When soldiers commit atrocities, we must ask why. The question is being raised once again by reports that a handful of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan carried out premeditated killings—murders—of Afghan civilians.
Psychedelics are back! As readers of Scientific American know, scientists have recently reported that psychedelics show promise for treating disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety in terminal cancer patients.
My teenage son, Mac, shot me. Twice, on the same day. I felt pride. And pain. Together with about 60 other guys, Mac and I were playing an "Airsoft" war game in a wooded Army Reserve training camp in Tolland, a tiny town in western Massachusetts.
I've always thought of Stephen Hawking—whose new book The Grand Design (Bantam 2010), co-written with Leonard Mlodinow, has become an instant bestseller—less as a scientist than as a cosmic, comic performance artist, who loves goofing on his fellow physicists and the rest of us.This penchant was already apparent in 1980, when the University of Cambridge named Hawking Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, the chair held three centuries earlier by Isaac Newton.
I suffer from eschatological obsession. That is, I spend lots of time brooding about ends. So the cover of the September Scientific American —which reads simply "the end."—made me all shivery, like when I hear the spooky sitar opening of The Doors' apocalyptic rock poem "The End." (I'm never more Freudian than when I hear Morrison's Oedipal yowl.)
Some issue highlights: Tom Kirkwood's article on why we shouldn't expect the end of death soon (someone send this to Ray Kurzweil); Arpad Vass's description of a corpse's busy afterlife (which reminds me of one of my favorite novels, Jim Crace's Being Dead , Picador 2001); George Musser's riff on whether time can end (which would mean the end of ends—like, grok that, dude!).
Transhumanists! Singularitarians! Listen up! You who harbor a fervent faith in science’s imminent transformation of our frail, fleshy selves.
Last week's post served up facts from Power to Save the World (Vintage, 2008) by Gwyneth Cravens, whose book forced me to see nuclear energy in a more positive light.
My belated education in nuclear energy continues. I just read Power to Save the World: The Truth about Nuclear Energy (Vintage, 2008) by Gwyneth Cravens, a petite, energetic novelist and journalist.
Good news is rare these days, so I'd like to take a moment to celebrate last week's decision by a federal judge that Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage, is unconstitutional.
Inception is an absurdly complicated, clattering contraption of a movie that impresses only in a mechanical, Rube Goldberg–ish way. My intellect had to work so hard to figure out what was happening that my emotions never got engaged.
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
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