December 8, 2019

Science

"To secure a stable climate for future generations, humanity will need to permanently bury gigatons of carbon dioxide. There is already too much in the atmosphere — 415 parts per million, when scientists say 350 ppm is the upper bound of safety..."

"OF COURSE, there’s a Crisis of Truth and, of course, we live in a “Post-Truth” society. Evidence of that Crisis is everywhere, extensively reported in the non-Fake-News media, read by Right-Thinking people. The White House floats the idea of..."

"Ernst Mach, the Austrian physicist-philosopher of the late 19th century, famously denied the reality of atoms. “Have you ever seen one?” he mockingly asked of atom advocates. Today many scientists speak with similar derision about the idea that..."

"THE HARD PROBLEM, DAVID CHALMERS CALLS IT: Why are the physical processes of the brain “accompanied by an experienced inner life?” How and why is there something it is like to be you and me, in Thomas Nagel’s formulation? I’ve been reading around.."

"Water rushes into Venice’s city council chamber just minutes after the local government rejects measures to combat climate change. Wildfires consume eastern Australia as fire danger soars past “severe” and “extreme” to “catastrophic” in parts of..."

"It was 2007, during a trip to visit her sister in Norway’s pristine Lofoten Islands, when Maja Rosén had an unsettling thought. As she took in the breathtaking archipelago north of the Arctic Circle that is dotted with mountains, carved with..."

"An extremely compelling unidentified flying object incident occurred over Washington, D.C., in 1952. Did another UFO pay a visit to D.C. on Tuesday? Probably not, but it's a possibility — seriously. First, the facts. An intruding radar contact..."

"Ask most scientists about their work and you’ll very likely be treated to an hour of animated explanation about the topic. There will be enthusiastic gesticulations demonstrating the processes involved and vivid illustration of the rollercoaster..."

"Imagine you’re a lecturer teaching a celebrated novel that features violent scenes – say, F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (1925). It transpires that one of your students has themselves been a victim of violence and now, thanks to your..."

"What's out there? So far, NASA has classified more than 21,000 asteroids and more than 100 comets as near-Earth objects. Of that group, about 2,000 are considered "potentially hazardous," meaning they have orbits within 4.5 million miles of..."

"AURORA A flaring ring of light illuminating the night sky. Each of Earth’s poles has an aurora, which can occasionally grow large enough to be seen near the equator, inspiring visions of apocalypse. (In the biblical second Book of the Maccabees..."

"To riff on the opening lines of Steven Shapin’s book The Scientific Revolution (1996), there is no such thing as a science-religion conflict, and this is an essay about it. It is not, however, another rebuttal of the ‘conflict narrative’ – there..."

"The fires we see are only part of our disturbed pyrogeography. Of perhaps equal magnitude is a parallel world of lost, missing and sublimated fires. The landscapes that should have fire and don’t. The marinating of the atmosphere by greenhouse..."

"Imagine for a moment that an alien astrophysicist on some distant but inhabited planet is trying to find out whether Earth is inhabited. If they were looking in the last 100 years, there would have been several unequivocal pieces of evidence..."

"careful reading of Walden; or, Life in the Woods makes it clear that Thoreau never intended his cabin to be a solitary hermitage, although fans and detractors alike often misunderstand this. It was more an author’s workshop than a fortress of..."

"Earth is most fortunate to have vast webs of magnetic fields surrounding it. Without them, much of our atmosphere would have been gradually torn away by powerful solar winds long ago, making it unlikely that anything like us would be here...."

"It was when I found myself perched on our rooftop at dawn in my pajamas, coating the asphalt shingles with Mongolian Hot Oil, that I first wondered whether I had lost perspective. The woodpeckers had forced my hand. Every morning that June, one..."

"Everything we think we know about the shape of the universe could be wrong. Instead of being flat like a bedsheet, our universe may be curved, like a massive, inflated balloon, according to a new study. That’s the upshot of a new paper published..."

"Climate denialism is back. For decades, denialists rejected truths about the environment: the link between carbon emissions and global warming, the human role in rising emissions, and the adequacy of climate modeling. That old form of denialism..."

"Indeed, as the site’s editor Rabbi Zev Farber notes in an essay contemplating the “Torah from Heaven” doctrine: “Women were not created from the rib of a man, snakes did not lose their legs because of sin, the terrestrial world was not drowned..."

"Since 1980, the temperature of the planet has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius, resulting in unprecedented melting of the Greenland ice sheet and the acidification of oceans. In 2015, 175 million more people were exposed to heat waves compared with..."

"A change has come over the public discussion of religion in recent years. In the decade of the New Atheists, religion was the root of all evil. Nowadays, however, it tends to be thought of as a good, even necessary, part of society. In his..."

"Many scientists believe that natural selection brought our perception of reality into clearer and deeper focus, reasoning that growing more attuned to the outside world gave our ancestors an evolutionary edge. Donald Hoffman, a cognitive..."

"Q: One of the few things that has given me hope about our ability to avoid climate disaster is reading about companies that are capturing carbon from the air and finding ways to monetize it. Are there limitations to our ability to do this? Is..."

"We humans have evolved a rich repertoire of communication, from gesture to sophisticated languages. All of these forms of communication link otherwise separate individuals in such a way that they can share and express their singular experiences..."

"In 1920, the American psychologist John B Watson published the results of one of the more ethically dubious scholarly articles of the past century. Along with Rosalie Rayner, a 21-year-old graduate student at Johns Hopkins University in..."

"Where was the evolutionary birthplace of modern humans? The East African Great Rift Valley has long been the favoured contender – until today. Our new research has used DNA to trace humanity’s earliest footsteps to a prehistoric wetland called..."

"Two weeks ago, Super Typhoon Hagibis barrelled into Japan, unleashing “unprecedented” rain that caused floods and landslides. At least 80 are dead, thousands of homes in Japan’s main island were flooded, damaged or without power. What’s worse..."

"Robert Macfarlane grew up obsessed with climbing mountains and nearly died on several occasions as he scaled some of the world’s high peaks. He found a safer way to indulge his alpine passions, writing about the mystique of mountains. As someone..."

"Long before philosophy and physics split into separate career paths, the natural philosophers of Ancient Greece speculated about the basic components from which all else is made. Plato entertained a theory on which everything on Earth is made..."

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JJ Editor's Picks

"There is nothing like the threat of nuclear Armageddon for focusing minds. That, at least, was true for Nato over the decades from its foundation in 1949. During the Cold War the alliance had a common purpose (collective defence), a common space..."

"Democrats are too “woke” for their own good, or so goes the argument. “Today’s progressivism is more or less a secular form of religion with its own high standards,” Matt Lewis, a conservative columnist, wrote this spring. “Eventually,” he..."

"To secure a stable climate for future generations, humanity will need to permanently bury gigatons of carbon dioxide. There is already too much in the atmosphere — 415 parts per million, when scientists say 350 ppm is the upper bound of safety..."

"Romantic love – seeking it, glorifying it, dishing it – is a human obsession. My English barmaid mother called it a ‘funny five minutes’ never to be trusted and basically dangerous for women. The feminist author Marilyn Yalom saw a mysterious..."

"Friday’s jobs report must have been adapted from a comic book — because everyone’s calling it a “blockbuster” (and Martin Scorsese hasn’t shown any interest in it). In November, America’s unemployment rate hit a half-century low, as U.S...."

"I know I won’t be the first to say it, seeing as how Barbra Streisand already sent you a star of David necklace, but on behalf of the Jews who weren’t famous enough to be invited to your recent bat mitzvah, take it from me: Welcome to the tribe..."

"Many countries would dissolve into chaos and disarray if dealt the same cards Israel has in 2019. The United States, for all its well-deserved democratic admiration, is being torn at the seams ever since President Donald Trump’s election in 2016..."

"Recent national surveys project that 53% of children will own a smartphone by age 11. While the reality of a child being able to utilize the features of a smartphone has provided many new benefits to both them and their parents, the harm of..."