Will seismologists ever be able to reliably predict the exact location, time and magnitude of earthquakes like the one that just devastated Japan and sent tsunamis racing across the Pacific Ocean?...
Is everything information? This seductive idea animates the brand-new book The Information by James Gleick (Pantheon 2011), which I just rave-reviewed in The Wall Street Journal .
Exactly 20 years ago, I wrote an article for Scientific American that, in draft form, had the headline above. My editor nixed it, so we went with something less dramatic: "In the Beginning…: Scientists are having a hard time agreeing on when, where and—most important—how life first emerged on the earth." That editor is gone now, so I get to use my old headline, which is even more apt today...
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...
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