Mike Unwin— You needn’t be a birder to recognize an owl. The round face and large, forward-facing eyes immediately distinguish it from any other bird. And it is arguably this face—with its superficially human expressions—that explains why owls have maintained such a hold on our imaginations. It has led us to personify the
Joe Moran— I have been shy for as long as I can remember. For half of my life it just seemed an inconvenience, something to live with rather than be curious about. I became interested in shyness as a subject—one that might repay careful reflection—when I began to find my
Alon Tal— Some fifty years ago, environmentalists began to speak out about the grave environmental impacts of an exponentially growing population. These concerns resonated with large elements of the public, even as the implications flew in the face of some axiomatic assumptions about modern, Western society. Growing populations are associated
James Owen Weatherall— When Vera Rubin was first invited to use the telescope at the Palomar Observatory, in the mountains outside San Diego, the form she was asked to fill out included the following notice: “Due to limited Facilities, it is not possible to accept application from women.” In pencil, someone
Fiona Stafford— At a secret location somewhere in the White Mountains of California is the world’s oldest individual tree. This ancient Great Basin bristlecone pine (pinus longaeva) has been growing there for more than 5,000 years, at least two centuries longer than its nearest rival, which is a mere 4,850,
Peter Selwyn— Thirty-five years ago, in the summer of 1981, the AIDS epidemic officially began. Thirty-five years can seem like a lifetime, and in many cases they were, in a sense, as young men and women died in their twenties and thirties from a disease that was relentless, devastating, and
How have humans evolved and what drives this evolution? Evolutionary biologist Scott Solomon, author of Future Humans, discusses the science of human evolution. Listen in iTunes.
Paul David Blanc— There is a story of the nineteenth century Rabbi Zissel Ziv, the elder of Kelmė, a town in Lithuania then under the aegis of the Russian Empire. Kelm’s principal thoroughfare had been paved by prisoners sentenced to slave labor, far from a notable circumstance in that time and place.