Other Science News

The “hard problem” – nuclear waste Our bookshelves speak to our inner nature. A sustainable diet is not a choice of meat or plants; it is meat and plants.
The last several months have been … interesting … at Europe’s largest nuclear energy station. Last March, Russian troops took control of the 6-reactor site, causing some damage during the battle and raising fears of a wider catastrophe. Several months passed, during which the Ukrainian operators continued running the reactors under the direction of Russian, providing power to their part of Ukraine; this interregnum came to a halt this summer when the Russians established a full-blown military base on the power site and began launching attacks from there, and disconnecting most of the power lines leading into the plant from the electrical grid.
Certainty and extremism Will we ever know the origin of COVID-19? What can the Talmud teach us about Twitter and Facebook? And now, a moment with Hans Rosling.
In 1974 I called a nuclear engineer to interview him for a term paper on nuclear fusion power. We talked about all the advantages of fusion power, its prospects for the future, the impact on civilization, and so forth…and at the end of the interview, I asked him when he expected to see commercial fusion power. “I think it will be about 20 or 25 years from now that we see the first fusion reactor come online.” And that’s been the standard joke about fusion power since before I wrote my paper – that it’s about 25 years in the future…and always will be. But maybe that’s changing.
Water (H2O) is essential to life and is ubiquitous; found even on planets, asteroids, and comets. It is a deceptively simple but very complex entity with many facets. Many people in developed countries consider access to quantities of drinkable (potable) and other water to be a given and at a low cost. The United Nations says that access to sufficient, safe water is a human right, but you get what you pay for.  Access to universal assured safe drinking water has existed for only about 120 years with the development of microbiology to test for pathogens and engineering for filtration and disinfection water treatment.
Is the climate crisis a population problem or a poverty problem? Are you more disabled as a composer if you are blind or deaf? A Dutch pastime - Uitwaaien Medicare can negotiate prices; what might go wrong?
The last several years have even given skeptics reasons to consider reducing our fossil fuel use and replacing it with something else. The problem is that so many of the “something else” alternatives can’t be counted on to keep our cities powered up (try using solar energy at night), and we currently don’t have the technology to store excess energy for a (literal) rainy or windless day. Sure, lithium-ion batteries are growing in capacity, but they’re not yet city-sized and tend to catch fire from time to time. We need a stable, safe, reliable source of power that doesn’t rely on burning fuel – something like nuclear energy.
Cannabis hyperemesis syndrome The scent of a woman Chaos is present everywhere, in physical and biological worlds. The meat paradox
Joan Mitchell returns to the stage. Is robotic automation making us safer? Should we end aging? The regulatory capture of the USDA
You can file this under “those who don't know history are destined to repeat it,” according to George Santayana. At least that was part of my takeaway on a Smithsonian article on coal, which, in the early 1800s was a new-fangled fuel. Understanding the slow acceptance of this fuel source may provide some context as today’s alternative sources come online.
Ferdinand the Bull’s real-life model, Civilón Geomythology pairing our cultural myths with geologic findings What will food be like in the future, more like Soylent Green or Impossible Burgers – Oreos may foretell our food future. Woke words
An excellent commencement address; after all, it is the season Living with pain “Because we live in the past when we are online, we will find ourselves fighting over the past.” The downside of letting machines do our work.