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  • Book

    Science meets the great cat debate

    With their shared passion for animals, bird watchers and cat lovers should be allies. Instead, they’re often at each other’s throats. The reason is simple: We love cats—there are more cats in the United States than dogs and a loosely estimated 600 million Felis catus worldwide. The problem is that many cats are outside some… Read More
  • In Pain: A Bioethicist’s Personal Struggle with Opioids
    Travis Rieder


    A bioethicist’s harrowing encounter with prescription painkillers highlights systemic health care problems

    Imagine having your foot pinned between a moving van and a motorcycle and subsequently undergoing five surgeries to restore function to your mangled limb over a 1-month period. In order to endure the debilitating pain, you are prescribed high doses of opioid analgesics, only to discover that your care team has no exit strategy. Feeling… Read More
  • Book

    Two tomes paint vivid historical portraits of Apollo 11

    On the evening of 13 December 1972, about a quarter of a million miles from Earth, 38-year-old Eugene Cernan stepped off the surface of the Moon and clambered back into his fragile and temporary home, a four-legged landing vehicle named Challenger. The ungainly contraption was set down in Mare Serenitatis, a vast lava plain on… Read More
  • Are We There Yet? The American Automobile Past, Present, and Driverless
    Dan Albert


    What will become of U.S. car culture in the age of self-driving vehicles?

    In his new book, Are We There Yet?, Dan Albert reveals how automobiles came to be seen as a technology of freedom in America and how the ability to experience the world became enmeshed with personal identity. On one level, it is a general romp through the history of the automobile in the United States—and… Read More
  • Symphony in C: Carbon and the Evolution of (Almost) Everything
    Robert M. Hazen


    A geologist offers a melodic meditation on one of Earth’s most abundant elements

    Although organic chemistry is often described as the science of carbon, Robert Hazen’s latest book, Symphony in C, makes clear that this vital element cannot be contained by such a disciplinary boundary. Despite its abundance and importance, the location and cycling of carbon on Earth are not yet well understood. Ever-increasing atmospheric concentrations of its… Read More
  • Unsecured Futures
    Lucy Seal, curator

    Book ,

    An AI-driven artist’s exhibition hints at, but never fully explores, the ethics of algorithms

    My train ride from London to Oxford is filled with anticipation. Having just watched the latest season of Black Mirror, I anticipate the same blending of wit, unintended consequences, and dystopian paradox from the new exhibition that has just opened at the Barn Gallery in St John’s College, Oxford. Unsecured Futures is the solo show… Read More
  • Podcast

    PODCAST: Q&A with Lucy Jones, composer of In Nomine Terra Calens

    Having dedicated her career to the study of earthquakes, seismologist Lucy Jones is no stranger to existential threats to humanity. But in recent years, it is climate change that really has her worried. This week on the Science podcast, Jones—who is also a classically trained musician—discusses her latest project: a haunting musical composition that enables… Read More
  • The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future
    Jon Gertner


    A new tome tells tales of adventurers and scientists who have wrested secrets from Greenland’s daunting landscape

    Although Greenland occasionally figures into news stories and debates about rising sea level and a warming Earth, the relevant historical background rarely enters into such discussions. Consequently, many fascinating elements of the island’s story that could capture the interest and attention of the public have lain dormant. Jon Gertner’s compelling book, The Ice at the… Read More
  • Giants of the Monsoon Forest: Living and Working with Elephants
    Jacob Shell


    An unlikely interspecies partnership hints at a potential model for conservation

    In Giants of the Monsoon Forest, Jacob Shell examines the dual world inhabited by a group of elephants in the “Trans-Patkai” region of Asia, an area that spans remote parts of Burma and India and is one of the last densely forested areas on Earth. Part of the human world by day, these elephants, who… Read More