Our spacecraft, ourselves

Last week I watched live video from the European Space Agency on the day Philae landed on comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko as part of the Rosetta mission. When the people in the control room first heard from the lander on the surface and burst into cheers, I yelled and pumped my fists and cried a little. Maybe […]

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The geology of impermanence

A few months ago, I saw a post about Cape Cod on NASA’s Earth Observatory. The post showed a pair of satellite images of Cape Cod separated by nearly 30 years, which made it quite clear that the shoreline is a dynamic thing. After discussing the mechanisms that are causing barrier islands to move around […]

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The trees are balding

In fact, many of the trees are already bald. Autumn is well advanced. Last week we celebrated Halloween, which is followed by the Christian feasts of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. These two days commemorate the church’s saints and its rank and file dead, respectively, and inspired the more elaborate Día de Muertos […]

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Thinking Meat is waking up

Greetings to any loyal readers who are still out there. The Thinking Meat Project is about to waken from its long hibernation. When I started Thinking Meat in 2005, I envisioned it covering a broad range of topics, all related to what it’s like to be thinking matter (as Richard Feynman memorably put it, “Atoms […]

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Book review: Paleofantasy, by Marlene Zuk

Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live, by Marlene Zuk The myth of the golden age dies hard. People who espouse a Paleo lifestyle speak in terms of evolution, but the overall framework of their beliefs strikes me as being modeled surprisingly closely on earlier stories of a golden […]

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Age of Chauvet cave art

A couple of years ago I reviewed Werner Herzog’s documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a fascinating tour of the prehistoric art in Chauvet cave in southern France. The art, which was discovered in 1994, was notable not only for its beauty and variety, but also because it was thought to be the earliest cave art […]

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Politics, personality, and hand-waving

In Washington Monthly, Chris Mooney has reviewed two new books that synthesize what we know to date about how our political outlooks are related to our personalities. The review is worth reading in its entirety, and it raises some interesting points about evolution, personality, and politics. However, I was struck by one thing that I […]

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