Last week the man whom The New Yorker called "the most influential living philosopher" came to my school, Stevens Institute, to talk about "Ethics and the Election." Peter Singer, who was raised in Australia and now teaches at Princeton and the University of Melbourne, espouses utilitarianism, an ethics that seeks to minimize suffering and maximize wellbeing.Singer's work is challenging, not because his writing is difficult to understand but because it is all too clear...
Cold Spring, New York, my lovely Hudson River home, has long been a hotbed of environmental activism. In 1962, the utility Consolidated Edison announced plans to carve a power plant out of stately Storm King Mountain, just across the Hudson from Cold Spring...
Fed up with Obomney? Sick of both Democrats and Republicans? Do you see the parties' similarities—their cowardly hawkishness and craven obeisance to deep-pocketed donors--as more significant than their differences?...
Earlier this week the legendary biologist Robert Trivers gave a talk, "Why We Lie (even to ourselves)," to a packed auditorium at my school, Stevens Institute of Technology.
Last spring, I offered a harsh assessment of A Universe from Nothing (Free Press, 2012), in which physicist Lawrence Krauss proposed that physicists have finally, probably, maybe, sort of, answered The Question of All Questions: Why is there something rather than nothing?...
There's no such thing as objective science journalism, any more than there is objective science. Some journalists are just more overt about their biases.Gary Taubes has been ferociously attacking conventional dietary wisdom for more than a decade...
Last year, on the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks by Al Qaeda on the United States, I posted a column arguing that the U.S. overreacted to these horrific acts of terrorism...
Presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Barack Obama recently answered 14 science-related questions put to them by Scientific American and ScienceDebate.org.
The death of astronaut Neil Armstrong arouses memories and mixed emotions.In the summer of 1969, my family and I spent a month on Nantucket Island, off the coast of Massachusetts.
William Thurston, who died on August 21 at the age of 65, would have hated this post's headline. Let me tell you why it's justified.In 1993, when I was a full-time staff writer for Scientific American , my boss, Jonathan Piel, asked, or rather, commanded me to write an in-depth feature on something, anything, mathematical...
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