Category Archives: Life

Why walking helps us think

Ferris Jabr writes: In Vogue’s 1969 Christmas issue, Vladimir Nabokov offered some advice for teaching James Joyce’s “Ulysses”: “Instead of perpetuating the pretentious nonsense of Homeric, chromatic, and visceral chapter headings, instructors should prepare maps of Dublin with Bloom’s and Stephen’s intertwining itineraries clearly traced.” He drew a charming one himself. Several decades later, a… Read More »

How I escaped my troubles through science

Subodh Patil writes: We’ve all felt the need. To just drop whatever loads we’re bearing, retreating to some private realm where our worldly concerns fade into oblivion. Freed from responsibilities, anxieties, hurts, and other miscellaneous burdens, if only transiently. My earliest recollection of the urge must’ve been when I was around 5. My mother was… Read More »

Work is a false idol

Cassady Rosenblum writes: In China this April, a 31-year-old former factory worker named Luo Huazhong drew the curtains and crawled into bed. Then he posted a picture of himself there to the Chinese website Baidu along with a message: “Lying Flat Is Justice.” “Lying flat is my sophistic movement,” Mr. Luo wrote, tipping his hat… Read More »

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. — 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 »