As I professed in a previous post, I'm a hardcore believer in free will. No matter how far science goes in reducing our thoughts, emotions and decisions to deterministic physical processes, I have faith that we can, to a certain extent, choose our paths in life.
Whereas most pundits have focused on the role of social media in Egypt's revolution, what impressed me most was that one of the most powerful, entrenched regimes in the world was toppled by a nonviolent uprising.
Sebastian Junger knows war firsthand. Best known for his monster best seller The Perfect Storm (made into a hit film), Junger started reporting from war zones in 1993 when he traveled to Bosnia.
I'm becoming a moralistic prig in my dotage. Someone dear to me just proudly told me that her son, a freshly minted Harvard grad, is training to be an investment banker.
If responses to my last post are any guide—including a diss from one of my own students!—many readers reject gun controls as a way to reduce shootings like the recent massacre in Arizona and other gun-related homicides.
It's happened again. A deranged American male has gone on a rampage with a semiautomatic weapon, shooting down a score of people—this time at a political gathering in Tucson, Ariz.
Should a scientist who believes in extrasensory perception—the ability to read minds, intuit the future and so on—be taken seriously? This question comes to mind when I ponder the iconoclastic physicist Freeman Dyson, whom the journalist Kenneth Brower recently profiled in The Atlantic 's December issue.
Has civilization been a big mistake? My friend and former neighbor Kirkpatrick Sale thinks so. Sale is a smart, feisty critic of modernity, and especially technology and big government.
In the wee hours of this morning my eyes popped open, and I spent the next half hour trying to figure out what to write about in this column. After careful, albeit groggy deliberation, I decided to go with free will, both because of the tie-in to New Year's resolutions and because some high-profile scientists have been questioning whether free will exists.
Two recent science stories, one in anthropology and the other in physics, have me wondering which field is "hard" and which "soft." The first story involves the decision of the American Anthropological Association to delete the word "science" from its mission statement.
STAFFBehind the scenes at Scientific AmericanRead
Anecdotes from the Archive
Anthropology in Practice
Exploring the human condition.Read
Insights into intelligence, creativity, and the mindRead
Everything you always wanted to know about raising science-literate kidsRead
Critical views of science in the newsRead
Dark Star Diaries
Explore the science behind the dog in your bedRead
News and research about endangered species from around the worldRead
Frontiers for Young Minds
Science by and for kids ages 8-15Read
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific AmericanRead
Climate science in a changing worldRead
Illusions, Delusions, and Everyday DeceptionsRead
Discussion and news about planets, exoplanets, and astrobiologyRead
MIND Guest Blog
Commentary invited by editors of Scientific American MindRead
Not bad science
New discoveries in animal behavior and cognitionRead
Opinion, arguments & analyses from guest experts and from the editors of Scientific AmericanRead
More than wires - exploring the connections between energy, environment, and our livesRead
Roots of Unity
Mathematics: learning it, doing it, celebrating it.Read
Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.Read
STAFFIllustrating science since 1845Read
STAFFA science blog, sans blagueRead
Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - living and extinctRead
The Artful Amoeba
A Blog About the Weird Wonderfulness of Life on EarthRead
Exploring and celebrating diversity in science.Read