Estimates on the total mass of human-made material suggest 2020 is the year we overtake… Read More »

Pope Francis: A crisis reveals what is in our hearts

Pope Francis writes: In this past year of change, my mind and heart have overflowed with people. People I think of and pray for, and sometimes cry with, people with names and faces, people who died without saying goodbye to those they loved, families in difficulty, even going hungry, because there’s no work. Sometimes, when… Read More »