Reclaiming The Stuff That Matters

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to read the results of a poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research showing that three-quarters of Americans are not very worried about the effects of climate change. After all, a lot of money and energy has gone into sowing doubt when it comes to climate…

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Adding It Up

Not so very long ago, processing large amounts of data was a tedious business, riddled with human error, machine failings and limited reach. These days, information availability can feel like a tsunami. There’s so much of it, all the time, all around. It’s become easier than ever to share information and images, sometimes involuntarily. The…

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Unexpected Communication

Before I started this post on talking turtles this morning, I moseyed over to Wikipedia to see what words we use to describe acoustic communications between turtles. Dogs bark, geese hiss, tapirs whistle, giraffes bleat and most rodents squeak – at least, that’s what they do when we’re talking about them in English. But turtles?…

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Yoke of Gold

The history of gold – that is, the history of gold extracted from the planet surface – is inextricably linked with human history. Gold has always been as much a shining harness as a coveted bauble. It has so many qualities we would like to think we ourselves possess: It’s rare but not lonely and…

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A Little Perspective

It’s been a rough start to 2015, so I thought I’d step back and look at a bigger picture. NASA released an image of a section of one of our nearest neighbors, galactically-speaking: the Andromeda galaxy, also known as M31. The image itself contains 1.5 billion pixels and represents the largest image ever released by…

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Subterranean Lines

The bulk of the fracking boom currently underway in the United States is not only in one of the least populated and remote states, North Dakota (population 724,000 – and it’s only that large because of the fracking boom and all the new workers there), but it also takes place mostly underground. Sure, there are…

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Science and Peace: CERN at 60

Last week I had the privilege of attending a series of lectures, 60 Years of Science for Peace, held in the CERN Globe as a part of the celebration to mark CERN’s 60th anniversary. Considering we live just down the road from the Globe, I didn’t have far to travel, but it’s a nice journey…

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What We Talk About When We Talk About War (VII)

According to the website Wars in the World, as of 11 September 2014, there are currently ongoing conflicts classified as ‘wars’ in 64 countries; there are conflicts involving of 567 militias, guerrilla and separatist groups. The conflicts are based on everything from ideological and religious issues to narcotics to territorial disputes. There are a few…

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Web Music

I’ve got my windows open today to let in some of the fine late spring air, which is filled with the sound of birdsong and a light rustling of the trees in our garden. Because I leave my old wooden shutters latched shut so the sun doesn’t glare off my computer screen, I can’t see…

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Seabed Data

The first trans-Atlantic communications cable was laid in 1858, carried across the ocean by two ships and connected to create instantaneous communication across an ocean. Unfortunately, it only worked for few days, and it was almost ten years before a replacement was successfully laid. That cable, however, remained in service for a century. I only…

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